155: proud of its fractal dumbness

Hullo.

My present aim is to try and channel Animal Crossing positive NPC energy in my every interaction. I am mainly offering to buy turnips. I don’t even like turnips.

Ludonow
Stephanie Watch
Spartworks
Pop!
Links
Byyyyeeee!!!

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The Ludocrats is here (in America shops, and digital (worldwide), but not in the UK shops until next week because 2020 is committed to 2020ing as hard as it can.)

The Ludocrats is a story written by Jim Rossignol and myself, drawn by Jeff Stokely, coloured by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Clayton Cowles, edited by Chrissy Williams, flatted by Fernando Arguello, designed by Sergio Serrano, published by Image comics and loved by you.

A bunch of reviews here. It is basically as divisive as I suspected it would be, but it does please me that half the time you can’t tell whether someone likes or hates the book from any given pull quote. It’s a very silly book, but is also a very very. We’re proud of its fractal dumbness. The closer you lean, the more you’ll see.

Ludocrats is the story of a group of aristocrats of the Ludicrous, who are becoming aware that their land of unfettered imagination is under threat by the creeping forces of boredom. They want answers. What is the threat? Where does it come from? How many orgasms can they experience in the next 22 pages?

Thinking about it, for reasons that’ll become clear as we continue, I suspect it’ll be filled next to Peter Cannon in my wing of the biblography. Partially because of the theme, but also because of an issue-by-issue atomic structure where each episode uses a certain type of adventure fiction to hang our playfulness off. Issue 1 was the second issue written, and dates back to the early 10s, and has been reworked ever-since. Looking at the drafts of the first two Ludocrats scripts is like archaeology. Jim and me trying to make each other laugh, and give Jeff something to riff furiously off.

I mean, here’s two random very minor and pretty minor restrained panels from page 3.

It’s written in a mode which is very much maximialist. A little detail to say what we need, and a bunch of other stuff which Jeff may find amusing to draw, or inspiration to draw something else. Then we see what Jeff has drawn, and work it back in. One of my favourite jokes in the issue is Jeff’s bag of wheat, which Jim then expounds upon at length in the back matter.

It’s a lot. It’s a ludicrous  awful world and I hope it distracts you from this awful one for a while. It loves you very much.

Grab from your local shop or online. There’s a preview here.

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Stephanie’s lobbed a few panels online from issue 12 in progress. Coo.

Stephanie’s style changing across DIE is one of the things which is fascinating about this endeavour. She’s got a real sadness and cleanness to her work here, which I love to see develop. It’s certainly impacting my thinking on the next arc.

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Nottingham University’s Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies and the City of Sparti have teamed up to do a series of Sparta Live lectures, about all things Sparta. Have a nose. Every Thursday, 5-6 pm (GMT) there’s a lecture, with the first one tomorrow. I’m doing one on THREE on June 18th, which should be lots of fun.

I was thinking about THREE a little more this week, and chewing over ideas linked to it. I’m aware my pure historical work is never my most popular stuff (as any pure historical stuff is in comics) but that’s never kept me away from something, right?

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Comixexperience have hooked us up with Phangs next week on the 27th, which should be fun.

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Work continues. Finished a draft of issue 3 of Project Cowboy. Now mostly finished a draft of issue 3 of Project Brighter Shade of Blue. Other work creeps in the edges. More stuff on Project Millionaire Sweeper. A few calls about Project Private Bukowski. Stuff. Things. It stretches on.

I’ve been luckier than many my friends, who have found work nearly impossible. This does make me feel guilty, as if I’m not taking it as seriously as I should be… but I recall I wrote pages the day I buried my Dad, the day he died and every day in between. I’m not someone who stops. It may not be me at my best, but I continue. It’s useful that I had a lot plotted which I’m writing. Execution is a different beast than building from nothing. That I’m rapidly reaching the end of my plotted material is going to be interesting – I can see my brain flirting with the next arc of DIE, so we’ll see if it can solidify. I am aware that I’m distracted, but I’m always distractible. This is perhaps more so. My work method is that mixture of hyperfocus and pressing refresh on one screen.

That passes into everything. I’m interested in how this house’s media consumption have changed. We’ve stopped any serious drama – not because it’s serious per se, but that it is a long term cognitive load. The idea of chaining a serialised television novel is too much like work… and another thing which makes days too similar. Instead, I’m watching more movies – both serious and not. A movie on a day makes each day different. A TV show chained makes all days the same.

The flip of that is the weird comfort rituals – I have watched more Come Dine With Me than is possible to imagine. Every day, we eat alone and see people eat together, and pick apart the fascinating social dance of humans cooking for each other and lying about what they like.

I have been genuinely making some notes about a Come Dine with Me one-page RPG, which (like all my short form RPG ideas) seems to exist to bemuse Americans. Here’s a precis. Come Dine With Me is British show where a group of people take turns to throw a dinner party. After each meal, everyone marks the host out of 10 secretly. At the end of the week, the winner takes home a grand. It is quietly glorious, whether it turns into a knife fight or a bonding exercise.

Part of me would love to enter, as I know exactly what I would do to game the system. No, not in the “there’s no reason not to just give everyone 1/10” way. I will save for another time.

Be careful and speak soon.

Kieron Gillen
London.
20.5.2020

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