Now, when I only sent the last one on Friday, do I skip a week, when I don't really have anything new to plug? Of course not, as I am driven by love, and the urge to scream into the void of your inbox.
Many Wic, Much Div
Qs to the A.
Daniel just finished off issue 16, and I handed in issue 17. Which means there's four issues left in the thing for me to write. I should have finished the last script in October, which means that Daniel will be easily done before the new year. It'll all be over by Christmas. Well, for us. I'm not sure of the release schedule.
It's definitely the strange part of the next twelve months – in that two extremely long term projects will be coming to an end. I suspect more writing on that anon.
Talking about the OTHER long term project, there's assorted bits of WicDiv gubbins. I forgot to mention the above last week, but Threadless have expanded the printing region on their shirts, which means we could finally do the above. The Experimental Jetset team gave us the nod, so we can even do it with a clean conscience. I never do anything with a clean conscience. I barely do it with clean underwear.
It's available in a standard T-shirt, in multiple cuts, as well as other non-T-shirt things. Go nose, if this is your sort of thing.
The comps also arrived for issue 36, which is out next week. A couple of weeks late after the delays. It's a strong one, we think. For a certain strata of reader, I suspect it'll be their favourite issue in the run. It is a very specific, formalist strata, I stress.
I'm pulling together the above, and having one of those rare moments of clarity where I actually see how many words I release into the ether. I actually tried to imagine only working one day a week the other day, and couldn't imagine it. I don't consider this a good thing. As I said last time, I got Thanos in the Buzzfeed quiz of Which Character Are You. To stress, I didn't even select any of the joke answers of “Kill half the universe.” I got it solely through ludicrous, pointless, vainglorious ambition.
I remain bad at humaning, but perhaps promising at titan-ing.
Some links? Why not.
Bearded and Beautiful Jack Guinness is doing a series of interviews with comic creators on Vero. The first is with me, and there's more to come, including Grant Morrison. You have to sign up to get access, which you do here. If you want a teaser, here's a quick minute on Youtube.
Coates' form remains strong with his take on Kanye. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I ended up thinking a bunch about this Re: WicDiv.
On the same day I read the huge and excellent piece in the New Yorker on Donald Glover, which all went into my constant chewing over This Is America.
Talisman: The Drinking Game is a little personal anecdote about an unusual, human game of classic Fantasy Monopoly-meets-D&D game Talisman. This is really good stuff. In passing, I'm actually a mild Talisman defender. Its primary flaw (it lasts forever) is actually based on the cheery cowardice of players refusing to go for the center until they're 100% sure they'll make it. Of course, that is a flaw but not an unsurmountable one.
As most of my podcasts are on hiatus, I've found myself mainlining Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. It's an RPG podcast by two writer/designers I've a lot of time for, but it's really a showcase for that form of polymathic autodidactic conversational promiscuity which is always one of the best parts of my favourite tabletop designers' heads. It's a form which encourages people browsing and devouring widely in culture and history, and it's good company to be in. Robin D Laws' new book has just dropped actually – it's a general theory of writing/story one, and I've picked it up. I enjoyed Hamlet's Hit Points, so have high hopes for this.
I caught Nightgowns, Sasha Velour-curated Drag Caberet. I've ran out of time to write about it, but it was just an incredible couple of hours of joyous and human political pop-art. Grasp any chance to see it if you can.
When other procrastinating tactics fail, I turn to my Tumblr Asks. Ask stuff, and I answer, occasionally even seriously. Here's some from this week....
Q: When it comes to the trade version of the one-shots, do you plan to order these by release date or the order they take place in-story?
Someone asked me about this on the FCBD, and I answered honestly, so I suspect I can probably start talking about this in public.
The current plan (which, as with all things WicDiv, may change when we see it laid out and chew it over) is to include the stories Chronologically.
When thinking of the stories, we’ve always had the dual purpose in mind. As an interstitial between arcs, we’re adding interesting information that changes the story. However, at the point after MOTHERING INVENTION, the stories collected together serve a DIFFERENT purpose. By putting them chronologically, the key connective narrative elements in the stories will be more forward in the mix - they’re effectively 4 short stories about Ananke and the Lucifers throughout the years.
(The other two, non historical specials, will probably be put at the back.)
I’m likely to do an intro at the start explaining how the specials were originally published, and giving guidance of when and where to read them if you want to do a publishing-chronological read rather than a trade-order read.
(Whenever we do a reprint of COMMERCIAL SUICIDE I suspect I’d do an intro explaining that as well.)
Q: I saw an old interview where you said that you'd like to have worked with William Blake. At the time, there wasn't a lot more said about that, but reading WicDiv, there's a lot that feels very Blakean, not to mention his almost-cameo in 1831. What sort of influence has Blake had on your career in general and WicDiv in particular? Or am I just seeing things?
This is probably an essay or a sentence one, so in this case, I’ll go with the sentence.
The Blake influence is mostly indirect. Blake influence a bunch of people I’m influenced by - primarily Moore. Even more generally Blake as an model for a comic creator - working and working class creator doing his own work at an untraditional boundary between a couple of forms, etc. The idea of Blake is pretty easy to be inspired of in a few key ways. Moorcock (though inspiring in a different set of areas) is someone who does similar - as a comic creator, you’re looking for narratives and useful prehistory and ways of survival, and Blake is certainly in there.
If there was ever a one-volume version of WicDiv (Which there won’t be - the required spine would ruin the spreads) it would start with a Blake quote as its epigram.
Q: Hello, Mr. Gillen! Got a quick question: How many drafts do you typically do for a script?
A: Sometimes I manage to reach as far as a first draft.
Free Comic Book Day was a joy. We signed at GOSH, which was Jamie's first of the year. Once again, we're struck by how delightful the WicDiv readers always are. I especially have sympathy of the two A-level students from Brockley who made the mistake about asking me about writing and basically got a miniature download of my HOW TO WRITE panel which I'm doing at Orbital this week.
But more importantly, immediately afterwards we went and bought this from Ben & Jerry's...
Yes, it’s a Sandwich made of cookiees surrounding a filling of Chunky Monkey. Its glycemic blitzkreig is my Waterloo.
Work wise it’s been one of re-focusing. As I said, I finished off the last Uber, which gives me from now until the end of next week without any immediate cruishing deadlines. As such, I’m pivoting to trying to finish a draft of the last two issues of MOTHERING INVENTION. They’re two of the most delicate issues I’ve got to write in the series, so I want to work on them both simultaneously, and leave lots of space for massaging them. After the formalist challenge of 36, this is a whole different set of muscles. Its’ one of the things I always try to explain – we use “writing” as a shorthand to describe dozens of overlapping skills, and I suspect it confuses the issue.
Also, when that’s done? Six issues of WicDiv proper to write, which scares the hell out of me.
Jamie’s just sent me the design for WicDiv 1373, which is exactly what I was hoping for. We’re pulling together covers this week, and you’ll be seeing them soon enough. Spangly New Thing’s Artist is finishing off the first over-sized issue – it should be wrapped by Friday, and my new hobby is showing artists pages on my phone and making them gnash their teeth.
24 Panels is reaching the point where the curated half of the anthology are handing in their scripts, so I’m going through the stories, and trying to pair them up. The work that’s come in is great, which is a huge relief. It’s worth noting that for those who are entering the open submissions that you still have time to do a comic – we accept comics until the end of June. All the details are on the site.
I also officially started a small bit-piece of writing in a videogame (immediately scaring the artist with my rambling character description) and started prodding away on a Short Story for an anthology. So busy.
Enough. I go to watch the Last Emperor and daub tiny miniatures with acrylic paint.