With apologies to the late Harper Lee.
Part three of UNDERCOVER KLEGG by me and D’israeli is in today’s 2000AD #1971. D’israeli remains one of my favourite people to collaborate with, and it’s just a big lump of fun to do a comedy story with Dredd, especially following the lengthy ‘Titan’ and ‘Enceladus’ storylines. I kind of felt I kicked the crap out of Joe in those, both emotionally and physically. Can’t keep doing that. Imploite! So a bit of levity felt overdue.
“A transcendent abbatoir of feeble human suffering.” Favourite line of dialogue I’ve written for a while.
The Klegg Ambassador was kind of sort of based on Phil Spector, by the way. Hence the ‘fro. And the unfortunate accident in the hotel room… <cough>
As for Sensitive. It’s a funny thing when a background character takes on a life of their own. It happened to me in Mega City One once before. Aimee Nixon was the lead of Low Life, but the moment Dirty Frank appeared he just popped off the page. That happens with the simplest ideas, sometimes. The primary colour characters that you don’t plan extensively. Sensitive Klegg was just a bit of fun – a dim-witted security guard that Frank could get past in Trifecta. But he was immediately sympathetic and strangely loveable. So I had half a mind to bring him back. When Chris Weston drew him so beautifully in ‘The Heart Is A Lonely Klegg Hunter’ he really came to the fore. His deep admiration for Dredd, his loneliness, his poet’s soul, his big fat sausage fingers (not meant for typing), his … sensitivity.
The Klegg that is. Not Chris Weston.
All from the simplest idea. Kleggs are blood-thirsty carnivores, so what if one was the opposite of that? The most succesful writing choices are often the ‘just flip it the other way.’
Of course, a character like Sensitive only works if he’s drawn to be ‘real’ and not just a caricature. And in D’israeli and Chris Weston he’s had two brilliant depicters. Nod of the hat to Chris with this Undercover Klegg story too, as it came about through a phone conversation between us. I think Chris may have suggested Klegg going undercover. Which is such a silly idea, it has to work.
And Dredd and Sensitive are the classic mismatched duo on the run. Midnight Run with de Niro and Grodin, if Charles Grodin were an enormous, poetry-spouting alien upright crocodile.
Elsewhere, the Jim Lee cover for our HARLEY QUINN APRIL FOOL’S SPECIAL was released. Purty. Look.
That’ll be Man-Bat, then.
The interior pages from this are beautiful. It’s rather a surreal thing to have Jim Lee pages of your script appearing in your inbox. So much dynamism. And Cheeks Galloway, who’s drawing a sequence, is terrific too. Enormously different in their styles, but you’ll see why when the book hits the shops. It’s a fun script.
Our first arc of UNFOLLOW completed last week with #5. Here’s a Comixology link if you’ve not picked it up yet:
Saw the final proof of #6 in recent days, our ‘Deacon’ done-in-one with guest art by RM Guera and colours by Giuilia Brisco, the team behind Scalped – one of my favourite comics of the past decade. Guera’s a sublime visual storyteller and I’m really proud of this issue, where we see what made Deacon the ‘eccentric’ man he is, as well as continuing his story as one of the 140.
Just seen Jim Beaver playing his recurring arms dealer character in Better Call Saul. Jim Beaver would be great as Deacon in an Unfollow TV show. Go on universe, make that happen.
#7 is another done-in-one character study with a guest artist, this time DC Comics: Bombshell’s Marguerite Sauvage. Margeurite’s style couldn’t be more different from Guera’s, which I love. And we felt a female artist was the right way to go to tell Courtney’s story, which flits in and around the fashion world.
Matt Taylor’s stellar cover there. All about the beauty, this issue.
As you may have read, MARTIAN MANHUNTER is coming to a close with #12. We’re telling the story we always wanted to, with a very definite start-middle-end. It’s been a treat to write J’onn and create a whole new backing cast. I described the book in an initial pitch as ‘a one man team book’ and so it proved. Mr Biscuits, Wessel, the Pearl, Mould and Alicia have been our team, even if 95% of them are all one Martian, kind of. #10 is due next week (16th). The true history of the New 52’s Martian Manhunter.
Comixology link if you want to pre-order: https://www.comixology.co.uk/Martian-Manhunter-2015-10/digital-comic/343927?ref=Y29taWMvdmlldy9kZXNrdG9wL3NsaWRlckxpc3Qvc2VyaWVz
DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR continues, co-written by me and Si Spurrier. #6 saw The Doctor trying to break-in to Shada, the Timelords’ prison planet – created by Douglas Adams for a Tom Baker Who storyline that never made it to TV – in order to steal The Master’s Tardis.
Come on, how can you not buy that? The second part is out March 23rd.
Oh, and we were lucky enough to get Steve Dillon to return to Abslom Daak, who he co-created with Steve Moore, for an upcoming cover: