[Continuing our Dynamite sponsored series of peer-to-peer interviews, Jim Zub interviews writer Andy Diggle on his sharp looking series UNCANNY #4]
ZUB: For people who haven’t read Uncanny before, how would you pitch it to them?
DIGGLE: It’s a supernatural thriller about Weaver, a professional thief, gambler and con-man who has the ability to steal your skills, memories or abilities for a short period of time. He’ll use your own skills against you, to achieve whatever goal he’s set himself. But the clock’s always ticking; he only has a limited time window to use these skills before they fade away and he’s back to being a regular Joe.
ZUB: When coming up with Uncanny, what came first – the overall premise, a character, a specific scene, or something else?
DIGGLE: The concept – and the title, incidentally – started as a one-line pitch from Dynamite, this idea of someone who could steal other people’s abilities. I suspect they had in mind something a little more abstract, like stealing luck or fate or whatever, but I prefer a crunchier type of storytelling. The thing that interested me was not so much the idea of stolen abilities, as the idea that Weaver had built himself an entire persona and lifestyle that was itself stolen. He seems to have everything going for him, but you quickly come to learn that it’s all fake, an artificial veneer. People spend a lifetime of hard work developing and honing their individual talents, and yet Weaver steals them in a handshake. He never earned it. So there’s something kind of cheap and hollow about him. I thought it would be fun to create this traditionally handsome, confident, successful, alpha-male hero, and then very quickly strip all that away from him, reveal him as a sham. And then build him back up into something else entirely.
ZUB: How much research goes into the exotic locations or underworld elements in your story?
DIGGLE: ‘ll research until inspiration hits, then then I drop it. I don’t research the real world so I can mimic it; I use research to find new ideas, locales, situations. But once something sparks, I’m off to the races. As the old journalist’s adage goes, “Never let reality get in the way of a good story.”
ZUB: How closely have your final scripts been to the initial pitch? Do stories like Uncanny tend to evolve or do they closely stick to your initial outline?
DIGGLE: There’s always a degree of evolution, but generally I like to plot out a whole arc before I start scripting the first issue. I don’t like flying blind. George RR Martin said there are two kinds of writers – gardeners and architects. Gardeners plant a seed, and then tend and nurture whatever happens to grow from it. Architects, on the other hand, plan everything out in detail before they lay the first brick. I’m definitely more of an architect.
ZUB: Do you have any writing habits? A particular place or a time of day that’s most productive?
DIGGLE: My days are very routine. I take my kids to school every morning, which is just around the corner from the small office I rent in town, so I’m at my desk by 9am every morning. So I just work regular office hours, plus Sundays. If I didn’t have that routine to get me out of the house, I’d probably just sit around playing video games all day. Many writers say they’re more productive in the mornings, but honestly it takes me a while to get warmed up. My mornings are usually taken up with answering emails and screwing around on Twitter, and then when the guilt of not actually writing becomes overwhelming, the dam breaks and I finally start scripting. Left to my own devices, I’d probably sleep all day and write all night – but that doesn’t tend to coincide too conveniently with school timetables…
Covers: Sean Phillips
Writer: Andy Diggle
Art: Aaron Campbell
ON SALE DATE: September 25
[Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past ten years he’s worked for a diverse array of publishing, movie and video game clients including Disney, Warner Bros., Capcom, Hasbro, Bandai-Namco and Mattel.
His current comic projects include Samurai Jack, a new comic series continuing the award-winning cartoon, Skullkickers, a sword & sorcery action-comedy, and Pathfinder, a comic series based on the best selling tabletop RPG.]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.