DCN Exclusive Interview: Andy Diggle – Writer Of ‘Green Arrow: Year One’ ‘Swamp Thing’ and ‘Batman: Confidential’

Interview by: Steve J. Ray

South London born and bred, Andy Diggle is a fan-favourite and critically acclaimed writer and comics editor. He’s worked on characters as diverse as Sonic The Hedgehog and Swamp Thing, The Losers (Vertigo), Marvel’s Daredevil and DC Comics’ Batman: Confidential I met up with Andy at a recent London Comic-Con, where we sat down and talked about his work and our mutual love of comics.

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Steve J. Ray: Andy, Hi. Welcome back to London; home and where it all started. How’re things going?

Andy Diggle: Things are good. It’s lovely to be back in London and amongst my fellow nerds.

SJR: Oh, yes! Our tribe, as I call us. Going back to the early days, from being writer/editor on Sonic The Hedgehog (Sonic The Comic) to becoming one of the many representations of Tharg The Mighty of 2000AD fame. What was that like?

AD: Terrifying! Absolutely terrifying, as I had no idea what I was doing. No… it was amazing. I always knew that I wanted to write comics, and I always assumed that I would be pitching stories to 2000AD as a writer. I’d actually started preparing some pitches to send in.

I’d studied comics at university, in fact I actually taught the subject – I went back to teach comics for a while there. I was taking evening classes as a writer.

The traditional route at that point was you start with a “Future Shock” (a 2000AD sci-fi short story) and then you might get a full series. After that you might eventually get to work with Vertigo, or something like that. I was always very keen on writing for Vertigo too, as well as for 2000AD. That seemed to be where my tastes would lie.

Andy Diggle was editor of 2000AD and Sonic: The Comic

It was purely coincidence that there was simply an editorial assistant job going at 2000AD, so I applied for it. I was interviewed by David Bishop and Steve MacManus. I think it was because I’d done my dissertation on comics; on comics form, and how they worked from the inside… like storytelling techniques and stuff. I think that’s probably what swung it. It wasn’t just being a fan, it was actually that I’d taken an interest in the nuts and bolts of how they work.

When I started off I was just the office assistant, it was photocopying, answering mail, and that kind of thing… it was learning on the job, really. Which, in my case, meant floundering around and asking lots of questions like “How does this work, and how does that work?” So it was a bit scary, but super exciting as well! I was working with my childhood heroes; people like John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, and it was amazing.

Obviously, it was a huge learning experience for me. I made plenty of mistakes, and did lots of things that I wish I could go back and do differently, but at the same time I learned a hell of a lot and made loads of friends… and we’re still friends today. I got on well with almost everybody who worked on the comic, and we still hang out whenever we see each other at shows and stuff. It was the best possible training you could ever get.

Like I said though, all I ever wanted was to be a writer and I never wanted to be one of those guys who is kind of “back seat driving.” I became editor just at the point where Rebellion had bought 2000AD, and there was a certain amount of turmoil behind the scenes… just in terms of relocating, and so on. We didn’t have the back-up we were used to, purely because the staff was much smaller. That was quite a stressful time.

It got the point where, after I’d been an editor for quite a while, that Matt Smith, who I’d brought on as my assistant – he’s just got such a real feel for 2000AD – he’s great and he’s such a hard worker, that I felt that the comic would be in really safe hands with him. I wanted to do what I’d always said I wanted to do, and go and write comics. So I decided to leap out into the freelance world. It’s worked out pretty well, I think.

Some of the comics Andy Diggle wrote for Marvel

SJR: Was there a bit of pressure there? Obviously so many comics luminaries have come from 2000AD: John Wagner, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, those other chaps, Grant Morrison and Alan Moore – what ever happened to them? Did you feel a burden of pressure following on from them, as a writer?

AD: Of course! One of the first things I was offered, when I did pitch stuff to Vertigo, was “Do you want to reboot Swamp Thing?” Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, with Steve Bissette and John Totleben, was one of the first American comics I ever read. That’s what got me reading American comics.

SJR: For me that’s still the bar.

AD: Yeah, you know? That’s one of the ones that taught me what comics can be. Even taking something that, before he came on, wasn’t that well regarded after the first series was cancelled… it was just a pulp horror comic. Obviously he just thought to himself, “What can I do with this? How can I make this about something?” That was really inspiring. Plus, it was beautiful, and scary, and smart, and heartfelt.

I find that, with almost everything I’ve done, that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. Following Brian Bendis and Ed Brubaker on Daredevil, you know? That was terrifying. (we both laugh) I still feel that I was completely out of my depth on that one. Those are tough acts to follow, you know? Following Grant Morrison on Action Comics! It’s humbling. I know going in that I’m not going to be as good as those guys, I just have to do the best I can.

A lot of the time, when you’re working on big titles with the big publishers, there will quite often be a lot of following set editorial edicts. With Daredevil, Marvel said to me, “O.K. … there’s going to be this big crossover called “Shadowlands” where Matt Murdock is going to take control of The Hand, and they’re going to build a giant castle in the middle of Manhattan”, and I’m like, “O.K. … but you know the Avengers live just down the road from here, right?” (we both laugh out loud) “Oh, don’t worry about them!”

SJR: They’re off-world.

AD: That’s the thing! So I kept asking, “But what are the Avengers and the Fantastic Four doing? Why aren’t they helping Manhattan?” “No… don’t worry about it!” “Oh… O.K.” So I never really felt like I had a good handle on how to make that work as a crossover. That’s on me, though. I can’t really blame anyone else for that. For me, it didn’t really work out.

Andy Diggle wrote Green Arrow: Year One

There were other times, when they let me do my own thing, like Green Arrow: Year One… that was actually never pitched as “Year One”, it was just a Green Arrow origin story. I like action movie style stories, that’s kind of my thing. I’ve always felt more comfortable with the slightly more realistic and grounded approach, than with “everybody’s got super-powers.” I’ve never really enjoyed trying to make sense of all the internal logic of that. A threat feels more threatening when characters don’t have super powers.

It was great. Dan DiDio just let us run with it. Me and Jock. We were talking about it at that year’s New York Comic-Con, where we just presented a united front and we said “Jock’s gonna draw this. Cool?” and he said “Cool, great”, and we just did our thing.

SJR: In your defence, I loved a lot of the stuff when you took over a previous run, or from an established writer. Swamp Thing in particular. Yes, Alan Moore tore the character apart and built him back up, but he did it with a lot of love and respect for what went before; the original Len Wein/Bernie Wrightson classic run, especially. Then we had Rick Veitch cut short, Doug Wheeler, Nancy A. Collins, Mark Millar… they went more their own way. Sometimes those writers totally erased what went before, blowing up the character and premise. It was all very entertaining, but I also think some of it went a little too far.

You restored the atmosphere and feel of both Len Wein and Alan Moore, I think. For me you brought some of the old magic back. There was more focus on character, and less on spectacle… if that makes any sense? How did you feel when you were offered that small run on Swamp Thing? Was that your aim? Give it your own stamp, but bring back what made it great to start with?

AD: Bringing it back to the classic was basically the goal I set myself for it. It’s probably important to point out that when I took it on it hadn’t been commissioned as an ongoing series, it was set up as a mini-series. The previous run had been Mark Millar, and at the end of it Swamp Thing wasn’t just a plant elemental, but fire, air, water… he had literally become the planet Earth. He had all of these different elemental powers. That was a really interesting place to end a series, but it was a difficult place to begin a new one.

So, what I took it upon myself to do with that was to basically hit the reset button. My story was about taking him back to just being the Alec Holland/Swamp Monster kind of guy. Yes, he was still the green elemental, but it was about de-powering him. It was about getting him to a point where, once my run finished, then DC could launch a new ongoing series, with a new issue #1, where you don’t have to know any of that long, complicated continuity.

Complex continuity is a storyteller’s worst nightmare. The fans love it, that’s important, and it’s what they invest in, but at the same time all that makes it difficult for new readers to get their head around. It makes it difficult for me to get my head around… you get to a point where there’s simply too much going on in that storyline.

So, yeah. I set it up to get him back to being that plant monster guy by the end of it… or that was the plan. Then, because people liked it and it was well received, Karen Berger asked me to keep it going, as an ongoing series. I felt like I’d told the story that I’d set out to tell, so – very nicely and very politely – I had to tell her that If I’d known that it was going to an ongoing that I wouldn’t have started there, I would’ve started where the rest button had already been pushed, and told the story completely differently.

It then went through various other writers, but it never quite took off. That wasn’t anyone’s fault, definitely not the other writers, it was just the wrong place or setting to launch an ongoing. Anyone else would’ve done an amazing job if they’d just been allowed to start fresh, with a new issue #1… which is what I thought they should’ve done.

Andy Diggle took Swamp Thing back to his roots... sorry

SJR: Absolutely. So, going back. You also brought up Green Arrow: Year One, which I have to touch on for a few reasons. There have always been writers and artists who have left their mark, and whose names will live on, purely due to the stories they’ve told. You’ve done that for sure, but your name will be tied to characters, for a stranger, weirder and even more meta way. Your run on Green Arrow didn’t just get fans on board because it was a great story, but it inspired the creators of the Arrow T.V. show, who even took your name and created the character of John Diggle, and his evil brother Andrew.

Great compliment? Mind-blowing? Surreal? All of the above? How did you feel about all that?

AD: (With a huge, but slightly bewildered smile on his face) Very strange, very surreal. What they didn’t know is that I actually do, in real life, have a brother called John.

SJR: No way!

AD: (Laughing) and he’s not a comic geek, he doesn’t read comics, he doesn’t watch Arrow.

SJR: So there’s a real Andrew and there’s a real John Diggle? That’s even more crazy!

AD: (We’re both laughing) So that’s just very cool. Those guys are here! (David Bradley and Stephen Amell were also in attendance at the convention where this interview took place). I’m hoping I might get to meet them at some point.

SJR: You can go up to David and say, “Hey… I’m your dad. Sort of.”

AD: (More laughter). Obviously, it’s very flattering, and kind of surreal. It’s just nice seeing just how much they used from our story. Watching the first episode of Arrow, Jock was sending me screen grabs from it.

SJR: He did some work for the show, didn’t he?

AD: I don’t know if it was officially, as a concept guy, but I think they definitely used his look for Ollie, as inspiration for the island sequences and stuff. They used China White as the villain too… who we’d invented for our story. I was hoping that she’d become more of a major player.

SJR: So was I! I wish they’d kept to just using Green Arrow characters and villains, but alas…

AD: It’s all cool. It’s so nice to see that stuff come to life. Nowadays there’s just so much stuff tied to comics, though. It’s hard because it’s kind of like when your hobby becomes your job, you almost have to find a new hobby. It means that I read a lot less comics for fun now, and watch a lot less comics based shows for fun… because it all starts to feel like homework, So I’ve had to find other ways to indulge my escapist side. In my case, these days that tends to be Dungeons & Dragons, that’s my nerd-out escapism. I love it. I play it twice a week now. It keeps me sane.

SJR: Me too… I try to get a day of gaming in a couple of times a month. It’s brilliant.

AD: It really is.

Andy Diggle inspired the naming of 'Arrow' character John Diggle... who has a brother called Andrew

SJR: You’re one of those writers who has handled so many big characters; Batman: Confidential, Green Arrow, Superman, Action Comics… but, I love the lesser known characters, and your own creations. The Losers, Adam Strange. I guess it’s much more liberating writing about those guys, and running with them. Without so much of a microscope on you, and all the constraints of continuity and everything else.

AD: Yes, absolutely. That’s a really good question. I think it probably shows, too. You can tell when I’m having fun. When you get the less well known characters, like – with no disrespect, because I love them all – but the C-listers… like Adam Strange, who don’t have the huge following of a Batman or a Superman, then you’ve got a lot more wiggle room, to kind of reinvent them. I really like the idea of reinvention. You can just update and add your own personality and stamp on them.

You wouldn’t have an MCU that works as well as it does if not for what Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch did with The Ultimates.

SJR: Hear, hear!

AD: They were just allowed to approach it in a totally new way. They were like, what if we were just able to make this all feel a bit more fresh, a bit more modern, and a bit more user friendly? They made the characters a lot more accessible to readers who may not have had decades worth of continuity knowledge.

That’s exactly how we approached Adam Strange. It was terrific. Dan DiDio offered it to me and I just jumped at it. It’s a space opera, you know, I can have fun with this. They just let me come up with something that was fresh. I was told that this story was going to be the lead into the Rann/Thanagar war! I kept asking him, “Wow, great! So do want me to start that war in this book? Or, is it gonna happen in another title? In which case, let me know how the war begins.” You know.

I didn’t find out ’til I’d written, like issue #7! So, for issue #8 I was already “I really need to know if you’d like me to start this war now!” Then the powers that be at DC finally said, “Right… so this is what’s going to happen: the planet’s gonna get teleported into Thanagar’s star-system and blah, blah, blah”, so if it feels like the story’s taken a sudden left turn right at the end, that’s because it did! Up until that point everything had been planned, then at the end I was told, “Well, here’s how the story’s going to end.”

It was a lot of fun. There was a whole list of characters we were told to include like the Omega Men. Dan said to please include the Darkstars and then kill them all. They were literally just put into the story just so we could kill them off, for somebody else to reboot them at a later date.

SJR: What? WOW!

AD: (Laughing) Yeah, it was just a way of tying off old continuity. So, if you were wondering why they were only in it for just a couple of issues, then they all get nuked… well, that was the edict.

SJR: Damn!

AD: The villain! That Star Killer guy, was a character that Dan had always liked, and I’d never heard of him, so I Googled him and was like “This is so cheesy… how can I de-cheese this?” So I created a little bit of mystique around him as a villain. So it was just this great, fun, pulp, sci-fi action stuff that I really enjoyed writing.

I loved it so much that I wanted to do a sequel. I would’ve happily made that one an ongoing. The ending I would’ve used had Adam saving Rann by using the Zeta beam to zap the planet off to an unknown location, but he doesn’t know where! Just to stop the bad guys from finding it.

So, the impetus for the new ongoing series would be the search for Rann. Adam Strange basically roaming the universe trying to find Rann. He knows his family are out there, somewhere… a lone man, on a quest. Like a Swiss Family Robinson in space.

SJR: I would read the ([email protected] out of that!

AD: (Laughing) Thanks. Maybe one day.

Andy Diggle didn't get to finish his run on Action Comics

SJR: That’s actually preempted another one of my questions. When I heard that you’d be taking over Action Comics from Grant Morrison, I thought, “Yes!” then sadly it didn’t pan out fully. Or, at least not the way that you or I would’ve probably liked. Are there any other projects that you would really love to revisit, if you got the chance?

AD: I would’ve loved to have finished the Action Comics outline that was actually approved, absolutely. I had a year long outline green-lit…

SJR: That’s gotta hurt.

AD: There were so many constant changes behind the scenes, that it got to the point where what was going to get printed wasn’t my story anymore, so I thought it best that they got somebody else to do it. I guess that’s the diplomatic way of putting it.

SJR: Understood.

AD: It really is a shame, because it’s flattering to be asked to write such a huge book. It was quite stressful having to walk away. I kind of had to, though. For my stress levels, it was self-preservation. It was the right thing to do.

People always ask comics writers, “So which characters would you like to write?” No-one ever asks that of Stephen King, or James Elroy. They want to create their own characters, and tell their own stories. That’s true of all writers.

With that said… I do have a couple more Batman stories in me, that I’d still like to write.

SJR: Bring back Batman: Confidential. That was a good series.

Batman: Confidential was a 12 issue mini-series written by Andy Diggle

AD: Thank you. I’ve got an idea for a Batman/Joker story that has an angle I don’t think has been seen before. The main problem with these top level characters, the ones that are so iconic, over the decades it feels like everything’s been done. It’s hard trying to find a fresh angle on it. I don’t just want to be churning out filler. I only want to approach a major character if I feel that I’ve got something new to say with it. I’ve got an angle for a Joker story that would basically be about childhood trauma. Both Bruce Wayne’s, already well documented childhood trauma, but also the idea of the Joker – (laughing) and this sounds really harsh – but with the Joker traumatising children, with the potential of creating new adversaries for himself.

I pitched this to Jock a few years back, and he seemed quite keen on it. Maybe now Scott Snyder’s done something a little similar, so I’ll have to check it out.

SJR: Oh, the Batman Who Laughs and his cadre of Zombie Robins? No that’s different. I think your idea is more like Joker creating himself the next Batman. That’s dark! Again, I’d read the ([email protected] out of that too!

AD: (Laughing) Thanks! I’ve got one or two Punisher stories in me, that I’d like to get out too. I definitely want to play Punisher as more of the bad guy than the hero, you know?

SJR: If we’re honest, he is.

AD: Exactly. I always have more fun with the characters that live in the grey areas. Though, writing Superman, that one character who is totally just the best person, was actually very stimulating and inspiring. Not just the strongest, but just the most decent. I think that sometimes I can get too cynical, and I need to bring out my inner Superman.

Andy Diggle with Steve J. Ray

SJR: So, we know some of the big characters you’ve worked on, and may want to revisit. What’s on your agenda right now, though? I know a little about your ComiXology project, but what does a day in the life of Andy Diggle look like right now, in terms of writing work?

AD: At the moment I’m writing Prométhée 13:13 which is co-production between ComiXology Originals and French publisher Delcourt. It’s a spin-off from Christophe Bec’s French graphic novel series, Prométhée, which is huge, epic, sprawling, science fiction conspiracy tale, about ancient aliens and U.F.O.s and government cover-ups. It spans dozens of characters over thousands of years… it’s huge.

You can read the whole thing on ComiXology, in an English translation. It’s massive, so it’s not a quick sell, like most American comics are. It’s a slow build. So, part of my job for this is to do like a single original graphic novel which acts like an introduction to this very complex world that Christophe has built.

Shawn Martinbrough is drawing it, who’s a good friend of mine and a consummate artist.

SJR: He’s a great storyteller.

AD: Brilliant visual storyteller. He has an innate sense of storytelling. We’ve spent years working together on things like Thief Of Thieves (Image Comics), he was one of the first artists to fill in for Jock on The Losers… going way back. He even did one of my issues of Shadowlands. So, yeah, we like working together and it’s really exciting seeing him putting his pages together for that. We’ve got Jock doing the covers for it, too. Will Dennis is editing it for ComiXology, and he’s the guy who put The Losers together, so, it really feels like we’re getting the band back together. It’s really exciting.

SJR: That is proper cool.

AD: Yeah, the first trade’s been put together for San Diego Comic-Con.

SJR: So it’s going to be released in print form too?

AD: I’m not 100% sure, but my understanding is it might? It’ll certainly be available in English on ComiXology digitally, and there will be print editions in France. Whether there’ll be any English print editions, well… I don’t know. I’m sure eventually that’ll happen, once the whole thing’s done.

It’ll be two French editions, two 46 page volumes. Whether that’ll be collected as a single original graphic novel over here, I don’t know yet. So, that’s the current thing I’m doing.

Andy Diggle ComiXology Original

I’m also writing a creator-owned mini-series, which is something that’s very close to my heart. We’re not really in a position to announce what that is yet, but the artist is already attached. We’re weighing up our options as who to pitch it to, but we’re just gonna go ahead and do it anyway, and then approach publishers.

I did a Vertigo crime book years ago called Rat Catcher, which was like an F.B.I. thriller, which we got the rights back to. I’m gonna turn that into a screenplay, because my agent keeps telling me that that’s a movie waiting to happen. We had a very well respected screenwriter who actually adapted it on-spec, a few years back, but it was so different from the comic that we felt like he’s clearly got his own story that he wants to tell… so you tell that story, and we’ll tell this one. So I’m just going to adapt that one myself.

You can tell from the way I write that I like movies, and movie storytelling. It’s just a question of finding the time. I’m spending a lot of time being a dad right now too, which is an important job in and of itself. Once I have more time for myself, then the Rat Catcher screenplay will be next on my list.

SJR: When you can, approach David Ramsey and Stephen Amell…

AD: That could work!

SJR: Some in-roads.

Do you still get that rush; when you’ve finished a script, when you’ve handed it over to penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, when you see the finished article, when you go, “Damn, that’s so cool!”

AD: Yes! Still. Especially when you’re working with artists the calibre of Shawn Martinbrough, or Alessandro Vitti… when you get the stuff back, it’s always kind of a rush. It’s great! You also get that whole, “I could never do that in a million years” thing too. I wish I could draw, but I’ve got no talent for it whatsoever.

You’re entirely in the hands of the artist, you’re never really in control of anything. The writer’s job is just to suggest to the artist, you’re not the artist’s boss. Yes, it’s a collaboration, but you’re in the artist’s hands. You have to trust them. The secret is to always work with the people you can trust; the ones who can bring it to life and to make it better than it looked in your head. I’ve been very lucky to work with such great artists.

SJR: So, with that said, I take it you write full scripts, as opposed to the “Marvel style” of plot, art, then script later?

AD: Everything I’ve ever done has been full-script. That’s how I learned to do it. As a writer you’re trying to create moments, a sense of pacing, and tone. The look in somebody’s eye when they deliver a line… you need to be able to control that. You need to be able to suggest to the artist, “You want to have a little beat there, where we go in close and they deliver a particular line.” That’s not under control if you script after the fact.

It sort of makes sense if you’re doing pulp superheroes, or a 60s kind of thing. Then, you know, sure… it makes sense. we’re trying for a little more… subtlety? I know that subtlety might not be the obvious word to use when most of the stuff I write is exploding helicopters and gun-fights, (we both laugh).

SJR: Give them what they want, Andy.

AD: I think it’s partly because I’m a control freak, I’m not the kind of guy who writes, “Oh, and they fight for six pages.” I want to be able to control the storytelling, moment by moment. Beat by beat. To choreograph, to have a sense of geography of a scene… especially an action scene. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I just wrote “Marvel style.” I feel like I wouldn’t be earning my page rate.

Of course, you still need to be flexible. Like I said, you’re not the artist’s boss. When the finished art comes back it’s never going to completely match what you had in your head. It’s very important that the writer should always be able to re-write, based on what the artwork is. Good editors will let you do that, bad ones will send it straight to the letterer.

It’s not even always the look in the character’s eye, you may want to deliver a line differently because the acting is different to what you’d imagined. It might even be that there simply isn’t enough room for the dialogue. You know that you often need dead space in a panel for conversations. So, sometimes you’ll need to move things around, or change things.

It’s important to always do a dialogue pass based on the finished artwork, before it goes out for lettering, otherwise it leads to all sorts of problems. I’ve had some nightmares. In one case the editor sent the wrong draft of a script to the artist, then got it lettered without telling us and then nothing matched. He then turned around and said, “Oh, actually the first draft was fine. I don’t know why I asked you to re-write that.” Yeah, the whole thing was just a car crash.

SJR: Wow. Not good.

AD: Yeah. I learned a valuable lesson there. Always establish a rapport with the artist. Deal with them direct, do a run around the editors, just to iron out and avoid any problems beforehand. Otherwise things might be moving off without you being aware of what’s going on behind the scenes, which could cause problems later. It just makes more work for everybody having to fix the mess later on. It’s far better to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.

SJR: You’ve worked with some amazing artists. Is there a holy grail, or an artist or artists that you’d really love to work with?

AD: I’ve worked with amazing people. Everyone I’ve already named, plus Leinil Yu… Silent Dragon that was amazing. In terms of people I haven’t worked with… I’m a huge fan of Chris Sprouse. I think that he’s phenomenal. He’s just crisp, clear.

SJR: A great draftsman.

AD: Yeah, and also he gives so much heart and expression to his characters. A beautiful sense of design. I would love to work with him.

Andy Diggle wrote Hellblazer and The Losers for Vertigo

SJR: So, I like to end as many interviews as I can with a trademark question I invented a decade or so back. Over the years you’ve probably been asked hundreds of questions. Is there a question you always wished that someone would ask you, but they never did? What’s that question, and what’s the answer. What would you like our readers, your fans to know about Andy Diggle, or what you do?

AD: That is a good question! O.K. I’ll turn it around slightly. There’s a question that I do get asked a lot, which is, “How do I get a break into the comics industry?” The reply I always give is, “Well, you’re asking the wrong question.” The right question is, “How do I get better?” Once you get better, then the industry will come looking for you.

In my case it was evening classes and study. It was breaking comics apart and figuring them out. I would go through panel by panel, counting how many words were in each balloon, and how many balloons were in each panel, and how many panels were on each page… almost in a mathematical kind of way. I’d see how much visual information you could fit on a page.

A lot of people start off thinking that they have this sprawling epic that they’re gonna do, and once it gets published they’ll find fame and fortune. It doesn’t really work that way. You’ve got to grind away doing a lot of little things first. They’re never going to be great when you’re first starting out, but you’re still learning. It’s like playing the guitar, you’ve got to keep practising, and the more you practice the better you get. You learn by doing it.

People shouldn’t worry so much about getting into the industry, they should concentrate on their craft, and keep grinding away and get better at the job.

Always focus on doing really short stories… and there’re two reasons for this: One is that it’s more likely to actually get drawn and published if you just do a “done in one” like twenty page one-shot, because that’s achievable for a new writer or artist that maybe isn’t getting paid for it. You can finish it and actually have a finished product that you can have in your hand. If that’s just part one of fifty, then it’s probably never gonna happen.

If you’re doing lots of short stories, then you get to work with lots of different artists. Twenty one-shots with twenty artists, instead of a twenty issue story with just one artist, then you’re more likely to get them all finished, and you’ve got twenty different things that you can sell to twenty different people.

Then there’s the sense of completion and satisfaction that you’d got to try lots of different styles, lots of different genres and all the rest of it.

SJR: Great answer! Do you have any parting thoughts, or comments?

AD: Thank you for reading.

SJR: Thank you.

Andy Diggle is sharp, witty and a great person to talk to. I’m really looking forward to reading his new series, but I also hope that he’ll return to DC Comics one day, too.

Images may be subject to copyright. Photos of the author and interviewer by Alex Knight.

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Steve Ray

A family man, amateur chef and comics afficionado extraordinaire. Animal lover and fan of all things comic-book and sci-fi related. His wife thinks that he owns too many books, he thinks that this is an oxymoron.