David F. Walker maps out the former Power Man’s trip to New Orleans!

Luke Cage’s mentor, Dr. Noah Burstein, has died in New Orleans. When Luke leaves Harlem to pay his respects in The Big Easy, a mystery unravels around the good Doctor, his past, and everything Luke thought he once knew about his father-figure.

Players emerge and puzzles present themselves in a secretive city still contending with its own past—and this time, Luke won’t be able to simply fight his way out. On May 17, join the one-time Power Man as he journeys south in his new series with LUKE CAGE #1!

Fresh off his run with POWER MAN & IRON FIST, writer David F. Walker joins artist Nelson Blake II to take Luke Cage to America’s most unique city. We sat down with Walker to speak about the trip from NYC to NOLA and the new kind of obstacles standing in Luke’s way.

Marvel.com: Why New Orleans? What kind of new texture does this idiosyncratic setting bring to the story?

David F. Walker: In part, because of that idiosyncratic atmosphere. I wanted to place Luke in an environment that carries with it a certain amount of preconceptions and New Orleans is one of those cities that sparks the imagination, even if someone has never been there. I also wanted to take Luke out of his element, and drop him in a place where his reputation doesn’t cast as big a shadow.

Marvel.com: How does New Orleans influence the story in a different way than Harlem and New York would? How does it influence Luke?

David F. Walker: New York and Harlem are Luke’s home—it is where he feels most comfortable, and it is where he is accepted. You take a character out of their home, and place them somewhere that they don’t know the lay of the land, and things become uncertain, maybe even dangerous. Dorothy left Kansas, Frodo left the Shire, Luke Skywalker left Tattooine, and in the process they faced great dangers, and learned something new about themselves. I wanted to take Luke Cage on a journey of discovery that forces him to rethink his own ideas of himself, and the best way to do that for a character is to take them out of their element.

Luke Cage #2 cover by Rahzzah

Marvel.com: You’ve mentioned before that a big inspiration for this new series was being able to position Luke in a challenging moral grey area. As an artist, what makes that such an exciting concept? Why does that always feel so modern and relevant?

David F. Walker: Most people live in a moral grey area, even if they think their moral code is clear and absolute. Luke Cage, for me, has always been a character that has his own moral code, but it is firmly rooted in his own personal experiences, which places this code in an ambiguous state. Here you have a guy who started out as a petty criminal, ended up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and then ended up becoming a super hero. He has lived on either end of the moral spectrum, and in the middle. He knows that innocent people go to prison, but he’s also been friends with people who were cold-blooded criminals. For me, that is a bit more interesting—and true to life—than a simplified code of ethics and morality we see a bit too often in popular culture, notions of good and bad, period.

The reason it is an exciting concept to explore, and the reason it feels modern [and] relevant is because it is actually what real life is like. In real life we all know people that do questionable things, but we give them something of a pass, or look the other way, because they are our friends or family members. And that is part of that moral grey area, which is tied to the complexity of what it means to be a human.

Marvel.com: This is your first time working with artist Nelson Blake II; what’s your process like for starting a project alongside a new collaborator?

David F. Walker: Whenever possible, I like to talk to the artist. Sometimes communication is limited to emails, and sometimes there is no communication at all. But with Nelson, we got on the phone a few times, and talked through what my goals were, and what his goals were, and worked on establishing frames of reference. By “frames of reference,” I mean influences and inspiration. Often these frames of reference are abstract: “This scene feels like an Eric B and Rakim song, as opposed to a Kendrick Lamar song,” or I might say something crazy like, “Imagine if ‘Goodfellas’ were a graphic novel drawn by Alex Toth.” But because we have established a connection—talked about our influences, and the things we enjoy—it makes this kind of communication possible.

Nelson and I had a conversation at one point about a specific character that I hadn’t done the best job of describing in the script. I was really struggling with how to describe this character, because it was more about personality than appearance. Nelson and I are talking, and he’s asking me all these questions, and finally he says to me, “You’re talking about Tupac Shakur.” And I was like, “Exactly,” even though it never occurred to me to describe the character that way, especially in terms of their personality; that was one of those moments you look for in comics, when the collaborative nature moves to the next level.

Kick off the brand-new series with LUKE CAGE #1, by David F. Walker and artist Nelson Blake II, on May 17, and then continue the action into LUKE CAGE #2 ON June 21!

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Writer David Walker gets into the head of the original Hero for Hire!

Can’t get enough Luke Cage? The man with unbreakable skin heads down south to the bayou in his own self-titled solo series starting May 17.

Hot off his run on POWER MAN AND IRON FIST, writer David F. Walker teams with artist Nelson Blake II to take a deeper look into the toughened Hero for Hire as he revisits his past in the form of the scientist who gave him his powers.

But not everything remains as Luke remembers it, according to Walker, who spoke with us about his old school influences for this comic, using super hero action to its fullest potential, and the significance of tax season on Luke’s story.

Marvel.com: When thinking about writing your take of Luke Cage did you go back to the drawing board so-to-speak? What parts of his origin did you consider most important when crafting the story?

David F. Walker: That’s a good question. I mean, the most well-known version of his origin is, I think, the most important. The fact that there’s a guy who’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and then he got experimented on while he was in prison and it’s that basic nuts and bolts of it. And obviously that story itself hasn’t been told nearly as many times as Peter Parker getting bit by the radioactive spider or Bruce Banner being exposed to gamma rays, but now, with the Netflix show, his origin has become more ingrained in the public consciousness, but there’s so many details that you can fill in because it hasn’t been told a thousand times, over and over again. And so yeah, it’s that very basic nuts and bolts that I’m playing with and that I draw from and then I just start building upon that.

Marvel.com: How did you want to tell his origin story in a way that caught up newcomers to the character while keeping it fresh for longtime fans?

David F. Walker: Stuff like this has become trickier now with films and TV because someone will watch all [13] episodes of the show on Netflix or they’ll watch a movie and suddenly they’re an expert in the character, even though that character may have been around for 40 or 50 years and then you have the hardcore fans and you have the new fans or the new readers who might not be familiar in either capacity so it’s about trying to find that balance and for me, that balance lies really in the core of his character and making his personality interesting enough that people will engage with him, you know? Like if there’s people who are upset that he’s not wearing the metal headband—and it’s a headband, it’s not a tiara—then [they] didn’t really like the character. It’s like when people argue over “Who’s the best James Bond?” Is it Sean Connery? Is it Daniel Craig? Is it…most people don’t say Roger Moore, but it’s like, well, James Bond is James Bond and it’s not so much the actor who’s playing him as it’s the stories in the movies themselves. And so, it’s always about playing with that character and making sure that there’s enough to that character, to his personality that, whether someone is a long term fan going back 40 years, whether it’s someone who discovered him during NEW AVENGERS very recently, whether it’s someone who only knows him from the show—you take all of those into consideration, you throw em’ into a big pot, you make a stew, but you add just the right spices so that the flavor works for as many people as possible. But for some people, they’ll go, “Oh, there’s too much pepper” or “There’s too much salt” or whatever it is and those are the people you just kinda go, “Huh, well we tried! Maybe next issue!”

Marvel.com: Luke was very much a product of his time when he first debuted back in the early ‘70s at the height of the Blaxploitation era. Will we be getting some of these groovy old school vibes in your series?

David F. Walker: Yeah there’s some—I tried to play with some of that with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST. [There have been] a couple of interviews over the years with different creators, including, I seem to recall reading something about Archie Goodwin and what his influences were with creating Luke Cage and to me, what’s interesting is that I’m a huge Blaxploitation fan. Honestly, you’re not gonna find anyone who’s a bigger Blaxploitation fan than me; I’ve written a book about it and I made a documentary about it and I’ve given college lectures on it. I know more about that than I know about comics, actually and so the interesting [thing] to me is that Luke Cage is actually more a product of the writing of Chester Himes whose work predates Blaxploitation by 10-20 years and I’ve read enough Chester Himes that when I’m going back and re-reading the early issues of [LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE] from the ‘70s, [I say], “Oh yeah, this is total Chester Himes more than anything out of Blaxploitation” because Chester Himes created this very stylized and surreal world that almost looked like the real world, but it wasn’t like the real world and so you go back to one of the driving ideologies behind Marvel is, “The world right outside your window,” but it really isn’t the world right outside your window, right? That’s what Chester Himes did in his writing and to me, it’s so clear and it’s so obvious and in Chester Himes books, “Blind Man with a Pistol” and “A Rage in Harlem” and “For Love of Imabelle” and books like that—and his “Harlem Detective” series—they’re this weird mix of hardboiled noir thrillers and just also a dash of the surreal and comedy. That’s really what I wanted to go for with LUKE CAGE and sure, there’s some Blaxploitation elements in it.

Marvel.com: You’ve gone on record as saying the Netflix series was one of your influences for this comic. What elements of this version of Luke’s story, in terms of the show, really caught your attention?

David F. Walker: Well, the thing I like about the Netflix show a lot was that it went a long way to humanize Luke and I give all credit to the writers and the producers of that show. The original LUKE CAGE comics read like they were written by a white man who had very little experience or relationships with black folks, it’s a fact. And the thing about the TV show, as I was watching it, there were scenes where I was like, “Yeah, yeah a black person wrote this scene” or “It was written by a white person who has spent every waking moment of their life with black people” [Laughs]. And so there was obviously a huge element of the fantastic and there’s a lot of “over-the-topness” to the show and there was aspects of the show that were very much entrenched in the super hero tropes, but there’s a humanity to Luke Cage on the TV show, but honestly he didn’t start getting [humanized] in comics until sometime around the time he showed up in ALIAS or NEW AVENGERS and that’s the biggest influence that the show’s had on me and what a lot of people don’t realize is that we were developing the POWER MAN AND IRON FIST comic series before the Netflix show debuted; the Netflix show debuted October 2016 and by that point I think we were like maybe six or seven issues into our run on the comic and there was no back and forth between us and the show so how I developed that character for POWER MAN AND IRON FIST, a lot of it was just obvious like “It’s obvious!” like [show runner] Cheo Hodari Coker and the rest of the writing staff [for the TV show] had read the same books I’d read and watched the same movies I’d watched and listened to the same music that I listen to and there was a very serendipitous amount of coincidences in how that version of the character turned out and how the comic book of that character turned out and so when I saw the show, more than anything, it validated a lot of the beliefs and a lot of what I was pushing for with the comic and with the character in that [I said], “Yeah, this is gonna work, we can show him this way and that he shouldn’t be a guy who’s just about getting into fist fights” because as much as I love those original books from the ‘70s, every issue it’s, Oh, here’s in a fist fight with a D-level villain that hardly anybody knows or a Z-level villain [Laughs] specific to his world and that’s [how] we [got] like Cockroach Hamilton and Piranha Jones and people like that.

Marvel.com: You also said you want to show a Luke who’s not punching the stuffing out of people all the time. Can you talk a little more about that?

David F. Walker: Yeah, I mean I’m just old, you know? [Laughs] I grew up watching action movies before Michael Bay movies were considered action movies. So to me, an action movie is like something from the ‘70s like “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” the original version from 1974, or even “The French Connection” or “Bullit,” going back to the ‘60s. These are movies that I grew up on, that I love and if you were to sit down and clock out the number of minutes that are actual car chases and fights, they’re fairly brief. If you had a two-hour movie, there might’ve been 15 minutes of hardcore action whereas now, you watch a movie like “John Wick,” which I love, don’t get me wrong, but it’s mostly action and I’m more of a story guy so to me, when I read a comic, I don’t need to see, whether it’s Spider-Man or Daredevil or Hulk, I don’t need any of these characters fighting for six and seven pages out of an issue that’s only 20 pages of content. With the exception of, I’m thinking of one or two action sequences that really stand out in my mind—I’m in my late forties, so I’ve been reading comics for over 40 years and the one action sequence that stands out in my mind more than any other is [DAREDEVIL #181] where Bullseye kills Elektra. That’s the most powerful action sequence and that stands out in my mind, but when I think of all the other moments that stand out in my mind in the history of comics with all the comics that I’ve read, absolutely none of them are action moments, they’re all character-defining moments. There’s the issue of FANTASTIC FOUR where Sue Storm is pregnant and she loses the baby. There’s the trial of Galactus. A lot of that stuff was really compelling and I think for a lot of us, we think of super heroes when we think of men or women in these weird suits beating the crap out of each other and that’s cool for a little bit, but even with the movies, some of the best moments in the movies aren’t the action. And so to me, it’s like I know my dream comic would actually be boring because I’ve written my dream comic and reading over it I was like, “Well this is boring” and that was just some character sitting around talking, but it is tough, finding that balance, that right ratio of action to moving the story forward and a fight doesn’t necessarily move the story forward. Mayhem and destruction does not move the story forward.

Marvel.com: The first issue of this ongoing series revolves around the death of the scientist who helped give Luke his unbreakable skin, Doctor Noah Burstein. How does Luke feel about revisiting his past? 

David F. Walker: Obviously it’s a difficult time for him because he’s resisting his past while mourning this person who was really pivotal to him, but the story’s also about him realizing that his past isn’t exactly what he thought it was and that he isn’t exactly who he thought he was. He isn’t who he thinks he is and Burstein isn’t who [Luke] thought he was. It’s playing with the notions of what happens when, as an adult, you start to see your parents in a very different way, you start to look at them through the eyes of an adult, as opposed to the eyes of a child, which is how you saw them growing up and so it’s playing with that in a much more exaggerated, super heroic sort of way, but it’s like that moment you first get a bill from the IRS and you’re like, “Oh, this is what my mom was always freaking out about every March and April. Now I get it! Now that I’m paying the taxes I understand.” It’s all that sort of stuff; it’s what it’s like the first time that you go grocery shopping on your own with your own money or the first time you get a pay check and you look and you see how much the taxes have been taken out—I’m going back to taxes because it’s tax time right now and that’s part of what this is about for me. It’s really [Luke] looking at his own past through the eyes of an adult as an adult. What so many of us do is look at our past and we get caught up in the nostalgia. There’s no nostalgia. This is Luke having his nostalgia ripped away from him.

Marvel.com: And how does changing the setting from New York to New Orleans change that dynamic of who he is and what he does fighting or otherwise?

David F. Walker: It just puts him in a really uncomfortable, foreign environment where he doesn’t know anybody and he doesn’t necessarily know who to turn to. If I had set the story in New York, the moment something bad goes down, he can get on the phone and he can call his wife [Jessica Jones] or he can call Iron Fist or he can call Spider-Man or Daredevil or, you know, he was a member of the Avengers [Laughs], but you put him in a place that’s completely foreign to him and it throws his game off. One of my favorite movies of all time is a movie called “The Third Man,” directed by Carol Reed based on a book by Graham Greene and it’s all about a guy who’s completely out of his element and then on top of that, there’s something sinister going on and so, he shows up in Vienna for one reason and everything goes wrong and there’s nowhere to turn and even where he turns he doesn’t know, can I trust this person? Can I trust this person? I would have to say that my two single biggest influences in this first story arc of LUKE CAGE is “The Third Man” followed closely by Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye,” which is an adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel so it’s really “The Third Man” and “The Long Goodbye,” those two movies, I watch them regularly anyway, and I was like, “Ok, I love the themes that they’re playing with,” the past is not exactly [as] we remember and people aren’t exactly who we think they are and if the past isn’t exactly how we remember it, then the people that we care about aren’t exactly who we think they are, then what does that say about who we are?

Marvel.com: How will this solo Luke differ from the one you portrayed in your POWER MAN AND IRON FIST run?

David F. Walker: After 17 issues of stories [with] him teamed with Iron Fist, which [had] a lot of serious stuff, but was also very light-hearted I was like, “Well, you did that. Now let’s try something different” and [Marvel] Editorial was in agreement with me and we talked about it and it was like, I don’t wanna be known as the guy who only wrote Luke Cage stories that were a little more comedic and light-hearted; I wanted to explore something different and I knew going in that what I wanted to explore with this character wasn’t gonna lend itself to a lot of the humor that we had in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.

Marvel.com: I can’t wait to read the first issue next month!

David F. Walker: Yeah. Less than a month…I just saw a bunch of the art for issue #2 and yeah, it’s comin’ together. I’m having a fun time writing it and I hope people enjoy it. You give it your all and to me, the greatest part of writing comics is the moment you see what you’ve written translated into art. There’s nothing better than that and if that’s all I had to do, I would actually be the happiest guy in the world [Laughs].

David Walker and Nelson Blake II revisit the past and forge the future in LUKE CAGE #1 on May 17!

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David Walker takes the Hero for Hire on a trip down south in his new ongoing series!

For New Orleans, Christmas comes in May this year—Sweet Christmas, that is.

David Walker, fresh off the POWER MAN AND IRON FIST series, continues to chronicle the adventures of one half of that daring duo in an all-new LUKE CAGE ongoing series, joined by Nelson Blake II on art and Rahzzah on covers.

When Luke heads to the Crescent City for the funeral of the man who gave him powers, he runs into trouble; mysterious billionaires, amped up gangs and shadowy figures add up to some bad gumbo for the Hero for Hire. We spoke with Walker about the new series and what kind of fiddle-faddle Cage finds himself in this time.

Marvel.com: We’ve spoken before about your love for the 1970/80’s Power Man and Iron Fist material. What are your thoughts on the character now, having gotten the chance to write his adventures with Danny in their most recent series?

David Walker: Writing Luke as one half of Power Man and Iron Fist was a blast. Now that I’m writing his solo adventures, I can focus on him in a different way. I’m switching up not only how I write, but the types of stories I’m telling as well. In some ways, it feels like I’m writing Luke for the first time.

Marvel.com: What’s the premise of the new comic?

David Walker: This is all about Luke finding trouble and busting heads. The first story is about him dealing with the death of an old friend, and finding out there’s more to the death than meets the eye. Luke is definitely in the role of the private detective; he just happens to have super powers.

Marvel.com: It’s been a while since Dr. Noah Burstein has appeared in the comics, although we did see him in the recent “Luke Cage” Netflix TV series. For those who may not know, who is he, and what’s his relationship like with Luke?

David Walker: In the original comic series in the 1970’s, Burstein was the scientist who experimented on Luke, and in the process gave him his powers. The character on the show plays essentially the same role, but in the comics Luke and Burstein have a different, more positive relationship. In the comics, Burstein thinks of Luke as a son.

Marvel.com: You’re taking Luke out of New York to the Big Easy. How does this change of setting affect the former Power Man?

David Walker: I just wanted to pull him out of his element for this story. Taking a character out of an environment where they are sure of themselves, and then putting them in a place of physical and psychological uncertainty often makes for good drama.

Marvel.com: It sounds like Luke is away from home and, presumably, away from allies like Danny and Jessica Jones. Will we be seeing any of his friends or family in the comic?

David Walker: Eventually, yes. But right now he’s on his own, and that is difficult for him. I want the reader to get a sense of Luke Cage as an individual, and it’s been a long time since we’ve really seen that.

Marvel.com: You’ve got a great team in place for the first issue, with artist Nelson Blake II and cover artist Rahzzah. What’s it been like working with them?

David Walker: It’s been great. Both have come to the table with great ideas and amazing visuals. Rahzzah’s covers are amazing. His work is so good that I worry about my writing doing the covers justice. Same with Nelson’s art—I worry my writing isn’t half as good as what he’s drawing. Between the two of them, LUKE CAGE will be a visually dynamic series.

LUKE CAGE comes your way this May courtesy of David Walker, Nelson Blake II, and Rahzzah!

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The villainous group flashes their shiny teeth as Harlem continues to burn!

We all make friends in different ways. Some of us play the same sports or like the same teams. Others meet compatriots because we love movies or TV or comics. More still get pals from living in proximity to others.

Or, you can hang out with the people who have fangs, just like you.

That’s how the Fang Gang did met, years ago, but it turned out not to be a binding connection as you might expect.

Now David Walker and Sanford Greene—and Alex Wilder—have brought the Gang back together in the pages of POWER MAN & IRON FIST. Walker took some time out filing other people’s teeth to talk to us about the Gang’s rough past and possibly worse future.

Marvel.com: In POWER MAN & IRON FIST #10, you introduced the Fang Gang and in issue #11, you began to deepen our sense of their shared past. Judging by the previews for #12, it appears you will digger even further into their younger years. What can you preview about the Gang’s earlier days?

David Walker: The Fang Gang started as kind of a joke between myself and a couple other people when I was like, “Hey has anyone ever noticed this [the unusual proliferation of 70’s era African American villains with sharp pointed teeth] and then I pointed it out and everyone was like, “Wow, no, I never noticed,” and then I knew I had to make something out of it.

Part of it was taking a lot of these characters—Tombstone being the one exception—being primarily old Luke Cage villains and giving them a little bit of a backstory that was fun and pokes fun at some of the tropes we saw in the 70’s.

It was also to set up the modern day story which is that there is this group of people who have this rich past, this rich history together and not all of it is good. So what we will see as the “Harlem Burns” story plays out [is] that these people continue to betray each other and stab each other in the back and love each other and be at each other’s side. They kind of are a family. What we are seeing is the very last days of the Fang Gang.

What’s the worst thing that could happen to these people who had been together, who had tried to start a gang and it never happened? That is kind of sad and pathetic in itself but there are these lingering feelings and lingering emotions and that comes through and to a head by the time the story’s over.

Marvel.com: How does the dynamics of the Fang Gang, especially with their first ugly end, play into the dynamics and the forming of the new Pride?

David Walker: That’s a really interesting question. Part of that is the new Pride is all Alex’s thing. So part of what we are going to see as the story moves forward is what the arrogance of youth can do. Alex represents that arrogance and the hubris of youth and [that] think they know everything; coming up with a plan and not necessarily seeing the bigger picture.

Then you have the Fang Gang where every single one of them—with the exception of Tombstone—has never fully amounted to what they thought they could be. Now they are pinning their hopes and dreams on this young kid and thinking, “This could be our opportunity.” At least that’s what some of them are thinking. Others recognize that Alex has potential and maybe they can use Alex to their own ends.

We see that theme of there is no honor among thieves and what is going to happen to these guys as they try to form a new gang. Can you [put] most of the old band back together and still be able to play the way you used to while you still hate each other?

Marvel.com: To touch on the past and present dynamic, who are they today, what are they like, versus who they were back in the day in their youth when the gang was still together? How have they changed over the years?

David Walker: That’s a really good question too because a lot of these characters have only had a minimal number of appearances. Like Black Mariah has now had more appearances in our book—the one that Sanford and I are doing—than all her other previous appearances combined in the entire history of the Marvel Universe.

For Black Mariah she was the one who may have been the smartest in the room or at least the most ambitious one in the room but no one ever took her seriously in part because she was a woman. She’s still trying to prove herself, trying to prove she can do anything the boys can do and she can do it better.

Piranha Jones is the guy who wasn’t the smartest one in the room, wasn’t the toughest one in the room, didn’t have the best ideas in the room, but he found a niche for himself. That niche was running his own little gang across the river in the Bronx and allowing that to give him a false sense of “maybe I can do more, maybe I can be more.”

Cottonmouth was always…I always intended him to be the one member of the gang who was really kind of dangerous. Was smart, not necessarily the smartest, but he’d always go to bat. He’d kill whoever needed to be killed. But he also keeps going to prison. He’s definitely not meant to be the leader but he’s an enforcer.

Then, when [“Marvel’s Luke Cage” on Netflix] happened, I had already started to develop Cottonmouth and doing stuff with him. I was going back and forth between having either him or Piranha be the sort of sad sack of the bunch. Then I saw the show, I said, “No, let it be Cottonmouth,” because that character was just so great.

Power Man & Iron Fist #12 cover by Sanford Greene

Power Man & Iron Fist #12 cover by Sanford Greene

Tombstone, obviously, we all kind of know who he is and what his pedigree is. I’m writing it from the standpoint that he was going to be a crime boss no matter what.

Mr. Fish is just there for fun because Sanford just really wanted to draw Mr. Fish and he had fangs. I’m playing a little with the relationship between him and Tombstone.

Then there’s Cockroach Hamilton as well.

There’s this implication that Piranha and Cottonmouth went off and did their own thing together for a little. And Mr. Fish went solo. Cockroach has a thing for Mariah and so he’s willing to follow her to the ends of the Earth. Is she even aware of his feelings for her?

So all of that leads to that past that I want to create gives us that dramatic pay off as the story wraps up.

There’s a sense of closure for all these characters over the next few issues. We get to see what happens to them and see what the interplay is between each other.

Marvel.com: You mentioned Sanford so to discuss his work on the book, in term of the Fang Gang’s fashion in the past, was that collaborative? Did he come up with the designs on his own? How did their look come to be?

David Walker: He came up with the designs. I had written and said, “Everybody should look really dated. They don’t necessarily have to look like they come from the same era. We can play around with it. We want this sort of ‘out of style out of time’ feel to it.”

The other thing is these introductory sequences in [issues] #10 and #11 are being told by Cockroach Hamilton so there is this implication that these are his memories. How accurate is what’s being said here? DidTombstone really have a high top fade? Did Piranha really have a jheri curl?

I wrote these notes initially; these are some ideas. Give one of them a high top fade, give one of them a jheri curl or a process. Someone should be wearing sweats. One should be dressed like Big Daddy Kane during his “I Go to Work” era. Sanford and I have enough of a shorthand that we both get it; we have the same references. I’m like, “Whatever man, I know you are going to deliver something funny and interesting.” And that was it.

Marvel.com: I love Tombstone in particular. The idea of him as having this “hip hop emerging on the national scene b-boy” style with that haircut is just so great to me for some reason.

David Walker: I just said, let’s just show them in these all different ways so we can have fun with it.

Everybody who goes to work for Marvel wants to—or should want to—introduce something new and different to the universe. You don’t always get to do it but you should want to. So I had this notion of “yeah, all these guys knew each other at some point” because that’s the only way they make sense, the only explanation for why they all have fangs.

Surprisingly no one said, “Don’t do it.”

Marvel.com: With Black Cat in the book, how does she play into or change the dynamics between these characters who have such history with each other?

David Walker: Black Cat was difficult to work into the story but it was suggested that we have someone from outside the [Fang Gang] circle that was still part of the crime scene in Marvel.

What we do is bring her in and she’s sort of paired up with who I see as sort of being the weakest member of this former gang and that’s Piranha. He’s the person that’s most easily manipulated. So Black Cat is working with Piranha because that’s just sort of what she does. She finds the person who can help her meet her ends, her goals and manipulate them. We’ll see where that leads.

It might not lead to somewhere well.

Follow the fate of the Fang Gang in POWER MAN & IRON FIST #11, out now, and issue #12, coming January 11 from David Walker and Sanford Greene!

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David Walker scouts some prime candidates for Hawkeye’s new team!

While Red Wolf and Hawkeye have proven quite the duo already, a country as large as the United States needs a bigger squad to ferret out all its dark corners. With that in mind, writer David Walker has always intended to slowly expand the OCCUPY AVENGERS ranks, beginning with issue #2 on December 7.

While we begged, pleaded, and bargained, he refused to tell us exactly who might be joining the roster. Walker did, however, agree to let us try to guess.

When Michael Van Patrick first showed up at the Initiative training camp, he seemed a shoo-in. A terrible accident later and he became a dead dirty little secret. However, genetic material that good cannot be ignored so Patrick ended up cloned multiple times. This one would be the last still standing.

“Clint is easy-going, but he has issues with clones, and anyone who is fanatical about what they eat, so that might be a problem,” Walker points out. “Plus, MVP is better looking than Clint, which would be tough on his ego.”

An excellent hand-to-hand combatant and tactician, Mockingbird has had more than enough solo success to demonstrate she would be an asset on any team. Add in the fact that she can be a team player and has worked extensively with Hawkeye and she seems like a great fit.

“Quite possibly the perfect person to team up with Hawkeye to fight crime,” admits the writer. “The big question is this: could she put up with her ex-husband?”

El Aguila
While M Day did rob him of his mutant gifts, El Aguila remains a talented swordsman and open hand combatant. Additionally, he has charisma to spare, a big help when you wander town to town without knowing quite what awaits you.

“Nothing short of a full and equal partnership in Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage and Iron Fist will make this man happy,” asserts Walker. “Plus, Clint would be totally jealous, because this guy is suave and swashbuckling. Clint can barely swash and buckle at the same time.”

Free Spirit
Despite a rather dark origin involving subliminal mind manipulation and misinformed consent to medical experimentation, Cathy Webster remains an optimistic hero who truly believes in doing the right thing. She may well recognize Clint’s mission as a place where she can help others who will not otherwise be seen or heard.

“With a name like that, who wouldn’t want her on their team?” Walker enthuses. “Of course, she might be a little too peppy for a team of misfits with as much existential baggage as Clint and the rest of the [team].”

Occupy Avengers (2016) #2

Occupy Avengers (2016) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

They call him the Master of Kung Fu? What other reason do you need?

Ok, here’s one more: he loves to stick up for the disenfranchised and the ignored and that fits perfectly with Clint’s mission statement.

“Let’s be honest, Shang Chi is too cool to be on anyone’s team,” the writer acknowledges. “In a perfect world, everyone would be on his team.”

Night Thrasher
The founder and leader of the New Warriors, Night Thrasher had been off the map due to death for a minute. Back now thanks to cosmic machinations, Dwayne Taylor might be looking to get back down to Earth and back to kicking in bad guy teeth.

“Hawkeye isn’t afraid of much—other than committed relationships—but I suspect Night Thrasher might be a bit intense for him,” muses Walker. “Hawkeye wouldn’t have to do much, just point at the bad guys and say, ‘Don’t break too many bones.’”

U.S. Agent
Who better to take with you on a trip across America than a guy who’s dedicated his life to wearing patriotic costumes and going by patriotic names? And, he’s got all that prior team experience!

“Hawkeye and this guy would get along for about five minutes, and four of those minutes they would be faking it,” the writer jokes.

Colleen Wing
A martial arts master with an undeniable talent for uncovering the truth, Wing offers these Avengers intelligence and physical skill, neither of which they can survive for long without in the field.

“She always seems to be pushed out of the spotlight by Misty Knight, which is a shame, because she can issue a beat-down with the best of them,” laments Walker. “She would provide a strong moral compass to the team, which would probably drive Clint insane.”

Travel the roads of America with OCCUPY AVENGERS #2 by David Walker and Carlos Pacheco, coming December 7!

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David F. Walker lays out the criminal crew looking to set the city ablaze!

In the wake of Civil War II, Luke Cage and Danny Rand head back to Harlem to heal their wounds. But upon their return, a turf war sparks into a flame and threatens to light the city on fire in “Harlem Burns”!

It’s a battle for more than turf between the baddest crime bosses in the borough and contenders looking to stake their claim as the new king in town. And only Power Man and Iron Fist stand in their way.

Here’s series writer David F. Walker’s rundown of the who’s in the fight, what they want, and how they plan to take Harlem by any means necessary…


“He’s the boss of organized crime uptown; that’s pretty much everything across 110th Street. He rules it all, and has no plan on sharing any of it.”
Mr. Fish
“He used to run with Tombstone back in the old days, and he sees that his old friend is facing some challenging days ahead. But Mr. Fish might not be able to stand up to the threat that awaits Tombstone.”
Black Cat
“She’s the crime boss that wants to take over Tombstone’s territory, but she lacks the muscle to go toe-to-toe with him, so she’s looking to build her own crew, even if it means manipulating those that are working for her.”
Raymond “
“The small-time crime boss from over in the Bronx, he’s spent most of his criminal career in the shadow of Tombstone, and he wants to run everything. Black Cat has him convinced he’s the guy to take down Tombstone.”
“Cottonmouth” Stokes
“Best friends with Piranha Jones, escaped from prison and on the run, Cottonmouth is looking to avoid going back to jail. He sees through Black Cat’s attempts to use his friend, and decides he doesn’t want any part of it.”
Black Mariah
“After escaping from prison, Black Mariah is still looking to settle old scores with Tombstone, especially after his most recent failed attempt. She’s down with a new crew that thinks they have what it takes to overthrow the ruling crime boss.”
“Cockroach” Hamilton
“He was there at the beginning, when Tombstone, Mr. Fish, Piranha Hones, Cottonmouth, and Black Mariah all tried to start their own gang, and he saw it all fall apart. Now, he’s looking to help old friends in a time of need, but which friends, and how deep do his loyalties run?”

Alex Wilder
“The new kid in town. He wants to take down Tombstone, and he’s amassing a gang that can do it—or can they? Gifted with super powers, superior intellect, and magical skills, Alex is weighed down by immaturity and ego, and the desire to be the type of crime boss that would please his dead parents.”

Join David F. Walker and artist Sanford Greene as they continue “Harlem Burns” in POWER MAN & IRON FIST #11 on December 14!

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