What would you do if you had the uncanny ability to access and use the skill sets, memories, and abilities of different people around you? Andy Diggle’s new series, Uncanny, shows us just what a man can do when he puts his mind to it.
The exciting new crime series follows a character named Weaver, as he plays a dangerous game of international intrigue where the rules keep changing, the players are hidden, and the first thing he stands to lose is his life.
We had the chance to talk with Diggle and series artist Aaron Campbell about Uncanny, which hits the shelves on June 26 from Dynamite Entertainment. Check it out below, as well as our four-page preview!
TFAW.com: Without tipping your cards too much, can you tell us a little bit about your newest series, Uncanny?
Andy Diggle: It’s a crime thriller with just a hint of the paranormal. Weaver is a professional con man, gambler and thief-for-hire who possesses a special ability. He can steal a victim’s knowledge, skills, and abilities for a short time — their ability to crack a safe, hack a computer, practice taekwondo, or whatever else he needs to complete his mission. But the clock is always ticking. He has to finish the job before his time runs out and he loses his stolen skill-set. Then he’s in trouble.
TFAW.com: Weaver sounds like a really unique and interesting character. How long has this idea been percolating? What was the final piece to fall in line so that you could tell this story?
Diggle: Nick Barrucci approached me last year with a view to being part of Dynamite’s fledgling Crime Line, and I jumped at the chance. It’s exactly the kind of project I’d been looking for. When I first started developing the story, Weaver had a different name, and was more of a small-time loser. Making him more of a self-confident con-man type, and opening up the scale of the story, was when it really started to come to life for me. I realized he’d been conning himself. He’s spent his whole life running away, and we join him at the point in his life where he finally finds something to run towards. Even if it is trying to kill him.
TFAW.com: You’re no stranger to the crime genre, having written books like Snapshot, Six Guns, Rat Catcher, and The Losers. How has this series challenged you creatively compared to previous projects?
Diggle: I guess the biggest challenge when working in a specific genre is not to fall into cliché. There are certain tropes and conventions that crime fans might expect, so you have to steer around those traps, or invert them. That’s one of the benefits of having this subtle supernatural angle to the book–you can use it to hook out the clichés and spin them off into new and unexpected directions.
TFAW.com: How many issues do you have planned at this point? Does this series have a distinct end?
Diggle: I have the first six issues all mapped out, and we’re all hoping so see it continue long term. The first story introduces us to Weaver and his abilities, and opens up a whole new world for him. We can spend as long as we want exploring that world.
TFAW.com: You’re working on several books at once. Can you tell us a bit about how you move between projects?
Diggle: It’s a bit of a juggling act. In addition to Uncanny, I’m currently writing Doctor Who for IDW and Thief of Thieves with Robert Kirkman at Skybound, plus developing some new projects which I can’t really talk about just yet — including a second crime title at Dynamite. The key to keeping it all running smoothly is to lock down the story outline well in advance. Once the publisher approves it, they can just let you get on with it, and you can hit a steady rhythm of writing an issue a week. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for rewrites, though, so you pretty much have to get it right first time.
TFAW.com: How did Aaron Campbell come to work on the series? How has he been as a collaborator?
Diggle: Aaron’s been doing great work on Dynamite’s The Shadow, so it made a lot of sense for him to jump onto Uncanny, which has a similarly noirish feel, albeit contemporary. He’s been a pleasure to work with. I always try to strike up a correspondence with the artists I’m working with — usually we’re on different continents — and Aaron’s been a gent. He sends me his thumbnail layouts before he goes to pencils, which helps me iron out any kinks in my scripting before they make it onto the page.
TFAW.com: Hi Aaron! How involved were you with the character design process for Uncanny?
Campbell: Save for one small caveat, the Weaver you’ll see in the book was all my design based on Andy’s written description of him. The covers had already been completed, which I had not seen yet. So when I designed the character I drew him with very dark hair, while on the covers he is depicted with lighter hair. So I lightened his hair. Not a particularly interesting story, is it?
TFAW.com: Ha! No it’s always interesting knowing those little details. Can you take us through your process? After you get the script, how do you get your head in the game?
Campbell: Well, assuming that my head ever has the opportunity to come out of the game, I would imagine that my process isn’t too different from anyone else whose style is based more on realism. I start with layouts, though typically I don’t do them all at once. I break the book in chunks based on the different locations in the script and focus on them one at a time. Once I get approval on that set of layouts, I’ll design the space and shoot my photo reference. I then do my pencils digitally, print them out blueline, and ink over the digital print. Something new I’m doing for this book, though, is working at a Golden Age scale. My original pages measure 14.25″ x 22″. I’m really liking it, too. I can get in there with big tools and really work the page over with much more of a fluid line.
TFAW.com: You’ve worked on a bunch of Dynamite books, from Dark Shadows and Sherlock Holmes to pulp books like Green Hornet and The Shadow. Has Uncanny posed any unique challenges compared to your other work?
Campbell: For the first time ever I’m working in the here and now. I get to hang up my trenchcoats and fedoras and put away my classic car models. And I no longer have to pore through research trying to reconstruct what some place might have looked like back in the 1930s. Not that I wouldn’t want to do more period work in the future, but it’s quite a relief actually to take a break from it.
TFAW.com: How’s it been working with the folks at Dynamite, Andy?
Diggle: Blissfully stress-free, I’m happy to say. They pay me well and on time, and they don’t mess around with the story. What more could a writer wish for?
TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part about working in the comic book industry, Aaron?
Campbell: There are so many great things about working in the comics industry that it’s hard to pick a favorite. For one thing, I get to do what I love to do. I get to work from home. I get to go to awesome cons and meet great fans and become friends with amazing creators. It’s really a dream career.
TFAW.com: When you picture the person reading Uncanny, what other books would you say they’re reading right now?
Diggle: Comics-wise, they’d probably be into Garth Ennis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, and Greg Rucka. That’s good company to be in.
TFAW.com: What are the favorite comics that you’re reading right now?
Diggle: I’m not reading a lot of monthly titles these days — I have a stack of trades still waiting to be read, and I haven’t even cracked open my Marvel Unlimited account yet. It’s mostly indy genre books that draw my interest — Fatale, Manhattan Projects, Saga. I was a big fan of Thief of Thieves even before I was invited to join the team, so that was a real thrill. I don’t read a lot of spandex these days, but Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye is fantastic — and pretty much spandex-free, now that I think of it. It reads more like a smart, postmodern crime book than a superhero comic. Highly recommended.
Campbell: Right now I’m reading Fatale, Andy’s other book Snapshot, Hellboy, Hawkeye, and that’s about all I have time for. And I can go on for a very long time about all the artists that inspire me. But if I’m just talking about people who were working today, Sean Phillips, Jock, Tommy Lee Edwards, David Aja, and JH Williams are a definitely on the short list of artists I’ve been paying a lot of attention to lately.
TFAW.com: What else are you excited about/what other projects do you have coming up?
Diggle: The final issue of our creator-owned thriller Snapshot is out in May, which is incredibly exciting for me and Jock. The first three issues have done better than we ever hoped, and I can’t wait to see the trade. I’m also developing another Crime Line book at Dynamite over the next few weeks. It’s about sex, power, and crime, so that should be good, not-so-clean fun. I’m also developing an action thriller for another publisher, which I can’t talk about just yet. Plus I’m writing a new creator-owned miniseries this summer. So I’m crazy busy — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Campbell: I really don’t have much time to devote to any other projects right now, but there’s a possibility that you might be seeing more of me on Dynamite covers this year. I’m also very excited for the con season and will be attending HeroesCon this year for the first time. So if you’re in Charlotte in June, come by!
We want to thank Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell for taking time out their busy schedules for this interview! Make sure to pre-order your copy of Uncanny #1 by April 30 to save 35% off the first issue as part of this month’s featured discounts!
ORDER YOUR COPY OF UNCANNY TODAY!
What do you think about Uncanny? Going to add it to your pull list? We’re definitely on board. Please post your comments below.
Please follow and like us: