Moving into Hell's Kitchen: Andy Diggle Talks Daredevil
Blog@: Diggle to Write Daredevil
Best known for his current run on Marvel’s Thunderbolts as well as his acclaimed Adam Strange run at DC, Diggle is becoming a fan favorite for his stories, and his move to Daredevil is sure to put him front and center of more readers who will quickly call themselves fans.
We spoke with Diggle about moving to Daredevil as well as his signing an exlcusive contract with Marvel.
Newsarama: Andy, what came first, the exclusive contract or the writing gig on Daredevil?
Andy Diggle: They both came around the same time, but I think the Daredevil offer came first. Both took me very much by surprise.
NRAMA: Talking about the exclusive first, what led to this decision for you? You've done work at both DC and Marvel, so what convinced you that Marvel was the place to settle in for a couple of years?
AD: I certainly hadn't planned on signing any more exclusives after my last one with DC expired. But I'd been having a lot of fun writing Thunderbolts and Hawkeye, and had been made to feel very welcome; and then when the Daredevil offer came along followed by the exclusive offer, I realized there wasn't any good reason not to sign it. I was already committed to a bunch of Marvel books, and I realized I had nothing to lose and plenty to gain.
I've been really quite pleasantly surprised at how welcoming Marvel have been. I've been bowled over by the response to my work and by the trust they've put in me. I wish I'd made the jump years ago, to be honest.
NRAMA: Over to Daredevil - what was the attraction of the series and character for you? Where does the character come in a list for you of "if I could write anyone in the Marvel Universe, I'd write _____?"
AD: Well, the top of that list for me has always been reserved for Nick Fury, but that'll have to wait until I've arranged a freak hang-gliding accident for Bendis and Hickman. Seriously though, Daredevil ticks all the right check-boxes for my personal style; dark, gritty, street-level, character-driven, with plenty of room for explosive visual action. I'm all over it.
NRAMA: You could probably write a book on this, but in the semi-condensed form - who is Daredevil for you, and why does he do the things he does?
AD: Short version? Catholic guilt. Seriously, perhaps more than most Marvel characters, Matt is defined by his upbringing, and his dad really instilled him with that sense of doing the right thing, the hard thing, against all odds. Matt's always got the weight of the world on his shoulders. He takes everything on to himself. He can't just let it go, just let it be someone else's problem. That's his burden. And I love the fact that Matt Murdock isn't really Daredevil's "secret identity"; they're basically the same person, driven by the same needs to achieve the same goals, just through different means.
NRAMA: What era of Daredevil really sings to you? Who wrote the stories that you're looking at as the bar you're trying to live up to?
AD: Predictably, it has to be the Frank Miller stuff. If I had to choose one story in particular it would have to be Elektra Lives Again. What an amazing book. Just beautiful, heartbreaking, and technically brilliant. I love the use of Catholic imagery there; the fact that Matt's this haunted character, always running to try and catch something just out of his reach; and I love the fact that it's so terse, so visually driven, with almost no exposition. I think the character's physicality really lends itself to that kind of visual storytelling. You don't need pages of dialogue to show Matt's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders; you can see it. We get it.
NRAMA: Famously, when Ed took over the series from Brian, he picked up on some of the threads that Brian had left for him. Are you looking at a similar situation, or will this be a relatively fresh(ish) start?
AD: Ed's leaving me with one hell of a cliffhanger! Seriously, he's been incredibly gracious and accommodating, and he's leaving Matt in a very, very provocative position. Obviously I don't want to spoil it, but I couldn't ask for a cooler, more challenging place to pick up the book. Trust me, when you read Ed's final issue, you'll want to know what happens next. So yeah, I think it'll get people talking.
NRAMA: That said, both Brian and Ed have kept and expanded upon certain themes that were originally introduced by Frank Miller, something that you said appeals to you as well. Will you be sticking to that milieu, and if so, why do you think that works well for the character?
AD: Frank Miller very much made the character his own. For me, the challenge will be to balance those elements that have worked well in the past, and that readers want and expect to see, with new characters and situations that freshen up the series and prevent it getting stale and overly familiar. I'm pretty pleased with what we've come up with.
NRAMA: While you’re coming on later, that cover for #500 that was shown as a teaser with your announcement has a lot of characters and blasts from the past on it - is that a celebration of where the character has been, a tease of what's to come, or...more?
AD: Maybe a little bit of both!
NRAMA: Finally Andy, we're a few months away from your start, but come on - you know we can't let you go without a tease...any words on what's to come under your tenure with Daredevil?
AD: Let's just say that Matt Murdock can't carry on the way he has been going indefinitely. Something's got to give. And when it does, expect repercussions. Major, seismic repercussions.