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Andy Diggle talks James Bond: Hammerhead #1, on sale in October

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  • Andy Diggle talks James Bond: Hammerhead #1, on sale in October

    Andy Diggle talks James Bond: Hammerhead #1, on sale in October from Dynamite.

    BYRON BREWER: Andy, after your Uncanny and Control, I cannot imagine anyone better for this spinoff James Bond book. Are you a Bond fan? And if so, novels or movies?

    ANDY DIGGLE: Both. I doubt anyone who's followed my work would be surprised to hear I'm a Bond fan. You can see the influence running though almost everything I've written, from The Losers to Thief of Thieves to Uncanny. One of my earliest memories is of being taken to a Bond movie -- one of the benefits of having older brothers. Back in the days before we had a VCR, a Bond movie on TV would be a family occasion. I didn't discover Ian Fleming's novels until I was a teenager, and they brought a completely different perspective to it. I was surprised at how different they were, not just storywise but in terms of tone. They're far more grounded.

    BB: Warren Ellis on Dynamite’s ongoing James Bond book has been channeling the spirit of Ian Fleming’s 007. Since I would imagine you will be doing the same, how do you see YOUR Bond as distinctive perhaps from other iterations?

    AD: I owe a debt of gratitude to Warren, because by placing the Bond of the novels in the present-day, we get to see the best of both worlds. We still have Fleming's "blunt instrument" but in a far more complex, morally gray world. During the Cold War it was easy to play the Soviet Union as the bad guys, but nowadays the waters are murkier. Everyone spies on everyone else. To answer your question, though, I think my own sensibilities are perhaps rather more pulp than what went before. I try to write unashamedly thrilling adventures -- albeit hopefully with a brain and a heart. So what you'll see from my run is a faster pace, more action, higher stakes, albeit grounded in a plausible, modern-day world. But Bond is still Bond -- professional, dispassionate, fatalistic. Warren is a master, but I'm not trying to mimic his style. I'm writing Andy Diggle's Ian Fleming's James Bond.

    BB: What can you tell us about the storyline?

    AD: It's always difficult answering these sorts of questions because you don't want to give too much away. The first issue is only one-sixth of the story, after all, but it sets the tone. Ostensibly it's about a threat to the UK's Trident replacement, our newly-upgraded submarine-based nuclear deterrent, and hinges on a British arms manufacturer selling a new weapon of mass destruction to allies with a less-than-stellar human rights record.

    BB: Who is Kraken?

    AD: That's precisely what Bond is trying to find out. GCHQ intercepts point to Kraken being a "radical anticapitalist" who is orchestrating hacking attempts against Hunt Engineering, the company commissioned to replace Trident. But Bond is no hacker. He takes rather more hands-on approach.

    BB: As with most Bond books – and Diggle books – I would wager there is more on the side of “evil” than just the obvious big-bad. True? And if so, what can you tell us about those malevolent forces and their goals?

    AD: Action thrillers live or die by their villains. You need a powerful, compelling antagonist with a bold plan that actually makes sense. Auric Goldfinger and Hans Gruber set the bar. So I look at the world around me and I wonder -- if I was a well-resourced sociopath, what would I do to benefit myself? What are the real villains already doing? All you have to do is glance at the news and extrapolate.

    BB: Any other iconic Bond characters appearing in Hammerhead? And might we ask the reason for that particular title? (Certainly not an appearance from Spidey’s old gangster foe, lol!)

    AD: You'll be seeing the usual supporting cast -- M, Moneypenny, Major Boothroyd, though probably not Tanner. I'm hoping to use Felix Leiter in my next arc -- I've always been fond of Felix. And I'd love to include Loelia Ponsonby and Mary Goodnight, who always seem to get overlooked in adaptations.

    As for the title, it's one I've been wanting to use for a while now. “Hammerhead” just sounds like a James Bond title, doesn't it? In the story, it's the name of a revolutionary new weapons system.

    BB: What does artist Luca Casalanguida bring to the table here? Why is he right for this 007 adventure?

    AD: I'm very pleased to be working with Luca. He has a wonderfully fluid European style, and I love his heavy use of deep shadow, heavy black ink. There's a real weight to it on the page, almost noir. His characters can act, which is everything. And his innate sense of visual storytelling is great. We seem to have clicked. He just gets it.

    BB: Andy, what other projects current or near-future can you tell us about?

    AD: There are a couple of new books I'm waiting to announce, but beyond that I'm just focusing on Thief of Thieves at Skybound and wrapping up our Dynamite crime thriller Control.

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