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

133: Duncan confused, Bridgette phlegmatic

Hullo.

Having finished Derry Girls, I’m now listening to the playlist of every song on it, which is probably the moment when David Kohl would club me to death. My cries of “I’m skipping a lot of them” would not stop his wrath.

There is no “us” in Arcana but I think there should be so there.
Diiiiiiiiie
Links
Spiders
Once and Past
Byyyyeeee!!!

****

Those who have the strength to read to the end of the newsletter will have noted I’m trying to get the DIE RPG arcana done for around the end of the arc (or shortly after). The Arcana is a mix of things – it’s material for the Beta, and a mixture of experimental weird stuff and stuff which actually goes into more depth and gives more examples of how to do it. So some stuff for people who want to push further and some stuff for people who may want some more guidance how to get there.

One of the bits of the DIE RPG beta which seemed to work well was the worked example of how you can generate a fantasy adventure from persona’s various emotional messes in the real world. Quite a lot of people have said it’s a bit where it clicked for them.

My worry was that as it’s one example it only shows one way of doing it. Putting multiple long examples in the (already hefty) main text was a problem though. I realised I could do more in the Arcana.

I also realised that this is a place where it would be useful to hire other people to write up their own sessions, showing what diverse people did to create diverse experiences. I envisage the format being similar (but likely less detailed) than my example in the main manual – as in, a description of the Persona, your prep for the session, your thinking behind the prep and a little about how it ended up working.

If you’re ran a game of DIE and are interested in writing this up, drop me a line to the usual DIE RPG mail with a brief description of who you are, your experience in RPGs and the bare one-sentence outline of what your game was like (Including the amount of prep – I suspect I will select some people who are more planners and some people who are more improv). Feel free to link to any writing samples too.

As time is pressing I’ll only be keeping my inbox open until next Wednesday (November 6th). The deadline will likely be a couple of weeks after that, so I’d ask only people who’ve already ran a game apply to this, as you don’t really have time to cram it all in. To stress, this will be paid work.

****

I was just getting a tea before I quickly skim-proof (i.e. not really proof at all) this and saw that the comps for DIE 9 had arrived. Emma Rios alt cover.

Out next week.

****

Quick bits!

****

I was on holiday last week, which was the reason for the skip. I went to Crete. I did literally nothing, and a surfeit of it. I went through seven novels, four of which are for DIE, one which was for Once & Future, one which was a fantasy novel I noped out of after 300 pages (I’m trying to nope out more. That it was 300 pages out of 450 shows how bad I am at it) and this little hard sci-fi beauty.

I don’t want to drill into the details, as it’s the sequel to the also-excellent Children Of Time, a movie which I always hail as “IT MADE ME CRY OVER SPIDERS.” Children of Time’s backbone was uplifted Spiders – by which I mean, derived from Spiders’ earth biology, not a dude with a Spider-mask and some cheap CGI. The most alien beings in that book are those who we are presently sharing a planet with.

Children of Ruin takes the trick, and expands it. At one point the cast is what I’d count broadly as five separate species, each with their own defineable psychological model, and with each species including separate identifiable people inside them. And then there’s all kinds of mashing between them and…

Children of Ruin’s delight is manifold. I described it urgently to a friend as “Imagine if Star Trek wasn’t shit” which is deeply unfair, but speaks to the energy herein, the sheer amount of intellectual force and playfulness that Tchaikovsky is deploying here. It shows you can have something which has all the scale and drama of that pop-sci-fi but while also writing something that is dazzles and reaches onwards, ever higher.

****

I’ve been answering some tumblr asks, and asked some questions about my script format. I haven’t actually got a full script online at the moment, but thought putting up some samples to show various modes of mine may be useful. Let’s start with Once & Future.

You can see all the pages below here and you can click through the below images to see at a bigger size if it’s too small for you.

And excuse typos and roughness - and as a caveat, be aware that there’s rewrites at various stages, both before and after the scripts I’m grabbing for. The concept of Final Script doesn’t really exist for the way I work.

O&F is explicitly me trying to get out the way of Dan. Its written in something akin to my WFH-writing mode – very little of the formalist nonsense I’ll try with Jamie and less of the collaborative worldbuilding epicness of DIE. If I don’t have to say something, I try not to.

However, this is the first panel. Not page, panel. For me, especially early on, I try to tell my collaborator what’s going on. You set ground rules for mood going forward.

However, this is basically the mode I’m trying to stay in…

…which is where I try to stay. Gosh, there’s more exclamation marks than I’d normally do. Hmm.

You’ll note I include reference where required (and O&F only gets more and more art reference the more we go in) and the occasional joke. Some of that’s just trying to create the mood when reading the script you want the final art to have. You could just say “Duncan confused, Bridgette phlegmatic” and leave it like that, but early on I want to make sure the import of it is underlined.

If I don’t get a bunch of unsubs for this nonsense, I’ll include more stuff down the line.

*****

Holiday doesn’t mean I stop. Not that I wrote significantly – a lettering pass for O&F 4 and some e-mail was it, which is far less than normal – but there was a lot of space to consider things and the direction for projects. A lot of reading around the projects, including a couple of things which aren’t 100% certain yet, and swimming in the pool while thinking about them. As such, I come back in a deep plotting mode – I just asked Stephanie if there was anything she especially wanted to draw later in DIE and she’s come back with a wonderful idea. This is all very blue sky period, in some ways, which makes sense as I spent most of the week beneath blue skies.

(Also PROJECT PRIVATE BUKOWSKI kicks into gear, which is pushing interesting demands on me.)

I was also at MCM at the weekend. I was going to write more, but I suspect I can boil it down to a simple: it’s grown from something where the comics always felt a little of the afterthought to a rock solid comics con. I also look at the level of professionalism and polish in the small press, and I’m aware that if I was coming up in 2020, I’d be fucked. The Brit scene is a hell of a thing.

One last thing – the UK Election was announced this week. If you’re not registered register to Vote here. Registering for mail vote is a good idea too, and perhaps even to set up a proxy in case. It’s a hugely important election. I’m sure I’ll write more nearer the time, but it all starts with this, and without this, there really is nothing else.

Kieron Gillen
London
16.10.2019

132: the elf who lived in a basement in Rivendell

Hullo.

Murderous Grandma
Nerdy
Links
Byyyyeeee!!!

****

Once & Future 3 drops today, wherein we dive straight into the action, Bridgette’s determination to be the one Chandlerian person to walk into a room with a gun whenever the plot slows down continues and I send Dan masses of references for Bath Abbey.

Bath Abbey’s makes relatively regular appearances in my comic work. It’s in issue 2 of Rue Britannia. The second comic I wrote (never actually completed) was a short told from the perspective of a slightly voyeuristic slowly-dissolving statue at the front of the Abbey. This is mainly as I used to live in Bath, and for a few years, was literally 100 yards from the Abbey with a pretty impressive view. I lived in a white box with Dan Griddleoctopus, and was only really paying for the view. I has lived in Bath for nearly a decade at that point, and decided that for once I’d not be the equivalent of the elf who lived in a basement in Rivendell.

So Bath Abbey appears. Eventually I will do something with the busker owho sang one verse and a chorus of No Woman No Cry outside our window for upwards of eight hours a day.

Anyway –Once & Future! It’s a fun time. I hope it’s a fun time for you lot too.

You can see a preview here. Here’s the first page…

I am very fond of Duncan going Arggghhhhhhhh!

****

Random nerdy moment of glee this week was when Rossignol and myself mailed each other simultaneously to say “White Dwarf is here!”

****

****

After being away for basically a week and a half, it means that there’s a lot of wading into my inbox with a flamethrower. Project MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER reached a brief impasse, which is handy, as Project PRIVATE BUKOWSKI goes into full drive today. I will need the space.

Thankfully, in a rare example of planning actually working, I also handed in Once & Future 6 on Monday, which is the last of the comic deadlines for a while. DIE 11 is due at a point to be determined based upon the gap between arcs – likely at least a month from now, and maybe more. Ludocrats 4 would be just before Christmas. Once & Future 7 would also be just before Christmas.

So bar Bukowski, I have a little space. Part of it is needed for research – both DIE’s third arc and O&F has some required reading. Part of it is needed for a few other things – I want to get DIE RPG’s Arcana out, and have set myself a deadline of releasing when issue 10 drops. Setting a deadline is what means it gets done. The Arcana is a mix of really experimental stuff which is deliberately messy and designed for people who want to get their hands dirty and stuff which is actually designed to be helpful to new players. I cut the main document to be about a core DIE experience, and things which were diversions were cut and pasted into here. I suspect it’ll read more like a compilation of magazine articles rather than an actual book.

(I also want to commission some stuff from a few GMs, which requires me thinking about exactly what I need.)

But most of all, this is creating space to actually do some hard, large scale plotting.

Plotting is interesting. Of all the things which you get comic writers talking about ad nauseum, it’s the one which gets least play. You get asked Where Do You Get Your Ideas From. You get asked How Do You Write A Comic Script. You rarely get anything about how one turns to the other. You get a How Do You Structure an Issue occasionally, but rarely how you get to an Issue To Structure.

You may be hoping this is building towards a Reveal All moment. You will be disappointed. 

I find the earliest stages of turning an idea into a story by far the most mysterious. I’ll be paying intense attention to the next few weeks of this, as I’d like to include SOMETHING practical in this area my masterclass in February. Moore (and others) have talked at length about the mystery of where ideas come from. For me, with little interest in metaphysics, it’s not that mysterious. The origins doesn’t matter to me – just the practise. It’s about sufficient input entering your head from life, art, history, whatever and then you drawing an unusual connection between two of those elements. Brain as a pattern sorting system, noticing an interesting line.

It's how you get from a raw concept to the specifics where it gets mysterious. At a certain point, it all gets easier. You have a certain number of elements – characters, character choices, previous established elements, a genre structure, a literary structure, a scene, a vision – which starts to limit (and so guide) other choices. It’s like putting together a jigsaw – as in, weirdest in its earliest stages, where you throw down pieces and see which ones seem to be a part of a picture. This continues until you can see a ghost of a story connecting the tiny pinholes of clarity. You have those moments – a girl in the crowd, a girl on the stage, a boy eating a raven, an ancient king slashing the throat of an anglo-saxon  - and hope that eventually sufficient moments to become a story. It’s worse because I usually know what the jigsaw is a picture of.

I know what’s wrong. But what is right?

Suffice to say, for me this is the most stressful part of being a creator. It’s not something I can predict. It takes as long as it takes. It’s not like running a marathon. It’s being lost in a forest.

It’s also one of the most rewarding times. When it clicks, and you see light dappling ahead of you, it’s about as good as it gets. There’s a lot of work to make something real, but you can see the route ahead of you.

I’m smiling. As Chip and Ryan are showing how funny a newsletter can be, I’m turning ever more purple.

Kieron Gillen
London
16.10.2019

131: where three stars should be.

Hullo.

It seems these newsletters are being primarily written in short breaks when travelling. At the moment, I’m flying between Boston and New York before a stopover. This isn’t quite true. I’m sitting on the runway at Boston, waiting to take to the air in my enormous metal bird.

Horizon
Necro
Links
Necromancer
Byyyyeeee!!!

****

Jamie announced this during the WicDiv panel at NYCC, and I couldn’t be more breathless if I was floating in space in a hard vacuum.

Jamie McKelvie. Matt Wilson. Aditya Bidikar. It’s inevitable that the comic is set in space, as that’s exactly where three stars should be. The press-release is here, which also links to the first interview Jamie did over at io9. I’ve talked before about spending the last decade and change trying to encourage Jamie to write more while distracting him with more comics, so seeing him go full auteur makes me grin. Also, if you’ve followed Jamie on any social media, you’ll know what a fan he is of science-fiction – and you’ll also know how long he’s been circling and thinking about this project, and how to make it land.

In other words, this is one of the books of 2020, and we should all counts ourselves lucky that we’ve got sufficient warning to brace ourselves.

Sign up to McK’s newsletter to receive transmissions from Jamie’s head.

****

So, yes…

i) we threw a wake for WicDIv in NYC. ii) Jamie now has a beard.

It was a lovely time, but despite the astounding work that Jazzlyn did with the astounding venue – an altar, slogan posters everywhere, animated videos of the wicdiv iconography, the lot -  there was a period we were worried it wasn’t just landing 100% in terms of shape-throwing. This happens occasionally. The dancefloor felt what I describe as soft – as in there’s people dancing, but there’s big turn-overs between song, and even the biggest bangers weren’t provoking a frenzy. I decided I’d be fine with that. In some ways, it was appropriate.

Then we hit 11:20, maybe 11:30 and the whole place kicked off and we had full Bachanalian glee and it was all an avalanche of human limbs until the traditional closing communal love song of Total Eclipse of the Heart, followed by a Bat for Lashes’ Laura. Normally we leave on Total Eclipse, as it basically leaves people up. With Laura, it was the wake, so we left it down. There was a lot of genuine tears, a lot of hugging and a lot of worrying sincerity from yours truly as I just told people individually how grateful I was.

To get a taste, the easiest thing is to look at the Instagram and twitter tags. We’ve got some video and photos of our own, which we’ll be compiling shortly. Everyone looked amazing. Everyone was amazing.

Jazzlyn asked to include a list of thank yous in it, which I include here: Tati Soutar. Liana Kangas. Tia Vasiliou. Chavon Coleman. Robyn Warren. Jordan Ellis. Ivan Salazar. Alex Lu. Greg Brown.  Matt Wilson. Nayoung Wilson. Chrissy Williams. Katie West. Alex Noble (LEX FX). And “The enthusiastic WicDiv fans that DM’d me niceties. …And the countless others that helped us throw this wake. You’re all lovely and I’ll save the last dance for any of you.” Plus the bunch of folks who arrived at the venue and set up the whole place in half an hour.

I did a zine for the event, which involved resurrecting my one-sheet photocopied format from circa-1995. I didn’t have my 1995 era logo, instead using the one from 1998 or so, but it’s still deep retro. I’ll likely have some to hand out in at Tbubz too, as I printed far too many.

In terms of music played, I was winging it, so have only the rough shape of my set. I am sad we didn’t remember to play Boom Boom Boom Boom, but most of the iconic songs dropped. In terms of other DJs, Jazzlyn’s is here and Ivan’s playlist is here. Jazzlyn’s has led to an obsession of Charli XCX’s I Blame It On Your Love and Billie Eilish bad guy, which is how WicDiv parties should go. Obsession in, obsession out.

In short, the WicDiv wake was the natural collision between Sandman’s The Wake and Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. We’ll miss you.

Photographs by Savannah Lauren (instagram/twitter). We’ll be putting up more photos online in the next week. I was having more in this mail, but Airport Wifi is not being generous with the wifi.

***

****

I finished Tamsin Muir’s Gideon the Ninth on the trip. I’ll admit, I nearly bounced off the meme-age Gormenghast of the first act but the second a generation’s best arrive at an awful, eternal tomb at the heart of an awful eternal empire, and the lead’s voice mashes up against some of the gathered charming and monstrous weirdos it first settles, and then accelerates and you just have to hold on. It brought to many things in terms of structure – And Then There Was None, Battle Royale, the Hunger Games, Cube, Warhammer 40k – but uses those elements as a bedrock to just pile up a baroque, funny, playful, brutal universe.

For a book that’s billed itself as Lesbian Necromancers in Space, I was a little surprised there was little Lesbians going at it. It’s actually a book which whose representation is actually one of simply making the cast who they are, and letting them live and die. That said, when the Necromancers go at it in the conclusion the pages are almost on fire. I can’t think of recent a book that’s done cataclysmic magic in prose as well. Magic is imagination, and this is magic.

***

Can you excuse me breaking down NYCC in detail? It would be long and I’d like to send this before I board the plane. My metal bird has deposited me in NYC, and now I’m about to board a further, larger metal bird.

It was the most full on NYCC I’ve been at which I haven’t been tabling at. It turns out having a party is a lot of work, and when you’re working for multiple publishers it all adds up. It did everything I wanted to though – for all the physical exhaustion, a con is a rejuvenatory exercise. If I come away reminded of why I love comics and love the people in it, it worked. And so, NYCC worked.

And now to actually finish Once & Future 6, which has been 45 minutes work away from being done for 9 whole days.

Speak soon.

Kieron Gillen
NYC
10.10.2019

129: a face full of chocolatey nougat.

Hullo.

I have an hour to kill at Heathrow before I fly off to NYCC, so let’s get this done. Big week, however you cut it.

And I’m Out
NYSee
Links
Byyyyeeee!!!

****

What’s out this week?

The final trade. Out this week in comic shops. It’ll be available next week in book shops.

I’ve said everything about this comic, because it is everything.

Thanks for reading.

DIE 8, which is where Stephanie turns things beautiful and Matt has a time.

Preview here.

And I believe this is the printing of Once & Future which should have sufficient copies for folks to grab.

****

We’re at NYCC this week, so here’s my schedule. Let’s hope I do this properly and accidentally don’t cut and paste the phone-number of everyone I’m having meetings with, eh?

Firstly – we’re not tabling. We’ve got a bunch of signings instead. So see folks there.

THURSDAY

11am - SigningTable #2, Autograph Hall

6pm – Signing at Midtown booth

FRIDAY

10am – Signing Boom Booth

11am:  I Love You 3000: Managing Real Feelings about Fictional Characters (Room 1B03)
Panel about Parasocial relationships with fiction, which is basically Listen To Me Talk About Crying about Impactor From Transformers For an Indefinite Period.

12:15 - SigningTable #2, Autograph Hall

2:45 PM : Spine tingling comic book series perfect for Halloween (Room 1A02)
Image Horror panel!

6pm – Signing at Midtown booth

SATURDAY

10am – Signing Boom Booth

11:00 - SigningTable #2, Autograph Hall

2:45: A Spotlight on the bestselling, award winning series THE WICKED + THE DIVINE (1B03)
Panel! Er… clearly this will be a time. Katie is moderating, and she’s promising hard hitting questions, as if her wont.

6pm – Signing at Midtown booth

9pm: THE PARTY! Details are here. Party sold out its advance tickets, but it’s worth jumping on the waitlist. There will be some tickets available on the door, which I’d advise to arrive early on. We’re basically tied to capacity, so will be watching it carefully.

SUNDAY

11:00 - SigningTable #2, Autograph Hall

4pm Signing at Image Booth

And then I’m doing stuff afterwards too!

TUESDAY

Event at Newbury Comics, New York. Which one? At the time of writing, I am unsure, but I’m sure the shop will know.

WEDNESDAY

Event at Newbury Comics, Boston.

And then I will be very tired.

****

This was fun. Thoughty runs an interview with me about DIE RPG, which is the first time I think I’ve done a straight “I am a designer here” interview about the game as its own entity. It feels like the very first Phonogram interviews in that awkward laying-out-stall-for-those-who-know-me-not, and a slightly different cadence. I suspect if you read one interview on DIE RPG, this is the one to read.

Charles io9 interviews me about Once & Future. This was done at SDCC, as we made our way across the con floor, at speed, in an attempt to get to my next signing. As such, it’s me saying half sentences as we dance between passersby (plus being day three of the con, I think) and isn’t exactly me at my most coherent – plus for those who have read issue 2, you can likely see me side-stepping talking about what’s revealed there. I feel for Charles transcribing it, basically.

This week’s new Music Crush are Black Midi. I came in via Ducter which had me thinking “is this the Foals” within the first thirty seconds before rapidly becoming WHO THE HELL IS THIS?!??! 30 seconds later.

****

As said, I’m sitting here in a Café Nero seeing what I can write and upload before my flight is called. I’d normally save writing this for the flight, but it pushes getting it online until far too late in the day plus I want to attack Once & Future 6. It’s done in a skeletal first draft, but it’s a good chance to polish things up, assuming the person in front of me doesn’t decide to push the seat back instantly.

You may be correctly reading the subtext from the above – that I’m someone who doesn’t tend to actually use Wifi on the planes. It’s a blessed chance to get away from the Internet for a few hours, and concentrate on the work. I wish I kept a list of scripts and pitches I’ve written on a transatlantic flight, to see if I can see a thread there. The thread is likely “work done in a panic before a Con.”

Failing that, I may try to do an alignment grid meme of People’s Behaviour In The Security Queue. “Puts away their tray AND any trays other people have just left” – is it Neutral Good or Lawful Good? This is the sort of pointless ethical question one likes to chew over instead of (say) writing up the script you’ve meant to be doing.

As well as everything else, it was my birthday this week. 44, which is a relief in a small way – namely that the internet has been convinced I was 44 all this year, and now it’s not wrong in that annoying way. I’ll admit, I do like the idea that I’m 44 just as the last WicDiv trade drops, for magical “the last issue was 44” reasons.

I deliberately didn’t mention the Birthday to anyone, as I wanted it quiet. Birthdays tend to be a time where I get a bit sad, and then get over myself by the afternoon. This is normally related to the time when I start to eat a Toblerone, and things are rarely so bad when you have a face full of chocolatey nougat.

There may be a moral here. The moral may be “maybe if I mention Toblerone, they’ll send me a box of Toblerone?”

See folks in NYCC soon, where you will identify me as the white, bearded, bald comics guy who is standing by Jamie McKelvie.

Kieron Gillen
London
25.9.2019

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