Hot on the heels of DC Comics announcing Andy Diggle as Grant Morrison’s replacement on “Action Comics,” Dynamite Entertainment introduced him at New York Comic Con as the writer of an original series, part of the publisher’s new crime line of comics. Diggle’s yet-to-be-named crime series is the second to be announced heading into NYCC, following Monday’s announcement of Garth Ennis’ “Red Team.”
Diggle rose to prominence editing and writing “2000 AD” and “Judge Dredd Megazine” in the U.K. Eventually, his career path shifted to the States where he enjoyed critical and commercial success at DC Comics and its Vertigo imprint writing “Green Arrow: Year One” and “The Losers,” the latter of which was made into a movie by Sylvain White starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans.
Most recently, Diggle has shifted back to his roots, re-teaming once again with his longtime artistic collaborator Jock for “Snapshot,” a story serialized in “2000 AD.” The story is being collected in early 2013 at Image Comics, where he is also set to be the third writer for Robert Kirkman’s Skybound title, “Thief of Thieves.”
CBR News connected with Diggle just ahead NYCC and while his Dynamite crime series is clearly in its infancy, he already has large-scale plans for his main character , a man named Lowe who happens to be, a thief amongst thieves.
CBR News: Dynamite will soon announce that you will be writing a new crime series for them in the new year. Honestly, we don’t know much more than that at this point, so what can you share?
Andy Diggle: It’s early days, and we haven’t even decided on a title yet! [Laughs] That’s the truth. I wanted to call it “The Specials,” but I think there’s something already out there called “The Specials.” I have a list of about 10 possible titles, but basically it’s crime with a twist.
The original appeal was to do a really hard-hitting crime book for an adult readership, but we wanted to spice it up, just give it something a little extra to separate it from the norm. So the idea is, our lead character, named Lowe — and I don’t want to give too much away — has an ability to borrow other people’s talents for a limited period of time. If someone knows how to crack a safe or pick a lock or jujitsu, he can steal that ability until his time runs out. He always has a ticking clock to finish whatever job he’s on before he becomes Joe Schmo again.
The carriage inevitably turns into a pumpkin.
Exactly. We have a group of characters with different abilities that are brought together in a slightly “Usual Suspects” kind of way. They find themselves embroiled in a thriller-conspiracy type of situation — but again, I don’t want to spoil too much about where it’s all going. I know this all sounds a little vague, but it’s very early days in development. We’re finalizing a lot of the details.
Who is the artist?
Don’t know yet. [Laughs] I’m not even going to start scripting this thing ’til January. We are very much in the process of putting this whole thing together. I have signed with Dynamite, and we have agreed that this series is happening. It’s now just a question of making this happen.
“Usual Suspects” is one of my all-time favorite films. Are there other movies or works of fiction which may inspire this project?
I think “Usual Suspects” is an amazing piece of work, so there will definitely be a little of that neo-noir feel to this book. I have always been a fan of the John Dahl movies, like “The Last Seduction.” The film noir of the forties and fifties is very much set in the urban jungle or the urban maze, whereas the neo-noir films like the movies John Dahl was making in the 1990s are always set in the middle of nowhere, places like the desert. The idea is that in the modern city you never feel like you are never further than 10 minutes away from a cop. To get that sense of lawlessness, they took the characters out of the city — movies like “Red Rock West” or Jonathan Mostow’s “Breakdown.” I want to bring it back to the city.
I am also interested in looking at cyberpunk. I know that sounds kind of dated. It’s more of an ’80s literary movement, but what they did is they took all of the tropes of noir fiction and ran it though a sci-fi filter. They came out with something that at the time we had never seen before. Nowadays, that’s all been assimilated into the culture, but I was thinking it might be interesting to do something similar with the conventions of superhero comics. I want to stress: This is not a superhero comic we are doing here, but more like what Ed Brubaker is doing with “Incognito,” running crime though a superhero filter.
We are doing a bit of genre-mashing, genre-blending here, and we’ll see what comes out.
You mentioned it was set in “the city.” Are we talking about London, New York —
It’s international. It will start in New York, I think, but as the team comes together, I see them traveling all over the world. I want to broaden the scope. I don’t want it to be the usual rats in an urban maze/conspiracy thing. I want to open up the scale a little bit more than that.