Fighting 'Tooth & Nail' with new writer Andi Ewington

Writer on the latest Tharg's 3riller talks to the 2000 AD blog about keeping the future shocking and his writing 3rilling!

5 months ago

The latest of Tharg’s 3Rillers, those three-part slices of spectacular storytelling, began in 2000 AD with Prog 2120.

Written by newcomer Andi Ewington, Tooth and Nail introduces Max Ha who finds himself handcuffed and beaten by mystery Russian assailants. The sole survivor of a massacre that left 17 dead, Max's interrogators want to know more about the man responsible, who dragged Max into this mess...

Ewington has another 3Riller and a Future Shock in the pipeline for 2000 AD, so Richard Bruton sat down with Andi to talk about writing for Tharg…

Andi, you have your first 2000 AD work coming up soon in Prog 2120, the Tharg's 3Riller, 'Tooth and Nail', with art by the fabulous Staz Johnson. I suppose, first of all, we'd love to hear from you about what it's all about!

AE: Of course, without giving too much away, ‘Tooth and Nail' is a tale about an unfortunate protagonist who’s found himself on the wrong end of a brutal interrogation. There’s been a hit on a criminal organisation and our protagonist is the only survivor left standing who could have any answers.

In the recent Megazine article about new creators coming to 2000 AD, you mentioned that it allowed you to dip into some very important films to you, including Leon, The Usual Suspects, Fight Club. How have you managed to work these three, very different films into one 15 page strip?

AE: It’s a tough one to answer without spoiling the story. Each of those iconic movies have elements that have always resonated with me. I’ve tried give a respectful nod to each of them in ‘Tooth and Nail’.

You've also got two more projects in the pages of 2000 AD, a Future Shock called 'Juncture' with new artist Anna Morozova, and another Tharg's 3Riller, 'Red Road'. When will we be seeing these and what will they be about?

AE: Soon I hope, I haven’t been told when they’ll appear just yet! ‘Juncture’ is a story set in a superhero retirement home. I’ve seen some of the pages from Anna, her work has a wonderfully natural feel to it, perfect for this story. ‘Juncture’ is my first Future Shock story, so it’s a really important moment for me as writer, like a right of passage.

‘Red Road’ harks back to my love of motorised mayhem. It’s Mad Max set on Mars with a sprinkling of Halo for good measure. I wrote Freeway Fighter back in 2017 and I’ve missed throwing cars around in a script and smashing them together. ‘Red Road’ does a lot of that; it reminds me of being a kid and bashing the hell out of my matchbox cars as they raced one another.

When it comes to the discipline of delivering a very short story, just five pages for the Future Shock and 15 for the 3Rillers, how do you go about getting all the necessary story beats into the limited page count?

AE: It requires a lot of discipline and acceptance that not everything is going to wind up on the page. Ensuring the pace and tension is hits the right beats. Fortunately, I’ve Tharg on hand to help me keep the narrative flow on track.

Can you give us an idea of your background in comics? I first became aware of you with your rather unique graphic novel, 45, where you looked at superheroes in a very different way, with the book structured as an interview series, and featuring 45 superhero interviews, with each one illustrated by some very big names. But where have you gone since there?

AE: It’s been a strange journey to say the least! 45 was a pivotal moment for me and I honestly thought I’d kick on to bigger and better things. The reality was much harder, the comic scene was still really closed to me. A few years later I managed to land a writing gig with 451 Media Group; I was given Exmortis, Sunflower and S6X pretty much off the bat. I spent a lot of time writing for 451, I got to work with the likes of George Pelecanos, Mark Mallouk and Rob Cohen. That gave me the confidence to approach Bandai Namco to write a Dark Souls II comic and Square Enix for a Just Cause 3 comic. Since then I’ve also written a Freeway Fighter and Vikings comic for Titan, plus a couple of others in the pipeline. I’ve also written a couple of Pac-Man interactive adventures for Amazon Echo.

As this is your first 2000 AD material, we’d love to hear about your first experiences of reading the comic.

AE: I got onboard around the age of eight, I remember going to my nan’s house and running to the shop on the corner to grab a copy of Beano or Dandy and spotting 2000 AD on the shelf. I was blown away by the gritty stories and striking art, this was unlike anything I had read before. Before I knew it, I was collecting every issue I could get my hands on. I loved Judge Dredd, especially with anything that featured the Dark Judges. I have fond memories of Brian Bolland’s Dredd slamming his fist through the back of Judge Fear’s helmet.

When did you first submit to 2000 AD and how has the whole process been for you?

AE: I think I tried around four or five years ago, but didn’t get very far. I lost faith in myself a little and gave 2000 AD a miss until I felt my writing was strong enough to be accepted. With three stories accepted in quick succession, perhaps I’m about ready now.

And what does it mean to you to be in the pages of 2000 AD?

AE: Everything! 2000 AD has been part of my childhood and now I’m going to be a ‘Droid’, I wouldn’t swap that for the world!

What do we have to look forward to from you, both 2000 AD and beyond?

I have a five-issue series called Drone Swarm due out via 451 Media Group later this year, then after that? I really don’t know. I lost my day job at the start of the year, so I have to concentrate on that in the short-term, who knows where I’ll turn up!