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Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham City, and now Cyborg has Detroit

Feb 27, 2017

In the D.C. Comics universe, Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham, and now Cyborg has Detroit.

When D.C. rebooted its universe a few years ago, the superhero Cyborg got a promotion. He joined Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the Justice League and has become a higher-profile character. 

The powers that be at D.C. Comics called on John Semper Jr., a veteran writer of numerous animated T.V. shows, to write this new version of Cyborg. He had never written for a comic book before, but as he said, it's just a different form of storytelling.

Semper joined Stateside to talk about how he decided to make Cyborg's home in Detroit a focus of the story and how he explores the "human" story of a black superhero living in the Motor City. 

So, who is Cyborg? 

"[Victor Stone] is a character who, because of a trauma that occurred in his life, is now part cybernetic, part human," Semper said. "And he's not quite sure how much of which half of that is really him. On a personal level, he's a character who's questioning whether or not he's still human and still has a soul and on a superhero level, he's a guy who's got amazing powers because of his cybernetic abilities ... so he's a pretty fascinating, complicated character." 

In recent years, the comic book industry has worked on bringing more diversity and different voices to its pages. Semper said the timing is right for this character, who was one of the first high-profile African-American superheroes when he was created back in 1980.

One of the changes Semper wanted to make to the character was to make sure the city and the environment that Cyborg lives in is a big part of the story.

"Superman does have Metropolis, and Batman does has Gotham City. Cyborg really had nothing," Semper said. "He had Star Labs, which was just a building. And that was really his home base and I thought, well, that's very strange, because you've got a black character in a major metropolitan city that has a huge black population and it would make sense that that should be a bigger factor in his life. Since he grew up in Detroit ... the city helped to shape who he is and what his whole approach to his life should be. So let's explore that more."

Listen to the full interview above to hear about how Semper connects the city of Detroit to the character, how he uses tools like Google Maps to help paint the picture of the Motor City and about Cyborg's future on the big screen.

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