159: Don’t be murdered by your artist.

Hullo.

DIE11Mrk2
Ludo3
Links
Agrippa
Byyyyeeee!!!

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DIE 11 sold out, and there was a bunch of orders, so we decided to take it back to print with a tweaked cover. A reprint on issue 11 is pretty unusual, but I suspect we’ll see some more of these,  while the market works out what level orders are going to be now. That’s a worryingly sensible opening paragraph to my newsletter. I must be sick.

Anyway – DIE 11. If your shop needs an order code, it’s APR208893. Out Wednesday, July 29, the week after DIE 12.

I just finished DIE 15’s script, actually, which seems like a huge rubicon, but I suspect I’ll talk more about that in the outro.

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Ludocrats 3 comps turn up, which are out next week. Feast your eyes on the Lafuente cover of Bogol Theen, Gastronaut. There’s a pun there, but I swear, it wasn’t deliberate for once. It’s lovely to see David’s work on Ludocrats, as David’s work is always lovely, and also as a connection to the past lives of Ludocrats.

(Hmm. “The Past Lives Of Ludocrats” sounds like a Ludocrats episode.)

Bogol Theen was originally two characters – Bogol Theen, psychic jester and Gastron Gubbard, Chainsaw Gastronaut. At some point we merged them into one character, keeping Bogol’s excellent name and big-eyed visage while keeping Gastron’s general modus operandi.

Why merge them? They just both weren’t justifying their space in the story, and took such similar roles in the scene to make one of them extraneous. Generally speaking in a medium like comics where space is particularly paramount, you’re better off jettisoning folks and merging if you can. At the absolute least, less characters means less people for your artist to draw, and less people to draw means a smaller chance that your artist will murder you.

Don’t be murdered by your artist. Merge characters.

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This week, my reading tried to move back towards comics. My reading has been slow during lockdown, and my comics reading almost non-existent. Occasional PDFs or trades, but nothing significant (Slight exception: the entirety of a Walking Dead Omnibus). My heart has not been there, and not been there for a while – even before lockdown, I’ve been hermetically sealing myself away with the work. That’s part of the problem. I’m aware “comics” are “work” and reading the mass of comics to read is something I file next to work. I do mean the word “mass”, in a “nearly enough mass to collapse into a singularity”. I buy a lot to support creators, my friends and my friends who are creators. This isn’t including the stuff folk just send me, or the digital expanse of comics I own there. As such, any time I’m reading, I’m aware the task is endless. I could take a year off and do nothing but read comics and still not read everything.

As such, the enormity has paralysed me.

But If I’m thinking about what next, this includes looking at comics and thinking what there’s left for me – plus also trying to reconnect with stuff for the joy of it. This means grazing a little more, and not worrying about direction and catching up with runs. Instead… just try stuff. It started with Giant Days, and then cascaded through various Image books by people I don’t know and wanted to acquaint myself with. I weirdly found myself reading all of Scott Pilgrim for the first time this decade and seeing how the definitive 00s indie book works now. Lots of trying to see things through time. What’s the current conversation, really? And also, and more importantly, what do I actually like?

This morning I found my box of Andi Watson’s minicomics on the site and started reading them, starting with the wonderful Agrippina Artithmeric whose title story does the gothic nursery rhyme mode with new yorker style art to great effect. Watson is one of the creators that features in both Jamie and my origin story – Jamie moved directly from Sandman to Watson’s early Skeleton Key over at Oni, for example.

Anyway, as well as the title story, there’s a bunch of smaller strips. Here’s one. It’s uncharacteristic, but also characteristic. It’s also a 2020 mood.

I think I may cycle a Watson mini-comic into my wake-up routine, alongside with a few rounds of duolingo. That sounds useful.

Go see what Andi’s up to over here and you can buy stuff here.

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The main thing is simple: I just finished DIE 14 and 15, passing them over to Chrissy. That’s the end of the Great Game, which means that the next arc moves from “something in the future” to “something I am working on now.” I’ve already started a little of the research I need for issue 16, but that’ll step up a gear.

I’m aware that it’s cycling back to more obviously personal material. THE GREAT GAME is, as some people have noted even from the opening episode, very WicDiv. It’s a cascade of information, and drama on the world stage. The fourth arc looks inwards. I think it’s going to end up feeling very Phonogram, which suits me fine. As we push towards the conclusion, we push to the humanity of it. At the least, it’s got a good title.

I normally do the newsletter in the afternoon on the Wednesday, but I’m doing it in the morning as I’m kind of adrift. I’m unsure what I actually should write next. I suspect it’ll be wisest to perhaps drill down a little more on the missing pieces of ONCE & FUTURE’s third arc. As said, I’ve written the first issue, but I realise I’d like to develop a B-plot across the arc a little more, which likely means some minor research. Solving a problem like that will mean I can just cycle the issues into my schedule and write them whenever. My head seems sharper this week, so if I use that clarity for problem solving, when the fog inevitably returns I’ll be able to execute the plan my cleaner brain laid out.

Or maybe I’ll just respond to e-mail.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Kieron Gillen
London.
8.7.2020