Daniel Corey stops by the Outhouse to talk about his new series: Moriarty: The Dark Chamber!
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most timeless and popular characters of the last one hundred fifty years. He's appeared in countless movies, TV specials and comics since his creation in 1887. One of the key components of the Sherlock Holmes mythos has been Professor Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime and Holmes' main nemesis. Daniel Corey chose to focus on the villain in his new Image series MORIARTY: THE DARK CHAMBER. Corey stopped by the Outhouse to talk about his new series and chat about the Sherlock Holmes mythos.
The Outhouse: You're a pretty new name to the comic book industry. Tell us about yourself and how you got into the comic book industry.
Daniel Corey: Yup, definitely new. MORIARTY is my second comic, though. Artist Anthony Diecidue and I put out a title called PROPHET a few years ago through my own company, DangerKatt. But MORIARTY is my first title with a major publisher like Image, and we're really excited about the opportunity.
I've been writing for about 10 years now. I started in the theater as an actor, director, playwright. I made the transition to screenwriting, then I wrote a novel. After several years of that, I started cluing in that character is story, and character can be expressed in any medium. The next logical step to take was to figure out what the best way was to communicate good stories and good characters to the reading public, and comics was a natural choice. I love the medium, because like in movies and TV, it's a mix of pictures, words and moments. But you don't need a crew of 50 to make one. Two or three guys can do it.
Incidentally, PROPHET is available as a download at WOWIO.com, and you can buy the print trade paperback at Comixpress.com. Had to throw in that plug.
OH: Moriarty: The Dark Chamber is your first work with a major publisher. What was your inspiration for the story and how did your make the project a reality?
DC: THE DARK CHAMBER is the first storyline in what will be an ongoing MORIARTY series at Image. It's a huge opportunity, and we're very excited about it.
Honestly, the idea for casting Professor Moriarty as the lead in his own story just came to me one day. Call it divine inspiration. I have always been a huge Sherlock fan, and I had a love for Moriarty that really came from seeing people like Daniel Davis, Paul Freeman and Laurence Olivier play him in films and television.
The real thing of it was trying to figure out how to make a villain into a leading man. Sometimes when you elevate a supporting character to lead status, it doesn't work. It took a very, very long time to figure out how to express his story.
Making the MORIARTY comic a reality was just a matter of getting Anthony on board. We were finishing up PROPHET, and I pitched it to him. I told him: "Think of it like a horror movie. Think top hats, cloaks, foggy London streets." He liked that. From there, we did a lot of period research. The moment he first sketched the Professor, I knew we had a character and a series.
OH: For those who haven't heard of the book, what is the book about?
DC: Well, I think everyone knows Sherlock Holmes, created by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. At some point, Doyle grew tired of writing Holmes and decided to kill him off, so he created Professor James Moriarty, Sherlock's greatest nemesis and intellectual equal. Doyle had the two men square off at Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, where they both supposedly fell to their deaths. Doyle would, of course, resurrect Holmes again several years later.
In our version, Moriarty emerged victorious at Reichenbach Falls. It is now 1914, World War I is happening, and Moriarty is a lost soul, a shell of his former self. With Holmes gone, Moriarty has no meaning in life.
Like a breath fresh air, scandal and intrigue come Moriarty's way as he is approached by MI5 and blackmailed into finding Holmes' brother Mycroft. What results is a fantastic mystery that involves a psychic box, espionage, deductive reasoning, fisticuffs and sword fights, ninja assassins - it's pretty awesome.
OH: Why did you choose to focus on Moriarty as the main character instead of his detective counterpart, Sherlock Holmes?
DC: Everyone writes Sherlock. I wanted to look at the other guy.
OH: For all the importance that Moriarty has been given in the Sherlock Holmes mythos, he only ever appeared in two stories and was only mentioned in three others. Do you feel that the character's relative lack of continuity and characterization in the Doyle stories helped or hindered your writing of the character?
DC: It made things so much easier. I had a lot of latitude in creating my version of Moriarty. We really have nothing to go on from the original stories, so I was free to get inside his imaginary head and take a look around.
OH: Has it been challenging at all to have the Napoleon of Crime as the protagonist of your story? How do you make the character accessible to casual readers who have only known Moriarty as a villain?
DC: The thing about Moriarty is that he doesn't know he's bad. He doesn't think of himself as evil. 'Criminal' is a label that society has given him. Moriarty has good reasons for everything that he does, and his prime motivation is survival. But he never feels truly alive unless death is nipping at his heels. So he's codependent.
I guess that could torpedo arguments that Moriarty is a sociopath. Are sociopathy and codependency compatible? They might be. I don't know. I need to talk to a psychologist about that.
Everyone has particular motivations for how they live and survive, so to some measure, I think most of us can identify with him. Just like Moriarty, we're just trying to order our universe, make meaning of things.
OH: Out of curiosity, what is your favorite Sherlock Holmes story and why?
DC: "The Final Problem." It gave us Moriarty.
OH: Will you be visiting any other aspects of the Sherlock Holmes mythos?
DC: Definitely. But you have to read the comic to see it. Don't want to ruin the surprise.
OH: This is the second time you've collaborated with Anthony Diecidue. What do you feel he brings to the book?
DC: Anthony understands moments. In the script, I try to be as thorough as possible in my descriptions panel-to-panel, but Anthony always brings his own take to the game. He's like a good actor, who looks at the script and sees what's going on under the lines. He knows how to draw the characters in a way that they are expressing real moments, moments that we can identify with.
OH: Do you have any other projects you can talk about?
DC: Right now, mainly just trying to get MORIARTY off the ground. I have some other things in the works, but MORIARTY is the most real. Issue #1 hits stands May 11th, so we're doing everything we can to promote it.
OH: If you had to convince a reader to pick up the book in 50 words or less, what would you tell them?
Adventure, sci-fi, mystery, noir, sword fights, steampunk technology, James Bond-like epic stunts and spectacle, beautiful leading ladies, ninjas. (That's right. Ninjas.)
And the two biggest words: IMAGE COMICS.
Check out www.professorjamesmoriarty.com for more. Thanks!
Moriarty: The Dark Chamber hits stores May 11th.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer