Cyborg Writer Morgan Hampton on DC Power 2024’s Authentic Black Voices for Black Characters

Morgan Hampton

Not to humble brag, but we sit down with folks for interviews from tv shows, movies, and comics all the time. However, it’s not often that we get to interview someone in media that started their career with us. That’s the case with Morgan Hampton. Morgan has done numerous comic book reviews and editorials for us throughout the years. We then got to see him join the Milestone Initiative, write Cyborg for DC Comics, and currently work on IDW’s new Sons of Star Trek mini-series with artist Angel Hernandez. To say, we are proud of Morgan would be an understatement. We are beyond hyped for the career Morgan has mapped out for himself and extremely excited to talk to him about his forward for DC Power 2024 and more!

Omar Holmon: I’ll try and act professional with you.

Morgan Hampton: It’s all good let’s keep it friendly *Laughing

Omar: You got to write the intro for DC power 2024. What was that like for you?

Morgan: That was crazy. It was kinda an opportunity that came out of nowhere and it was on my bucket list, and I didn’t know it was on my bucket list. My editor for Cyborg reached out to me when they were working on DC Power 2024. He said, “You know, you made your debut in last year’s, you’ve done Cyborg, you’re part of this Milestone initiative. We think this would be a great way to pay homage to what we done and point towards where we are going. Without a beat, I was like absolutely, I’ll do it. I feel like normally forwards go to people with a little more notoriety. So, I thought it could just use this as an opportunity to just kinda talk about my process up until this point and how I got here. Kind of  shine a light to people who were trying to follow in those footsteps.

Omar: I saw your comment about having imposter syndrome, and I dunno why. You don’t often get to see someone you knew as a fan first and see them then writing comic books. The one that comes to mind for us is Stephanie Williams. We knew she was reviewing comic books and doing content around comic books, and now she is writing comic books. Now, we can say that for you Morgan, who was reviewing comic books and now writing the comic books. How does that feel? 

Morgan: It’s crazy. You can even go back on the Black Nerd Problems website and look at all the times I wrote about what Cyborg needed in his book. I got to do it. I’m still pinching myself. It doesn’t make sense, and it does make sense. Obviously, I was on this trajectory for a minute, I used BNP as a way for me to get insight into the industry to meet and talk with people. To have it happen, it still feels very surreal. Happy to be here. Hope I get to be here for a while. I’m having the time of my life. 

Omar: I’m half-way through your Cyborg run and ain’t no other way to say it. I’m happy to see how Black this is. From the Twitter (X) mentions to how you portray Estelle Greene the content creator, I see no code switching here. How did you come to that decision where you had this shot and said, “I’ma be entirely Black about it?”

Morgan: I wanted to swing for the fences. I wanted to do stuff in a Cyborg book that hasn’t been done before. In a weird way, there hasn’t been a lot in the Cyborg books, and I kinda got to do what I wanted to do. It’s not a Batman book so I kinda had a lot of free reign to make things up as I go. I think I got lucky. My editor on Cyborg was Black as well, so we didn’t have to have those conversations like, “Why is he talking like that?” He just got it. I also think, off the backs of everyone who did Cyborg before me who got told “no,” they paved the way for me to have this freedom. I knew when I got this book, it had to feel like me. It has to feel as Black as it can feel. It’s gotta feel authentic to Detroit, and I felt like I had to bring that in there as well with some of the lingo. Showing some of the locations. All that type of stuff.  

Omar: Why Cyborg? Was it because you like this character because they’re an underrated character or because you knew you could move something with this character?

Morgan: A little bit of both. I’ve always been a fan. It’s funny, our generation, a lot of us got into comics through tv first. I watched the Teen Titans show growing up, and he was one of my favorite characters. Especially because you didn’t see a lot of characters that reflected your identity. One, he’s black and two, he’s got a disability. Which I have as well. I always felt like Cyborg had never really taken off as a character. I feel like most of the time the best stories for Cyborg have been in other media like the tv show, not so much in the comics. There just hasn’t been a lot of progression. I think me being a fan of the character for so long was me screaming into the void for the potential he had that I wanted to see conveyed on the page. As soon as I got that opportunity, I ran with it. 

Omar: What’s it like to go from writing about wanting to see more Black and creators of colors behind these characters as writers to becoming one of those writers yourself? You got to do what you wrote about now and put that voice behind a character.

Morgan: We’ve reached a point in 2024, and I touched on this in that forward, being on the page or being on the screen is not enough. We need people in the room, in these writer’s rooms fighting for the authenticity of the voice of these characters. We can see it when there’s these Black characters that got some fucked up hair drawn by an artist that can’t draw black hair and didn’t try. Everyone having the same skin tone, and we want better. 

Omar: You mention the Milestone Initiative in the forward too. What was it like finding out you got in and being a product of that initiative? 

Morgan: As good of an experience as you could have managed. I think a lot of people in it were skeptical on what it was going to be and what the after was going to be. They really did put as much time and effort into making this experience for us as something that was going to launch our careers. Which is what they advertised it as. DC and Marvel have had talent development programs where you never hear from those people again. They knew this couldn’t be something where we dropped off the face of the Earth. They really wanted to be intentional as it was centered around underrepresented voices. 

They really put us through the ringer. Amy Chu was teaching us how to write comics through a professional framework. We got to just learn what it was like working with other artists and other editors. Just kinda learning the process for commercial comics as someone that had been doing it on my own for so long. A lot of us were unsure what after looked like. Even to this day, they’ve done a goo job of trying to make sure we get gigs. Having a big publisher like DC open the doors like that, you don’t see often. 

Omar: Now that you done Cyborg, is there a character you want to put into the spotlight or who else would you want to be writing?

Morgan: This is not really answering your question because he is already in the spotlight, but I want to write Static really bad Omar. (Ohh you want the big guns). Going back to smaller characters I can bring something too, I’m a big Martian Manhunter guy, I want to see more of his character explored through the context of the Black identity that he wears. We see it more in other media like in the Super Girl tv show but we don’t see it that much in the comics. I would love to explore that. I’d like to take my hand at a Green Lantern either John Stewart or Jo Mullein. I think a lot of people as Black creatives are like don’t just write the Black characters. I do get that, but I think the Black characters need the Black writers too to bring them into a space that feels authentic. I think the Flash would be fun. Superman would be fun. I dunno if I’d write Batman. But going back to B-Tier or C-Tier characters, Martian Manhunter is at the top of that list.

Omar: Anything else you wanna say about DC Power 2024?

Morgan: It’s DC Pride for Black people and hopefully it can be a book that launches people’s careers. For this year they really dug deep for some of these characters. They got Blood Wynd in there. I ain’t even know who he was till six months ago. They’re digging deep and giving these characters a spotlight. So with this book, I think you’ll find some artists and writers you don’t know and will want to follow but with some of the characters as well. 

Cover image via X

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  • Omar Holmon is a content editor that is here to make .gifs, obscure references, and find the correlation between everything Black and Nerdy.

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