By Kevin Mahadeo
Certain people just have "The Write Stuff."
Marvel proudly announces its "The Write Stuff" promotion, which will shine the spotlight on a quartet of up-and-coming writers in the same "Young Guns" has highlighted some of the industry's top artists over the past several years. Over the next four days, Marvel.com will unveil the names participating in this initiative and introduce you to the writers of tomorrow.
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Writer Andy Diggle jokingly thought Marvel chose him for its space program when they informed him of his position as part of "The Write Stuff."
"I was all over that like a spandex suit," laughs Diggle, referencing the 1979 book "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe.
In actuality, Marvel didn't need to send Diggle to the stars, because in the comic world, he's already there. The THUNDERBOLTS writer joins fellow scribes Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman and Rick Remender as part of Marvel's "Write Stuff" promotion, which spotlights the brightest stars in the comic industry today.
"It's very flattering, of course," admits Diggle. "We're all fans of each other's work, so it's kind of nice that Marvel have built us this little clubhouse. We've got a secret handshake and everything."
Growing up in England, Diggle read many British war comics, such as Warlord and Commando Picture Library, but like many future comic writers from the United Kingdom, Diggle really got the itch with 2000 AD, which "completely re-wired" his brain. And considering his love for telling stories, comics seemed like the perfect fit for Diggle.
"Cheap and disposable, yet filled with mind-bending awesomeness that you just couldn't get anywhere else," explains Diggle of his affection for the medium. "Sadly I never had any real artistic talent, so I'd write my own comics and then try to talk my more artistically-talented friends into drawing them. And I'm still doing that!"
Now "doing that" at Marvel Comics, Diggle masterminds THUNDERBOLTS during the Dark Reign across the Marvel Universe, which has resulted in a title filled with relatively psychotic villains that blends dark humor with action and espionage. Diggle also hits the
mark with DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE, a limited series focusing on villain-turned-villain-disguised-as-hero Bullseye. Diggle says he especially enjoys writing Marvel characters because of their high concepts and their distinctly human side.
"As a writer, you can pick up any Marvel character and you know what to do with it, and what not
to do with it," he says. "You just know how to make it work. That's great character design. And once you know where those boundaries are, you can start to push them."
Coming up, Diggle takes over DAREDEVIL with the departure of current writer Ed Brubaker after issue #500. Diggle admits his surprise over gaining the title after working at Marvel for only a few months had him nearly falling of his chair when they made the offer. Yet despite his triple title workload, Diggle reveals two classic characters he really wants to get his hands on:
"I've always wanted to write Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.—and yes, that's 'Agent' not 'Director.' Out there at the sharp end, saving the world every time. But Jonathan Hickman is writing an awesome Fury in SECRET WARRIORS, damn him, so that one will have to stay on my wish list for a while longer. And I'd love to write a hardcore take on Blade, but the way I see it, that would probably have to be a MAX book."
For his current titles, Diggle plans a bevy of bombastic happenings, which he more than eagerly teases.
"I have to be careful what I say here, or Joe Quesada's editorial ninja hit-squad will string me upside-down from a lamp-post," he jokes. "There will be a constant turnover of Thunderbolts team members; a constant attrition as Norman throws them into more and more lethal situations without any real regard for their survival rates. He figures if anyone dies, they're easily replaceable. That's the great thing about using less well-known characters on the team: there's no status quo, which means anything can happen. Of course, the team [is not] crazy about the idea of being used as expendable cannon-fodder, so you're going to see
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fractures start to appear in Norman's operation. And you can't assume they're all actually working for Norman in the first place.
"DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE just gets crazier and crazier. Putting a homicidal psychopath like Bullseye into Hawkeye's costume is obviously a really, really bad idea, and we're exploring the horrific, catastrophic ramifications of that decision. Hawkeye seems to be losing his grip on reality; the question is, is someone from his past messing with his head? And if so, who, and why?
"As for DAREDEVIL, I'm kind of reluctant even to tease what's coming up, as Ed Brubaker is leaving the series on such a great cliffhanger that even mentioning what comes next would spoil it. Brian Bendis left Matt Murdock exposed and in prison when he left the title, and Ed's leaving the character in an equally provocative position here. Let's just say it's going to challenge everything Matt Murdock believes in and everything Daredevil stands for. Hang onto your seats!"
And as for the future and the super-secret fall project involving all members of the "Write Stuff" quartet? Well, like his comrades, Diggle remains tight-lipped and coy. But he does offer this little tantalizing tidbit:
"All I can say is, putting us all in a room together is either the best idea Marvel ever had... or the worst!"
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