Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Andy Diggle

Get set for Captain America: Living Legend and see exclusive variant covers by Neal Adams, Walter Simonson and more!

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Captain America: Living Legend #1 cover by Adi Granov

By Jim Beard

CAPTAIN AMERICA: LIVING LEGEND arrives this week, and writer Andy Diggle couldn’t be happier. The four-issue limited series travels with the famous hero through his past and into today with a generations-spanning threat.

We checked in with Diggle to get the low-down on what readers can expect from the fast-moving story, how it came to be, and what it’s like to work with artists Adi Granov and Agustin Alessio!

Marvel.com: Andy, how's it feel for you to see CAPTAIN AMERICA: LIVING LEGEND story hit the stands?

Captain America: Living Legend #1 variant cover by Neal Adams

Andy Diggle: Adi Granov and Agustin Alessio's work is so beautiful, it'll be a relief finally to be able to share it with the readers. It's been tough keeping it to myself, but worth waiting for. I can't wait to see what people think of it.

Marvel.com: In the beginning of this project, what kind of a story did you want to tell?

Andy Diggle: When [editor] Tom Brevoort first reached out to me, my first impulse was to do a fairly straightforward Tom Clancy-esque spy-fi action yarn. I wanted to focus on the super-soldier more than the super hero. The brief was to create a "movie on paper"; a streamlined, continuity-light series that would be accessible to new readers as well as the long-time fans.

Captain America: Living Legend #1 variant cover by Ulises Farinas

Adi quickly came on board with a fantastic story concept: Cap air-drops into an abandoned Russian military base where some kind of psychic research experiment has gone horribly wrong, fusing soldiers and machines into hideous biomechanical mutations. I loved the idea; it really fired my imagination, and synced perfectly with the kind of man-on-a-mission vibe I wanted, with an added sci-fi twist.

Marvel.com: Where did you go from there?

Andy Diggle: Basically I just grabbed the ball Adi threw me, and ran with it. The concept is all his. I invited him to co-write the script with me, and although he declined, he deserves the co-story credit. I also asked my writer friend Eddie Robson to help me flesh out the second half. I'm really pleased with the way it came out. It's a little different. There's a weird, alienated Tarkovsky vibe underlying the tough-guy action, which I think makes for an interesting contrast.

Captain America: Living Legend #2 variant cover by Walter Simonson

Marvel.com: Now you’ll have everybody running to look up “Tarkovsky.” Now, Nazis usually dominate World War II stories; what about the Russians during that same period really grips you as a storyteller?

Andy Diggle: I wanted to include wartime flashback scenes, and as the main story features the Cold War space program, it made sense to feature American and Russian forces racing to capture Nazi rocket scientists during the closing days of World War II. Both sides knew that the second half of the 20th Century would be dominated by whoever had the rocket technology to hurl nuclear weapons around the world. And the Nazis had the best rocket scientists—everybody wanted them. Many ended up working on the U.S. space program. The moon landing was a peerless achievement for all mankind, but I suspect such vast national resources wouldn't have been thrown at it without an ulterior motive.

Marvel.com: How do you juggle the parts of the tale that exist in the past with the adventure in the present?

Captain America: Living Legend #2 variant cover by Dan Brereton

Andy Diggle: We follow a patriotic Russian soldier, Volkov, from butting heads with Cap at a Nazi rocket camp to an attempted Russian moon shot in 1968 while Cap was in the ice. He's the thread that connects all three time periods in the story: the 1940’s, the 1960’s, and the present day. How and why he's still around, and what happened to him in the intervening decades, is part of the mystery Cap has to solve.

Marvel.com: What's your supporting cast like here? Any familiar faces?

Andy Diggle: We tried to keep the cast fairly small. Apart from Cap and a brief appearance by Sharon Carter, it's an all new cast. The main new players are Dr. Lauren Fox, an idealistic particle physicist, and Gridenko, a hard-bitten Russian Army colonel with old ghosts he needs to lay to rest. And of course, the mysterious Volkov himself.

Marvel.com: What do you feel will be the single biggest thing you'll add to the legend of Captain America with LIVING LEGEND?

Andy Diggle: Panzer tank decapitation.

Pick up the first issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA: LIVING legend by Andy Diggle and Adi Granov this week

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