I don’t read many comics monthly these days, but one of the few I make sure to grab is Image Comics’ Moriarty. When I got the opportunity to interview writer Daniel Corey and artist Anthony Diecidue at the Image Comics Expo, I leapt at the chance. Hunkered down at their booth, we chatted about Moriarty’s motivations, the Sherlock Holmes canon and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Why Moriarty? Why do you guys and others find this man, who’s only mentioned in three Sherlock Holmes stories, so engaging?
Daniel Corey: I don’t know. He seemed to really get stuck in the zeitgeist since he was first introduced a hundred years ago. People have just been really fascinated by the one guy who was out there causing all the ills of the world. I’ve thought about him constantly since we’ve been putting the series out.
I thought that it had something to do with people’s sense of justice, that maybe they want to know that there is one bad guy out there causing everything, because maybe they could do something about it — put their finger on it. I don’t know, he’s really stuck in everybody’s consciousness. Everyone knows who he is and knows about him. I have that same fascination myself, and when it came around to trying to think of a good idea for a comic, I wanted to do something with Holmes lore, but I didn’t want to do a Holmes story because it’s been done so many times. There are not a lot of Moriarty stories out there. There’s been some novels written, but there’s not been a comic book, that I know of, with Professor Moriarty as the lead. I really wanted to take that on and have the dark side set in the Holmes world.
Your Moriarty is more a man of action than some of the others. Is that because this was a comic? If you were telling the story in another medium, might he be the more cerebral Moriarty that we’re used to?
DC: I did consider, for a little while, writing it as a novel but the story would have been the same. I just wanted to do something different. We’re used to seeing him as this Mr. Burns style, ancient guy twiddling his fingers. I wasn’t interested in that. I thought of him in his past, when he was twenty maybe, working his way up in the criminal world, he had to go out and get his hands dirty. As we see him at the start of our series, Sherlock is dead and Moriarty has fallen on the skids. [He's] middle aged man, pushing sixty and he wants to get back into the fray and be the world’s greatest criminal mastermind again. He’s going to have to go back and do the stuff he did as a young man — get his hands dirty. He has to get in some sword fights and do some exciting things!
In some places, the comic seems like an inversion of Nicholas Meyer’s The Seven Percent Solution. But where he went for Fred, you’re going for a Jungian analysis of the mythos. What does Holmes represent to Moriarty?
DC: Moriarty is fixated on him as his reason for existence. I actually talked to a friend who was a therapist/psychologist about the characters when I was developing them, “What is Moriarty?”, “Is he a sociopath?”… He couldn’t be a sociopath though, sociopaths have no empathy, no feeling, and he obviously has some feeling since he misses Sherlock so badly. We settled on the fact that he’s probably obsessive compulsive. His whole life is centered around Sherlock, but why is that? These are the kinds of questions I asked myself when developing the story. He’s a man that wants to have control of his life, control of everything. He wants to order himself and make it through the day alive, just like anybody else. But he has this obsessive compulsive tendency, a co-dependence where he has to feel that death is knocking at his door at any moment. And what better form is death going to take than at the hands of Sherlock Holmes, the smartest guy that ever lived. That’s how he feels, really alive at the presence of Holmes and when Holmes is gone, everything falls to pot.
So, Anthony, how early were you brought in to this?
Anthony Diecidue: Pretty much from the beginning. It wasn’t the first project we’ve done together. I was Daniel’s go-to guy, I like to think.
DC: (laughs) Absolutely! Absolutely!
AD: Right off the bat, before there was even a full script he was asking me about it. I was right in there doing the designs and everything before we had a finished storyline.
What were some of your influences when you were building the world of Moriarty?
AD: My biggest Moriarty influence was the Moriarty character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. (laughs) I loved that characterization of him and when I first did it, that’s who I wanted to design it off of.
DC: Daniel Davis!
AD: He was just so cool. And he’s actually more like our Moriarty than any other version, because he was a well rounded character. He wasn’t a villain. He was someone looking to survive, looking to move on and live. And that’s how our Moriarty is. He’s not trying to rule the world necessarily, just his world.
Will we ever learn how Lestrade came to be in Moriarty’s pocket? Is that a flashback tale waiting to happen or are you going to keep that close to the vest?
DC: I hadn’t thought of doing a flashback tale on that, but you know what? That would make a nice one shot, wouldn’t it? I’ll think about that! (laughs)
In the second arc, The Lazarus Tree, I presume the Gregson is the same Scotland Yard Inspector as was in the canon?
DC: Actually, I wasn’t making that connection. I named him after a friend. (laughs) I didn’t make that connection. I’ll have to go back and read that.
Yeah, he’s in a couple of stories. I was going to ask if there might be any more cameos from characters in the [Holmes] canon?
DC: Certainly. Any time I can bring anybody from the canon in, I will. I enjoy doing that. Yeah.
You guys are one of the great Kickstarter success stories. How did that lead to being put out by Image?
DC: I don’t know if Image was in tune with our Kickstarter campaign or not, but the campaign helped me along in getting some of the artwork done. [Image] wanted two issues done, complete, before they released anything. Kickstarter was really essential in making that happen. We met the deadline to get those two issues done and the series came out as a result.
As was mentioned, this isn’t your first project together. How did you two meet?
AD: How long ago? Four years? Five? I used to work at Universal doing caricatures. That was my earliest art job. One of the guys I used to work with there, Mario, was a neighbor of Daniel’s. Daniel was looking for an artist for an early project that was an adaptation of a horror novel. He was looking for someone to do storyboards on it, like an animatic. Mario said it wasn’t up his alley, but he knows somebody. So he introduced him to me and we hit it off pretty quick. I did that first project with him and when he was looking for an artist to do his next book, Prophet, which is like a supernatural spaghetti western, we jumped right into doing that together. And from there to Moriarty and from Moriarty, who knows!
Love It? Share It!
Written by Steven Sautter (@bohemboy)
Steven Sautter is a punk ass book jockey. He looks quite dashing in a frock coat. His work has appeared in The Terrible Zodin, I'll Explain Later and the fiction anthology, Red Phone Box. He has experienced profound moments with cephalopods. More »
What did you think? Comment below!
Comments are closed.