Luke Cage and Danny Rand reunite in a new series from David Walker and Sanford Greene!
Although decades have passed since they last shared the marquee on a comic together, Luke Cage and Danny Rand, aka Power Man and Iron Fist, remain one of the Marvel Universe’s premier duos. For fans of the characters both old and new, Christmas comes early next year—Sweet Christmas—when POWER MAN & IRON FIST returns as an All-New, All-Different monthly series, courtesy of David Walker and Sanford Greene.
Luke and Danny’s partnership kicked off when their separate solo titles merged in the late 1970’s. Retaining the numbering of Cage’s series, POWER MAN & IRON FIST #50 kicked off storylines that featured both characters working together as Heroes for Hire until the book ended with issue #125.
We spoke with Walker and Greene about the upcoming title, their love for the characters and how the duo’s friendship has endured so many changes over the years.
Marvel.com: Over the years Luke Cage and Danny Rand have appeared in other comics together, like New Avengers, but it’s been a few decades now since the two of them shared a title like this. Were you fans of the characters and the material that was published back in the day?
David Walker: Without giving away my age, I was a fan of both characters when they had their own books, and I was reading Power Man & Iron Fist consistently throughout the entire run in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. I was heartbroken when the book got cancelled. The first pitch I ever developed for Marvel was for a Power Man & Iron Fist book—this was back around 1989 or 1990, and it was terrible.
Sanford Greene: Like David, I also grew up a huge fan of these two characters. I first got whim of Power Man & Iron Fist from a comic book ad that featured the art of Bill Sienkiewicz. I was way too young to realize the artist at the time, but I was awestruck. I wanted to know everything about them from that point on.
Marvel.com: What brought each of you to this book?
David Walker: I started talking to Marvel about a year ago, at which time [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso asked me to put together a list of characters that I’d like to play with. Luke and Danny were at the top of that list, which was really a “pie-in-the-sky” sort of thing, because like I said, I’ve been thinking about this particular duo for over 25 years. We started having conversations about several projects, and then one day I got a phone call from my editor Jake Thomas. I remember I was grocery shopping at the time, and he asked me, “Do you have any interest in writing Power Man & Iron Fist?” I was so surprised that I wandered away from my cart full of groceries and had to sit down. Then I asked, “You do mean Luke Cage, and not the other Power Man?” He assured me that it was Luke Cage and Danny Rand that I’d be writing. Then I called Brian Bendis to make sure he wasn’t pulling some elaborate practical joke, because I’ve been telling Bendis for years that I want to do this book.
Sanford Greene: For a very long time, I’ve been asked, “What would be your dream project at Marvel?” My response has been Power Man & Iron Fist! For years I’ve done fan art of these characters and gotten some tremendous responses from them, and that has given me that much more desire to do a project like this. So to be a major part of the creative team is truly an honor.
Marvel.com: In terms of the comic itself, what brings Luke and Danny back together?
David Walker: That’s really what the first story arc is about: how these two guys get back together as a team. They’ve remained friends over the years, but as you pointed out, they haven’t operated as Power Man and Iron Fist since the early 1980’s. This first story is about them doing a favor for an old friend—someone that longtime fans will recognize—and in the process of doing this favor, they really come back together as the team that defined them on their book back in the day. We start the story with them as friends hanging out, but they are pretty clear that they aren’t a team, and we see them embark on this very personal journey, and eventually arrive at this place where they realize that there is something special about them when they operate as a duo.
Marvel.com: What’s the dynamic like between Danny and Luke these days? Is their friendship still as strong as it was?
David Walker: Their friendship is as strong as it always has been, and probably a bit stronger. At the same time, their friendship has also changed and matured, because they have changed and matured. Part of the story is about them getting used to being paired up again. There are a lot of great friendships in the Marvel Universe, but I really think the friendship between Luke and Danny is one of the most interesting, because they are so different in so many ways. We’re going to see their friendship grow and evolve throughout the series, because ultimately the series is as much about them as friends as it is about them as super heroes.
Marvel.com: Luke’s a married man now, with a child. How has family life changed him, and how will that affect his relationship with Danny? And will he be going by “Power Man” in the series?
David Walker: Luke becoming a family man is arguably the most interesting thing that’s happened to him in his 40+ year career. I love what Bendis did with the character in Alias and New Avengers. Having a wife and child has helped Luke mature in a way that is different from Danny, and it certainly has had an impact on their bromantic relationship. Danny is the one who’s always ready to jump into the action, and Luke is now a bit more thoughtful—he needs to make sure someone is watching the kid before he gets into a fight with Bushmaster or Cornell Cottonmouth.
Will Luke go by the name Power Man? That’s going to be something of a running joke throughout the book. Luke doesn’t really want to be called Power Man anymore, but that’s what everyone calls him. That’s going to be part of his journey—getting to a place where he’s cool with being called Power Man again.
Marvel.com: The original series featured a strong supporting cast, which included Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. Can we expect to see the Daughters of the Dragon in the series? How are things between Misty and Danny these days?
David Walker: There is a long list of supporting characters that I want to bring in, and Daughters of the Dragon is at the top of the list. You can’t have a Power Man & Iron Fist series without Misty and Colleen making an appearance, so it’s not a question of “if” but really a question of “when.” First, however, we need to get Luke and Danny on solid ground, and really establish them as a team. It’s interesting, because there are so many fans that remember them as a team, but they haven’t actually been a team—just the two of them in their own book—in more than 30 years. That means that there are a lot of readers out there that don’t really know them in the classic “Power Man & Iron Fist” sense of things, and our top priority has to be getting that dynamic in place before we bring in guest stars. As for Misty and Danny’s relationship…we’ll have to wait and see.
Sanford Greene: I totally agree with what David said as far as there being a need to have the supporting characters like the Daughters of the Dragon involved, but first we have to establish the friendship and chemistry of Luke and Danny, which should be bombastic and fun!
Marvel.com: Sanford, how are you approaching each of the characters visually, and what’s your inspiration for their designs?
Sanford Greene: I’ve been a long-standing fan of the original designs of Power Man and Iron Fist. I’ve tried to incorporate a lot of those influences in their current designs. Luke Cage’s current outfits are suits and bit more business casual, but he’ll have a lot of the classic blue and gold motifs as a nod to that classic look. As for the other characters, I am pulling from current urban culture along with ‘70’s street influences. So we’ll see how that turns out!
POWER MAN & IRON FIST returns at long last in 2016!