Selling 25 million records is impressive enough, but McDaniels is now living out a childhood fantasy at age 50 with the launch of his own line of comic books.
The newly minted comic company, Darryl Makes Comics, is ready to debut its first novel, “DMC” — set in an alternate ’80s universe of the Big Apple where the Hollis, Queens, product is a superhero instead of a rapper.
It isn’t just a business venture, it’s a lifelong calling.
“I was a shy kid, so when DJ Run (aka Joseph Simmons, who along with the late Jam Master Jay formed the pioneering hip-hop group) was first putting me on these records, I went back to my comic books for confidence,” McDaniels told the Daily News.
“I would hear a beat and go, ‘OK, what would the Hulk do to this?’ It was all imagination to me.
“That’s why, if you hear my delivery,” he added, breaking into one of his signature rhymes, “‘Crash through walls/Come through floors/Bust through ceilings’ — all the dominant punching lines came from (channeling) the Hulk.”
The new DMC, who debuts at next month’s New York Comic Con, no longer has to pretend to be someone else’s superhero: His comic alter ego even rocks his signature Adidas, fedora and rope chain, only with a face mask that looks tougher than leather.
“It’s not going to be 2,000 issues of my boring ass,” quipped McDaniels. “We wanted to build a foundation for a whole universe from (this first book).
“We’ll be introducing other superheroes and supervillains and deal with a lot of issues: racism, homophobia, AIDs — subjects other comics really don’t talk about.”
Darryl Makes Comics likely won’t make a successful leap in just a single bound in an industry where Marvel and DC Comics dominate with 63% of the market.
But McDaniels and his business partners, editor in chief Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and former Shady Records A&R executive Rigo Morales, are not looking to outmuscle Superman . . . yet.
“We’ve been hitting the Comic Cons for a year and a half, and there are times when we’ve been swarmed by fans, and there are other times we’re sitting at a table and there are crickets,” Miranda-Rodriguez said.
“But one of the things we have that other small publishers don’t have is that we’re literally walking around the floor with the actual superhero, the actual icon.”
The fans that approach DMC at New York Comic Con will soon find out that he’s one of them. There is still sadness in McDaniels’ voice when he reminisces about the day he and his older brother had to sell most of their beloved comic collection — to buy two turntables and a mixer as teens. (Hip-hop historians would argue it proved a worthy investment.)
“Before I even picked up a microphone,” McDaniels said, “my whole existence was comic books.”