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Friday, 17 September 2010

Andy Diggle, Ian Rankin line up for prestigious LitFest appearance

Marvel writer Andy Diggle
The Losers and Daredevil writer Andy Diggle will be wowing his hometown fans alongside author Ian Rankin next month as part of the Lancaster Literature Festival - Britain's oldest annual literature event.

Ian Rankin is Britain’s number one best-selling crime author, creator of the phenomenally successful Edinburghian sleuth Inspector Rebus, and described by the LitFest's blog as "a serial award winner whose bristling mantel-piece is home to the prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement in crime writing, and for the imperialists in the audience he is also an Officer of the Order of the British Empire."

Former 2000AD editor Andy, despite being well known to readers of downthetubes, is, it seems, a harder sell for the LitFest - but they don't pull any punches when it comes to promoting him and his work, dismissing the concerns of those who happily describe comics as "a genre that is packed to the gills with adolescent nonsense.

"Comics doesn’t mean the Dandy or Beano," a spokesperson for LitFest argues in an enthusiastic blogpost. "Doesn’t just mean Superman and Spiderman (sic) either. And 'adult comics' doesn’t imply dodgy hand-drawn porno.

"There are plenty of comics out on the market that are smart and grown-up. Andy Diggle is a great example of how much you can do with the comics medium once you get over all the muscle-bound weirdos in leotards. And so, for that matter, is Ian Rankin."

"...Dark Entries is tight, a real little doozie," they continue. "...The noir sentiments of the story are supported by a scratchy, minimal black-and-white art style from Werther Dell’Edera, who picks the characters out with nasty grins and sharp lines. You’ll polish off Dark Entries in about the time it’d take you to watch a decent crime movie.

"The main story [of The Losers] is a conspiracy – who betrayed the Losers, and why?" they note of Andy's work, "but the action unfolds as a spate of high-profile heists in the best tradition of Mission: Impossible, Where Eagles Dare and The Italian Job, as the Losers fight to get the information and the leverage they need to win their lives back. Throw in a villain who makes James Bond’s worst nemeses look like short-termist, visionless wimps and you’ve got a winning combo.

"I should mention the artist, Jock, who’s done a great job creating the story’s many sets and differentiating the key characters. Best of all is the sense of motion and energy in every panel of the story. His action scenes are frenetic. You can hear his explosions go 'Boom'."

Cleraly impressed by their catch from the comic world for the Festival, whose line up also includes Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and author Sarah Fine, Andy and Ian's talk is described as "a discussion between the two of their different contributions to the comics field and the experience of having their work adapted for the screen.

"I’ve also been informed by Andy Diggle that together they can 'talk the leg off a dead donkey', so perhaps we’ll find ourselves regailed with some entirely tangential stories. The only way to find out is to come, of course."

While comics are increasingly getting onto the literary agenda, it's always gratifying to see so much enthusiasm for some of its proponents from such a well-regarded literature organisation.

Ian Rankin and Andy Diggle, 7.30pm, Thursday 21st October, The Storey, Lancaster £8.50 (£7 concs) – £1 off if you order in advance.  Call the LitFest Box Office on 01524 582394 or book online

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