SHERLOCK HOLMES: MORIARTY LIVES issue #2 came out recently from Dynamite Entertainment. In it, the series follows Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis. Writer David Liss answered some questions from Nancy Collins about the series for everyone here at Comic Vine.
Nancy A. Collins: What inspired you to write a series from the view point of arch-villain Professor Moriarty?
David Liss: In the source material, Moriarty is something of a cipher. We know very little about him other than that he’s someone whose abilities frighten Holmes. In many ways, that makes him the perfect villain because we don’t really know what he is, but we know he is very dangerous. By the time Moriarty is introduced in the canon, Holmes has already been established as a hero of near mythic proportions, but I wanted to return to the original text and think about who this man was. No one is a villain in their own mind, and I didn’t think he could be evil all the time. I loved the idea of taking one of the world’s most famous bad guys and forcing him into the role of a good guy – or, at least, a less bad guy.
NC: I notice you portray Moriarty as a dark version of Sherlock Holmes---using his acute powers of observation and deduction to nefarious ends. How much of that is drawn from the canon of Holmes stories, and how much is your own insight into the character?
DL: I wanted to show why Moriarty was such a good match for Holmes. One of the ways to do that was to show that his mind works in a similar manner, but that comes lest from the source material than it is an interpretation of the source material. Moriarty is the only enemy who ever really frightened Holmes, so I wanted to make it clear that he is a match for Holmes.
NC: How does writing comics differ from writing mystery novels and thrillers? Which do you prefer?
DL: They are so different that there’s really no way to say which one I like better. It’s like asking if you prefer watching movies or having brunch. A novel is a much longer commitment, in which you spend far more time refining and crafting. Comics are shorter and collaborative, so they each have their own pleasures.
NC: In terms of film and television, who do you consider the best Holmes? The best Watson? The greatest Moriarty?
DL: I have to admit it, but I am totally the wrong person to ask about that. I’ve seen very few of the adaptations. I’ve never even seen an entire episode of the BBC series. I’m glad there are adaptations, but I don’t really find myself drawn to them.
NC: Who do you consider the best of the non-canonical Holmesian authors?
DL: Again, I’m the wrong person to ask. It’s a great question, though!
NC: Do you have anything fans of your work should watch for this coming year?
DL: I’ve got a couple of titles, The Shadow: Now and The Spider going at Dynamite, and my first creator owned comic, Angelica Tomorrow, is coming soon from 215 Ink. My next historical novel, The Day of Atonement, will be out in September. It’s a revenge thriller set in 18th century Lisbon against the backdrop of the final days of the Portuguese Inquisition. The following year I am publishing a novel called Randoms, a young adult space opera.
Many thanks to David Liss and Nancy Collins for the interview! You can pick up a copy of SHERLOCK HOLMES: MORIARTY LIVES #2 at your local comic shop or digitally today!
For an extended preview of issue 2 of this book, make sure to check out our Exclusive Extended Previews of this Dynamite series and many more that came out this week!