5 Things DC Comics Should Do To Make Cyborg More Popular

This post is a follow up on my previous one that may or may not have influenced DC Comics's decision to promote Cyborg in the first place. I'm happy that DC promoted Cyborg, but I don't think that they're doing enough to make the character likable or popular. That's why I've created this list of 5 things DC Comics should do to make Cyborg an A-List character. This is not only for fans like me, but also for the creators and the business people out there.

5) Make Him A Fighter

Since his introduction into the DCnU two years ago, Cyborg has only fought some parademons and minor minions. The fans are itching for Cyborg to step up and get his hands dirty. They want to see amazing feats of strength and power. Combat is one of the simplest draws to superhero comics, so having Cyborg on the sidelines doesn't make much sense if you're trying to make him popular in the genre. Even more intellectual members of the Justice League, like Batman, find themselves in fights every month. This one should be a simple fix in a book like Justice League. Just pit Cyborg against some more serious bad guys like Dr. Light.

4) Create a Mythology Around Him And Treat Him Like A Man

Cyborg debuted 31 years ago in 1982. Since then, he's amassed bits and pieces of a mythology that should be expanded upon. Before Flashpoint, Cyborg was created after an inter-dimensional creature horrifically maimed Victor Stone. That also happens to be the premise of Cyborg's origin in the New 52. The inter-dimensional aspect of Cyborg's history could and should be played up for future stories--especially since his father and Professor Morrow are engaged in inter-dimensional research at S.T.A.R. Labs. Speaking of S.T.A.R. Labs, the home of many of the world's most brilliant minds, Victor could easily come into conflict with mad scientists like T.O. Morrow, Anthony Ivo, Will Magnus, and Arthur Light. It wouldn't be much of a stretch for Cyborg to fight their creations like Amazo, Tomorrow Woman, and Red Volcano either. He could also come into conflict with member of the military industrial complex who may want to exploit his power like Mr. Orr, Amanda Waller, Equus, and the Phantom Limbs.

Before the New 52, Cyborg was once re-built by Russian scientists. Having a Cold-War-like race for extra-dimensional technology could create serious political conflict in the DC Universe. There was a period of time when Victor Stone was known as Cyberion and worked for an alien race called Technis, a cyber-alien collective that explored and cataloged data throughout the galaxy. In the New 52, the Technis could be tied to inter-dimensional travel in some way. This would allow for plenty of large inter-dimensional crossover stories DC could make money from involving inter-dimensional aspects of the DC Universe like Earth 2, Darkseid, and maybe even the Anti-Monitor. The sci-fi story-telling possibilities are nearly limitless.

He should also be given a chance to show initiative in this new universe. In Flashpoint, Cyborg was a government agent and America's premier superhero. He was like Captain America and Iron Man wrapped up into one package, which allowed him to show initiative and keep the Earth from the brink of annihilation. He rounded up other heroes and villains to save the day. He implanted spies like Steve Trevor, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen in politcal hotspots around the world. He was just an all-around awesome character. It would be great to see this side of cyborg return. It would be preferable to his junior Justice League member status any day.

3) Make Him A Better Avatar and Stream Line His Look

"I think John Stewart is one of the most important characters in comics. Number one, he’s the most notable African American character in all of comics who also, and this is maybe a funny corollary, is the only black character a child can easily dress up as. Maybe Luke Cage but Luke Cage isn’t as well known. Black Panther, that’s an elaborate costume. Cyborg, that’s an elaborate costume. Green Lantern, they go to their costume store where they have all the costumes from the Green Lantern movies and cartoons and they’re John Stewart. That’s the level of empowerment that’s really important."

-Joshua Hale Fialkov on John Stewart, courtesy of Bleeding Cool

Escapism is one of the most important parts of superhero comics. Empowerment is another. Whether people realize it or not, having comic book characters that look similar to oneself on the printed page makes escapism easier. It makes empowerment feel more real. On the founding roster of the Justice League, there are 5 incredibly heroic and handsome characters for white males to choose from to act as their avatars. I'm not knocking it, but it's true. On the other hand, women only have one representative, Wonder Woman, and people with brown skin only have one representative, Cyborg. This automatically puts more pressure on these characters to be spokes people for their demographics and to fit a certain ideal that empowers a large and diverse swath of people. Again, I'm not knocking it, but its true. For a lot of readers, the founding members of the Justice League are the only characters they will ever know or will ever be concerned with. That means that Wonder Woman and Cyborg are message-loaded characters. I won't be talking about Wonder Woman in a Cyborg blog, but I hope you see the parallels that I'm drawing here.

What does all this have to do with Cyborg and John Stewart? Well, being good-looking and relate-able on a visual level is one of the things that I think has made John Stewart more popular than Cyborg even though Cyborg has gotten a big push from DC in various forms of media, John has been largely ignored since his cartoon days, and both characters have been on well-known animated series. It's an escapism thing. It's a visual thing. Why do all of the white founders look like heroes and models while Cyborg looks like a monster and a villain? Shouldn't we trying to be moving away from a fear of black men? Cyborg has to look cool. He has to fit a certain ideal and be relate-able visually. Does that mean that we should get rid of the half-face? No, it is iconic. But it can be made to look better. And it doesn't necessarily have to be permanent. You can tell great alien stories with Superman, even though he doesn't look alien at all. You can tell great merman stories with Aquaman, even though he doesn't look fish like at all. The same is true with Cyborg. You can tell great machine stories with him without him looking like a monster. Personally, I think his half-face should look more like a techno-organic addition. It helps to keep a human figure to him. It's easier for artists to draw correctly. It allows him to look cybernetic and handsome. And it looks more advanced than what he has now.

I would also streamline the rest his costume to make it look more advanced, while still retaining his large stature (6'5") and frame (385 lbs).

The current design is too clunky. It looks like something from the 1980s. He looks slow and like he has little range of motion. And I can't see a little kid dressing up easily as Cyborg for Halloween. There's a reason that he looks different in every form of media--his look is just too complicated, clunky, and over-designed.

2) Give Him Some Personality

The most well known version of Cyborg has a jovial, boisterous, friendly personality most of the time. He's supposed to be humorous and funny. He's the kind of guy you want to go to party with or the kind of guy you want to watch a game with. His charisma is supposed to be infectious. But for some reason, the New 52 version of the character is quiet, meek, weak, and a huge sad sack. No one likes a sad sack. This should be corrected immediately.

1) Give Him The Back-Up Pages in Justice League/Do Something With Him

The biggest problem with Cyborg is that he does not get much time centered on him in the DCnU. He doesn't have his own book, and he rarely makes appearances in other books. DC hasn't given him much to do or say in Justice league besides exposition. The only way for Cyborg to get fans is to have him sold to the fans. I say that after Trinity War, Cyborg should get the back-up pages in Justice League. There he could have an epic centered on him, and if the fans like it, DC may be able to give him his own title. I strongly believe that he could be a huge success if he were given the chance and packaged correctly.

31 Comments
31 Comments
Edited by Reignmaker

Not too shabby. I don't think it's too important to make him a fighter...DC has a lot of fighters. But I especially agree on the points of his personality and his overall look. I don't think he needs a backup in JLA, though I suppose it could be good. Johns has obviously been pushing Cyborg for a while now with his new origin and "Oracle" position. He just needs to be made more interesting. If his look and personality were given a shot in the arm, then his appearances would be more memorable - and not come off looking like the obligatory black man.

Posted by The_Greatest_Green_Lantern

I am totally interested in all the things you posted--especially the mythology section. Cyborg stories should definitely touch on all those things. I'd also add that we still don't know what happened to his mom in the New 52. There is just so much to explore with this character. I really do want him to get his own series. I'd buy it in a heart beat. But maybe it would be smarter to start with back-up pages. Johns could write them and set up Cyborg's universe. He did say that Cyborg's time has come.

I also agree with you about his look. His design in Justice League: Flashpoint looks awesome and would feel totally complete with the logo added to it. And the half-face should look more advanced. I am not a fan of the Jim Lee design either.

Edited by OutlawRenegade

Agreed with everything in the OP.

I'd like to add that I want him to say Ray-Lewis-like things. =]

And be as fun as he was in Injustice

Computer Nerd + Jock = Cyborg

Edited by blkson

This is a really nice post man. Love the ideas about his look and personalty. They really need to streamline his design and it doesn't look like they're going to any time soon,which is a shame. I agree with your post wholeheartedly. Cyborg's costume needs to change. I've already talked about this before in another forum.

But honestly, I've given up on Jeff Johns and DC, when it comes to promoting Cy and developing him. It's been 2yrs, since they made this decision and Cyborg has done nothing. Until they give me a reason to like their decision to put him on the Justice League, I say forget it.

Cy is the ONLY founding member with no depth whats so ever. He doesn't look like he'll be doing much in the Trinity War event nor the villains month event either.

I mean how do you make a character the founding member of the Justice League, 2yrs go by and still DO NOT develop him? Vibe has more development in the new52 than a founding member of the Justice League?? Really DC? lol

I'm just fed up with this Cyborg thing. Everything that needs to be said, has been said already on other threads/forums. From his character design, to his lack of character development, to what could be done to make him a cool character, etc. 2yrs now and nothing has changed, so I give up.

He's nothing more than the TOKEN black dude now. I was really excited about him at first but, I honestly don't give a damn about the character any more.

Posted by nappystr8

I still don't think that Cyborg needs a visual makeover, I agree there should be "supermodel" black characters, but Cyborg shouldn't be that. They should have put Black Lightning, John Stewart, or Mr. Terrific on the Justice League to begin with, and there wouldn't have been a problem. I still don't think it's too late to do that.

All of your other points ring very true though. If they want to bring Cyborg to the big leagues, they need to show him earning it. Instead he has been relegated to the most obvious and despicable form of tokenism. So far the New 52 version of the character they have created is really a regression rather than an improvement.

Geoff Johns created and entire mythology of rainbow people for Green Lantern and a full team of superheroes for Aquaman to lead, Jeff Lemire has brought Green Arrow into an ancient mystical secret society of different weapon specialists...and none of these characters even required such massive overhauls to their origins. While Cyborg, who could easily be brought into a bigger story connecting cyborgs from Amazo to Hank Henshaw, is left to only accompany other people in their stories. Inclusion of Technis would also be a cool route to go with the character.

Posted by SUNMAN

agreed on all counts. And agree about Ray Lewis he is the man

Edited by Superdork

I also agree with all of this. Someone should tweet this at Geoff Johns. I don't have a twitter account, but I know he has one.

Posted by Black_Claw

@superdork: I already did. Though I didn't fire off at him so that I don't come off as an ass. Just simply tweeted the link.

Posted by Superdork
Edited by The_Greatest_Green_Lantern

Also, make the beautiful Sarah Charles an awesome love interest who is just as cool with Cyborg as she is on her own.

Posted by Black_Claw

@the_greatest_green_lantern: That reminds me, in the Teen Titans cartoon there was an episode where Cyborg was sent back in time and fell in love with a girl called Sarasim. And in the tie in comic he fell in love with a girl called Sarah Simms. He sure has a thing for girls named Sarah.

Edited by OutlawRenegade

On the look:

I often think cyborg is very futuristic, yet slow to current comic tech/look. Here we have a character running around in clunky armor while others in the dc universe have nano technology, liquid metal armor, and micro sleek everything. Victor who’s supposed to be a technological wonder is still this heavy bound titan.

I envision my Cyborg to be kinda like the trendy, handsome star quarterback of a football team. The white armor can be taken off like football gear, it’s more of a protection/ tech add-on. He still is an amalgamation of man and machine and he recognizes this in his own face and limbs, but its sleek and played down. He still is a genius, and still has his own inner demons about his machinery.

-Kevin Gemser

http://www.tencentticker.com/projectrooftop/2013/07/01/pr-redesign-kevin-gemsers-cyborg/

Edited by Lvenger

Are you really saying that universal and multiversal threats such as Darkseid and the Anti Monitor should be reduced to being merely Cyborg foes? Pssh give me a break. The villains are going to be a problem for a Cyborg ongoing if this is what's on offer.

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger said:

Are you really saying that universal and multiversal threats such as Darkseid and the Anti Monitor should be reduced to being merely Cyborg foes? Pssh give me a break. The villains are going to be a problem for a Cyborg ongoing if this is what's on offer.

The OP is mistaking "more popular" for "Canon Sue".

The only way to make Cyborg more popular is to get him off the Justice League, or kill him. Has no right being on the team, and most people see that.

Posted by Justthatkid

Would love if they did more I think they've been trying to get him more attention with being in the DCUO trailer, and the Injustice game. If they want him to be accepted more as a Justice league member they should really stop showing him in TT.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

This idea that Cyborg needs to be more "human" looking is stupid, he does slim down or bulk up when he's in combat and it isn't any harder to dress up as Cyborg as it is to dress as Iron Man or Thor. He's a Cyborg he should LOOK like a god damn cyborg, he should be a cross between Optimus Prim and the Terminator not just some guy in a fancy tech suit.

Posted by Lvenger

@lvenger said:

Are you really saying that universal and multiversal threats such as Darkseid and the Anti Monitor should be reduced to being merely Cyborg foes? Pssh give me a break. The villains are going to be a problem for a Cyborg ongoing if this is what's on offer.

The OP is mistaking "more popular" for "Canon Sue".

The only way to make Cyborg more popular is to get him off the Justice League, or kill him. Has no right being on the team, and most people see that.

Because of Johns, Wolfman's Teen Titans is no longer canon. That's a damnable crime in itself Fade.

Edited by Captain13

@lvenger said:

Are you really saying that universal and multiversal threats such as Darkseid and the Anti Monitor should be reduced to being merely Cyborg foes? Pssh give me a break. The villains are going to be a problem for a Cyborg ongoing if this is what's on offer.

No, just that those threats could be Blackest-Night-level or Krona-level or First-Lantern-level threats that are part of his mythology. Like the other threat I just mentioned, a crossover would be necessary to win, but they could still be part of his mythology, which would put him at the center of things. A better parallel would be Reed Richards and Galactus. Reed cannot beat Galactus head-to-head or on his own, but he is almost always a necessary element in protecting the Earth from a threat that large.

A villain I think he sould be able to go head to head with is Dr. Light though. That would be cool.

I like these ideas too:

@the_greatest_green_lantern said:

Also, make the beautiful Sarah Charles an awesome love interest who is just as cool with Cyborg as she is on her own.

Agreed with everything in the OP.

I'd like to add that I want him to say Ray-Lewis-like things. =]

Posted by Black_Claw

@outlawrenegade: that sounds cool. But I think I would be better if Cyborg can just make himself appear human via hologram, like how he made himself look like his evil counterpart in Injustice.

Posted by TDK_1997

The first that need to happen with him is that he should leave the League and just get with the Titans or do nothing else.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@captain13: Dr Light isn't a bad guy in the New 52

Posted by Black_Claw

@jonny_anonymous: Something's telling me he might go back to being Dr Rape at some point.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous: Something's telling me he might go back to being Dr Rape at some point.

With DC's "do everything different" I can't see it tbh

Edited by Brcomicbookguy

I'm pretty sure it's going to be cyborgs time to shine soon. I think because of the 52 reboot they didn't want to push everyone at once because they won't all catch on. Now that aquamans got some cred I think it's cyborgs turn.

Posted by OutlawRenegade
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by Black_Claw

@brcomicbookguy: his turn isn't coming soon enough. It's been two years and a lot of people have jumped ship on this character.

Posted by TDK_1997

@jonny_anonymous: Really? DC is clearly setting him up to fall from grace.

Well so far we don't know what exactly is going to happen but it looks like he will be part of the JLA because he has been on the covers for Trinity War.

Posted by Black_Claw

@tdk_1997 said:

@outlawrenegade said:

@jonny_anonymous: Really? DC is clearly setting him up to fall from grace.

Well so far we don't know what exactly is going to happen but it looks like he will be part of the JLA because he has been on the covers for Trinity War.

Sounds interesting. I still think he's gonna turn into the Dr. Light we're all familiar with at some point though.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

@captain13:

1.Batman

2.Batman

3.Batman

4.Batman

5.And Batman

Posted by Black_Claw