Cyborg is getting his own on-going series this week, with issue #1 of CYBORG debuting on Wednesday, July 22. Writer David Walker talked to us over the phone about the new series and the evolution of this character through the New 52.
COMIC VINE: What took so long for CYBORG to get his own on-going series?
DAVID WALKER: You got to ask that question to Dan Didio and Jim Lee and all the people that run the ship at DC. I think this is one of those things that sort of just happens. There's the characters that are around for a long time that are really popular with fans but for whatever reasons the right story pitch doesn't come along or it doesn't occur to someone to give them their own solo book, and eventually someone says "hey, how come Cyborg doesn't have one?" I think it's one of those things that just happens.
When you look at the classic line-up of Teen Titans, with the exception of Nightwing, Dick Grayson, I don't know if any of them have had any sort of extended on-going title, up until now since Starfire has one. I could be wrong and if I am, I'll get a ton of emails about it and people will tweet at me "You are wrong! Beast Boy had his own solo series from 1989 to 1994." Off the top of my head, I think it's one of those things which happens all the time with team books where, for whatever reason, you don't see the solo series or it takes forever to break out. Or sometimes it just doesn't work and they try again ten years later and see what sticks.
CV: Cyborg, in the New 52, has gone through an immense amount of change and been involved in a lot of stories. Where's he at now for your book?
DW: He's at a point now where his tech is evolving. He's trying to make sense of the transformation process. We got a sense of it in the 8 page preview from last month where we saw him regenerating parts after seemingly getting killed in action and coming back to life. There's a lot of that exploration going on.
One of the things I find interesting about the Cyborg as a character, when he was introduced in 1980, he was super-futuristic looking. He was total sci-fi, but when you look at who the character was back in the 80s versus breakthroughs in prosthetic limbs and cybernetics, we're seeing a lot of that stuff in real life. Technology is changing so rapidly and one of the things I wanted to do, when I was approached by DC was get Cyborg to a place where his technology is so far advanced that as storytellers, we don't have to worry about keeping up with what's going on in real life.
We can focus on the stories and the adventures. In real life, there's bionic eyes. This is real life. There's cybernetic, bionic limbs. There's so much incredible stuff. Science-fiction, 20 to 30 years ago, is now science fact. I keep using the iPhone analogy. If Vic is the iPhone 7, we don't want to update him to make him the iPhone 9. We want to update him to make him the iPhone 900. We want to get him so far ahead of current technology that it brings back some of that sci-fi element.
CV: We get a good taste of how futuristic Cyborg is in the first issue. What's one of the coolest things, technology-wise, that you've thrown into the book?
DW: I keep thinking "oh I brought this in" and then I discover something somebody else did. Again, this character has had a 30+ year history. What I'm most proud of are the more human elements and we're really going to start seeing some of those in issue #2. We're really going to flesh those out.
I like the fact that in terms of the technology, and again, I'm pretty sure I saw this somewhere else, in the first issue, we see him playing back his memory, certain things that happened to him and it's recorded. I think that's really interesting because we, as human beings, get caught up in the past. We remember some horrific thing that happened. But Vic remembers them in a way no one else can remember them. They're almost real. They're almost tangible. I want to play with that some more as I play with the character at how he looks at these past moments and has trouble moving beyond them, which is what so many of us do.
We have trouble moving beyond some moment of trauma and there's the line where Sarah Charles says something like "this really isn't that healthy, do be doing this." She gets to play a really integral role, as the story develops. There's a tug-o-war between man and machine and she's on the "man" side and helping Vic stay grounded in humanity.
CV: A big part of issue #1 was the not only the family dynamic but also as Cyborg as seen as invisible to those around him. Is this something that will continue through the opening of the series?
DW: We're going to be seeing elements of it. The relationship between Vic and Silas [Stone] is always going to be complicated just as most of us have complicated relationships with our parents. Just as we think things are getting better, something comes along and makes it worse and that is a big thing for Vic. A lot of people treat him like a science experiment. They're not doing it intentionally. That's just how they are. Over this first story arc, there's some great moments between Vic and Silas. Over the second story arc, we're going to start dealing with the recent trauma, the loss of Elinore[Vic's mother] and things that have never been really touched upon: Vic having a level of PTSD. He was blown up at 12 years old and turned into a machine. I really want to get into some of that and you obviously can't get into that without getting into how he interacts with Silas and their relationship and the complexity of it.
CV: Looking back through Victor's past in the New 52, Grid is a huge part of it. Could Grid make a comeback in your series?
DW: I love the concept of Grid and I have a list of villains and heroes I want to try and figure out how to work into the story and Grid is at the top of that list. It just has to be very organic. That's the thing. Cyborg has had some great interactions, a lot of them with other heroes. People keep asking me about Shazam. Is he going to team up with Shazam. They also ask me about other members of the Teen Titans, even though within the New 52, he doesn't have a relationship with them. As long as the book is a hit and DC keeps me around, there's a ton of material to work with.
Thanks to David Walker for answering our questions and make sure to check out CYBORG #1 which will be in stores on July 22. If you missed it, check out the rest of the Sneak Peek for CYBORG below!