David F Walker on DC Wanting Tattooed Cyborg to be More 'Thugged Out'

Comic book writer David F Walker wrote the Cyborg comic book from DC Comics in 2015, talking about creating a whole world for the character within the DC Universe. However he only lasted for nine issues, before Marv Wolfman, the character's co-creator took over for the final three. Walker left saying it was fun, but it was time to move on. The character would later become a hot-button focal point regarding the differing versions of the Justice League movie, by Zack Snyder and by Joss Whedon, including the influence of Geoff Johns on the movie, and the experience of actor Ray Fisher. This week, he talked a little more on social media about his experience working at DC Comics on the character.

David F Walker On DC Wanting Tattooed Cyborg to be More 'Thugged Out'

He was originally linked to an old Bleeding Cool story, about Cyborg returning to a more human-orientation, with more of his body as organic and male, after previous criticisms that Cyborg, as an African-American man had been castrated by DC Comics, and that David F Walker's proposed changes were welcomed at DC Comics by then-CCO Geoff Johns. Walker replied;

Untrue. All of my changes were met with opposition. I was the ONLY person interested in restoring his humanity. In fact, I was told that Cyborg needed to have more skin showing so he could have tattoos and be "thugged out."

When asked if it was then-publisher Dan DiDio or then-EIC Bob Harras, David F Walker replied;

No, it was neither of them. Nor was it Geoff Johns. It was…someone who shall remain unnamed…. It was NOT said to me by Johns, but it was said to me by several people in positions of power and influence. The original redesigns of Vic had his arms covered in tattoos. I went behind the back of editorial and asked the artist to not draw him that way.

For the record…I have NO beef with Geoff Johns and NO allegiance to Zack Snyder. I've met and talked to both, and neither is capable of walking on water, nor do they have horns and a pitchfork.

When it was suggested that the tattoo demand was because the character was an American football player, he replied;

No. You're wrong. The exact words said to me were "make him more thugged out." No one said "make him cooler or edgier," they said "more thugged out." And if you don't think that's dehumanizing…well…there's nothing more to say.

David Walker concluded, saying;

Honestly, I don't mind talking about CYBORG, but at the end of the day, it was a work-for-hire gig that didn't go as I had hoped (that's comics for you). I'd rather talk about the work that matters more to me personally, like THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY.

Well, happy to oblige! We can link to a previous article about The Black Panther Party by Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson from two years ago, where Walker stated;

Well I can tell you a few weeks ago as I was watching the news and it was the first night of the protests in Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd and then progressively we watched city after city start to burn and people protesting and the entire time I was watching that I was thinking well I knew this was coming and part of the reason I knew this was coming because I'd read the Kerner Commission's report as part of research for graphic novel that I just finished writing on the Black Panther Party and so I started talking to people and explaining to them what you're seeing in the news right now is nothing new, it's happened before and it was foretold in 1968 and in six months there's going to be a comic book, a graphic novel that's going to come out and you're going to learn more than you ever thought you would know about the history of police brutality and history of organized resistance and I think about that all the time, I think about everything that comics gave me when I was a kid.

As well as a preview of The Black Panther Party, published by Ten Speed Press last year.

David F Walker on DC Wanting Tattooed Cyborg to be More 'Thugged Out'

 

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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