134: I find that ominous too.

Hullo.

This week I finally joined a gym. Yes, this is in the traditional joke intro part, but I’m not joking. Stop laughing at me. I’ll tell my mum.

DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE
TBubble Bobble
Links
QsAd
Urinal
Byyyyeeee!!!

****

And DIE 9 drops, which is the penultimate part of SPLIT THE PARTY. It’s this arc’s equivalent of the Tolkien issue, except with a somewhat different tack. I had a writer describe what the Tolkien issue did as a tone poem, which I can see. This is a little more akin to the historical specials in WicDiv – as in, over-researched historical play. It’s also a core issue in starting to show DIE’s mythology, as well as a bunch of character drama.

We’re joined by Elvire de Cock in this issue, who colours Stephanie in certain sequences. She does amazing work, and it was great to have her. The alt is by Emma Rios and Miquel Muerto, and is just wonderfully creepy.

You can get it digitally here, and this is first page of the preview…

…and you can read the rest here.

I’m mainly showing the preview, as Stephanie put up some reference on her twitter.

Art is amazing.

****

Sound the Tbubz klazon!

It’s Thought Bubble 2019 this weekend, the official end of the con season. We will be retiring our fancy gowns so we can winter. Tbubz has basically been my favourite con for as long as its been in existence, and very much Jamie and my home turf. It’s a big year, having moved from Leeds to Harrogate, so am going to be interested to see how it works.

We will be tabling, so come and get stuff signed. We’re in the PRIDE HALL. Where in the Pride Hall?

There.

(It’s table 10 and 11)

We’ll be signing most of the weekend, except when we’re lunching or on a panel. For those who’ve never done a con signing before, our general rules are we sign up to 5 books, and then ask people to re-queue to get more signed. It’s the best balance between us wanting to sign whatever people have brought and to be fair to everyone in the queue, basically. We occasionally reduce the number of books if time is pressing and the queue is particularly long too.

Our panels? Here you go…

SATURDAY

The Wicked + The Divine: Epitaph

Time: 13:00-13:50

Location: Room A - Queen’s Suite

The Wicked + The Divine series is coming to an end. Join the creative team that brought us the beloved comic series and help bid it a final farewell. There will be tears.

In June 2014 The Wicked + The Divine hit the comic book store shelves for the first time. Now over 50 issues in with many an award and accolade earned, the end is here... Join Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Dee Cunniffe as they chisel the final words into the tombstone of this iconic comic series.

SUNDAY

James D'Amato RPG Play Through: Oh Captain My Captain
Time: 14:00-14:50
Location: Room A - Queen’s Suite

James D'Amato leads a panel of talented comics and games professionals through an RPG live on stage! Kieron Gillen, Spike Trotman, Grant Howitt, and Mary Hamilton tell the tale of a group of desperate pirates under the command of a legendary and enigmatic captain as they play the upcoming RPG Oh Captain My Captain.

There is also the mid con party on Saturday night. Its details?

ComiXology Mid-Con Party

Thanks to our amazing pals at comiXology, this year’s mid-con party will be free entry! We’ll have the drinks and music flowing until late, so help us celebrate another Thought Bubble in style, with special guest DJs Tula Lotay, Ivan Salazar, Khary Randolph, Sarah Gordon, Margaux Saltel, Dearbhla Kelly and Jules Scheele.

The party tips it’s hat to The Wicked + The Divine, with farewell surprises for the incredible comic series including some exclusive cocktails at the bar!  It can get busy, so make sure to come down early! Flash your wristband, exhibitor or guest pass on the door for entry! The party is 18+, bring your photo ID, just incase!

The party is always a serious throw down, so will see folks on the dancefloor. We will also be admiring the WicDiv balloons.

Coo. See folks there. I will be the person who looks like me.

****

****

I was doing some asks recently. I’ve got some more I’ll do this week (so do ask more, if you wanna) but here’s a selection…

Q: In both Thunderbolt and Die #3 you sort of rearrange really well known quotes from the work you're discussing. Is that about the shock value of recontextualizing it? Is it trying to use quotes in the same way an academic paper about something would use them?

A: This is such a good question I’m not sure I’m capable of answering it appropriately. It’s the sort of thing I suspect that, if someone were of the mind, could trace it as a technique across my work, and then discuss the effect it had in the specific context. It’s clearly something I find powerful.

Both your options are in the mix - that said, I don’t think “shock” is the right word, mainly, as the response varies. Some of it is shock. I’d say most of it is “Look at this known idea at a different angle. What do you think now?” The Academic essay is part of it… but I don’t really come from an academic crit background. I come from a pop crit background, which took academic ideas and tried to make them fun, and gained aesthetic power versus the stringency of the paper. And, generally speaking, the pop I have loved has always been loaded with ideas, and in conversation with culture.

I wouldn’t underestimate how I also grew up alongside sampling in pop culture.

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t try to boil it down to one explanation. I’m normally trying to do something different in each case. Sometimes it’s just a joke. Sometimes it’s a j’accuse. Sometimes it’s an attempt at poetry. Sometimes it’s all three. Sometimes its something else entirely.

I strongly suspect this is some of the stuff which most makes people either love or hate my work - but it does seem to be a core part of what I do. I suspect I’m leaning into it in my post-WicDiv work - as you say, it seems particularly strong in both Thunderbolt and DIE.

Q: Are there any plans to eventually release all of WicDiv in one paperback compendium, a la Saga and Walking Dead? I would buy that in a heartbeat.

A: We’ve previously said this is unlikely - we rely on spreads so much that it would render the book unreadable in places (i..e the thick spine means you can’t see what’s in the spine). It’s possible we could change our mind, but at the moment, we’re very much against it.

It’s a shame - the Saga and Walking Dead compendiums are amazing.

Q: I’m loving Die and O&F right now, and I noticed you’re making more open world stories now, in that you could theoretically invite other creators to play with the toys you make. Was that a conscious choice after WicDiv’s very strict and insullar worldbuilding?

A: Thank you.

Not deliberately, but I suspect a side-effect of the choices I did make after WicDiv. “Not repeating WicDiv” means you create different work, which created different spaces in the work. “Not hermetically sealed” does make more space for that.

Once & Future’s Bridgette and Duncan, to use Robin Laws’ phrase, iconic characters who can be plugged into adventure stories. While I’ve certainly got a specific story about them to tell (as will become increasingly clear) they abstractly could be written by someone else because the characters are flexible like that. Conversely, DIE can let other people in as it’s just bigger - the RPG hanging off the side which actively makes all stories told in the DIE RPG canon kind of means that it has to be less sealed.

Q: Are there any plans to see the parties first adventure beyond brief flashbacks? I wouldn’t think it’s narratively important to the current adventure but something about them learning and dealing with this seems sadistically interesting. Or a Phonograms Singles Club/Commercial Suicide like anthology

A: With DIE I explicitly created more tools than are necessarily required to tell the story we’re telling. We have the ability to do stories about the cast in all these different periods, in all these different modes, across two worlds - plus the option to do stories about people who are *not* the cast.

In other words, with DIE I wanted to have a surfeit of tools, and then select which ones I was going to use at any given point which best serve my purpose. While the story is as structured as WicDiv it is not as structured in terms of the formal effects we’ll be using (i.e. while in WicDiv, I knew what issue 8, 13, 14, 23 and so on would be well in advance, in DIE I actively don’t know how I’m going to tell a story until I’m writing the issue.) I wanted to be freer. I wanted to create a world bigger than the page, in every way.

So in short: Maybe? I dunno. I certainly could and am attracted to it in several ways.

Q: I know this has been asked already but, when/ if would you release a map for Die? Also, I am loving the series so far and can't wait for issue 9 keep up the great work! :)

A: Stephanie desperately wants to do a map, so the question is not If but When.

I suspect during the third arc, or possibly between the second and third arc, but can’t be sure.

****

The implications of this urinal are troublesome.

****

I think this the longest period I’ve gone without writing a page of new script since I started writing comics. I don’t think I’ll be writing one this week either. It’s not a problem. This is just a symptom of the time. It’s really about planning, research and plotting.

It’s not even sitting and dreaming. Stuff is getting done. I wrote a first-pass 2000 word document for one new possible thing on Monday, and did another first pass 3000 word document for another possible thing yesterday. The unusual thing is that this is what I’m actually allowing to fill my time rather than insisting it’s done alongside everything else. At least part of my plans for post-WicDiv work is to do less work, but better. I think this aligns.

I’m also aware that I’m saying “I’m trying to keep things reduced” at the same time as saying “I’ve written outline documents for two new projects”.

Other stuff? PROJECT PRIVATE BUKOWSKI is rushing through its present steps, which involves lots of talking about documents. PROJECT MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER slides back in focus after Tbubz. DIE 10 is going to press at the end of next week, and is going to be a little tighter than comfortable – I did manage to pull together the back matter. The plotting of DIE’s third arc is actually solidifying into some set-pieces which I’m really excited by. I had a moment of being genuinely upset by an idea, which is always my magnetic north for my personal work. I’m aware that DIE 11 will need to exist relatively shortly – Stephanie will be taking some time off after she comes off deadline, so I have a little space, but I’d like it done sooner rather than later. Oh – and I wrote another 5000 words for the final WicDiv HC, while comforting C as she suffered the utter horror of proofing the Writer notes for 17 issues of WicDiv.

(Oh – I need to go through the people who’ve mailed wanting to do write ups of their games for the DIE arcana. I’ll try to get through that today. We’ve had so many it’s going to be a difficult task to select. Folks have been fantastic)

The big tell that things are okay – I am 100% on top of my inbox. I was a little upset when a bunch of important mails came overnight, which means I’ll have to deal with them, but this is okay. This is nice.

Yes, I find that ominous too.

Kieron Gillen
London
6.11.2019

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