Rob Williams and Simon Fraser discuss their upcoming sequel series, Kingsman: The Red Diamond
This fall will see the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Matthew Vaughn’s much-anticipated follow-up to his 2015 spy thriller starring Taron Egerton and Colin Firth. But that’s not the only place you can catch new Kingsman adventures. Before Vaughn, Kingsman started as a comic: The 2012 miniseries The Secret Service, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. That series will now be getting its own sequel in the form of Kingsman: The Red Diamond, a new six-issue series arriving this fall from Image Comics.
Millar and Gibbons won’t be back for this one, but their roles are being ably filled by writer Rob Williams and artist Simon Fraser. Having collaborated together in the past on Doctor Who comics in recent years, the pair has grown accustomed to each other’s sensibilities and stand ready to fill Millar’s and Gibbons’ shoes. The original comic will also be getting a reprint this summer, now officially rebranded as Kingsman: The Secret Service.
EW talked to Williams and Fraser about their plans for The Red Diamond. Check that out below, along with an exclusive preview of the covers for issue 1, which hits stores Sep. 6.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What attracted you guys to Kingsman?
ROB WILLIAMS: I liked the initial Secret Service comic a lot. I suspect when Mark’s work is at its strongest there’s a heart there, and that was definitely true with Secret Service. I very much like the fact that it was a clash of worlds between the debonair spy life and working class streets of London where Eggsy comes from. That was something Mark was very keen that we convey and stay true to in the sequel. You can have a lot of fun with it on top of that.One thing Mark comics always has, and def true in Kingsman, is a strong satirical edge. That appeals to me and Simon. Coming out of 2000 AD, that’s part of our DNA. We enjoy the big action set pieces but also enjoy taking a piss occasionally, and that’s true of Kingsman.
SIMON FRASER: Kingsman’s great. I love it. There’s an awful lot of James Bond-style stories, and it’s almost never done as well as Kingsman. The blue-collar class differential was what made it stand out, as well as being ridiculously over the top fun. It kind of manages to have its own cake and eat it. It can be hard and spoofy, but when it goes for it, it really goes for it. Like most Mark Millar projects, it can make you go ‘wow I’ve never seen that in a comic book before! Or a film before!’ It’s a hoot to draw.
What can you tease about the premise of this miniseries and how it comes out of the last Kingsman story?
WILLIAMS: It’s called The Red Diamond. Like any sequel, the challenge is that the character just finished going on a journey and became a hero by the end. When we meet Eggsy here, everything seems great. He’s the debonair secret agent, he’s dating a beautiful woman, he’s got an amazing car, it seems like he’s got it made. The journey for him is learning that you can’t leave your past behind. He is still the same guy, every inch the child of council houses of Peckham where he grew up, as much as he is the debonair spy. That’s the stuff that’s fun in terms of the class divide stuff and his journey. In terms of the actual plotline, there is obviously a megalomaniacal villain. He’s got a fantastic base, which may or may not be right at the bottom of the ocean. He also has a henchman with a hunchback, so he’s a “hunchman.” It’s a case of Eggsy not just having to save the day and save the world, he’s got to find out who he is, really. I think he’s adrift at the start of this story, and he has to find himself again.
FRASER: There was something Colin Firth said in the publicity for the last movie: “You can wear the suit or the suit can wear you.” That’s where Eggsy is now. He’s got a new world embodied by the suit (which is a metaphor for a lot of things) but is this really him, is this really his life? Cause he is lovely and down to earth. At one point he’s going out with movie stars, at another he’s cleaning child’s vomit off the seat of his car. That makes it much more humane and much less Bond-like. He’s not an amoral killing machine, he’s a human being trying to get by in the world.
What is it like following in the footsteps of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons?
FRASER: Dave Gibbons was kind of my godfather in comics. The first gig I ever got in comics was because Dave was in the 2000 AD office at the time, he saw some of my samples and went “huh, that’s a bit good.” So the editor went “alright,” and hired me. When I started in comics it was Dave Gibbons I wanted to be because of his work on Doctor Who and 2000 AD. Over the years, I’ve done Doctor Who work, I’ve done 2000 AD work, and now I’m doing Kingsman. I’m just looking to see what Dave does next.
WILLIAMS: As a comic writer, I think Mark has transcended the Marvel/DC boundaries and gone off to make his own way. In that sense, his work over the last 10 years has done rather well for himself. He’s great at high concepts, he’s one of the best out there, and never forgets it’s about the characters as well. That’s something I try to remember in my work. But his stuff is fun, and that’s the bottom line we try to follow. It’d be easy with Kingsman to do a sociological treatise or something, but at the end of the day, it’s over the top adventure with romance, crazy action sequences, and a satirical edge. And occasional punching of royalty as well. It should feel like a big action blockbuster on the page with laughs and thrills.
This isn’t your first collaboration. How do you guys work together? What do you like about each other’s work?
WILLIAMS: We get on well. The best thing about his work is the accessibility of it. I think he creates the kinds of comics where people can come to them and get totally swept along by it. I think that’s a real skill. For that reason, he’s a good choice to follow in Dave’s lineage, cause Dave has that in his work as well, the type of comics that even occasional comic readers will still want to read.
FRASER: Rob writes good characters that have souls. I don’t believe in an eternal soul, but I do believe in creating a character that has care for other characters and acts like a human being. Rob does that well.
Being a Mark Millar comic, the last Kingsman was violent, and the movie followed up on that. How are you guys approaching the violence?
WILLIAMS: It’s part of the book. Coming from where we come from with our 2000 AD DNA, we’re quite at home with extreme violence. Kingsman is not PG. We will definitively be bringing the ultraviolence.
FRASER: Let’s just say it’s encouraging me to research drawing some areas of human anatomy I hadn’t really considered drawing before, bits of the body you don’t normally see.
WILLIAMS: We’re finding new and interesting ways to kill people in this comic. There’s a very unusual killing in issue 1.
FRASER: Yeah, even our editor went, “Oh, that’s disgusting.” Win!