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Thoughts on Andy Diggle, Exclusivity and Timing

by  in Comic News Comment

If you can find it (lord knows I’m not going to go through the effort to look for it), you’ll see discussions between me and various people back in late 2004/early 2005 about what Andy Diggle should do after his awesome Adam Strange mini-series was ruined by being forced to tie-in with an Infinite Crisis lead-in.

At the time, it was interesting to note that the consensus (well, the consensus among the people I was talking with) was that his best fit, if he wanted to move into superhero territory, was to follow Brian Michael Bendis on Daredevil. However, even then, Ed Brubaker was rumored to be getting that gig (it is simply astonishing how long Brubaker was rumored to be following Bendis on Daredevil. He did not take over until 2006, but I assure you, it was already being talked about like a sure thing in late 2004).

But what was seen as a bit of a foregone conclusion at the time was that Diggle definitely should (and would) move to Marvel Comics when his exclusive contract expired at the end of 2005.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum – he renewed his DC exclusive for another year. And when the one year extension ran up, he became the regular writer on Hellblazor.

Finally, almost two years later, he finally ended up where we all figured he was heading back in 04/05, writing for Marvel. And now he is going to be succeeding Ed Brubaker on Daredevil (and he surely will do a wonderful job), so it’s just like we all figured would happen – just over three years after we figured it would happen.

This situation strikes me in two ways – one, how the heck did DC use Diggle so poorly during the THREE YEARS they had him under exclusive? I mean, we got some excellent comics, to be sure (Losers, Green Arrow Year One were my favorites in particular). But you’re telling me that he couldn’t even get, say, a Peter Tomasi-esque workload? Andy Diggle would have been golden on anything DC gave him, and yet the highest profile assignment he had was…an arc on Batman Confidential? For serious? This is not like the Kuberts – while sure, that did not do much for DC, but that was more the Kuberts being late. This was DC deciding that while they liked Diggle enough to lock him up, they didn’t like him enough to put him on, like, Nightwing or some such title. That’s so odd to me.

The other thing that strikes me about this is how it really drives home how important timing is. Diggle is going to come on to Daredevil soon, and he is going to be great. However, he could have come on to Daredevil in 2006 and been great as well. It just so happens that that Ed Brubaker was primed for the book then, as well (and don’t get me wrong, Brubaker was great, too – this is not a “Oh man, I wish we had had Diggle instead of Brubaker!), so instead, Diggle had to wait three years to get his shot at the book. Imagine, though, if he had NEVER gotten his shot? Karl Kesel seemed always to be on the cusp of writing the Fantastic Four, but it never happened. I know plenty of folks who waited years for Christopher Priest to finally get a “major” book. It never happened. What other writers can you recall who always seemed to be on the cusp of being “big” but it never quite fell into place?