Darryl Makes Comics: the latest Run-D.M.C. crossover

Published February 2017

Not content with dramatically transforming the world of hip hop forever (and with it mainstream Western culture), US100 club member DMC of Run-D.M.C. turned his hand to the world of comic book production. In his ‘DMC’ graphic novel, the rapper invokes his hip hop background to tell a tale of an Adidas wearing superhero. Struggling to obtain a copy, I instead spoke with Infinite Speech of Comicattack.net about its first issue.

JZ: Can you give us an overall summary of the comic? What happens to our hero?
IS: DMC #1 is more of a graphic novel so there’s a lot to process in this first issue. The are a total of five separate stories which feed into each other, dropping you into an 1980s era New York City in which DMC is an underground superhero. As one goes from story to story, you start seeing the overall connection between them – how the bad guys fit into everything and how their plan is more intricate than first expected.

JZ: How is New York City depicted?
IS: I have to say the artists immerse you in 1980s NYC in pretty much every panel. They really capture the essence of the city, from the architecture to the characters themselves. It’s almost as if NYC is itself a character in the story.

JZ: Does it contain many Run-D.M.C. or hip hop references?
IS: While DMC has all of the superhero elements you would expect to see, the creative team have also put a lot of hip-hop flavour into it, from the visuals to the dialogue – so if you’re a fan of both then you will probably like this. With comics being a visual medium, graffiti is naturally the most prominent.

In terms of Run-D.M.C., Jam Master Jay is a character in the comic: he is responsible for DMC’s suit, weapons, and vehicles, ensuring that DMC has everything he needs before he goes out to fight crime. So in a sense he’s still in a technical DJ-type role, providing the platform for DMC like he did in the studio and on the stage – but this time he’s helping his partner fight evil instead of rocking the mic.

JZ: Are you a hip hop fan in general? How did you feel when you heard DMC was branching out into this world?
IS: I’m more than a fan and love the art and the four elements [DJing, MCing, b-boying, graffiti]. Hip hop was such an integral part of my life growing up and still is to this day.

When I first heard that DMC would be making a comic it took me a second to accept it – the main reason being that genre-crossing often doesn’t do well in comics. But I remembered that comics and hip hop have actually been found together in various forms, from lyrics to album covers, since hip hop began. Meanwhile Run-D.M.C had one of the biggest crossover hits with Walk This Way so I figured that was a good sign. And now that I’ve read it, I’m just glad DMC and [Editor-in-Chief] Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez decided to bring all of these creative people together to produce a seamless merging of hip hop culture and superhero stories.

US100 Track 8: Run-D.M.C. – It’s Like That