Written by: Fanboy Comics
Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon interviews Daniel Corey, creator of the comic book series Moriarty.
The following is an interview with writer/director Daniel Corey, whose credits include graphic novels like Prophet and Moriarty, the latter of which is now available through Image Comics. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Corey about the new media company Dangerkatt Creative Studio, adapting his projects from comic book to film, and his love for Magnum, P.I.
This interview was conducted on June 25, 2012.
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You are a man of many talents, having been a director, screenwriter, playwright, and novelist. How do you balance your workload, and do you find that you enjoy staying busy?
Daniel Corey: It’s can get pretty tough sometimes. When I was in my 20s, I was living in Florida, working in theme park entertainment by day and dinner theater by night. And, in between, I was active in producing workshop theater out of the Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. I wrote during my breaks at work.
Now that I’m just slightly older, things may have slowed down just a bit, but not too much. I live in L.A. now, so I’m in the heart of the action. I’m usually juggling a few writing projects, overseeing the production of the next comic, all while working in broadcast news during the day.
Everyone who lives and thrives in showbiz knows that you have to spin a lot of plates. As to how I balance it, I’m not so good at that. My wife helps out a lot. I love being busy when things are happening. When things aren’t happening, not so much. But, that’s life.
BD: In addition to your aforementioned talents, you also run your own new media company, DangerKatt Creative Studio, which creates original comics and films. What is the most difficult aspect of running your own company, and do you find differences between working for studios and networks versus working for yourself?
DC: Well, being your own boss is great, and creating new projects is incredibly exciting. But, it’s hard. You have to figure out how to pay the rent. So, you can come up with whatever project you want, but you still have to think about how to sell it. For years, I had worked on writing and creating in different media, be it for the stage, print, the screen. So, I formed DangerKatt as an entity that would encompass the business aspects of all my creative endeavors.
In that regard, after many years of pounding the pavement, things worked out very well with MORIARTY. Image decided to publish us, and we suddenly had national exposure. I was interviewed in USA Today, MTV.com, got to appear on G4’s Fresh Ink. So, that was a very rewarding experience. But, there’s always a push to have something else out there.
So, you have to keep working. It’s fun, but difficult. It was very rewarding to have a home-grown project like MORIARTY grow and become an Image book.
BD: Dangerkatt produced its debut graphic novel Prophet, as well as its most recent property, Moriarty, which is now available through Image Comics. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you tell us about Prophet and Moriarty and how the projects came to be?
DC: PROPHET was a story that I had worked on while still living in Florida, typing during breaks at my theme park job. I wanted to do something in the vein of a classic Clint Eastwood Western, while adding supernatural elements. What resulted was A Fistful of Dollars meets Hellboy.
Skip ahead a few years: We moved to L.A., and I met artist Anthony Diecidue. It just kind of happened from there. PROPHET has been a great property for us and gave us the initial experience that would lead to the creation of MORIARTY.
MORIARTY happened out of a lifetime love of Sherlock Holmes. I love crime, I love mysteries, and I wanted to do something in the Holmes mythos, just not a Holmes story. It occurred to me that there had never been a Moriarty comic, and who doesn’t love Professor Moriarty? Anthony was interested, so after PROPHET, we just continued on to develop MORIARTY. We were just having fun, stumbling around, making comics.
BD: After Moriarty’s success in comic form, you developed the story and characters into a screenplay, and it became a quarterfinalist Coppola’s Screenwriting Competition, as well as a Second Rounder at the 2009 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition. What were the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of bringing the project to the film medium?
DC: It’s funny how that all came together. Actually, what happened was that Anthony and I were developing the comic on spec, hoping that a publisher would become interested. After writing the scripts for the first story arc, THE DARK CHAMBER (issues 1-4), I wrote the screenplay. I submitted the script to the Coppola contest first, then Austin. It did well in both competitions, scoring in the top 8% out of thousands of entries. So, we knew we had a solid story.
I think it may have helped a bit, being able to drop the name “Coppola” here and there. I mean, it’s not like I met the man or anything like that, but his screenplay contest is pretty well-respected. So, that actually preceded the Image deal, and it was a good line on our resume going in.
I actually attended the Austin Film Festival that year, and I took along a 10-page MORIARTY sampler, pre-Image, to show people. It was amazing the folks that were willing to accept a copy of the book: A-list directors and screenwriters, etc. More than anything, it just got the word out that MORIARTY existed as a comic property, and it was mine.
As far as the challenge of adapting the book to a movie, it wasn’t that difficult. I had designed the first story arc to stand alone as its own epic story. Structure-wise, it had all the elements one would need for a movie. It was just a matter of trimming the fat a little to pick up the pace of action here and there, and removing the prose narration to tell the story in a strictly visual way.
BD: Many independent creators have viewed web comics and digital comics as the next best way to make their leap into the comic book industry. What are your thoughts on digital comics and their presence in the industry?
DC: There’s so much we don’t know yet. When I was first starting in comics five years ago, digital comics were a coming thing, hadn’t happened quite yet. So, I didn’t have the experience of breaking in or not breaking in relative to the existence of digital comics.
MORIARTY is available now on ComiXology, iVerse, Graphic.ly, so I’m happy it’s out there in that form. It’s like Netflix for comics. Nobody has an excuse. No matter where you are, MORIARTY is available to you! So, when someone asks me how they can get MORIARTY, I say, “Your local comic shop, or Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or ComiXology, etc.”
I do hope that the digital sales catch on, alongside print. I do hope it brings new readers to comics. But, I don’t know about that yet, really. We’ll have to see.
BD: Are there any exciting updates or plans that you would like to share with our readers?
DC: I have some projects in the works, but I’m not ready to announce anything new at this time.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite comic books, graphic novels, or films?
DC: First of all, I’m having difficulty containing my excitement over the fact that Magnum, P.I. is on Netflix streaming now. There, I said it. I mean, come on. It’s a great show! The two-part pilot is like something straight out of a John D. MacDonald Travis McGee novel. It was a well-written show with great characters, good humor, and all the right genre elements.
The Killing: This year, this show shaped up to become an all-time favorite. Seasons one and two together are also like stuff of a great crime novel. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are a fantastic pair, and the entire ensemble cast is the best you’ll see.
Another show that came out of nowhere for me and become one of my all-time favorites: Terriers. A great FX detective series – also on the lines of John D. MacDonald – sadly only lasted one season. But, you get a complete story. It’s on Netflix. Watch it. Write your congressman, tell them to create a law that demands the creation of a Terriers season two. It’s funny. It’s dark, yet it has a sense of goodness about it. It has a great, complex mystery and complex characters. Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James are, well, just a couple of lovable misfits. You’re rooting for them.
I’m currently reading Morning Glories Vol. 3, and I just finished Locke and Key Vol. 4, Fables Vol. 16, and House of Mystery Vol. 6.
The Avengers: Duh.
Also, I enjoyed Prometheus quite a bit. And, Moonrise Kingdom was absolutely wonderful.
BD: What is the most important piece of advice that you can offer to comic book fans of all ages who aspire to work in the comic book industry?
DC: Learn your craft – whether it’s art or writing, or both – and practice without ceasing. Make some comics, and show them to people.
BD: On that same note, which creators have inspired your work?
DC: The work of Frank Miller, Brian Bendis, Jim Krueger . . . many others, but those are some of the biggies. I’m also enjoying everything Scott Snyder is putting out.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about your work with Dangerkatt Creative Studio and Moriarty?
DC: You can find me on Facebook, and you can join our official FB fan group at Moriarty Comic. I’m on Twitter, @dangerkatt. You can subscribe to DangerKatt on YouTube. My website: www.professorjamesmoriarty.com. We’re everywhere!
Barbra Dillon is the Managing Editor of Fanboy Comics, an online conglomerate of geek media, providing its readers with daily reviews, interviews, and podcasts that span the pop culture spectrum. For more interviews, blogs, and reviews by Barbra and the FBC staff, check out the Fanboy Comics website at www.fanboycomics.net.