Why are you here? Fandom, Run DMC and unexpected heroes

Wheaton Binderup McDaniels at Planet Comicon 2014

Why are you here?

To read?  To learn something?  To kill time?

OK, not why are you “here” at this website.  Think Big Picture:  Why are you here?  To narrow the gap between the rich and the poor?  To help people?  To have fun?  To create?

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels from Run-DMC, who we met at Planet Comicon last year, asked himself that question after returning to a hotel after a night on a European tour.  He’s pictured above with Wil Wheaton and my pal William Binderup.  McDaniels asked himself that simple question and wrestling with that question set him on a path that he recounted to a crowd of college students years later.  National Public Radio located an audio recording of that talk that they re-broadcast this past Wednesday night.

The result is a great story, and may serve as inspiration for anyone suffering from depression, anyone who was adopted, and it surprisingly serves as a great message about the power of fandom.  It also should cause you to consider the possibility that you can do anything you want to do with your life, and sometimes you may even surprise yourself if you aim high.  Maybe there’s more to who you are, who you like, and what you know–and don’t know–about yourself.

OK, McDaniels was a bit of a rambler but stick with his story.  It’s worth it.


I didn’t grow up with hip-hop but liked his partnership with Aerosmith on the remake of “Walk this Way” and remember it playing over and over on MTV.  And their song “Tricky” was a hit played over again in college and is forever a classic.  McDaniels belted both of these songs out at this year’s Planet Comicon and it was pretty incredible to see him perform in such a personal, up-close venue.  DMC is now Darryl Makes Comics–McDaniels has written himself as a superhero into his own comic book.  He had an appearance on the Travel Channel series Toy Hunter last year, and he recounted his toy Big Jim Camper–a great giant van my brother had that we played with along with our large-sized GI Joes and Marx action figures.

When I met McDaniels in March I asked him about his Big Jim Camper that he mentioned on the TV show, not about his Hall of Fame or Platinum or Gold records or inventing Hip Hop.  He’s a cool dude and a good guy with a lot in common with the rest of us fanboys and fangirls.  And we shared a good laugh.  It’s pretty amazing what you can have in common and share with others over the course of your life.  People you never met or expected to meet.  And we can never have enough stories from folks who try to inspire others.

Click on over to the local Wisconsin Public Radio show website with the audio of Darryl McDaniels’ story here.  And check out the song he discusses at the end of his story in his 2006 release here.

C.J. Bunce

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