David W. Griffith

d-w-griffithfilmTo find another character from the comics in Luke Cage (as usual, if I miss somebody let me know) we have to go to Episode 7, Manifest, where we meet young Dave Griffith, portrayed by Jeremiah Richard Craft. Griffith is one of the characters who underwent the most drastic changes from the comics in both appearance and purpose in the story: while he’s originally a young Caucasian man with blonde hair, in the show he’s an African-American kid, and while in the comics he’s a recurring character in the Hero for Hire series as a personal friend of Luke Cage‘s and his house mate, on tv is just another street boy from Harlem who crosses his path. Not that there’s anything to complain with the show in general, but I personally miss the original portrayal of D.W. Griffith (yup, like the director): let’s take a look at him.

David Griffith was born in New York City, and lived most of his life in Manhattan. Since he was a kid he had a true passion for movies, and as a young man he became a film student; that’s when he started to call himself “D.W. Griffith”, like the legendary director, hoping both to impress people and to use the name as a lucky charm for his raising talent. Looking for a place to stay in the expensive Manhattan, Dave was allowed by his uncle, Max, to stay in his movie theater, the Gem Theater, near Times Square, a seedy building that however ensured the young man a place to stay. D.W. didn’t pay any rent, but he worked in the theater to repay his uncle: he made coffee, he swept floors and much more; he even became friends of sorts with Bertha, the ticket seller, a sarcastic candy-eater who often made fun of his ambition of becoming a famous director. The Gem was specialized in B-movies, Westerns especially, so Griffith didn’t exactly found the inspiration he needed for his studies in his workplace, but he enjoyed the shows nevertheless…and thanks to them he met Luke Cage, another Western fan, who was actually looking for a d-w-griffithcomics1place to stay. Griffith liked Cage, and he decided to rent to him an office inside the Gem, a place that Luke gladly accepted. The two became fast friends, and Luke Cage helped D.W. in more than one occasion (the only battle they constantly lost was the one against the coffee machine, that kept doing anything but making coffee as it was supposed to do). For a time, Luke Cage was D.W. Griffith’s one and only friend, even if being with him wasn’t exactly easy, especially considering the property damage that being a superhero Cage often caused to the building (a battle with Erik Josten, the original Power Man, nearly destroyed the auditorium, and the entire theater remained closed for a month as a result). Griffith, however, returned the favor, such as when he secretly filmed Gideon Mace to prove that he was indeed evil as Luke Cage claimed, or when he tried to free his friend from the Ringmaster‘s hypnosis.

Then, eventually, the inevitable happened, and an attack from Senor Suerte and Senor Muerte ended up destroying the Gem Theater, leaving D.W. Griffith without a house and without a job. Power Man, however, didn’t forget his friend, and since he was now teaming up with Iron Fist (who was also the billionaire Daniel Rand), he asked him to rebuild the Gem. Rand agreed, and had the theater rebuilt exactly like it was before, and he even became a patron of it. In order to celebrate the grand-reopening of his beloved Gem, D.W. organised a party and invited all sorts of people…even the ones better not to invite to such parties, and quite an amount of Acid Z, a powerful drug, started circulating among the guests. One of them was so high that he jumped out of the window, only to be saved by Cage; Griffith himself took some Acid Z, and he got depressed because of it: thinking of his life, he lost faith in his potential, and looked at himself as to a complete failure. He went to the Brooklyn Bridge with all the intention of jumping…but a mysterious hooded stranger advised him against it, making him look at his life from another perspective. Recognizing the pattern of It’s a Wonderful Life, the film student saw it as a sign, and abandoned his short-lived and drug-induced suicidal d-w-griffithcomics2tendencies. Back to his old life, Griffith saw his friend leaving as he found another place to stay, and the two didn’t see each other for some years…until Luke resurfaced, asking D.W. to switch apartments with him and his wife Jessica Jones, so that he could move to the Gem Theater along with his family and his newly-formed team, the Mighty Avengers. With the unique opportunity of getting back in touch with his old friend and becoming a supporting member of a superhero team, D.W. Griffith accepted the offer: now, his life could come back to be as exciting as when he was hosting the Heroes for Hire, maybe even more.

David Griffith, or D.W. Griffith as he likes to be called, is an enthusiast and free-minded man, who lives by the day and invests time and energies in dreams that will most likely stay what they are: dreams. With age he gained some pragmatism, and now works as a building manager, but the artist inside him is not ready to die yet, and he still hopes to become a skilled director one day…and maybe his superhero friends can provide him with the inspiration he needs.


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