Tyrese is a real life modern day renaissance man. The Watts, California native dabbles in pretty much any and everything in the entertainment world, and he’s wildly successful with it all. He boasts a successful musical career filled with chart topping singles and platinum plaques, a modeling career, and an acting career that involves both television and roles in films such as Baby Boy, Too Fast Too Furious, and the record breaking Transformers series. Now the musician /actor is stepping into the realm of comic books and tackling it head on with his new mini series entitled, Mayhem.
AllHipHop.com: What inspired you to get into comic books?
Tyrese: I never grew up reading comic books, so I represent the new generation of comic book fans. It’s never too late to get involved in comic books. What happened was I was at this comic book convention they have in San Diego called Comic Con like everybody else in Hollywood showing off the movies, the movie trailers, and doing questions and answers, and press interviews trying to tap into that audience of real comic book fans because these guys are the real deal. So I was out there for Death Race with Jason Statham, and for me when I was exposed to all that selfless passion it made me want to be apart of that world. So once I figured it out me and my team came up with this comic book idea for a character named Mayhem.
AllHipHop.com: How is it doing so far?
Tyrese: Its went great so far by selling over 30,000 on paper. We sold 10,000 comic books at one store and that’s the most ever for that store. I’m dealing with the Spielberg’s’ and the Will Smiths’ of the comic book world. These cats are legends they don’t just back up and get on anything pertaining to the comic book world they have to really believe in who you are and what you got going. So it’s happened really fast and now this idea that hit me is, this is the normal comic book experience. You go to a comic book store, you pay your 2.99 for a comic and you go home and you read and whatever interpretation you get from that comic book is what you walk away with, and I was like you know what I want to turn it up a notch.
AllHipHop.com: And how did you go and do that?
Tyrese: So, with my comic book I invented this technology with the same folks that invented Itunes, and basically it’s a digital comic book. It’s on the main page of ITunes in over 38 countries around the world and it’s never been done in the history of comic books, and it’s never been done in the history of ITunes, it’s a first. With the comic book comes me doing the voice over work and there’s sound effects. If you see a window crash you can actually hear it now, and when you see gunshots it’s like a movie you hear it like a sound effect. I also scored it so I got music throughout the whole comic book. Its history, we made history when it was announced on September 9.
AllHipHop.com: What’s the story behind the title character of the series?
Tyrese:Mayhem is a modern day, gun-slinging vigilante. He’s like a modern day Robin Hood and he’s seeking refuge in the basement of a church. Like his headquarters are underneath a church so we established that he’s out fighting crime, but at the same time he’s spiritually struggling to get his life back on track, and there’s a crime boss in the city of Los Angeles called Big X who is his rival. Big X is running this big criminal drug organization, and he’s killing a lot of people, and I’m on a mission to take him down. But there’s a big secret that interlinks the two characters and it’s going to be revealed later down the line in later issues.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you choose to go with Image Comics over a Marvel or a DC?
Tyrese: Because we still own Mayhem. Anything you do with Marvel or DC you don’t own anymore it’s theirs.
AllHipHop.com: So even though it scheduled to be a 3 issue mini series do you think if the success is there it can become a long term project?
Tyrese: Well yea the thing is we’ve had some major success and there’s a possibility it may continue, but we have a surprise and ill tell you first exclusively. We’re doing a zero issue which is technically going to put us at four issues for the graphic novel. The zero issue and a portion of the proceeds are going to go to the Hero Initiative. A lot of people don’t know what the hero initiative, but its for all of the comic book creators and artists and writers who are just broke and cant pay their bills and cant survive and they have contributed some legendary comic book characters and some legendary titles, but they signed bad contracts or whatever else and they’re just not surviving. So the hero initiative is to help them with cancer and all of these other issues that they’re naturally going through because of how old they are because they were the legends that helped these comic books get off the ground when they first started. So we’re doing this zero issue and we’re donating a large portion of the proceeds from all of the sales of the issue to the hero initiative.
AllHipHop.com: Historically comic books tend to have had very few black superheroes. If Mayhem continues with its success do you feel that it could potentially be a launching pad for more black title characters to be created within the industry?
Tyrese:It’s unfortunate that they don’t associate a black comic book character to being successful because in the world of comic books it’s everything, but black that represents a super hero. I’m going to be honest though and say that I never went out and purposely made this a black motivated. I wasn’t motivated to go out and make a comic book because they weren’t enough black super heroes out there, I just wanted to make comic book character and obviously I wasn’t going to do a white character. I purposely stayed away from the whole, “I noticed there wasn’t enough black super heroes and I wanted t do something about it”, that wasn’t my motivation I just really wanted to create a comic book and that’s what we did.
AllHipHop.com: So why do you think Hollywood and just entertainment in general are in love with comic books right now?
Tyrese: Well its been an obvious level of success that the Iron Man, and the Spider Man, and the Batman have had, and when you look at those box office receipts its pretty much a given why the excitement for comic books is out there. Something that I found interesting that a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of these huge movies have come from comic books. Hancock came from a comic book character, the movie Wanted stems from a comic book. People just go out and see the movies but they don’t realize that these movies really came from a comic book. You got the obvious ones of course but there’s a lot that people don’t know.
AllHipHop.com:Speaking of movies what was it like working on Transformers 2?
Tyrese: It was crazy there’s nothing like it. I can’t compare it to anything I’ve ever seen or been exposed to in my lifetime. It’s crazy to be associated to something that gigantic.
AllHipHop.com: How do you respond to people when they bring up the two characters, Mudflap and Skidz, and they say they embody racist stereotypes?
Tyrese: Everybody is entitled to their opinions. I would say I didn’t create those characters I didn’t have nothing to do with them I just showed up and did my part.
AllHipHop.com: Aside from movies are you working on any new music right now?
Tyrese: I got a new single out called Mayhem Take Me Away. That’s an international record right now that’s crazy. It’s produced by Clinton Sparks. It’s a real techno house type of record and they’re killing that record in all of those types of clubs.
AllHipHop.com:Can fans be on the look out for an album from you?
Tyrese: I don’t know yet. I don’t want to say.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have plans to expand on any other comic book characters besides Mayhem, or is it all about him right now?
Tyrese: Well no the second comic book that I’m going to release just digitally is actually a comic book for women called Love Sick. It’s all about relationships and turmoil and different challenges and things that you just go through and we’re going to all the voice over work and sound effects, everything with it. But, with Mayhem you get the whole comic book with all of those features, you also get t making of the comic book which is like a 45-minute documentary, you get the Mayhem single, and you also get the music video to it, all for $1.99.
AllHipHop.com: So what’s the schedule for the release dates of the upcoming issues of Mayhem?
Tyrese: The first issue came out on August 5 and the second issue came out on September 9. So the digital comic issue is one month after the paper issue.