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Tag Archive: Darryl McDaniels


Review by C.J. Bunce

Darryl McDaniels–he’s the DMC of the trio Run DMC, known for its team-up with Aerosmith on the band’s cover of “Walk this Way,” plus hits like “Tricky” and more.  He’s the King of Rock, sold 30 million albums, made rap and hip-hop the popular music genre it is today, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  But he doesn’t count any of those things as his most important personal accomplishment.  In his memoir, Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide–A Memoir, McDaniels reveals in a personal and down-to-earth way the trials he has faced despite his money and career success, leading to alcoholism and debilitating depression.  Despite its “Ten Ways…” title, it’s not his version of a twelve-step program as much as an insightful self-help book that doubles as an autobiography.

McDaniels’ story is deep and dark and yet he uses his story to motivate those around him and his writing reflects this generous sharing of failures for others to learn from.  McDaniels was a middle class, self-styled geek, raised in a good family, successfully avoiding the gangs and violence of New York City as a kid, and by the time he was out of his teens he was a superstar.  As a kid he loved comic books and he loved to draw.  “Growing up, I’d always been a comic book geek.  I loved to draw superheroes almost as much as I liked to read about them.  Comics were an escape, a way to make myself feel strong and invincible rather than like the quiet little four-eyed nerd I essentially was.”  But his venture into comics wouldn’t happen until much later.  He jumped on board with two neighborhood kids from Queens as they used turntables and rhyme to create a new music niche in the mid-1980s.  All those kids wearing high-top sneakers with no shoestrings?  Run-DMC also set a new fashion style for a generation.  And McDaniels infused comic book concepts into his songs along the way.

McDaniels in 2014 talking to fans at Planet Comicon, one of his many comic convention visits.

But McDaniels says he always felt something missing, and he often turned to alcohol to escape.  Ups and downs and assistance from family and friends allowed him to break through it all and come out on top, but not easily.  In one of his best stories he recounts the backlash early on that he received because of his band’s instant fame–even beyond other established rap heroes.  Members of his favorite band–Cold Crush–dissed him and Joey “Run” Simmons backstage at a show, but rather than be brought down by it, he saw it as an indication of success.  But by McDaniels’ account, Run’s dominance in the band left him without a role after a few albums, and alcoholism would literally take away McDaniel’s voice.  After he thought he was past the alcoholism, he would find himself returning to drinking whenever a life crisis presented itself.  A key event was discovering he was adopted, learned after a conversation with his mother while working on documenting his life story.  He would go on a reality show and track down and ultimately find his biological family, which introduced even more confusion for his mental state, but it was also his pathway for getting help from a therapist and rehab.  Inspiration to get help and move forward surprisingly also came from the soothing music of Sarah McLachlan, and his story of her role in his upward climb is now well-known.  They eventually recorded an album together (I discussed it here at borg.com after meeting McDaniels at Planet Comicon back in 2014).  It’s a great story and he recounts all the details in his book.

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As Rock and Roll is concerned, there was no one bigger than Chuck Berry–no one that more great musicians credited with their own successes, and no one more synonymous with the music multiple generations think of when they hear a singer holding a guitar leading a band with a lively, loud, and fast rhythm, bending guitar strings and blending styles, as well as the very image of the brash, cocky headliner across the world today we know simply as the “rock star”.  Berry passed away this weekend at the age of 90.  Unforgettable hits Johnny B. Goode, Maybelline, No Particular Place To Go, Roll Over Beethoven, My Ding-a-Ling, My Tambourine, and Sweet Little Sixteen only highlight his long career.

Even modern generations know his name thanks to a joke in Back to the Future, where Michael J. Fox plays his trademark song Johnny B. Goode with a band that happens to include a fictional cousin of Chuck Berry named Marvin.  The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys all incorporated elements from Berry’s music, including covering his songs.  John Lennon said of Berry, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might have called it Chuck Berry.”  Berry never stopped performing.  Only five years ago Berry performed Johnny B. Goode at a concert in his honor with modern legends including fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC.  And a new album was in the works.

Chuck Berry with Carl Sagan at a concert commemorating the Voyager accomplishments.

NASA and outer space enthusiasts will remember that Chuck Berry performing Johnny B. Goode is one of only two modern American songs included on the Voyager space probe golden records, which we’ve discussed before here at borg.com.  The Voyager missions are celebrating their 40th year in space in 2017.  The selection of music was made by Carl Sagan and the small team that collected music and images for the records (the complete playlist is listed here).  By our count this leaves only one remaining living performer whose music was featured on the albums: Valya Balkanska, a Bulgarian folk singer whose song “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” was included on the golden records.  Balkanska is 75 years old, and performed the song for the album at age 30.

Where are the Voyager space probes, and Chuck Berry’s historic albums, now?

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We’ve seen some celebrities turn to the unlikely medium of comic books to tell their stories recently.  First, we saw Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels turn to comic books to tell his own story under the DMC label.  Then Congressman John Lewis wrote a graphic novel about the civil rights movement called March–winning countless awards this year.  Now basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has adapted Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mycroft Holmes into the next best steampunk comic book series.

Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, co-created with writer Raymond Obstfeld, artist Joshua Cassara, colorist Luis Guerrero, and lettered by Simon Bowland, is the ultimate mash-up of 19th century science fiction and fantasy motifs.  Sherlock’s smarter brother has been kidnapped by Queen Victoria, tasked with deciphering a building full of broken doomsday machines capable of doing the unthinkable.  Think Warehouse 13, if a suave Brit (think James Bond), with a quirky analytical mind (think Doctor Who) is plunged into a world-ending event and an impossible task to solve.

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Mycroft Holmes reads like Bill Willingham’s Legenderry–A Steampunk Adventure and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only with five issues to speed through the story the action is quick, the dialogue is brief, and the banter is witty and fun.  Abdul-Jabbar, who became a fan of reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories early in his NDA career, grew to become a connoisseur of 19th century fiction including Holmes and his infamous brother, enough to write the novel Mycroft Holmes–A Novel with screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, published last year.   Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook takes Mycroft on a parallel-world adventure from the Mycroft of Abdul-Jabbar’s novel.

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Meeting Lee Majors

Hey, looks like we made it!

Five years ago today, Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt, Jason McClain, and I had already spent a few months talking through the technical details for the launch of borg.com.  What should it look like?  What should we write about?  How do we get to there from here?  Then it all came together on June 10, 2011, and I sat down and just started writing.  Should this be a weekly thing?  Once I started I just couldn’t stop and we cemented borg.com as a daily webzine.  And readers started showing up every day.  Soon we had hundreds of followers, and hundreds of thousands of visits per year.

The best part?  Working with friends and meeting new ones each year.

We’ve had plenty of high points.  Cosplay took off in a big way in the past five years.   Elizabeth and I hit the ground running at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2011 with our Alien Nation/Chuck mash-up and you can find us all over the Web in photos taken by others at the show.  Our years were dotted with the random brush with coolness.  A retweet by actress Alana de la Garza, coverage of Joss Whedon visiting the Hall H line at 3 a.m. outside SDCC in 2012, Zachary Levi calling out Elizabeth for her cosplay at Nerd HQ, interviewing the stars of History Channel’s Vikings series, our praise for the Miss Fury series appearing on the back of every Dynamite Comics issue one month, tweets from Hollywood make-up artist family the Westmores commenting on our discussion of Syfy’s Face Off series, our Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (negative!) review featured on the movie’s website, that crazy promotion for the Coma remake mini-series, planning the first Planet Comicon at Bartle Hall and the Star Trek cast reunion, attending the first Kansas City Comic Con and the first Wizard World Des Moines Con, hanging with comic book legend Howard Chaykin, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels, cast members from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Star Trek, bionic duo Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner.  And borg.com gained some well-known followers (you know who you are) along the way.

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We’re grateful for some great Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and other feedback over the years from Felipe Melo, Mickey Lam, Michael Prestage, The Mithril Guardian, Francesco Francavilla, Adam Hughes, Judy Bunce, Mike Norton, Jack Herbert, Mike Mayhew, Rain Beredo, David Petersen, Rob Williams, and Matt Miner, and for creators we interviewed including Mikel Janin, Penny Juday, Tim Lebbon, Kim Newman, James P. Blaylock, Freddie Williams II, Jai Nitz, and Sharon Shinn.

Bunce Alien Nation cosplay x

What did readers like the most?

We amassed an extensive archive of hundreds of book reviews, movie reviews, reviews of TV shows, and convention coverage, thanks in part to the good folks at Titan Books, Abrams Books, Lucasfilm Press, Weta New Zealand, Entertainment Earth, Dynamite Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, and several TV and movie studios and distributors.

McClain and EC Bunce

My own favorites?  Sitting down to come up with my own five all-time favorite characters with the borg.com writing staff.

Schmidt and Bunce at PC 2015

Thanks to my family, my friends, especially my partner in crime Elizabeth C. Bunce, Art Schmidt and Jason McClain, my support team, and William Binderup and the Elite Flight Crew.

Onward and upward!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Wil Wheaton standing room only crowd at Planet Comicon 2013

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like legendary writer/artist Howard Chaykin, artist Bill Sienkiewicz, and of course, Stan “The Man” Lee, the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2016 is no different.

Area creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who will have his own lines of fans getting his Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and Disney artist Bryan Fyffe, selling his hand-framed, incredibly vibrant and diverse collection of prints.  Bryan also has a Con exclusive–his variant cover edition of the latest Lady Death series.

Make sure you get a copy of Issue #1 of the awesome new series Barrens from writer C.W. Cooke and artist Bryan Timmins–the debut of the series is this weekend.

Planet Comicon 2014

Authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore are scheduled to attend, along with trading card artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, and comic book creators Jai Nitz, Seth Peck, Phil Hester, and Greg Smallwood.

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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.

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Trektacular 2014

Planet Comicon 2014 wrapped today, bringing to close the region’s biggest and best comic book and pop culture convention ever.  The best was saved for last with the TREKtacular reunion of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members hosted by William Shatner, including a surprise visit by John deLancie.  Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner did not disappoint a sold out crowd in the giant ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.  For those attending this once-in-a-lifetime event that did not purchase one of the 100 limited edition exclusive artist signed TREKtacular prints, a few may still be available.  Contact Reinke Arts on Facebook for more information.

Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis

We talked with Michael Dorn about his real-life jet fighter flying experience and Marina Sirtis said she loved today’s borg.com editor’s cosplay choice (so did Return of the Jedi’s Femi Taylor!).

Lee Majors panel

Lee Majors was a superb storyteller, catching up panel attendees on his recent TV series work, and delving into his stunt work on The Fall Guy (where he performed 80% of his stunts) and The Big Valley. He also discussed the success and appeal of The Six Million Dollar Man to fans.

Bionic Man action figure

We resurrected last year’s Convention costume of The Six Million Dollar Man action figure, which we wore meeting The Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, at Planet Comicon 2013, complete with jumpsuit, patch, plastic hair, data chip arm tattoo, bionic eye, and trademark Adidas Dragons.

Meeting Lee Majors

A kid’s fantasy come true–meeting your childhood hero, Lee Majors, who called me his “double” and said he thought the outfit and plastic hair was cool.  He also autographed the photo that was sent out to kids in the original fan club set in 1974, signed then by “Col. Steve Austin.”

With Zoie Palmer at Planet Comicon 2014

With Zoie Palmer from the Toronto-based TV series Lost Girl, the great Syfy Channel series we have reviewed previously here at borg.com.

With Margot Kidder at Planet Comicon 2014

With Margot Kidder, Lois Lane from the 1970s Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve.

Aquaman and Mera

Aquaman and Mera, Queen of Atlantis.

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Predators

Lots of great cosplay was the highlight of the second day of Planet Comicon 2014.  Tons of photos with several new friends.  Here’s a variety of the best of what we saw today.

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C.J. Bunce’s Radagast with Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth C. Bunce’s Valkyrie.

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Radagast and Barbossa also from Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Radagast and Valkyrie with Sylvester McCoy

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The staff club–with Indiana Jones.

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Darryl from Run DMC signing his new comic book at the Elite Comics booth.

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Radagast with Emma Frost.

Reading at Planet Comicon

Reading comics at Planet Comicon.

Kaylee dress

Jewel Staite, who attended the Elite Comics afterparty Saturday night, signed this cosplayer’s recreation of her famous Firefly dress.

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Trektacular Reinke Elite Comics exclusive

Planet Comicon 2014 begins tomorrow!

Elite Comics has several awesome exclusives for Planet Comicon, and we’ve got a first look at some of them here at borg.com.  These will be for sale to attendees of this weekend’s event, March 14-16 at the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall.  This year’s show will be bigger and better than last year’s giant convention, and Elite Comics will bring even more comics, toys and collectibles to its “Party on the Pillar” booth on the main vendor floor.

Nathen Reinke and Keven Reinke have designed the exclusive, limited edition, signed print for the Trektacular event (above), which will be available at the Elite Comics booth.  It’s a beauty.  You can also purchase individual prints of each  of the Star Trek actors that comprise the limited print who will be attending Planet Comicon, at the Reinke Arts Booth #538, in Artists Alley.  These would be great for collecting actors’ autographs on Celebrity Row.  The Reinkes are well-known nationally for their Topps sketch cards, including rare Star Wars and Lord of the Rings insert cards.

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Elite Comics is hosting Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from the hip hop band Run DMC.  You can get your Elite Comics variant of McDaniels’ Issue #0 of DMC at the Con.  Both the Star Trek print and DMC cover feature images of Planet Comicon’s Bartle Hall.

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