Sunday, March 16, 2008

Get Ready For Cyborg!

Who is Cyborg?

He’s the most popular superhero never to have his own series. Until now.

Why should you care?

Because starting May 21st, D.C. Comics is publishing the first ever solo series starring The Greatest Teen Titan of Them All, and I’m writing it.

But seriously, dude, who is Cyborg. I’ve never read a comic book before.

Where do I start? Before the horrific accident (or was it?) that transformed Victor Stone into Cyborg, he was an Olympic class athlete and a genius with an IQ above 160, torn. An African-American torn between his gang-member friends and the (then) emerging black middle class that his family represented. He was rife with conflict even before he had Molybdenum steel grafted to what was left of his maimed, scarred body.

Once he became Cyborg, both power and pathos were added to the mix. With an indestructible body and limbs capable of transforming into an assortment of weapons, he’s physically more than a match for most of the Justice League, let alone their villains. And because he’s half-machine, he still carries around the whole Ben Grimm/Thing angst about whether he’s a man or monster.

The analogy I like to use is that if the Teen Titans are DC’s X-Men (their group of young, edgy characters), he’s their Wolverine.

Follow my logic here. The New Teen Titans were created at about the same time as The All New, All Different X-Men. While others might have been content to keep the Titans a book of sidekicks like Robin and Kid Flash, creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez decided to create new characters. African Americans like Cyborg, women like Raven and…well, orange aliens with big breasts like Starfire.

Okay, I get it, he was a revolutionary character. But the revolution was never televised. What makes you think he’s interesting NOW?

When you read a superhero comic, we’re always being asked to suspend out disbelief. But for me, I’ve always had a nagging question. In a world with not just super-heroes but super science…why can’t everyone have a goddamn flying car?

A lot of creators have sought to answer that question. In Grant Morrison’s Fantastic Four run, he said posited that each of Reed Richard’s devices was a work of art that couldn’t be mimicked. In Warren Ellis’ Planetary, he answered that question by creating an evil FF analogue who purposefully kept their secrets to themselves so they alone could have the power. In GROUNDED, I just made the argument that superhero parents were selfish and self-absorbed.

The idea for my Cyborg run came by asking a more pointed question. In a world where Vic stone can lose his limbs and have them replaced by cybernetic weaponry, why don’t ordinary humans, particularly soldiers in this time of war, have access to Vic’s technology?

If I asked these questions, then certainly they must have occurred to greatest fictional minds in the DC universe…and possibly the more devious ones. Without giving too much away, Cyborg series is about what happens when someone uses Vic’s technology in a way that anathema to who he is and what he stands for.

Wow, that sounds deep. No, really. But I want to see him punch things.

Don’t worry, he punches lots of things. Fan favorite supervillains. “The Phantom Limbs”…an all new characters I’ve created who share Cyborg’s technology and may or may not be on Vic’s side. And not one, but TWO groups of teen Titans.

Oh yeah, and he also punches himself. Chew on that one for a while.

Okay, okay, you had me at African-American Cyborg. Where and how do I get this book?

You can pre-order it now at your local comics shop (comic shop locator link?) from March PREVIEWS. It’s called DC Special: Cyborg, and the order code (I think) is MAR08 135.


Gravedust said...

How cool! I went through High School reading The New Teen Titans. I'm already ready for Cyborg!

Zman said...

I agree, Cyborg is a badass Teen Titans member. This is going to be sweeT!