127: Packed with tudes.

Hullo.

If I don’t think about NYCC, it doesn’t get closer. That’s my plan.

Future Now
Jamie Present
Links
Warcry me a river
Byyyyeeee!!!

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Once & Future 2 is out today, where Bridgette and Duncan go to Glastonbury Tor, in hope of stopping the bad guys from doing bad things. I hope they don’t succeed, because if they did, the next four issues of the story would just be everyone sitting around and having a nice cup of tea.

Dan and Tamra are doing astounding stuff in this issue, plus there’s a scene in this which is what I inevitably tell people in the pub when they ask me what I’m working on, so hope you find it entertaining.

Here’s a preview page…

And click through for more.

For those who are following the many reprints on the book, Boom talked to retailers about the reprint situation on Once & Future (and the also excellent, Something Is Killing The Children). TL;DR: Early prints are done with estimates of print runs so can get to shop quicker (hence underestimated demand), the latest one is based on actual orders.

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As well as setting up his newsletter, Jamie’s been keeping himself busy. Clearly he’s not quite ready to wave goodbye to WicDiv as he’s taking orders for a limited edition print (i.e. the above). You’ve got a couple more days to get your order in, so do so, if you want one. Don’t if you don’t. That would be ludicrous. If you don’t want a print, spend your money on crisps instead. If you want crisps, of course. If you don’t, you can spend it on oh I don’t know I should stop writing.

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Comps for “Okay” arrived. They’re a hell of a thing. Out the first week of October.

I also took them and put them into my Bookshelf Of My Stuff, to see the fade from white to black for the first time. Every time I’ve walked to book bookshelf, and looked at the WicDivs, I’ve been thinking about what that would look like.

Basically, it looks like a lot of work.

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Warcry is Games Workshop’s new skirmish miniature wargame, set in their fantasy universe. I finished painted all the minis to a table quality level in a different 1980s-esque style (details in the Instagram post, along with more photos of the little ones.) This meant I could actually play it, and thus am relieved it’s a really nifty, tight little thing that motors, and makes a lot of smart choices – the initiative system, the back and forth of the turn system, the campaign-mode that runs on an individual than group level and so on. GW have done a few skirmish games across the last few years, and I think this is my favourite. I say that without even mentioning one faction have peeled their faces off and wearing it on their belts. That’s my kind of fashion power move.

I also ran a couple of games of Trophy. Perhaps more on this anon. Short-form one off game of doomed adventurers, seeking trophies, becoming trophies. If you like Narrative RPGs, I suspect you would get a lot from it. I should be running it for Coffin Bound and Lucicer’s Dan Watters next week too.

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Once & Future 5 went over on Monday, which was very much a “This just isn’t working until it suddenly works” thing. This mode seems to be more common now I’ve started working on Scrivener. I’m writing more fluidly and loosely, across the whole issue at once, and then bouncing up and down the manuscript adding and tweaking stuff as I realise what a scene needs. I talk about it as a 3D Printer model, just putting down material until the script takes shape. It’d be nervewracking, but I’ve done so many single issues now that the real nervewracking thing is not doing it in a way which feels out of control. Creativity should scare you, I say, with my usual caveat that the word “should” is the enemy of creativity, as it closes down possibilities. I contain multitudes. You won’t believe the number of tudes I’ve got inside me. Packed with tudes. Bursting.

I moved onto Once & Future 6, which was in a nearly done draft state, and just finished it off before writing this. I’ll likely polish it up across the rest of the week… but once I’ve done that, that’s the last outstanding script I need for a while. I’ll move into smaller bits and pieces, and side-projects and the larger jobs of doing deep planning of DIE and Once & Future’s next arcs.

I also formally started the proper research on the former, working my way through a short monograph on Dave Arneson and a short biography of the figure who’ll be getting the focus arc in the third one. I’ll try to avoid mentioning who he is for a while. Maybe I won’t mention it until he arrives on the page. Except I’ve just written “He” which gives a clue. A small clue, but it’s still a clue. Ptth.

Also this may give enough space to go back to the DIE RPG Arcana. I’m doing a lot of gaming before NYCC, so my head will at least be in this space. I also got an idea that’s amused me terribly about how to do high level politics in a DIE campaign, so I’ll see if I can start putting some meat on that.

TV obsession has been Unbelievable, which is harrowing and well-observed in exactly the way you’d hope it would be, plus diving into a bunch of old albums. I tend to cherry-pick singles, so to actually obsess over albums I adored in certain periods is actually atypical. I think I’m trying to slow my thoughts down a bit, and think longer about a theme. I think that because, it hasn’t just been old stuff, but a deep dive on a couple of new albums – you could say there’s an obvious historical angle about the new gothic Pixies one, but Charlie XCX doesn’t exactly fit into that.

Pink Flag by Wire, Presidential Suite by Gonzales and Someone to Drive You Home remain fascinating documents. Pink Flag is well before my time, and one of the first art punk albums which I explored when I decided I wanted to be the sort of person who has opinions about art punk albums. Oddly, it was prompted by Ex Lion Tamer turning up on shuffle and me thinking, for the first time in my life, what a Tune it actually was. Presential Suite and Someone To Drive You Home are archetypal proto-Phonogram and Phonogram albums – the former was when I was more being David Kohl part time, and the latter being when I was just writing about him. The “Try living your life as a concept” brought all that back, and Long Blondes may as well be called That’s What I Call Fucking Up My Life (Volume 33).

I also found myself in a terrible indie club (the best kind, clearly) with a clientele of people as decrepit as I am. I went along with some of my oldest friends (in terms of time served rather than actual age) and threw shapes as if our bodies didn’t hurt, until they did.

Next week: who knows. See you then.

Kieron Gillen
London
18.9.2019

126: a backstab (if you are accurate enough) is heartbreak

Hullo.

I woke up on Thursday morning the day after WicDiv and thought “I am so fucking tired. I need a holiday.” So we booked one! Problem solved.

(Note to prod – please check if booking holiday far in the future actually counts as solving present problem, thank you.)

Future Soon
Future DIE
Links
Books
Byyyyeeee!!!

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I don’t think I’ve got anything new-new this week. I’m told that the fourth printing of Once & Future 4 drops, which will I suspect be hard to get hold of. However, also out this this week is the above Forbidden Planet variant cover which is drawn by David Lafuente and (er) glows in the dark. What a world we live in, friends.

The sixth printing is incoming, and accepting orders, so talk if you want to get hold of that. I suspect this is the one which be easiest to get hold of. Speak to your retail, ASAP.

Issue 2 is out next week, which will be a time.

(And FP are doing another Lafuente cover for it too, which is lovely)

Cripes. What a lot of covers.

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In all the chaos I missed that the solicits for November were out.

Coo at Stephanie’s cover! Coo at Emma Rios and Miquel Muerto’s cover! Coo!

There’s also some text, where I’m totes being pointlessly enigmatic.

DIE #9

WRITER: Kieron Gillen
ARTIST / COVER A: Stephanie Hans
COVER B: Miquel Muerto, Emma Ríos
NOVEMBER 06 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99

“SPLIT THE PARTY,” Part Four Forget escaping DIE. You can’t do that without escaping the prison, with your worst enemy and the first woman who ever gazed upon this plane with human eyes.

This one was a bunch of work, shall we say. Stephanie also decided to ink a section in it, which means it was extra work for her too. Basically, we’re not very good at being chill, Team Die.

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I read a couple of novellas this week.

I’ve always loved the epistolary novel as a form. Its sensuousness, its intimacy, its confession, its playfulness. I recall a game designer telling me what he thought Youtube streamer’s strength was –“you will never trust anything as much as you trust someone looking you in the eyes”. I find myself thinking that an epistolary novel is the literary equivalent of that – and, of course, that your instinct is to trust a confessional letter is what should make you doubt it. You are rarely more vulnerable than when you receive a letter from someone you’re interested in. They get to choose their pose exactly as they wish.

It’s also, in the most practical terms, a useful form for a collaborative novel. You get to do what your characters are doing. You don’t want to let the side down. Anything but that.

Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose The Time War doesn’t either let the side down. It isn’t just in the a epistolary form – it bounces between letters and short chapters of the characters actions as they bounce up and down the threads of a timestream – but it harnesses a lot of those strengths and applies them precisely. The characters are flamboyant like warring Culture agents, showing off in everything. It is intensely poetic, like the Master and the Doctor sending loaded, painful missives to one another as they consider their backstabs – and a backstab (if you are accurate enough) is heartbreak. At its best, it is weird, like love is weird. Find time for this.

The Armoured Saint by Myke Cole was recommended by various Warhammer-y friends, who said it was basically a more serious, less miniature-soldier-tie-in take on the core Warhammer motifs of corruption, religious persecution, psychic pollution, a not-that-saintly saintly Emperor, lots of ultra-violence, heavily armoured battle suits and teenage lesbianism. One of the above may not be a traditional part of the Warhammer axis. This is driven, superior fantasy fiction and most authors would stretch this material to a longer book instead of hitting as hard as Cole does. It’s the start of a series, but I’m intrigued by returning to this length after decades of ever-ballooning fantasy epics.

Both books are available now.

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Links!

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This week has mainly been about the fallout of the end of WicDiv. The circle of knowledge slowly expanding from the inside of my head to the WicDiv readers, one by one. Thanks to everyone who’s been respectful with tweeting spoilers and images – the trade is a month away, and it’s a book whose images are loaded with meaning.

The crashing exhaustion I opened with. A series of adventures – seeing friends in Brighton, Eurogamer’s 20th anniversary, lots about time and space. The weirdness for the first time in five years of having a micro-obsession over the Love Affair’s Everlasting Love, thinking it’s a perfect WicDiv tonal song and moving to put it on the playlist and realising that would be cheating.

But work’s been Once & Future with a side order of PROJECT MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER. That my schedule is a little freer than it has been means that I can actually concentrate on it, and do two issues back to back. This means rather than writing an issue to completion, I’m writing the first draft of each, and then seeing if there’s anything I want to move between the two. This is a luxury I rarely have, but for the end of a first arc which I’m turning into an ongoing series, it’s a useful luxury.

I suspect I won’t move anything, but the option to do big tweaks in framing is nice to have. Also, it lets me put off actually polishing something a little longer, as Procrastination Is My God And I Must Sacrifice My Hours Unto It.

My RSI is also playing up. Compared to many people in the industry (especially artists) what I’ve had is mild and something I’ve managed to deal with since I was 21. It’s set off primarily by mouse-work, excess screen scrolling and various things with console controllers – if I keep proper posture, typing is a relatively small problem. As I know it, I can mostly avoid aggravating it. When I do, I can moderate my behaviour until it calms down. You can imagine that in my previous life as a games journalist, this was somewhat trickier. I’ve been using my mouse with my left hand for everyday purposes for over twenty years, saving right-hand mouse use for when I have to play a mouse-based game. Even then, it’s games which lean heavily on the mouse-wheel which makes it scream.

While that I admit this is a boring, too much information and also depressing end to a newsletter, at least it justifies why I’m stopping, right?

Speak anon.

Kieron Gillen
London
11.9.2019

125: The Wicked + the Divine (2014-2019)

Hullo.

It’s the last issue of WicDiv release. I’ve spent the whole day trying to get my pages done, and only managed it in a cursory fashion. I should have just given up and written this. You’re allowed to be distracted once every five years, right?

The Wicked + the Divine (2014-2019)
DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE
WicDiv supplementary
The Third Steve Jackson
Byyyyeeee!!!

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This is Olivia Jaimes’ cover. Jamie/Matt’s is here, but is such a big spoiler for the final issue, I don’t want to put in a newsletter as a bunch of you read in trades.

(Also, Olivia Jaimes cover! It’s a perfect cherry on our gothic cake. What a thing to go out on.)

Anyway. WicDiv. That’s done.

I mailed Jamie on March 5th in 2013 with a mail entitled “Proposal idea” giving him the rough concept for WicDiv, in a violent download that is still too incendiary to print. He said yes, and I set to work. I sent him the script for the first issue at midnight at the start of 2014. We announced WicDiv the day after Young Avengers ended, in the first week of 2014. The first issue came out in June.  The last issue came out today.

Jamie and I have been doing a selection of interviews about the end of Wicdiv, and something that’s come up a few times are whether we achieved our goals. The short answer is “Yes.” We’ve been astoundingly lucky.

(By the way – Jamie has a new newsletter too, which you should sign up for.)

Matt and Clayton have been with us for so long, and managed to basically perform the most nonsensical stuff we’ve asked with style and elan. Seeing how Matt grew closer in his work methods, and how they integrate now has been a hell of a thing to be privileged to see, and I’ll miss. Clayton hasn’t escaped me yet, being over on DIE and has just mailed me the lettering for Ludocrats. His work has been as much of an icon of the series as anything else, and what he’s doing in the new Bitch Planet is not just chef kiss, but chef orgy. Dee Cunniffe, our noble flatter, has always been on point in the frenzy of our deadlines, and we owe him intensely – I’ve enjoyed seeing him get more colouring credits as those years have passed.

Hannah’s core design is one of the icons of the series that has defined us – calm, deliberate,  confident. She cherry-picked Sergio to take over, and he’s been a hero, and ensured everything we’ve done speaks to WicDiv, no matter how much we messed with it. Which, being me, was a lot. Katie’s role on the comic was both invisible and powerful –any time Katie got involved in something, it blossomed into something better. She was a force multiplier, with every touch.

There’s so many people at Image who’ve been instrumental to the book, I feel bad mentioning anyone specifically. In all the departments, they’ve been brilliant, and it’s a book that literally could not exist at any other publisher. However, it would be remiss to not mention Erika, who we have sent apology flowers to during the run. If we’ve sent apology flowers it normally says something. No more late issues, Erika. Sorry.

Then there’s the readers. WicDiv readers have been the best readers. That’s a fact. We made them cry. I can only say, they made me cry as well. In a good way. It’s been a precious experience.

This is also me and Jamie heading away, at least for a while. I’ve spent the last fifteen years telling Jamie he should write more of his own comics while giving him another script to draw. I’m excited to segue over into just being a Jamie cheerleader. He has been an incredible collaborator and friend, and I cannot imagine my career or life without him.

Chrissy gets no such escape. She’s been my wife (hence, suffering) and WicDiv’s editor (hence, also suffering). I have no words, or at least, no correctly spelled words. I owe her everything and WicDiv does too.

You can get it digitally or from your local comic shop. The collection is out first week in October.

Thanks for reading.

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Also, DIE 7 is out, where Chuck we delve into the depths of Chuck, which does seem like a contradiction in terms, I know.

Preview here with the nasty censorship bars which always bug me. You can get it online or in shops, obv.

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Some extra WicDiv content, eh?

First, I don’t think I mentioned that we’re actively trying to do the party at New York Comic Con week. Go speak to Jazzlyn if you want to help out somehow – we’re still nailing down venues. I’ll keep you up to date as we progress.

Secondly, I put up the Writer Notes for issue 44 of WicDiv. They are very TMI, which I suspect you’ll have come to expect by now.

Thirdly, Mink lobbed online this podcast with Sara Kenney (Surgeon X) and myself, talking about the process of putting together the WicDiv immersive experience at last year’s Thought Bubble. Which, if I remember correctly,

Fourthly, last Friday Jamie, Katie, Chrissy and myself went for the official End Of WicDiv Meal.

We had a lovely time and then the next day I had a distinctly unlovely hangover. It’s a metaphor, probably.

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I’ve had a few requests for “What’s the Scorpion Swamp thing?” I mentioned in passing at World Con, so I’m going to share a nerdy tale of eldritch horror and/or mishearing.

The Fighting Fantasy books were created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (who also founded Games Workshop, etc). There’s a little confusion that there’s also a completely different American Steve Jackson, who made games like GURPS, Car Wars, Illuminati, Munchkin and so on. I’m a big fan of both, but it was the American one who was a guest of honour at World Con.

I’m in the queue for his spotlight with my friend, Daniel Nye Griffiths, and we’re chatting about this. Specifically, there’s something which makes the Steve Jacksons even more confusing.

American Steve Jackson also wrote some of the Fighting Fantasy books.

Now, I somehow recalled something else. Namely, that there was a third Steve Jackson, who only also did one of the Fighting Fantasy books – specifically, the unusual Scorpion Swamp,. We frowned, not thinking it likely, and ended up turning to google to look up the facts. We were disappointed to find that, no, I’d got confused, and it was US Steve Jackson who did Scorpion Swamp. The concept of a third Steve Jackson who only ever did one game book was too good to be true.

Scorpion Swamp is one of the weirder of the series. Not tonally like the genuinely chilling House of Hell – but because it took a very different structure. It attempted to model an actual “dungeon” and move between it as if it was a real space, in a way more like a simulation than the more branching narrative of the Fighting Fantasy games. It’s one of the books which reviews terribly and understandably, just as it’s a completely different beast to the rest. As a kid, it was always one of my favourite for exactly that reason – and while the simulationist approach is very American Steve Jackson, I’d somehow transferred its unusual nature to be the work of someone who absolutely slipped from the pages of history. It would make sense it was done by someone who did no other work, because it was its own thing.

But I was wrong.

So we go into the panel, which is a delight. Eventually it hits the Q&A and someone asks a question about the Sorcery gamebooks. You can hear the wince from the crowd, as they’re written by the British Steve Jackson. American Steve Jackson takes it in his stride, and talks about them, then notes they’re not by him. It then segues to the Fighting Fantasy books he did write.

The host says he did three, yes?

Steve says yes.

The host strains his memory and lists three game books.

Steve says Yup.

Dan and I look at each other, in glee.

Scorpion Swamp wasn’t in the list.

Now, it’s possible we misheard. It’s possible that Steve misheard. It’s possible that Steve heard right and was too polite to correct the host.

But it’s also possible that all the geek history is wrong and there’s actually a third Steve Jackson.

“The Third Steve Jackson” is clearly the name of my forthcoming eldritch cosmic horror novella.

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As you can imagine, it’s been a distracted week, and the ghost of WicDiv haunted a lot of it. Last night, I hung a friend who I’ve known for about as long as WicDiv, and got drunk and got emotional, and talked music. To choose one, Nobody’s Empire, Belle and Sebastian’s 2014 track.

I’ve said previously I’m unlikely to do a complete Writer Notes on the playlist, but there’s the temptation to talk about the biggies. Nobody’s Empire is one, an autobiographical song for a band who almost completely write fictional short stories, and actively too painful in parts. There’s two moments in it which kill me, and I unpicked them and chewed it over and everything else. Nobody’s Empire was one of the songs which I put on the playlist not because that it was anything about one of the characters or any of the scenes, but because it seemed to feel exactly like WicDiv felt to me. It was awful, and tried to find hope and transcend it.

Anyway, I’m walking to therapy this morning, and as it’s Today I decided to listen to Nobody’s Empire and then put the playlist on shuffle. I got to the final swell, where it hits the second of those big beats - “He told me to leave that vision of hell to the dying.” – and it was like something leaving my body. It’s over. I stopped the music and walked the rest in silent. I didn’t need it any more.

I think if I had to choose a moment to official end the WicDiv Comic Era of life, it’d be then.

Heh. Yes, I’ve written two goodbyes to WicDiv in a single Newsletter. I am SHAMELESS.

Jim and I wrapped up Ludocrats 3 and mailed it over to the artist, who’s finishing up the inks on issue 2. It’s getting increasingly odd to not mention who it is when we’re increasingly deep into the process. I’m thinking perhaps we should announce at NYCC… but I don’t want to really announce until we are 100% sure when it’s going to launch. Also, as I said above, we got the first take on the lettering from Clayton for issue one, which is a hell of a thing. Jim describes it like a fever dream, and I don’t disagree. I can’t wait to show it to you lot.

Apart from that, I’m onto Once & Future, hoping to finish the arc off before doing anything else. But let’s save talking about that for next time, eh? This has been a heavy one.

Kieron Gillen
London
4.9.2019

124: Loki is Loki is Loki.

Hullo.

The end of tinyletter. Welcome to an enormoletter, a letter the size of the sun. Actually, from it’s substack, which frankly, makes me want to make off colour BDSM jokes, but my mum reads this. Hi mum, etc.

As this has changed over to Substack, it may mean that the mail is stuck in spam or the wrong folder. Er… maybe there’s something you can do to drag it to a different folder? I don’t know. I’m not Mr Tech in his world of Techyness.


Once and Future-er
Di(vin)e
Low key cameo
Papa’s Got a Not New Fleabag
Byyyyeeee!!!

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Boom, Dan, Tamra and myself have decided to make Once & Future into an ongoing.

I thought it was a good idea, because it’s going worryingly well (sixth printing of one was announced, I believe) and everyone presumed it was an ongoing anyway. I hate to disappoint.

I originally planned Once & Future as something to work in the Hellboy mode (in terms of these stand alone minis, which build a mythology) or Doctor Aphra (which has a arc-as-movie structure, with each arc kicking forward the status quo.) Basically, it just taking that rough plan and bounding on into it.

Once & Future plays games with folklore, myth and legend from across the British Isles, so there’s enough things to riff on, in addition to the Arthurian aspects which are the core backbone of the book. I’d already told Boom what my rough plans for the first three series would have been, which are now my rough plans for the first three trades.

It does mean that I have to move on the research of various aspects a little quicker, but that suits me fine. Frankly, watching the headlines at the moment is all the inspiration I need. I was mildly worried that the conception of the book as a modular structure would hurt it as an ongoing, in that it was made to have put problems back in the box at the end of an arc. In fact, within a day of the announcement, I’d got the structural Ways To Make This A Really Fucked Up And Compelling ongoing idea which means it should motor, while still giving enough room for the picaresque detours and minor adventures.

Best of all, it means I don’t need to cram everything into issue 6 now. Phew.

In terms of Other Fun Once & Future stuff, Oliver MacNamee did some annotations of the Arthurian aspects of issue 1 which I suspect may be useful to folks who were wondering what we’re specifically riffing on. Also, here’s an unlettered preview here for issue 2. Here’s a page…

Coo!

I promise, there is more than just Bridgette and Duncan in a car, talking.

It goes to press tomorrow.

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Marvel 1000 is out this week, where Doug Brathwaite and I return to Loki for a page. It’s my last Work-for-hire at the moment, and was a fun time. Any time with Doug is always a joy, and Loki is Loki is Loki.

It’s a fascinating project. Al Ewing holds this monster together by an act of will alone, and has my eternal admiration.

Oh – also out…

The last volume of my run on Star Wars, finishing off the five-part large structure.

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The comps for next week – which is The Wicked + the Divine 45 and DIE 7.

The Wicked + the Divine 45 is the last issue, so I’m still not linking the cover here. It’s a spoiler for anyone reading in trades. If you are reading in single issues, I suspect you’ll want to read it quickly, just because we’ve come a long way, and I think you’ll want to take this in at your own speed. It’s an intimate issue.

I also need to do the Writer Notes for WicDiv 44 too. As reviewers will likely get PDFs tomorrow, I’ll try and get them done tomorrow morning. Keep an eye on my tumblr/twitter, and if not, I’ll link them next time.

If you need a recap in the mean time, Comic Book Classroom did a dramatic recreation of the whole series in 45 minutes, which is just delightful, for dozens of reasons. You can listen to it here. It’s very touching.

Oh – the second printing of DIE 6 is out too.

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I managed to get tickets to go see Fleabag last week, where Phoebe Waller-Bridge reprised her one person show which she expanded to the first series of the show.

To state the obvious, it’s good. Fleabag first came to my attention when a reader tweeted at me about it on the night it debuted, and watched with fascination. As someone who is attracted to writing messes of protagonists, clearly this is something that is My Jam. I found series one frustrating in some ways, and genuinely brilliant in others, while season two is genuinely an astounding piece of television.

Watching the show makes you understand why – the first season is an adaptation of an hour show, which means that things which work exquisitely with that tighter pacing alienate more when stretched out to three hours. The second series, written entirely for the screen, starts from the blank canvas and works better with the space.

In other words, if you get a chance to catch it, do so. It’s strong work.

Also, for the record, Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be the dream casting for Phonogram’s Emily Aster.

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Readers, he did not finish Ludocrats 3.

That’s not quite true. I finished a draft of it yesterday, and now it’s just polish (which, for Ludocrats, means adding extra panel descriptions of nonsense.) It was just a case of getting my head down and doing the work. It’s primarily an editing and sequencing job, so can be approached in terms of Achieve Full Momentum. Even so, it’s bugged me it’s taken so long. It’s a dumb thing to procrastinate over.

(Simultaneously, I’m aware I’ve written 4000 words today, not including this newsletter. Even when I’m unproductive, I’m stupidly productive. This is not healthy.)

DIE 8 goes to press next week, which means that there’s been the deep polish on the lettering, which involves explaining the world-buildy stuff to Chrissy (“See, there’s eight soldiers, because the Bronte Children’s took four and…”) which literally no-one other than me will care about. There’s also been writing the back matter – in the second arc, it’s a mixture between essays and extra material for the game. This time it’s a two page essay on systems plus a page of rules. That I’ve somehow got a sideline as a random game designer now is amusing. Also, a rush – If someone had told me how much pleasure there is seeing people take a system for interaction you made and running with it, I’d have done it years ago.

Next week? Working out if there’s an easy way to change image sizes in the e-mail after you’ve uploaded them, or whether you need to rescale before uploading. Also, Ludocrats 3, no, really.

Kieron Gillen
London
29.8.2019

123: who actually did write Scorpion Swamp?

Hullo.

I have been considering how “French” is deployed as an aesthetic tactic to elevate things. Like “French Kissing” sounds classy when it means “Putting spit and tongue in the face hole.”

I’ll miss you
My Big Mouth
My Bad Writing
Links
Byyyyeeee!!!

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It says a lot about last week that when writing the newsletter I forgot a little thing.

The last issue of The Wicked + the Divine went to press.

It should be out on September 4th.

Which means the final trade has been pulled together, and also rushing off to the printers.

It should be out on October 2nd.

This is the week of New York Comic Con.

We are hoping to be there.

We are also hoping to celebrate, so be aware that we are trying to find a place for a WicDiv wake and dance party.

How does it feel to be finished?

It’s complicated, but good complicated. Jamie’s done incredible work. Matt’s done incredible work. Clayton’s done incredible work. I’m happy with the final issue. It’s incredibly strange to see the final beat which I first explained to Chrissy way back in 2014 actually there, on the page.

The strangest, most natural thing is how it’s creeping into the world. Friends who are close readers now have the full picture. I’ve had a friend at Comixology message me that she has the pages, and has read it. It’ll be with others soon. This idea which was just ours becoming everyone is magical and humbling.

I really can’t wait for you to read it.

It’s also made me think of ending rituals. I did say I was going to do writer notes on the whole of the WicDiv Playlist, but I suspect I won’t, at least in any detailed way. Partially as I haven’t the time, and partially as I don’t think it’ll be useful.

If WicDiv has managed to purge my desire to use ritual in ways that trap me implies that it actually worked. That’s the scariest thing of all.

Christ. It’ll be with you all in two weeks. I can’t believe that.

****

There’s been a lot of people saying how much they enjoyed this interview about my current place in the world. It was done about an hour after finishing scripting WicDiv, so some of the berserk energy of the time leaked into it. I’m certainly more honest than I suspect is advisable. Here’s something I’ve basically been saying to people in terms of why I’m doing what I’ve been doing for the last few years…

“I mean, it's very high-faluting, but if you're in a position to make something genuinely new, you should grab that chance, if you've got something to say. If not, great. But if you genuinely think you can make a useful myth ... because it's one of situations like yeah, I've really liked writing Star Wars, but imagine if George Lucas, instead of doing Star Wars, he did Buck Rogers. You know, he took Buck Rogers and remade it. Yeah, it would have been great. But we wouldn't have Star Wars.”

…and lots more in the interview.

****

I tweeted a bit of Once & Future Script.

I am very smart writer. Also, as Greg Pak pointed out, I don’t even stick to my nonsense. I’m incompetent at being ironically incompetent.

In passing, when you see the panel, Dan nailed it.

****

****

The week has mainly been off at World Con Dublin, which left my inbox a hell. It’s mostly tamed now.

It was my first World Con. I’ve done the last two Easter Cons, which were my first experience of the (primarily) literary fantasy cons. I say Primarily – there’s lost of other fan action in there, but this at its heart about the novels. They also work entirely unlike the rhythm of a comic con. It normally leaves comic creators confused.

At a comic con, ideally, you will leave with more money than you arrived with. At World Con, you will almost certainly leave with less money than you arrived.

There was the lovely moment at a Dinner when a comic friend of mine realised that everyone around the table had paid to be here.

I tend to use the “this is a space where ‘fan’ and ‘creator’ is less delineated than a comic con.” As someone who always liked the relative egalitarianism of comic cons, I’m attracted to this. Still – it also feels more like an industry event, just an industry event where fans are also more part of the industry than comics. You go to a comic con to connect to your readers and find new ones. It seems much more that you go to a World Con to speak to and with your peers (or would-be peers)

It was a lot of fun. It’s entirely not my world (so I am constantly learning new stuff and meeting new people) while being just about notorious in my own field enough to be viewed as exotic by folks in that world (so probably worth talking to).

I also need to work out who actually did write Scorpion Swamp, which is another story.

(Five votes short of being on the short list for the Graphic Story at the hugos too, which made me smile.)

Oh – I started a new project idly on Saturday night which may just be for my own amusement. Let’s call it PROJECT BRIGHTER SHADE OF BLUE. This is very much experimental stuff, but I’m lucky enough that I had space to have a little play. Trying to create space to have a little play was basically one of my goals for this year. It’s easy as a freelance writer to just cascade from one job to the next in a panic. Taking a step back to survey the terrain is something I’ve planned hard for.

That said, I also just threw something else on my plate, as a fool and his spare time are easily parted.

What’s up in terms of work for the next week?

I really, genuinely, honestly will finish Ludocrats 3, stop looking at me like that Chrissy.

Kieron Gillen
London
12.8.2019

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