The Writer or The Character?: Andy Burns Mulls Charlie Huston’s Deathlok and Jonathan Maberry’s Black Panther

A few interesting things came out of Comic-Con this past weekend, including the revelation as to one of the big projects author Charlie Huston has coming up for Marvel.

You may recall in our interview with Huston (check it out here), Charlie mentioned that he has a few large projects on the go but that he wasn’t able to disclose any of the details at the time I spoke with him.

Well it turns out that Huston will be working on a 7 issue mini-series staring the cyborg Deathlok, illustrated by Lan Medina. Unlike Huston’s novels and some of his previous Marvel work, most notably Moon Knight, which are supernatural or crime based tales, Deathlok falls right into the realm of science fiction.

I have to admit, the announcement leaves me slightly disappointed, much the same way I felt when another of my favourite authors, Jonathan Maberry, announced that he would be taking over the reigns of the Black Panther series. I’ve never read any comic relating to Deathlok, and while I’ve given Black Panther a shot over the years, nothing about T’challa has ever really appealed to me (though perhaps things will be different with the new, female Black Panther). While both authors claim genuine affection for their respective characters, I’m not sure if my genuine affection for both writers is enough to make me lay down my dollars on characters that I either don’t know or don’t care about.

Personally, in the case of Maberry, I would have loved to see him continue his take on The Punisher. His recently released Punisher MAX: Naked Kill was one of the most brutal takes on the character I’ve read in a while, a realistic depiction of who Frank Castle is. It would have been cool to see where Maberry could go with the character (and maybe we’ll see something in the future). As for Huston and Deathlok, a sci-fi comic about a cyborg just doesn’t do it for me at all.

Does all this mean I won’t check out an issue of each to test the waters? That’s hard to say, and in some ways illustrates the differences in how I approach reading an author’s work. Over the past few years I’ve had no hesitancy in picking up new novels from either Charlie Huston or Jonathan Maberry. It never matters what the stories are about; I have faith in the authors and their abilities that I will likely enjoy whatever they’re creating in their books. But in the case of their respective new comics, dealing in characters I don’t care about, I just don’t feel enticed.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is that I can’t wait for Charlie Huston’s My Dead Body, the final Joe Pitt Casebook (due out this fall), and Jonathan Maberry’s second Joe Ledger novel, The Dragon Factory (out in 2010). Of course, if I need anything to read by either author in the meantime, I’ll know where to look.


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