Method Man Says Reading Comic Books Shaped His Moral Code

Comic books continue to impact nearly every aspect of our popular culture, as influential people from all corners of the world find solace in their unique stories. One of the most vocal champions of that world is musician, rapper, and actor Cliff "Method Man" Smith is among them. During a recent appearance on the Jemele Hill is Unbothered podcast, Smith spoke about the emotional impact that reading Marvel and DC Comics has had in life, arguing that it has helped him - and swaths of other fans - develop "an inner moral code".

"The stories taught me how to read better, taught me words that I wouldn't have known if I hadn't picked up the books, gave me a moral code that I didn't know I had," Smith explained. "A lot of us that read the books have an inner moral code that we hadn't even noticed."

Smith - who is vocal about his love for comic books and superheroes - has had an additive history in the Marvel universe before, including penning the 2016 Ghost Rider X-Mas Special.

"Surreal. I’m living the dream. That’s the best way I can put it," Smith recalled of the experience. "They asked me how much I wanted for writing the book and I think I said 50 cents or the price of the book. I didn’t cash that Marvel check. I’m going to save it and frame it and put it up on the wall. You would think the biggest kick would be winning a Grammy or something like that, but my biggest kick is being Method Man in the Marvel Universe, as myself. That sh-t is huge!"

He also cameoed as himself in the first season of Luke Cage, and even contributed an original song to the series' soundtrack. Most recently, he has voiced Ben Urich in Marvels, a ten-part audio adaptation of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' iconic storyline.

"I grew up on Marvel," Smith said during an appearance on The Late Show last year. "My guy is Wolverine. I just love his story. It's kind of like a redemption story. You have a guy who lives most of his life in pain, turmoil, suffering, but by the time he comes out the other end of the tunnel, it's love, passion, and peace. And that's my story."

As Smith also revealed in the same interview with Hill, he would love to potentially play a Marvel or DC hero -- but an entirely new one.

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"I had a conversation with Idris Elba when there was a rumor going around that he was going to play the next James Bond, which I thought was big," Smith revealed. "In my head was like 'wow, we're about to diversify the James Bond shit!' But when I approached him with it, he was more or less like 'no, if anything I want to create a new character.'"

"Which hit me in the head. Why not?" Smith continued. "I mean Marvel is such a big universe, why not create new characters of diversity, instead of gender swapping or whatever it is? Create new characters and introduce them…give them as much focus as you would the old characters, or even put them with the old characters to give them a nice start and work from there. I'd love to play a role for a new character that Marvel creates, or DC for that matter."