ComicsVerse’s own Kay Honda interviewed Gerry Duggan the Marvel comic book writer at NYCC about ANALOG, the internet being destroyed, and reverse cyberpunk. Gerry Duggan has worked on DEADPOOL, ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, UNCANNY AVENGERS, SOLO, and more!

Gerry Duggan (GD): It’s very funny surreal. An honestly it’s a really dangerous answer. Because secrets are no longer trusted to be transmitted online anymore. They’re due to attacks on the web and fox that live on the web. Really can’t be scrubbed. Now secrets are put in briefcases and moved by men with guns called led germen or as they sometimes call themselves in the bars “paper jockeys.”

GD: Something to do with the internet shitting by the way that it did. Because there are days when I think that could be really the greatest world, but when we come out the other side we are looking at a very different society. So it’s a piece of your future speculative fiction that I think we’re really excited about. It has action. It has romance. I think I hope it has laughs. Sincerely grateful, I wish I had thought to turn off your wifi router for this. I will take the cosmic serendipity.

GD: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. There will be some preview art. Before I turn it over to you guys, we are really far ahead on this. We started really in late 2015, and then the election changed a lot of thinking. But by the time we’re in stores the first week in April, we will already be done. We’ll be working on our second trade. So we’ll be able to let retailers have a real good look at it. If not the entire verse trade. Certainly, a good chunk of it.

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GD: David is drawing issue four right now. And I’m scripting five. And Jordie is about to commence coloring one. So we’re in really good shape. I’m super excited about this. I’ll be at C2E2 in the Spring. That’ll be the weekend after our first issue is in stores. So I’ll turn it over to you guys. I’d love to take any questions.

ComicsVerse (CV): Is this an ongoing story?

GD: Yeah. It’s ongoing.

CV: Can you repeat the title?

GD: Sure. It’s ANALOG.

CV: ANALOG. Thank you.

ComicsVerse: What are the challenges about writing a story like this when technology is changing and moving so rapidly?

GD: You know I think that’s part of the fun of it. Is we get to live in a world, in ANALOG, that it doesn’t disregard technology because there’s obviously high tech industry. But people don’t interface with the internet in the same way that they do in our lives. You know we’re constantly sharing things. We think it’s private. Maybe it isn’t. Or maybe it won’t be for long.

GD: So it is you know a world where everyone’s browsers history have basically been boxed right? It’s not just your email. And now governments and cooperation would not even … you know how do you trust the routers that you have. Even if you have a secure line. So we do it’s a leap over our technology. And we look at it now as extremely unreliable. So it’s fun to have the action of the series play out in the background.

GD: And there is a lot of visual storytelling that David’s doing that I’m letting that world speak for itself. And I couldn’t be more excited. We’ll see what you guys think.

ComicsVerse: What’s driving this distrust of the internet?

GD: There was what they would call the “Great Doxxing.” And so now you know basically overnight, there was an attack on the web that basically dumped private information into waste bins. And the way the attack worked, it’s actually an ongoing worm that is just a little like 12 monkeys where I think people tried to save the world by destroying the internet. Whether or not they succeed is very much up for debate.

CV: Have you started a digital component online to play with the deductive of what you’re doing with the comics?

GD: Oh the digital comic?

CV: Well the charge them like its a website that will deduct what you’re doing in the comic …

GD: Absolutely. That one is actually not as far ahead as the comic book. It’s gonna be a fun site. It’ll be up for point relaunch or a little before or if I could pan into my schedule to put some content out there. But I really want to let the comic speak for itself. I’m having a difficult time sometimes talking about the collaborations. But I know it’s really important to try and explain what it is before it arrives.

But I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but yeah it is a world that you just wouldn’t interact with the same. Or maybe you would. And maybe that’s also very interesting is that people would change society just to say I met you and I can turn away and sort of look up everything about you. We feel close with that now, but we have social norms you know that prevent that kind of intrusion. But yeah this is a world where a lot of those walls fell.

CV: Signed by your co-writing?

GD: No, I’m sorry. I’m writing it. David O’Sullivan is drawing it. But absolutely I do…

CV: It’s quite collaborative with him.

GD: Absolutely and truly we talk about this stuff. You know I do in all of my work but especially with David. I will write for my collaborators and when the art comes back. Before the letter ever gets it. I’m rewriting it because they really are co-writing a world.

Gerry Duggan
The cover of “ANALOG” coming out in April 2018!
ComicsVerse: What’s would you describe the style?

GD: You know what it’s a grim, fun world. But it also really has brightness to it. So there’s like a scum sort of in our society. But it’s rendered so beautifully. And so it’s really a bit of a blow popping book. The really cool thing is that when Jack lands in Tokyo, we’ll see how the Japanese react a little differently than us. They took ANALOG to a more sort of extreme aesthetic. I asked David I said look.

GD: We’re in a 70s mindset. And I would like to see that reflected in Tokyo’s style and fashion. And you know we got people walking around with phone cameras. It looks like it made sense. It feels like Japan in our book figured it out a little better. And then the one wrinkle, I guess I don’t mind spoiling this early. Is that there is artificial intelligence in this new future and it kind of takes it personally that the internet would start up.

GD: And I think we managed to visualize that. And that’s one card I think I’ll hold pretty close. We made a really strong, fun statement. I don’t know that artificial intelligence has ever chosen to represent itself this way. But I haven’t seen it done before. So that’s fun. It also is one of those things that works really well in a comic.

GD: You know that to me. I love making comics. I love working with artists. There so much more talented than I am. I got into because I wanted to make comics, but I just couldn’t draw them. There’s not an artistic bone in my body. I am thrilled to be able to work with artists. I’m also thrilled to have David fall into my lap before someone else scoops him up. Very fortunate.

ComicsVerse: How’d you find him?

GD: Deckland. I was talking to Deckland and Jordie, and he said I have this crazy idea that is seemingly less crazy every day the more I talked about it. The more time that went on, the less crazy is sounded. He said I want to introduce you to David right away. And that was it. I just said David, please consider working with me. Eric said yes right away after he saw David’s pages. We were off and running.

CV: How much is the fun of exploring the duty about the concept? We all agree that the internet and the way we use it has good things and a lot of bad things as well. And like how much does that with respect to that play to the narrative?

GD: Well I think you know everyone would treat it a little bit differently. There’s ambiguity personally. You know there are still internet users. You know you would use the internet. But you would use it knowing the world is listening and watching, or it could be listening and watching. And so the idea that you know it’s not quite hard-boiled in that sense. But as Jack is moving through the city, there is clearly people that are paying their rent; you know broadcasting having sex in the car. But at that point, it’s why not? Like that way with people. And also look sincerely the other dark side of this you know lives are instantly ruined. Right?

GD: Your wife finds out your cheating on you. Your job finds out your moonlighting. Or you know so it’s a world of even more broken people than I think we have. Which is sad. But I do think through Jack and the woman in his life Una. They have I think they offer both. It’s not like there the only normal people in the world. Because what they do is not normal. Jack gets into a lot of trouble. You know Jack is a marked man. Jack has a brief case in his hand. People know that he’s working.

GD: …And the fun thing, I don’t necessarily think that what intelligence agencies do anymore … there not so good right at knowing intelligence. We rely so much on electronic ways to gather information. That it’s been really fun have Jack butt up against a NSA that’s trying to reconstitute itself, and the headquarters is just rows and rows of Xerox copiers. Because look that’s where the stuff is now. And so you know to go where the action is. So more than anything it’s a fun look at a pretty unhappy future.

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ComicsVerse: Is it almost your intent to go back to the classic 70s espionage films and TV? So like Three Days of Condor or Parallax View.

GD: Parallax View is one of my favorite movies. Yeah. It sincerely is. And just you know to talk about trying to create fun stuff. It’s really hard when you know you pick the fun ones. I wanna kill you. You know well that ended quick. It is …

CV: So you’re able to go back to some of your things you are able to do. Cause as you say you could just pick up the phone and say your gonna cause a mess. Choose now.

GD: It’s point blank. It’s Parallax View. It’s spot on. Three Days of the Condor. It has that vibe; even though most cars are self-driving. It is a real juxtaposition of visual styles, and you know there’s a great spread. I asked David to imagine Jack as the only driver on the road that was actually driving his car. And it’s such a stand out convention. You know because you see Jack with his hands on the wheel looking tired. He’s grunge in the face. He is … he gets punched a lot. So he and you … it occurred to us that it wasn’t just that he would be driving and it’s not like everyone else is doing nothing. It’s what everyone else is doing.

GD: You know people are eating. People are talking on the phone. There recording their sex. It’s just you know it’s like the internet sort of bubbled up to the service. It is for some people it may be very liberating. That’s the other fun thing in this world. For people that want to keep secrets or they need to keep secrets. Or whether their corporate or from the state. It’s just a complicated world. With simpler ways of telling a fun story.

GD: Parallax View. If you haven’t seen Parallax View, it’s such a wonderful. Yeah. It really speaks to where we are today. I know we’re off topic. What time is your next one?

CV: We have plenty of time.

Gerry Duggan: Oh great alright cool.

ComicsVerse: You may have mentioned this, but is Jack part of the government or is he a rouge? What is he representing?

GD: He is a freelance courier. So he was once a part of the government. And now to make ends meet he is sort of applying that skill set to the private sector. So have gun will travel.

CV: Are you influenced cyberpunk but in a reverse way like kinda of snow ashy?

GD: Yeah I think so. I tried to guess the future with very mixed results. On one of my other, actually both my other networks, ones about Santa Claus after the apocalypse. The other one is about a near future odyssey that weirdly aged well. You know in 2006 we had a war in Syria that was not on the horizon or wasn’t on the horizon. We, unfortunately, guessed correct. You know this is really about looking about where we are now and sort of asking well what’s the thing that we couldn’t see coming and how could it make life worse.

CV: This feels like it very much spins out of the real world obviously. So I was wondering are we gonna see what became of real corporations like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, in this smoky future?

GD: It’s not, you know it’s funny. It’s about the sort of the internet being destroyed. As it is today. But it’s really not about the internet. It’s about us. And so I think that’ll be in the background and certainly as part of your crash. There’s not much of a clutch into this world. You are there. And then your sort of being caught up as it goes on. But I do think you’ll see you know. You’ll get the sense of that when you also see people using cash. And a lot of cash.

CV: Wireless?

GD: Wireless. I’m here to restore the internet today.

CV: Taking it away from everyone else.

CV: Nothing sinister about it at all.

GD: There’s a lot of world building in that first arc. We’re gonna meet all the players, and it’s really about catching up with Jack as he’s on the job. As he meets one of the big antagonists of the series and another character who we’re not sure if it’s an antagonist or not. But basically, the woman that is in charge of the New York division of what we call NSA is just referred to as Ansem.

Because he doesn’t know. No ones really on a name basis except Jack. So we’ll meet her. We’ll find out what she wants. Jack will slowly reveal the world I think as he travels. It’s a really fun way, a courier way, a great way to see the world. Over the course of that first arc, we’ll find out how complicated it might be with you know a life that pasts the touring test.

ComicsVerse: Is there a generational thing in terms of like you were saying regarding privacy? Obviously now there are people who don’t care.

GD: Yeah I think there can. I think it’s a great question. It’s not one that I really sit down, and it’s on the front of my mind. But it can not be. Because I’m Gen X. I remember what life was without the internet. That really feels like a gift. I have a young son. He’s eight. Thank you very much. But I try to instill in him the sense that it’s okay to be a little mysterious.

And I think that’s I don’t know what growing will be like. I try to imagine that. And I know there is a generation behind me that it’s always been there. And its hard for me to … there’s probably always a generational thing that’s hard to imagine what the one behind you and the one in front of you is thinking. But I sincerely like boy me trying to guess in a lot of ways.

CV: How has it been just doing something a little bit different? Obviously, for years, and years you’ve had multiple in general out of this world. You try to figure out all the stuff for this world. Your first chance into digging into a chronical series like this.

GD: Yeah it’s you know it’s wonderful to be able to flex those other muscle groups. You know I’ve been in the Deadpool world and in outer space. I’m very grateful to be in those places the last couple of years. Like boy do we need hope and fantasy and fun? But it also this is these ideas have been really nagging at me, and they were like homeless ideas, right? Until this came along for me.

And I actually I hesitate to mention this but I will. I have an itch to write a novel. So I have several of those on the desktops. And then I just sort of asked myself one day do I want to fail writing a novel with this idea or do I just want to do what I do and I hope I do it well. Doing a grader on a book. That’s when it just became really easy.

GD: The other really fun thing for me and this made the headstone for the novel idea and just killed it. My thoughts on all this are evolving as quickly as our world is evolving. And so to be able to react to that in an ongoing comic. Just feels like a real gift.

ComicsVerse: Would you say this is science fiction the same way for the real world?

GD: I think so. You know I know that probably there will be that debate. But it truly sincerely feels special to me. And I know I hope fewer things in this come true and did in infinite horizon. And really the worse possible scenario is the other comic coming true. Very good at killing zombies. He needs a good rocky montage.

GD: We should be out, we will be out in April. But for the way that we’re going, we may not even stop that between trades. We’ll see. We may just have a really short gap, maybe a month to do have the trade out before you see the second arc. You know I have ideas really for many arcs. And in success, I hope we get to bring them up to the world.

GD: I really appreciate all your thoughts and questions. Thanks for your time guys.

You can find Gerry Duggan on Twitter!

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