Unplugged: David Walker and the Technology of Cyborg

by Vince Brusio

David Walker looks at how we use technology. He sees people he eats with plugged into phones, plugged into the Internet, and he wondered how much different if would be if you were Vic Stone, aka Cyborg. Such a question her pursues in the upcoming Cyborg series from DC Comics, a microscopic view of the man fused with the machine.


PREVIEWSworld: Cyborg #1 (MAY150122) starts out with an interesting premise: a hero’s body is working independently of his conscience. Cyborg, we learn, is evolving. How did you come to such an idea? And how did that idea grow?

David Walker: Cyborg has been around for more than thirty years, primarily as a team member. Part of the task involved with taking an established team player and giving them their own solo book is to build up the world around them, and letting the readers discover the character in new ways.

If this series is going to succeed, it has to be about more than Cyborg as a member of the Justice League (or the Teen Titans). It has to be about Vic Stone, the young man who is Cyborg. I wanted to create a scenario where the reader and Vic Stone are on something of a shared journey. From the very beginning, I wanted to have Cyborg in a situation where he wasn’t really sure what was going on with his body because it was changing and evolving, and as he learns about himself, the reader also learns about him.

The evolution of Cyborg’s tech is a metaphor for the outside factors that impact day-to-day life, often interrupting the plans we have for our lives.  

PREVIEWSworld: At any time in the character’s history has the past ever been prelude? Should fans go back and re-examine any particular storyline to see that the writing was on the wall for Cyborg’s new dilemma? Or is this some devious experiment that’s going to hurl readers into a ditch?

David Walker: Honestly, as long as readers are familiar with the basic origin of Cyborg, they should be good to go. I tried to stay clear of building the story around some obscure thing that happened ages ago, which only makes sense to the most hardcore of fans. The key with Cyborg is that he is familiar to fans in a variety of different ways. There are people that know him from the original days of the New Teen Titans, others who know him more from the New 52, and then there are the fans of the animated Teen Titans show. All of these people know and love Cyborg, but these are all different iterations of the character. The beautiful thing is that all these different incarnations of the character share an origin that is basically the same. The new conflict that Cyborg faces is about moving the character forward, and developing his own world where he is the star of the story.

PREVIEWSworld: How does Cyborg get under your skin? If you were to sit down and have a conversation with the half-man/half-machine, what questions would you ask him?

David Walker: I was out having dinner with some friends recently, and rather than talking to each other, everyone was on their smart phone. Here we were, in the company of other human beings—friends, no less—and we all had willfully disconnected ourselves by relying on technology. It struck me that this dependence on technology makes us all more like Cyborg than we realize. And that’s part of what draws me to the character. Fate has turned Vic Stone into someone whose connection to other humans is jeopardized by technology, yet most of us do it to ourselves every time we hop on the Internet or use our smart phones. I actually talk to Cyborg on a regular basis as I plot out the series. Most of our conversations are about Vic trying to connect with his humanity.

PREVIEWSworld: Can you give us a snippet of what it was like to work with Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on this book? What was the camaraderie like on this project?

David Walker: As a writer, if you’re lucky, there’s a moment when you first see how the art team has translated your story into images, which makes you forget you wrote it.  Every panel Ivan pencils and Joe inks is like that for me. They take the story to a completely new level. Ivan and Joe are amazing—not just artistically, but also as people. From the very beginning, they’ve been supportive and encouraging. There’s been a lot of correspondence back and forth, which isn’t all that common in comics. Sometimes, you turn in the script to the editor, and then see the finished book a few months later. That’s not the case with Ivan, who is asking me questions about tone and emotion, and really putting in the effort to make this a strong collaboration. Meanwhile, there’s Joe—he’s like that kid in school that goes out of his way to make friends with the new kid.

PREVIEWSworld: Any plans to hit the summer convention circuit? Will you be announcing on any social sites what you have in store for promoting this book?

David Walker: I’ll be at Collective Con in Jacksonville in early May, and at San Diego Comic Con in July. Whatever DC will let me promote and share in a public setting, you can be sure it will be on my social sites. We’ve got some great stuff in store for Cyborg, and I can’t wait for people to see it. 

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