And lo! My return to the Marvel Universe proper, with Esad for company.
It’s been a while. I just checked, and by the time Eternals 1 drops, it’ll be over five years since I took lead on a Marvel Superhero book (Siege, during Secret Wars, for the records). I took a break. I was burned out and wanted to do other stuff, mainly my own. What lured me back?
Partially as it has been five years. I’m not burned out any more. Planting clover for a while your superhero bit of your brain works. Plus, I’ve kind of been missing it a bit. Seeing old peers and people who came after me tear things up is a delight, and you do get an itch to get involved.
Secondly, and most importantly, it’s always the chance to do something different, something I haven’t done yet. As in, taking a set of characters who’ve been a way for a while, deconstructing their engine apart, and re-assembling it and unleashing it.
Thirdly, Esad Ribic. I’d said yes before Esad jumped aboard, but my yes changed to YES! the second he did. I expect some YES! yelping from you lot when you see more. It goes without saying it’s good to be working with Matt again, and he and Esad are just magical together. Clayton has yet to escape me, but I’m especially interested to see what he does with the lettering challenge of the book.
Clearly, there’s going to be a lot more chat about Eternals down the line. Here’s the quote I gave for the press-release…
"I said if I was ever to do a book again at Marvel, it would have to be something I've never done before. This is exactly that. This is me teaming up with literally my favourite artist of the epic, taking one of those lightning-storm Kirby visions and re-making it to be as new as the day it was forged,” Gillen said. “While Esad makes whole worlds on the page, I'm applying all the skills I've developed when I was away. It's a lot. It's everything. There's enough scale packed in here that I believe that when you look at the comic, you'll see the pages slightly bulge. Essentially 'Eternal' has to mean 'never going out of style,' which means we're aiming for 'instant classic.' Also -- fight scenes, horror, human drama, emotions, explosions. Comics!"
…which has me laughing at myself. People always ask me for quotes at the end of the day when my brain is fried and my resistance to my own nonsense is low.
Key facts: it’s a clean, accessible book. It’s set in the Marvel universe, and will impact it hard, but it’s also designed to be picked up by anyone and enjoyed. Plus it’s very much me trying to bring to bear the skillset I’ve developed when I’ve been away (especially from WicDiv and DIE) and a whole bunch of other things I’ve been chewing over, in terms of things one could do.
Suffice to say, a huge bible document is involved, as I can’t help myself. In this case, I really can’t. One of my things I’ve tried to be doing more with my work is to do the stuff only I would consider doing, and there’s a lot of that here. Issue 3 has something so offkilter I’m even giving myself side-eye.
I think you’ll like this. Out November. Speak to you retailer. More press soon.
(For those who are keeping track, this was PROJECT COWBOY.)
Two books out this week.
The Ludocrats reach issue 4, which has one of the most pure-radiance covers in comics. This one actually makes me a bit emotional when I read it, which says more about me than it, I suspect. I’m just proud of what the team have done with all of Ludocrats, and how it just builds towards its conclusion next issue. I’ll especially like to highlight some of Tamra’s apocalyptic colouring here, which is something else.
Also I’m told that Ludocrats 3 was delayed in reaching the UK , but should be there today.
Once & Future reaches issue 10. This arc is basically divided into two halves, with the second half being our talk on the Slasher-around-a-house horror trope, except in this case, it’s an old people’s home. Dan and Tamra are just tearing the pages up, and I’m enjoying it enormously. Hopefully you will too. There is at least one little homage in here which I laugh a lot at, which I said as a side note, and Dan went full in on.
And the final cover for Ludocrats is revealed, with Skottie Young capturing the magnificence of Gratty as only he can. I love this. As the press release says, Look at it smolder! Look at it pout! It urges you to come hither! Step into its boudoir and hold it lovingly!
Speak to your retailer. It’s out September 30th and its order code is JUL208125.
I managed to catch up with some advance PDFs that folks sent me this week, so here’s some quick plugs of things which are either approaching their ordering cut off, or are (er) just past it, but still worth talking to your retailer to try and secure a copy of. I still have some more to get through as well. Comics!
Sina sent me GETTING IT TOGETHER, which he’s doing with Omar Spahi and Jenny D Fine. On twitter I said “Slice of life joy starring a cast of loveable car crash humans. Speak to your retailer, order popcorn and settle in for the comic drama” which sounds about right. It reminds me a little of the Real Mainstream comics that Oni were putting out circa 2000, but absolutely put in the present day. It’s the sort of book I wish all publishers were doing more of – fun, smart, flirty, stories about people living lives and fucking up. I wish I could do stuff like this, but I always end up sticking a fucking wizard in it.
Department of Truth is James Tynion, Martin Simmonds and Aditya Bidikar, and feels like a huge hit in waiting. “Hickmanian conspiracy games, Burroughsian crime, Sienkiewiczian style” I said on twitter, and nearly used the line "Stray Toasters meets Stray Bullets" which is very good, but not exactly it. "Stray Toasters meets Stray Bullets with a Hickmanian conspiracy heart" may do the trick. It’s got a BKV level big dirty hook, and exactly the sort of pointedly political and personal work I like to see from these creators.
Rachael Smith finished her run of 200 (count ‘em) Quarantine Comix, and started a mailing list to keep people up to date on the Print Edition. These have been just one of the things that have acted as an emotional lodestone this year, and are going to make an amazing volume. Go read ‘em and sign up.
Paul Allor sent me GI Joe 7, which I’d read a little of earlier in the run – it’s about a grounded a take on the concept as one can imagine. The first issues reminded me a little of the opening arc of QUEEN & COUNTRY, even. This issue takes that even further, which is a very human and well researched take on PTSD in soldiers with some almost Hawkeye-esque storytelling moments. There’s a review here to give you a little more on it, but it’s impressive stuff.
WE ONLY FIND THEM WHEN THEY’RE DEAD is Al’s successful move to take the title of the longest-title-at-Boom from SOMETHINGhttps://www.comicsbeat.com/we-only-find-them-when-theyre-dead-preview/ IS KILLING THE CHILDREN. With Simone Di Meo summoning a hyper-tech post-Kirby visions of the future, this is Al digging into his pulp-big-ideas-2000AD heart and I love it. I can’t wait to read more. Essentially: people mining dead star gods.
Stillwater is so good it annoys me. Ramon K Perez and Chip are doing something which seems to exist in a magical place between Chip’s Daredevil run and the Walking Dead. It delineates characters, throws ideas at the page and by the last page, you are 100% in. If you’re looking for first issue textbook, you should file this next to Y: THE LAST MAN #1.
Seb Patrick’s funeral was today. Here’s the fundraiser for his family again.
El Sandifer starts her series on Cyberpunk. This is great. Oddly, after our regular DIE game on Saturday, our group spent some time flicking through the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook to Britain, which was an eyeopener. I’ve never seen a sourcebook with Grimsby detailed, but I guess it is a Grim future. The heartbreaker is that it’s a significantly better future than real-2020 in many ways.
A weird, emotional couple of weeks. Two funerals. A little travel. Brain distracted. Also, sleeping in a bed isn’t my own for the first time since February. Some good stuff, but certainly hard. I also finished off my Stormcast. Look at this good boy on his lovely birdycat.
Work continues. I’ve been mainly just deciding to get all my back log of scripts sent over, which will be completed when Eternals 4 has the last few bits of historical fact checking. This week I’ve been scripting ONCE & FUTURE 15, which is coming out gratefully easy. A couple of weeks of non-new-scripts always leaves me hungry for scriptscriptscript. I likely will move straight onto Marneus Calgar 5 next week, which wraps off the mini and leaves space on the board.
What goes in the space open. I want to take a week off soon and just work on the DIE RPG. Project MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER has also been in play – ideally I’m going to just finish this, and then go over some tweaks, but I suspect I’ll have to save that until tomorrow, and it’s going to need much more time eventually. And also… okay, don’t take this as actual confirmation news, but I had some conversations about Uber recently with Avatar, and it’s looking like there may be movement towards actual comics. Having enough space so I can just write those issues if I need to at short notice is an option I like to have, as I’d like to get Daniel drawing them and into readers hands as soon as possible.
We’re also putting Ludocrats 5 to bed. Jeff is finishing the pages, Tamra is colouring, Clayton has a lettering draft and… I can’t really say any more, as it gives away the fun stuff. It’s going to be a lovely final issue, and a lovely trade. “Love” is a word I think a lot about with Ludocrats. It’s taught me a lot, in weird ways, in terms of where I came from. Seeing the bits of the book which is still so clearly, on some level, in conversation with Casanova is plain odd.
I’ve also started reading prose again, which is a relief. I’ll see if I can get some book reviews in next time.
Until then, look after yourself. Speak soon.