Marv Wolfman is getting his hands on Cyborg even earlier than readers expected, but this time, the character's creator is dealing with a very different Cyborg.
Although original solicited as the new writer with May's #11, Wolfman is taking over starting with April's Cyborg #10, finishing up the storyline begun by David F. Walker. He returns to Cyborg after having co-created him with George Pérez back in 1980 — quickly making him a beloved character as part of the Teen Titans team that Wolfman and Pérez established in the 1980s.
But this time around, Wolfman will be writing the character as an adult who's been part of the Justice League, with a new rebuild that connects him to the digital world. Newsarama talked to Wolfman to find out more about his reunion with a grown-up Cyborg, how the character has endured for so long, and what readers can expect from his three issues on the title.
Newsarama: Marv, what’s it like to see a character you co-created endure like Cyborg has?
Marv Wolfman: It’s always a thrill when something you co-created (with George Pérez) continues to live on. You try to do your best and hope people like it, but we created Cyborg back in 1980 and for him to not only survive, but thrive some 36 years later, is unexpected as well as truly amazing. I love it.
Nrama: Why do you think Cyborg has endured so long and so well?
Wolfman: I was twice lucky. I spent a lot of time working out the back stories for Cyborg, Raven and Starfire long before I even proposed the New Teen Titans book to DC. I think by spending the time up front the characters all came together and meshed well. And when George signed onto the book, he brought his own ideas on how to make Vic work.
Amazingly our ideas were in total synch and Vic became a star. That was lucky break one. After 16 years I moved on from the Titans and subsequent writers decided to populate the book with all new characters.
Lucky break two came when Geoff Johns first became the new Titans writer then moved himself, as well as Vic, to the Justice League where he found all-new ways of growing Vic and company. Geoff was the one who ushered Cyborg into the 21st Century and set the style for everyone who followed.
Geoff’s passion for the character is why Vic has not only grown older but better. George and I may have created and nurtured him but Geoff kept him strong and relevant. Along the way Vic’s had several really good parents.
Nrama: It's interesting to think about Vic being brought into modern times. With the way our society is so plugged in compared to the time of the character’s creation, how does that change the way you approach the character?
Wolfman: You can’t go anywhere in the world today without seeing people walking down the streets with smart phones pressed to their ears or connected with ear buds. We are plugged in 24-7 and we often are juggling even more than one device at a time.
Because of the nature of Vic’s rebuild, he is plugged in all the time, and he can connect at once with nearly every computer device no matter where it is.
But that very expansive power is frightening. Vic has computer interfaces but he is not a computer. He’s a person who is trying to live a real human existence, and being plugged in all the time is not necessarily as cool as it sounds. It can, in fact, be very destructive.
How Vic struggles between the constant feed being downloaded into his system makes for a fascinating character to explore.
Nrama: He's in a different situation in the series you'll be writing than the one when you created him. How would you describe this version of Cyborg?
Wolfman: When I first created Vic he was 17 or 18 years old. His biggest problems were trying to deal with his total body makeover, but also how to get through life as an imposing and tragic Frankenstein-like figure. But with time he was able to push that all aside and deal with what he’s become.
Vic is now an adult. He is close to his father who rebuilt him. He has a life. But as his OS expands he feels he is losing his human functions because his computer self is becoming ever more powerful.
As I write this, Apple is resisting the government’s call for them to hack into its phone system to supply needed information on terrorist activities. Now imagine how someone like Vic can be improperly used since he can literally become part of every operating system in the world. Imagine how easy it would be to spend your life supplying intelligence at the cost of your own humanity. To quote Star Trek, do: “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one?”
Nrama: How would you describe the story you’ll be telling as you take over the title?
Wolfman: For my first issue I was asked to finish off the storyline started previous writer, David Walker. I managed to tie up a lot of loose ends as well as create an emotional story.
My second story will highlight the question of what is Cyborg, man or machine? While unable to move as he undergoes system repairs, Vic’s intelligence has to stream through the system and solve a number of very problems, personal and other. It’s a story about Vic’s influence on himself as well as others even though he is unable to move even a muscle.
Nrama: So how many issues are you able to write? I know Rebirth is coming in June, so does that end your time with the character?
Wolfman: I’ve been asked to write three issues. It would be wonderful to become Vic’s regular writer again but that’s up to DC. Hopefully, they’ll like what I do. I’ve been asked to do through #12.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about your upcoming work on Cyborg?
Wolfman: It’s wonderful to be able to come back to write my favorite characters. If you see me at a con this spring and summer please tell me what you think of the books.