The following is an interview with writer Daniel Corey (Red City), who will soon be returning to his fan-favorite comic book series, Moriarty, alongside Eisner Award-winning artist Janet K. Lee. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Corey about the premise of the new Moriarty addition, his collaborative process in working with Lee, the other entertainment mediums that would be a perfect fit for the series, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: At San Diego Comic-Con last month, you shared the exciting news that your comic book series, Moriarty, would be returning with an all-new chapter! What can you tell us about the upcoming installment of this fan-favorite series?
Daniel Corey: Well, the new title is Moriarty: The Jade Serpent, and it focuses on Jade, the ninja warrior who fights alongside the Professor in Moriarty Vol. I: The Dark Chamber. Jade didn’t take part in our Vol. II story, but I plan on having her present throughout the series and wanted to get her back into the narrative.
You’ll see Jade in Moriarty: Endgame, which we released last year. But that was a wild, speculative look at Moriarty’s future, and I wanted her back in the present-day storyline.
In a nutshell, Moriarty: The Jade Serpent is a locked-room mystery that takes place in 1915 Tokyo. It’s a departure from how I’ve been doing things, in that this story is told from Jade’s first-person POV. She’s made her way back to Tokyo. She is trying to pick off the last of the government officials that have trapped her into their service but runs into a bit of trouble. Of course, our man Moriarty appears in town, and Jade sets up a plan to manipulate Moriarty into doing the dirty work for her.
While it has the trappings of a murder mystery, the story is really about the psychological game between Jade and Moriarty, who are bound by a dark past. Jade is attempting to work through some of that darkness so that she can put order to her life, much as Moriarty has been trying to do throughout the series thus far.
The most exciting thing about this new Moriarty story: working with The Great Janet Lee!
BD: Moriarty: The Jade Serpent will feature the artwork of Eisner Award-winning artist Janet Lee. What can you share about your creative process in working with Lee?
DC: I wrote the script, and I just gave it to Janet and let her run with it. We had a little bit of discussion about Jade’s look, her hair, and costume for this story. Regular series artist Anthony Diecidue—whom we all adore and admire—created a very dynamic look for Jade in The Dark Chamber, giving her a very distinct warrior’s costume. At one point, she has to don civilian garb, wearing the ball gown of a Londoner, when she visits the Royal Opera House to entrap Mata Hari.
I told Janet to go with what she felt, as far as Jade’s civilian wardrobe. Relentless researcher that she is, Janet came up with a great new look for Jade. For most of the story, Jade blends with the landscape of turn-of-the-century, urban Tokyo.
Janet has beautifully re-created the Yoshiwara District as it appeared in 1915. It’s quite amazing to see what she’s done. Janet’s attention to detail is stunning. You almost want all of the individual extras that Jade passes on the street to have their own story told. Everyone’s costume is unique, each face has its own history. It’s quite remarkable.
Janet is doing a wonderful job recreating the underbelly of Tokyo, much as Anthony did for London and Colonial Burma in Moriarty Vols. I and II. I’m blessed to be surrounded by such talent.
BD: Why do you feel that Moriarty and the Sherlock Holmes narrative has had such great staying power with readers?
DC: There are any number of good reasons for this, the simplest being that the original stories are just that good. Mainly, though, I think people want to be these guys. They want to be the world’s greatest detective, or they want by the one who is smart enough to pull all the strings in the underworld.
It doesn’t matter that one is on the side of the law, and the other a criminal. They’re both anti-establishment figures. They’re both shaking up the established order. Most of all, Holmes and Moriarty know more than common people do about how everything works: science, civilization, history, time itself. They’ve got a handle on it in a way we never will.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from the story?
DC: I daresay we go a bit darker with this story than we have in the past. I think The Jade Serpent takes a difficult look at the human condition, and the conclusions that Jade and Moriarty come away with in the story are correct from their point of view—being criminals and hurt people, as they are—but their sense of morality is skewed from most of the rest of us.
The takeaway from Moriarty: The Jade Serpent may be this: observe the world carefully, help those in need…but do it out of a heart of love, not with the jaundiced motivations that Moriarty and Jade have.
BD: You have released several other iterations of Moriarty through digital and printed comics, as well as virtual reality integration. Do you foresee the property expanding to include other entertainment mediums?
DC: Absolutely, positively, yes. As you said, the Professor is currently making his way to VR: I’m collaborating with Sydney-based Transmedia Entertainment, and they are creating a Virtual Reality adaptation of Moriarty: Endgame, which I was able to experience in the HTC Vive this past weekend at the VRLA convention. As far as I know, we have spawned one of the first VR comic books. It’s going to be something really special when it comes to market, hopefully later this year.
As for other media, we’re still kicking around the idea of a stage production. Also, I’ve had recent talks with a few producers here in L.A. about a possible Moriarty feature film; producers that have major hit franchises already under their belts. I can’t say whom, because I don’t know if it will happen! When it does happen, I’ll let you know.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with readers?
DC: In addition to Moriarty: The Jade Serpent, I am working on a new comic series titled Bloodworth, which Fanbase Press has generously covered over the past year. Bloodworth is the name of our intrepid lead, Special Agent Brenda Bloodworth, an FBI agent in the near future that leads a squad that can enter people’s minds to solve crimes. Written by me, with art by Chris Fenoglio, and letters by Dave Lanphear.
Another stellar crew here: Chris is currently drawing X-Files: Origins for IDW (written by local superstar Jody Houser), and Dave has worked on about 22 titles that were nominated for Harvey Awards (not an exaggeration—an actual fact) and was himself nominated for best letterer on Valiant’s Divinity.
Bloodworth Issue #0 is currently available on ComiXology, and we recently ran a successful Kickstarter to complete the first full issue. Bloodworth Issue #1 is making its way to backers as we speak. We still have a ways to go until we finish the first four-issue arc, but so far, we are off to a strong start.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Moriarty: The Jade Serpent?
Also, you can follow Janet Lee on Twitter at @Janet_K_Lee. You never know when we’ll be posting previews, so stay tuned! Moriarty: The Jade Serpent is coming!