It’s been close to three months since Newsarama announced Duane Swierczynski taking over as writer of The Immortal Iron Fist. The fan-favorite series shifts into high gear later this year with artist Travel Foreman joining Swierczynski. Also, a second one-shot featuring Danny Rand’s predecessor, Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California, hits stands in September.
Newsarama contacted Swierczynski to talk about developments in the ongoing series as well as particulars about the upcoming one-shot.
Newsarama: When we first talked--you described Immortal Iron Fist as "one big, weird, pulpy story machine"; now that you're knee deep in this book, what is it about this character that makes him unique in the Marvel Universe?
Duane Swierczynski: Besides being a Kung Fu billionaire with friends from both the streets of New York and the mystical cities of heaven? Well, I think what sets Iron Fist apart is its sense of legacy—which is what Ed, Matt, David and Warren worked so hard to build into the series. I can’t think of any other character that has quite the same, rich history. And they did it in 16 friggin’ issues!
NRAMA: What is the Ch’i-Lin and how does it figure into your next story arc?
DS: All you need to know is that it’s mean, it’s hungry, and it’s a big reason why many Iron Fists don’t live past their expiration date. Also, most things tend to have an opposing force—the yin to the yang. Why should Shou-Lao the Undying have all the fun?
NRAMA: You've also got another Orson Randall one-shot coming out; set readers up for Orson Randall and the Death Queen of California.
DS: Approximately six seconds after Warren Simons mentioned the possibility of taking over the series; I started fantasizing about doing one of those cool one-shots about a previous Iron Fist. Specifically, an Orson Randall one-shot, because I remember being jealous as hell when Ed and Matt came up with this absolutely brilliant way to tie in the current Iron Fist mythos with the pulp adventure era.
“Death Queen” fits right into the era—it’s an Orson Randall story set in Hollywood, California circa 1928, when he’s called west to help a war buddy find his missing (possibly imprisoned ) daughter. It’s my tip of the fedora to pulps like Black Mask and writers like Paul Cain, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Horace McCoy.
NRAMA: Because of the timelessness of this book; are there challenges to keeping everything organized or is there freedom in all the space between Iron Fists?
DS: Do you mean the time between appearances of various Iron Fists? I do work hard to keep everything within the framework that Ed and Matt established. The last thing I want to do is rewrite history; I just want to add to it.
NRAMA: Are there any villains in the Marvel Universe that you'd like to pit Danny against?
DS: Oooh, plenty. But I don’t want to show my hand just yet. Keep watching.
NRAMA: Any plans to explore Rand's relationship with his best friend, Luke Cage?
DS: Definitely. Luke’s an essential part of Danny’s family—the best friend. He ain’t going anywhere.
NRAMA: Over the next couple of months, will there be any key details that readers should keep their eyes on for possible clues as to how your next arc unfolds?
DS: In other words, reveal the secrets and Easter Eggs I’m painstakingly building into the fabric of the story? Hah!
NRAMA: Cable, Punisher, Iron Fist--that's an amazing little trifecta of books to be working on. Are there any other characters that you'd really like to get your hands on?
DS: I don’t want to die without writing a Spider-Man story—even if it’s just a guest appearance somewhere. (Maybe he can pop up in Cable?)
NRAMA: Iron Fist is outliving the span of his first series--do you see yourself still writing this book two years from now? How far ahead have you planned or do you plan that far ahead?
DS: I certainly hope so. Then again, the plot of the first arc, “The Mortal Iron Fist,” is all about a mystical force who will not stop until it kills Danny Rand. So I may have screwed myself there.
NRAMA: Changing gears, Severance Package hit shelves a couple of weeks ago--are you currently working on a new novel or are you taking a break to primarily focus on comics?
DS: I’ll never give up novels—I want to write at least one or two a year until I die. I love playing in Marvel’s sandbox, but it’s nice to be able to go back to my own toys whenever I want.
NRAMA: One buzzword for Iron Fist for the next six months?
Swierczynski and Foreman's debut issue, Immortal Iron Fist #17, is due in stores on July 23rd. Click here for a preview.