First Comics News: Why were you excited to write Luke Cage?
Anthony Del Col: Well, first off it’s my first series with Marvel, a company I’ve wanted to work with for years. And why wouldn’t you? They have such an amazing roster of unique and fascinating characters (both heroes and villains). It’s like shooting fish in a barrel – everyone would be fun to write for.
And secondly, I’ve always liked Luke Cage. To, me he’s been one of the most interesting characters mainly because he’s grounded. Yes, he has superpowers (unbreakable skin) but at his core he just wants to help his community and family. He reads, he’s attuned to what’s happening in the world, and he’s someone you’d like to hang out with and have a conversation with. And I decided I really wanted to play up this aspect.
Finally, I came up with a storyline for Luke that I think is really intriguing. It deals with today’s society, the healthcare system and the important topic of CTE amongst soldiers/veterans and athletes. Oh, and it’s also fun with some comedy and great action sequences (drawn by Jahnoy Lindsay).
1st: Why does Danny Rand aka Iron Fist work so well with Luke Cage?
Anthony: At their core, Danny and Luke make a great team. They’re best friends and know each other well enough that they can call each other out when they know the other person’s not being genuine. And it’s so strong because it’s more than just fighting villains; they’re genuine friends and know they can count on each other. In this LUKE CAGE: EVERYMAN series we really get to the core of that; Luke’s facing a very daunting medical diagnosis and Danny will be there to call him out on how he’s acting about it.
Rich: Who is the villain Luke faces and who do they work for?
Anthony: After the first release two weeks ago (the first two issues) it’s still not clear (to the reader) who the actual villain is. What Luke knows at this point is that it’s someone calling himself “The Everyman” and is killing off rich people in Harlem. This mysterious person’s claiming that he’s taking down those that abuse the system and though Luke may agree that some of the victims aren’t exactly pillars of the community, it’s not right for someone to take justice into their own hands.
But the person that emerges in the second issue (released with the first one) is Omega Red, a Russian supervillain. He may or may not be the Everyman – that’s something that will become clear as the series goes on…
Rich: What type of problems besides beating up bad guys does Luke deal with in this series?
Anthony: Well, first off Luke has to track down this serial killer through Harlem, and to make it worse it’s in the midst of the worst heat wave on record.
But more importantly, as mentioned above, this series deals with CTE. At the end of our first issue, Luke sits down with a doctor who informs him that he may have CTE. CTE, of course, is Chronic Trauma Encephalopathy, famous for being the concussion syndrome affiliated with football players. Though Luke has bulletproof skin his insides are more susceptible to contact and breakdown, and this diagnosis hits him hard. He suddenly realizes he’s fallible and will have to deal with it personally – all the while tracking down the Everyman.
Rich: Will Luke grow as a person throughout this series?
Anthony: Luke will go through all the stages of grief as the series goes on, from his initial rejection of the notion that he could get sick through to anger, bargaining, etc. It’s a big journey for him but through all of this, he still needs to save Harlem from the serial killer with bigger plans.
1st: How would you classify Luke Cage as to what type of super-hero he is?
Anthony: I think it’s fitting that the series is called LUKE CAGE: EVERYMAN because that’s what Luke really is. He’s just an average guy who was given superpowers. He’s not trying to save the world but instead trying to get by day-by-day, serve as a good husband and father and help Harlem out. In that sense, he really is like everyone else.
Rich: Why was “Kill Shakespeare” important to you?
Anthony: Well, the easy answer is that it was my first comics project and got me started in the industry. It was a blast jumping in with it and I’m so happy to see where it continues to go – more potential volumes being discussed, the stage show just played at the Globe Theater, and in development for television.
In that same vein, it also allowed me to start the process of being a writer and creator. Prior to that, I had been a producer in various industries and for the first time, I was a legitimate creative element. It gave me the confidence to jump out into other stories, Luke Cage being one of them.
Rich: What draws people to “Assassin’s Creed”?
Anthony: At its core, Assassin’s Creed is the best sort of historical fiction. As a genre, historical fiction is storytelling that is entertaining but also sheds some insight or education into what life was like in those specific areas. And Assassin’s Creed follows through on all of that. It makes time periods like Renaissance Italy, Witch Trial-era Salem or Ancient Egypt really cool and has taught an entire generation about these eras.
Rich: How has being Canadian affected your comic book career?
Anthony: It’s provided a lot of conflict with editors when I put a “u” into words like “favourite” or “endeavour”… No, in all seriousness it gave me a softer entrance in the comics industry. Toronto has an amazing comics culture with a lot of top creators (Ty Templeton, Francis Manapul, Ramon Perez, etc.) and by being there I was able to quickly educate myself. And they’re all really nice and happy to help those entering the industry. It’s why I love attending FanExpo (and am sad I can’t make it there this year…).
Rich: Which other comic book character that you have not worked on would you most like to?
Anthony: There are SO many! Again, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel (where does that expression come from, anyway…?). Within the Marvel characters, I’ve love to tackle Daredevil, Hulk (LOVE the character(s)!), Spidey (of course) and so many others!
Rich: What super What super power would you most like to have and why?
Anthony: The ability to come up with amazingly witty and insightful answers to every question asked of me…?
Rich: How did your film career help you in writing comics?
Anthony: As a film producer earlier in my career, it made me realize the importance of communication and hitting deadlines. If one person is late in the process (writer, director, DOP, etc.) then it throws everything else off (including the budget). So I’m always conscious that I must submit stuff on time.
1st: What would you like to say to the readers of “Luke Cage: Everyman”?
Anthony: We’re just getting warmed up! If you’ve read the first part (the first two issues) then we’ll soon learn who the Everyman is, we’ll have more battles with Omega Red, and one of Luke’s best friends will come and help out with the case. Most importantly, though, we’ll have Luke dealing with his diagnosis and have some really emotional moments with he and his daughter Danielle. I’ve loved writing this series and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!