Anthony Del Col Puts Luke Cage Through the Wringer in LUKE CAGE - MARVEL DIGITAL ORIGINAL
Not only does the Hero for Hire have a new foe -- now his health is at risk.
Luke Cage is no stranger to a fight -- but what happens when his body becomes his most dangerous adversary? In LUKE CAGE - MARVEL DIGITAL ORIGINAL #1, written by Anthony Del Col with art by Jahnoy Lindsay, the legendary Hero for Hire faces the prospect of a traumatic illness. But it couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time -- while a heat wave hovers over Harlem, the most prosperous New Yorkers are dropping like flies from a mysterious and invisible attack. Marvel.com talked to Del Col to find out how Luke Cage is going to solve this puzzle while trying to save his own life.
Marvel.com: You’ve turned a lot of unexpected properties into action-packed adventures. What do you have planned for Luke Cage?
Anthony Del Col: You mean other than giving a man with unbreakable physical skills a life-threatening brain disease? Our story finds Luke in the midst of Harlem’s worst-ever heat wave, and he’s on the hunt for a serial killer attacking random rich people in the city. It’s a really tough case for Luke, with people dying of strange diseases.
And then, in the midst of all of this, Luke receives a very grim diagnosis: he may have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the concussion syndrome that has afflicted many retired football players. So for Luke, not only is he trying to save Harlem but has to figure out a way to save something just as valuable to him: his own mind.
It’s a really fun six-issue series with lots of action, emotion and, well, heat.
Marvel.com: Luke receives that grim diagnosis in the first issue while the city’s wealthiest are dying from another mysterious illness. What was the thinking behind bringing illness and disease into the story as a weapon that could possibly take down the likes of Luke Cage?
Anthony Del Col: Well, Luke is unbreakable physically. It’s tough for any opponent to really damage or stop him that way. So I’ve always thought that the biggest threat for him is something psychological or emotional. So that’s why CTE seemed natural for me. I had been doing a lot of reading on the topic and when I was approached to write this story it seemed right. He can’t control what goes on inside of him, and that’s actually his worst-case scenario.
Marvel.com: Does writing for a strictly digital platform change the way you frame a story? How have you been taking advantage of this medium?
Anthony Del Col: The writing for a digital series is actually pretty similar to that of a printed one. I think the only major thing I changed in my writing was fewer elaborate splash pages. I normally like to include one page with a unique panel structure (panels inside of a larger image) but in order for it to flow naturally for digital, I cut back on that. Slightly. In Issue #2 I did have artist Jahnoy Lindsay create a one-page sequence in which Luke rushes through an entire building, kicking ass.
Marvel.com: The story arc of your series is “Everyman.” What does this mean for Luke Cage and his role as a Super Hero?
Anthony Del Col: "Everyman" actually refers to our villain, the serial killer out to attack the rich of Harlem. It’s a moniker they’ve taken on because they’re fed up with how the rich take advantage of everyone else. But in the case of Luke, I like the title because it’s applicable to his journey here. He’s a Super Hero, but at his core he’s like everybody else: he wants to take care of his family and community. So in my eyes, Luke’s the ultimate “everyman.”
Marvel.com: Without spoiling the story ahead, what else can you tell us about the journey that LUKE CAGE - MARVEL DIGITAL ORIGINAL is going to take its readers on?
Anthony Del Col: I think we’ve done a good job of creating a story with a great balance of action, emotion, humor, insight, and great art. It’s a tough thing to create with a lot of Super Hero stories but in this case, I think we’ve been able to accomplish it.
Oh, and one of Luke’s best friends – a fellow Hero for Hire – will show up and play a big role in this story. I don’t want to say who, but he’s someone that everyone will love seeing.
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