Young Adult Friction
And Once & Future hits 2021. I’m fond of this issue – it’s very character focused, very much about the people in it, and cut to the bone. Two people in a room with a gun. It also introduces the character that Dan recently described as his favourite in O&F, and I fully admit it when I thought them up I was hoping to tickle parts of Dan’s brain which loves certain things, and he totally goes for it – it’s simultaneously cool, while having some really weird things you look closely. Nice work Dan. Tamra, of course, totally joins Dan in the mission of Going For It.
Anyway – Character heavy, big beats, reveas, excitement. In a real way, the first half of this arc is doing some heavy lifting on some of the supporting cast – Rose and Mary – and this issue is right at the heart of that. I hope you’re having as much fun as we are.
To quote the key bit…
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the celebrated team behind Phonogram, Young Avengers, and The Wicked + the Devine, make their DC debut with a story that pits Batman against the Riddler in a way you've never seen before!
Jamie and I are doing a short in issue 5 the Batman: Black & White, out in April. Here’s what I said on twitter…
Newsarama @NewsaramaKieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie take on Batman for short story https://t.co/7wBSzgYemR https://t.co/W9saQypAEq
If you’ve been following this newsletter for a while, this is the story I was banging my head against for weeks. Its three primary influences are the first two Riddler stories, something I don’t want to say yet and this…
We remain ourselves.
Some comps just dropped through the door. Good to see this back in print. I’d forgotten that Entertainment Weekly had it as one of its comics of the decade. That one can forget something like that says a lot about how lucky we’ve been.
Another big interview about Eternals, this time at Inverse. Includes a lot of fun stuff, including some lettered preview pages for issue 2.
Phil Spector died this week. Here’s a good piece on him, and the toxic producer generally. When putting together WicDiv, I talked about how various figures went inside all the gods, but for as much as Woden’s visual echoed Daft Punk, in terms of what the character was actually about, it was men like Spector, and Spector was the person I always thought of.
Hey! A lovely reader pulled together a playlist of every music reference in The Singles Club. This is very much a hole through time and space into 2006.
I notice the current bundle of Holding is Troika, which is basically taking the old 1980s Fighting Fantasy system and injecting it with all the weird it can find. If you feel your inner ludocrat calling, this is a good place to go. It also includes an adventure called So You’ve Been Thrown Down A Well, which is exactly my energy.
John Hendrick of Big Bang comics in Ireland is interviewed about the difficulties that Brexit has created for the European Comics Market. Subject line sums up a lot in it: “This is a nightmare.”
After the triumph of Blue in Green, Ram V and Anand RK’s next book is Radio Apocalypse over at Vault. It sounds hugely exciting but I thought worth highlighting the alt cover, as shown above. A homage cover to a homage cover is the sort of meta I live to see, and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table this time.
If you have a question for me, my tumblr ask is open. I answered some stuff this morning, and here’s some of them…
Q: I was very impressed by the continuity mining on Eternals – but being the ridiculous nerd I am, I *was* able to find a handful of names that didn't make it on the list (and that I wouldn't expect to be on the Hex). Mostly thinking of Uranians of the Robert Grayson Marvel Boy variety, and other civilian-presenting characters. And Vampiro. I don't want to pry for spoilers, just wondering if those fall into the "don't worry about it" category more than something to expect reference to?
A: I’ll likely be asked about this in depth in an interview at some point, and I also don’t want to jump ahead of the story in various areas, but…
i) Eternals are listed by their Eternal names, not their human names. In some cases this means they’re listed by a name you don’t know. Vampiro would be one of those. Eternals going by many names across history is already an established trope, right? I just couldn’t see the Celestials arriving on earth and thinking “You know what we need? A Vampiro.”
ii) Some Eternal names have been Kirbyised - if they were just the mythological figure’s name without some spelling alterations, I increased the Kirby.
iii) It’s probably too early to talk about the various extraterrestrial Eternal colonies. There are definitely Uranians on the list.
Of course, I completely could have missed some, but I also have contingency plans.
And thank you!
Q: There seems to be more than a hundred Eternals. I typed them out onto a spreadsheet real quick and it looks like there's 102. Unless you count the Delphan Brothers as one Eternal and count [ALL RECORDS LOST] (under "Location Unknown") as two Eternals, it doesn't add up. Nevertheless, love it. Wish we could have issues twice a month.
A: Interesting, right?
And thank you.
Q: As someone who likes wordplay, how do you handle writing a character who has *no* sense of humour? Do you find that difficult/challenging/satisfying/etc.?
A: I’m reminded of the advice I was given when first writing for oft-dour games magazine Edge. “Write what you would write for PC Gamer, then take out the jokes.”
The real answer is there’s all sorts of no sense of humour characters. By the stressing the NO I suspect you’re talking about extreme cases… in which case, in a lot of writing someone with no sense of humour often says a lot of very funny things. The No Sense Of Humour Character is actually a comedy character. Amaterasu in WicDiv doesn’t have much of a sense of humour, but she’s often one of the funniest characters in the book in context, at least for me.
If it’s more generally writing a dour/serious character, it’s just part of the job. To really answer your question, all characters have to be themselves, which is challenging, which is part of the job, a job I like. Ideally you delete a lot of jokes, even with funny characters.
The bigger trick is trying to make sure different characters make different sorts of jokes. There’s a lot of Wordplay in WicDiv, but I tried to map different sorts of word play to different characters. Baal and Lucifer say different things. This goes more broadly as well - who swears in what way, to choose a banal example.
I was writing the last of these hours before the US capitol was stormed. I write this on inauguration day, with the fear of violence. I’ve wanted to write something about this, but I’m so asynchronous it feels impossible. It’s a lot. Thinking of you all.
For me, bar the whirlwind of the world outside the house –the push and pull between the death toll in the UK right now with vaccine rolling out. the reality of Brexit biting, etc – on a personal level, things appear to be progressing in a worryingly organised fashion, at least work wise. I’m actually going to finish my newsletter before lunch. That never happens. I feel like I have got my shit together. This is normally cue to shit the bed, but I’m trying to remember that shitting on the bed is the cats’ job, and I’m no scab.
I suspect the reason that I kept on thinking it was Thursday on Tuesday was because I had basically done as much work as I’d have done by Thursday on a slowish week, and I was looking for a reason to panic a bit. I shouldn’t, because this small nexus of being able to just concentrate on work without distractions will only last so long. I should enjoy it. Or use it.
Since we last talked, I finished off two issues of Eternals and now moved onto another script before I return to polish one of them up to hand in. On the side, I’ve been doing rewrites on a variety of projects, all of which are getting to a decent place. I need to do the final notes on DIE 17 for Stephanie to start work on it next week – it’s an hour’s work, but it all adds up. I also have a one page RPG which I want to write up and playtest, maybe today. I suspect that I’m ahead of my work means that it’s fairly likely?
Well, it’s either that or another run at Hades, right?