¦ Features ¦ Andy
Interview Part 1
by Richmond Clements
has been widely regarded as one of the saviours of 2000AD, and responsible for
setting it down the track to it's current success. Taking over as Editor from
David Bishop, Diggle revitalised the comic before handing it over to Matt Smith
and pursuing his writing. After getting kudos for Lenny Zero in the Megazine
- Diggle experienced further successes in the weekly comic with the highly acclaimed
Dredd Vs Aliens (written with John Wagner) and the recently concluded Snow/Tiger.
Richmond Clements caught up with him recently to discuss 2000AD and what's next...
I think can be said, was fairly controversial. It has been accused of being Anti-American,
a charge that I am sure you would disagree with. But can you perhaps understand
Not really, no. What's anti-American about it? It was never
intended to be controversial - quite to opposite, in fact. I mean, what could
possibly be less controversial than fighting Nazis? I had assumed that
Nazism was generally regarded as a Bad Thing, but maybe I'm wrong...
There's a letter in 2000 AD Prog 1350 which claims that Snow/Tiger
"inferred (sic) that anyone to the right of Marx must have plans for the mass
liquidation of humanity". This logical leap from a bunch of genocidal, goose-stepping,
swastika-saluting Nazis to "anyone to the right of Marx" isn't one that I'm easily
able to make, but it is typical of some of the more hysterical and reactionary
responses to the series - the same kind of thinking that gave the world "Freedom
same reader pointed out that Muslim women don't run U.S. SWAT teams. He's quite
right, of course - which is why Tiger runs the SWAT team, not Snow.
Another point which
some people seem to have missed is that my sympathies lie far more with Tiger
than Snow. The mere fact that she whines about political correctness and Tiger's
hardline tactics doesn't mean she's right. In fact, in every instance where
our all-American hero Tiger wades in with guns blazing, the story reveals him
to be taking exactly the right course of action - whether it's taking out
the terrorists at the CDC, storming the Nazi compound or blowing up the rocket.
Left to her own devices, Snow would have been dead by the end of page three.
Did the idea for the story come about before 9/11, and if
so, did that incident affect the moods and themes of the story in any way?
It arose more from the Bush administration's response
to 911. Instead of showing the world what a tolerant, diverse, freedom-loving
nation America is, Bush started clamping down on civil liberties, issuing threats
to the rest of the world and bombing the Middle East again, turning previously
moderate Arabs into America-haters.
Let me be clear - being anti-Bush does not make me anti-American.
I would quite happily emigrate to America if guys like him weren't running the
last page of the first episode is a very striking picture, with Senator Lydecker
and his troops shown against a huge swastika background. Was this intended to
be provocative, and if so, did it work?
It was intended to be a bold, striking image which sets up the
bad guys and their motivations in an instant. Snow/Tiger is basically a Hollywood
action movie, and I'm so sick of the British always being portrayed as the villains
in these things, I thought it would make a change to turn the tables for once.
But it seems the mere suggestion that the villain could be an American is deemed
"controversial". How sad.
Snow's escape from her jail cell, was that a nod to the
That's something I'm actually quite embarrassed about - I'd forgotten all about
that Watchmen scene until Jamie Boardman pointed it out to me on the Andy Diggle Forum. Of course, looking at it now, it's
obvious that the memory of it must have been lurking in my subconscious when I
wrote it, even down to the nine-panel grid which I specified in the script.
So yeah, I'm annoyed at myself. It would have been easy to come
up with something better. If they ever collect Snow/Tiger, I'd be quite happy
to pay Andy Clarke to draw a new page, featuring a new method of escape for Snow.
I've figured out how she'd do it.
And are you fed up with people asking you that yet?
Not at all, it's quite right that they should. We learn from
our mistakes, you know? God knows I wouldn't want to turn into someone who thinks
he can do no wrong.
many of your ideas in Snow/Tiger came from your research? For example, is it possible
to track a Stealth by hacking into the US military satellite network? How easy
is it to buy an old nuclear silo?
Well, the U.S. military needs to be able to track its own planes,
even if they're radar-invisible. So if you're able to decrypt the transponder
telemetry, you're laughing. Obviously it's not easy to do, but it's theoretically
As for buying an
old silo, it's perfectly straightforward - the Department Of Defence are selling
them off to private buyers. There's this guy called Crossley who's refurbishing
an old Atlas-E ICBM silo into a home! So when Lydecker says
"these places were going for a song after they shit-canned the Titan II", that's
literally true. It's not like some James Bond movie where the villain builds a
giant undersea base or a space station without anybody noticing. Similarly, I
was able to obtain the 204-page users manual for the Soyuz rocket system from
Starsem, the Russian company that builds and sells them to private companies.
Anything you need to know, you can find it on the Internet.
So yeah, a lot
of the stuff in the story came from research. There was a lot of cool stuff I
didn't have room for, as I had to keep the story down to 46 pages, which is pretty
tight for a big loud action series.