|DAVID F. WALKER
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DF Interview: David F. Walker brings back comics’ best buddy team in Power Man and Iron Fist
By Byron Brewer
OK, OK, we know you've been waiting to see Luke Cage and Danny Rand back together doing their street-stomping thang. We have as well. Now, in the new Power Man and Iron Fist series, our heroes are tracking a mystery with all the ingredients of a classic Heroes for Hire tale.
Expect old friends, hired goons, crime lords, weird magic, plenty of power, a flurry of fists and as much bromance as you can handle. It's Power Man and Iron Fist reunited, and writer David F. Walker (doing the book alongside artist Sanford Greene) says it will feel so good.
What else did the writer have to say? Leave it to us here at Dynamic Forces to ask.
Dynamic Forces: David, tell us a little about this new title from Marvel Comics and how you came to be a part of it.
David F. Walker: Power Man and Iron Fist is a return to a title that hasn’t been around since 1986. Both characters have appeared in other titles, often together, but Luke Cage and Danny Rand have not starred in their own book in thirty years, and I think for a lot of fans -- especially fans like me, who have been around for many years -- this has been a long time coming. I became part of this new series when Marvel called one day and asked, “What do you think of Power Man and Iron Fist?” At the time, I was already developing a series with Marvel: Nighthawk, which will debut [this year]. I jumped at the opportunity to write Power Man and Iron Fist because it was a book I’d loved since it debuted in 1978, when those two first came together.
DF: Apparently you are a fan of the characters as a “buddy team.” I believe you told Fast Company, which broke the series announcement last year, that the book is “something that I’d wanted to see for years and years”?
David F. Walker: I was reading both Power Man and Iron Fist comics when they were in their own solo books. Then those two series were folded into the one, it seemed kind of weird, but also totally cool. I was about nine or ten at the time. I was a fan of the book during its run, and always wanted to see a return of those two together, as a duo.
DF: So … Elephant in the Room: Will Luke Cage go back to the Power Man moniker, and if so what happens to the young hero in New Avengers?
David F. Walker: Right now, there’s more that one Spider-Man, more than one Hawkeye, and more than one Hulk—at least I think there’s more than one Hulk. The point is that there are characters in the Marvel Universe that share the same name. For Luke Cage, part of the journey he is on is all about reclaiming the name of Power Man—which is not something he wants. He just wants to be Luke Cage, but everyone knows him as Power Man. It’s like when Prince changed his name to that symbol, and everyone was still calling him Prince, or when Mos Def changed his name to Yasmin Bey. The name thing is going to be part of the story that is evolving.
DF: Cage and Rand hang out together automatically in every series Luke has been in, which is nice and natural. But what brings them together for this next iteration of the partnership?
David F. Walker: That’s a spoiler-filled question. The safest answer is that they are doing a favor for a friend, and that it doesn’t really involve them “getting the band back together,” as it were. One of them would love to go back to being a duo, and the other wants no part of it. How they come to be at the same place is part of the story.
DF: Will we see young Danielle Cage and Jessica Jones?
David F. Walker: Yes, both will appear, though not as major players … yet. To not have them appear would be a disservice to both the characters, but it would also paint Luke in a poor light. He is a father and a husband, and I never want the readers to forget that. That’s all I can say for now.
DF: How is this arrangement going to be set up? Like Heroes for Hire?
David F. Walker: Both Luke and Danny are very different men than they were when they first partnered up. Part of this new series is going to be them figuring out how they work as a team all over again, and realizing it can never be like it was before. Luke has now led the Avengers, he has a wife and kid. Danny has gone through so much on his own as well. They are going to learn that there’s no going back to how things once were, only moving forward.
DF: Tell us a bit about the storyline, and what new (or old, Misty and Colleen, hint hint) characters we might be meeting.
David F. Walker: The first storyline is about how Luke and Danny are doing a favor for a friend, and how it results in Power Man and Iron Fist getting back together. There will be appearances by all kinds of characters, including many familiar ones, but they are all surprises, and most of them show up in unexpected ways. Much of the series is about the perception of Power Man and Iron Fist, and how other characters view them. Most heroes are excited to see them back together; they love these guys together. But there’s a long list of villains that hate these guys—especially as a team. All of that plays into the story, as we see these two guys getting to know each other all over again.
DF: David, you write Shaft for Dynamite. Can you compare him with Cage at all, superpowers aside? (I’m talkin’ ‘bout Shaft!)
David F. Walker: Both are characters who came from the streets, got into trouble with the law, and found an opportunity to redeem themselves. Cage is a Shaft-like character, in that he was created shortly after Shaft came out, and is a reflection of the blaxploitation craze of the time. Though I suspect that Cage is more of an offshoot of the work of Chester Himes than anyone else. If Himes had written a comic book, it would’ve been Luke Cage: Hero for Hire. My friend Jonathan Gray says that he believes the creation of Luke Cage is in part a response to the infamous Attica prison riots, and the more I think about it, the more I agree.
DF: I take it this will be a street level hero book, but will we see any of the mystical side of things with Danny?
David F. Walker: Most definitely. I can’t say for sure, but I think Danny is going to discover that there are levels of mysticism he knows nothing about, so he doesn’t know how to deal with it.
DF: Why is Sanford Greene the right artist for this book?
David F. Walker: Sanford loves the characters as much as I do, and for him, this is also a dream project. It shows, not just in his work but in this enthusiasm. I’m just a little bit older than Sanford, but we are both part of a generation that grew up loving these characters, as we came of age listening to hip-hop. I don’t want to speak for Sanford, but for me, this series is about my love of these characters, my love of early hip-hop, the sense of wonder that came from watching Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live, and looking forward to the promise of so many things that never quite came to be. We never really got any more movies like The Last Dragon, and hip-hop went in a direction that I had trouble keeping up with. And Power Man and Iron Fist broke up, and I was left wanting more than I’d been given. You’d have to ask Sanford, but I suspect it might be similar for him.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank David F. Walker for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Power Man and Iron Fist #1 hits stores Feb. 17th!
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