I'm thinking of the sequencing of these things. I normally start with “this is important relevant work stuff” which is on one hand, what this is for (“Hey, Kieron, what stuff is out?”) and on the other hand, can make this feel as a marketing brochure (“Feel the soft, quilted latest Gillen”). So while there's almost always a nice old ramble in it, I'm going to try and mix things around a little and see what it feels like.
International Woman's Day
Talking In Public (Only Drunk Once)
The Week That Was In Words feat. Hobbit Onanism.
I'm writing this on my last afternoon in Italy, where I've just stopped eating all the food with C's family, and conversation (translated by C) turned to International Women's Day, and seemed to paint the Italian incarnation as something more akin to Parks & Rec's Galentines Day than political consciousness raising. I also find myself thinking there's a place for both approaches and many more.
(I recall Emily Aster telling me “the revolutionary party must be the best party” which was very her, or probably a quote from someone else. Emily Aster is shameless.)
I'm digressing. What I wanted to do was just talk about a few comic creators. Part of me was just going to throw up a list on twitter, but frankly everyone deserves more than to be treated as this undifferentiated human stuff.
(And lists annoy because who's left off them, y'know? The longer they are, the more of a dismissal of the people who aren't on the list.)
So here's someone I don't think I've ever written about, at all, at least more than a tweet.
First person who jumps to mind is Jessica Abel. I came to comics late, circa 2000, and many of my formative indie love affairs come from there, what was setting the conversation. I can't remember where I came to her anthology, Artbabe. I presume it was the conversation, as I was in a stage where I was willing to consume anything anyone who knew more than me mentioned. At that stage, that was basically everyone, so I was basically like a comic-hungry locust swarm.
I suspect in terms of true Indie aesthetics comics, as much as anyone else, Abel's Artbabe era comics calibrated the melancholic, introspective end of my range of the form. Many of her peers' pristine edges seemed too cold for me, and the sense of life, even when writing stories of uncanny stillness, was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I find myself looking at her early stuff now, and I realise I've never talked to my friend Julia Scheele about her work. Surely Julia must be a fan? Now I have something else to talk about her in the pub, as a break for where she berates me for how little Love & Rockets I've actually read.
Also, writing this makes me realise I've never actually grabbed a collected edition of her La Perdida, which strikes me as utterly shameful.
The schedule throws up weird coincidences. I'm basically doing three monthly books at the moment, and they come out in the same month all too often. Firstly, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 27. The cover above is by Chynna Clugston, who I could have easily have written above. I've just re-read her SCOOTER GIRL in its newly coloured edition, and it's an awful, joyous wonder. This screwball murder-tinged romance comedy about truly awful people may have leaked into the Doctor Aphra script I'm writing now. Honestly, get it too. Amazing stuff.
Anyway – all the profits from Chynna's cover goes to Planned Parenthood, as part of Image's March alt-cover “thing.” It's the penultimate issue of IMPERIAL PHASE (Part 1), and after last month, is basically where the tone of the thing completely solidifies into what I was hoping for. I was a little worried at the start that the arc was feeling too normal, and keeping too much of the DNA of Rising Action, but that is just gone now, and everything is a decadent mess. Very happy.
Also, I nearly killed myself with the middle sequence. I'm looking forward to doing the writer notes for this fucker.
Doctor 5 Aphra is out, also a penultimate episode, where Aphra and crew reach the Citadel of Rur and nothing goes wrong, at all. For those who have realised what I'm riffing on, yes, I actually did drop a mail to Alan to ask his blessing to play with it. You don't want to annoy wizards. Also, Uber 4, where the focus shifts to Stephanie, and Britain post-Surrender. Like most of the Stephanie focused issues, this is clipped down spy-drama stuff, and the closest thing I've done to a resistance story in Uber. There's bits in it which genuinely surprised me when writing it, many of which make me think that Stephanie is probably the most ruthless “hero” character I've ever written.
All should be at your local shop and/or comixology.
I'm actually out a bunch next week, with three speaking engagements. Or at least, sitting behind a table in front of an audience and slumping engagements.
An Evening with The Wicked + The Divine
Waterstones, Tottenham Court Road
Wednesday 15th March 18:30
Recommended for: people who actually want to hear Jamie and me be interviewed by C about WicDiv, what we do, how we do it, and generally grown up stuff. Also, people who book tickets.
Rebels and Empires: The Future Of British Comics
16 Mar 2017, 11:30 – 12:30
Children's Hub, London Book Fair.
For People Who: Want to see a general chat about comics, with a focus on comics for younger people. And are going to the Book Fair.
Celebrating 25 Years Of Image
17th March 2017, 7:30pm
GOSH comics, London.
For People Who Want: to see exactly how drunk Warren Ellis managed to get us all before the panel starts, and if they can all actually cram into GOSH.
If not something for everyone, at least something for three kinds of people, and who can count higher than three? Not me, that's for sure.
I've played enough boardgames to know that “Ally” is the word for “person who's going to stab you in the back next.”
Some articles I find sitting here in my tabs...
Tom Ewing writes about the falling aparts of the Top 40 in the modern age, except with a smarter eye than that. Bundle culture is something worth thinking about.
Lots of announcements from Emerald City over the weekend, but I wanted to highlight Andre Lima Araujo's new book with Ales Kot, Generation Gone. He was working on this when he took a month and a half off to draw WicDiv 455. Excited to see the final thing.
In terms of ECCC announcements, Creators for Creators announced the winner of their first creator grant. Which was M Dean, whose work sounded like exactly the sort of thing I'd like to read.
I mentioned the Shelly-Bond-editted anthology Femme Magnifique, which is currently being kickstarted, but there's an interview about it over at the Independent. I still have to actually finalise who I'm writing about. Like, choosing one person seems impossible, for the exact opposite reason of why I have problems with random lists.
The con in Milan was our first con in Italy, and also the first con this year. Cartoomics (which does sound like this year's pop-economics book) was a gentle and considerate lover. I've basically been in happy hibernation all winter, so doing anything in public left me a little anxious. Can't I just sit in a hole and write? Milan was kind, the readers' fantastic, the press insightful, our schedule relatively light and the Milanese food exactly what you'd hope the food in Milan is.
(It also made us have to do some asking around to work out how many regions have deals for their own version of WicDiv. Presently it's eight, which made Jamie and I laugh particularly hard.)
Next con is C2E2, which will be a different level of frenzy, of course. I will be hardened by then.
Work, I've been stepping through projects – more Uber, more Star Wars. More unusually, I've actually written a couple of the small projects I said yes to over the winter, both which quietly tick something off my bucketlist. For Monsterhearts 2, I wrote a little 2 page campaign-setting, which may be the first pure professional game design stuff. I've written games, with an eye on logic, but that was me putting my oar in where it wasn't wanted rather than actually something I'm meant to be doing. The Scion was writing a short story for the book – the prose story which traditionally opens any story-led RPG system. As far as I can recall, it's the first time I've been paid for a prose short story, which means I get to strike two things off the aforementioned list. I'm all about the multiclassing and efficiency.
Finally, after the new year, and inspired by Marguerite Bennett's list of all her consumption of literature, I've started actively keeping a list of what I've read. Me being me, this has motivated me to read more, as I am entirely impressionable to gamifying anything. My present rhythm is one novel, one non-fiction for research, one non-fiction for not-research. The latter rule comes from Katie West asking me when I last read anything which wasn't for research, which had an awful ring of truth.
I'm presently finishing off a piece of morally murky High Fantasy I read as a teenager, and while prose, is also abstractly research. It's basically travelogue fantasy, which I define as the genre which has a map at the front, and the story consists of the cast making their way around all the waypoints, until they get to Mount Doom and win.
(You can probably sense my bubbling cynicism towards the form, even when deconstructed.)
Anyway, I'm half-way through a paragraph of heroic trudging across fens, when I find myself thinking that I'd love to do a remix of Lord of the Rings, with my sole additions to be insert every time the cast decided to have a crafty wank. You know – And on the plain of Mordor, Frodo did lie beneath his elven robe and wait until Sam's breathing slowed. Then, in his despair, to escape thoughts of how he would see his friendly hobbit hole ever again, wanked and cried.
That kind of thing.
That'll do. Enough sitting in the dark in Italy, drinkng tea and typing. Let's get back to Britain, where I can sit in the dark, drink tea and type.