I've just had an actual snooze in the afternoon, so I'm a little loopy and this newsletter is going to be powered by a heroic team up between Buzzcocks songs and a cake a friend left at my house yesterday. Yes, friend, I said I'd save the cake, but I lied, and I'm eating the cake. I'm eating the cake now. Omnomnom. It is delicious.
In other notes, that big preview I linked to last issue of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt? I totally missed a page. Here's the full thing. Thankfully it wasn't one which totally broke meaning. Phew. But mainly red-faced shame.
Links Mainly About Me In An Ego-y Mess
This is out in comic shops. It’s an anthology comic to aid the PTSD needs of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire. I think it’s well worth supporting.
Last year there was an anthology of prose shorts performing a similar function, called 24 Stories. This is twenty-four comics, half drawn from professionals we curated, and half from open submissions. Each features no more than 24 panels.
There’s a lot more information on the site, but it’s in all your comic shops now. It’s in book shops shortly – Amazon has it for a week’s time, so you can pre-order from a standard book shop. All proceeds goes to Trauma Response Network.
Contributors? They include… Al Ewing, Alan Moore, Alex de Campi, Antony Johnston, Caspar Wijngaard, Dan Watters, Dilraj Mann, Doug Braithwaite, Gavin Mitchell, Laurie Penny, Leigh Alexander, Lizz Lunney, Melinda Gebbie, Paul Cornell, Rachael Smith, Ram V, Robin Hoelzemann, Ro Stein, Sara Kenney, Sarah Gordon, Ted Brandt, Tom Humberstone and more. Tula Lotay provided the cover. Dee Cunniffe did the design.As well as the 24 comics, I provide an introduction, in a collaboration with my old friend Sean Azzopardi.
There’s a launch party on December 6th, betwee 7 and 9pm, at GOSH in London. Yes, that’s the same evening as my DIE signing at Forbidden Planet. I’m having a busy night.
It’s tricky to write about. I write about what it means to me, I make it about me. I write about Grenfell, and anger overpowers everything, and while that’s correct, this is not a book that’s primarily about anger. It’s about hope and helping one another. Choosing the material was definitely one of the hardest things about it – it’s for a PTSD charity. By definition, we don’t want material that can be triggering. That isn’t to say it doesn’t include some material that’s powerful and angry – but it’s precisely aimed. It’s also a true anthology, with us trying to capture the variety in the comics community in style and approach.
Everyone has done amazing work in it, and I hope you support it. It’s a hell of a thing.
It’s Image previews time of month!
WRITER: Kieron Gillen
ARTIST / COVER A: Stephanie Hans
COVER B: Jen Bartel
FEBRUARY 06 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
Part Three One of the saddest comics in Kieron’s career. One of Stephanie’s prettiest. Clayton’s lettering, of course, remains impeccable.
Between the first three issues, you’ll get close to the full range of what DIE’s basic scope is. One is the pitch, the second is a serving platter of approaches and the third digs down on the other remaining thing. This is where the sort of meta-history of gaming comes to the fore, and it’s an issue we’re particularly happy with.
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #42
WRITER: Kieron Gillen
ARTIST / COVER A: Matthew Wilson, Jamie McKelvie
COVER B: Vanesa Del Rey
FEBRUARY 20 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
“OKAY,” Part Three
I just read the synopsis for this issue and gasped. We’re actually going to do all this in an issue? That AND that AND that? Honestly, this last arc really is going for it.
I’m not even joking in that synopsis. As soon as I finish the Star Wars script I’m working on, I move onto writing this, and I’m laughing in “Wait – I get to do all these key scenes in this one issue?” Like, it’s at least three beats that could end an issue, and two that could end an arc. Last arcs are a hell of a thing. More details and Vanesa’s cover here.
Also, a New Star Wars. Issue 57, with Angel Unzueta. We seem to have fit into a rhythm from now on, with Andrea Broccardo doing a prologue issue in the arc, and an epilogue, and Angel being the backbone of the story. Andrea’s also doing the prologue for the next arc as well, whose title we’ll keep secret for a little while longer.
This is where THE ESCAPE starts showing its hand. I always knew this would be “our heroes are separated from the rebellion and on the run” part of the story, but after six issue of hell in HOPE DIES it felt like we’d be hitting the same depressing notes again and again. Then, visiting a mansion in Scotland, and looking at the sprawl of countryside I found myself thinking that what would challenge our heroes wouldn’t be more in the dirt grind. It’s be a chance to be happy. I have fun with it. There’s a page in this issue which I smile, and consider my gift to my Poldark-and-Harrison-Ford-loving Mum. You’re welcome.
I’ve mentioned the SHOUT OUT anthology before. The kickstarter is live and well worth supporting. It’s a – I quote - “a bold new anthology of queer comics for teen readers, from an award-winning queer creative team.” My story is above, collaboration with the startlingly imaginative V. Gagnon. It’s called Ergi, and is about young gay Vikings.
Scanning the kickstarter goals, there’s one I particularly like – it gets you a copy, and also buys one for a library. For a project like this, that’s a really nice thing to do.
Okay – as I’m deep in press mode, here is a lot of me talking about a bunch of stuff, in different modes, plus some early reviews of DIE.
I’m interviewed by The Beat about Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. This is me on the phone, and pretty much going off on one. There’s some bits where you’ll have to parse how it’s transcribed, but it’s really a bit download about comics, politics and Peter Cannon. It got people on twitter to say I should be a public curmudgeon more often, but my brand is public buffoon, so I have to be careful.
Here’s me over at ComicBook.com talking Peter Cannon Thunderbolt. Between the last interview and this one, I’ve just been mailed the finished inks for issue one, and am grinning at how well all this is working. I’m laughing, in the best possible way. This is going to be a fun time.
Here’s the Comeback’s review of DIE (Random quote: “I promise I’m not being hyperbolic when I say there’s good reason to believe DIE has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Saga, Invincible, and The Walking Dead to become an instant classic for Image.”) and Monkey Fights Robots do a head to head review with Millar/Albuquerque’s Prodigy. I haven’t listened to it, but it gives us both four and a half stars, which seems to be pretty good. It is out of five stars. I did check.
And Creator Talks Podcast interviews Stephanie and Me about DIE, but really about all things creators. This is a fun one. All Stephanie and me giggling along and not understanding our accents is a joy.
Oh – and I ended up writing a little about Johnny Boy’s You Are The Generation Who Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve, which basically defined my 00s.
Honestly, when you move from the schedule I’ve been on, to any less intense schedule, you feel like flying. It is moving from having a pneumatic drill pummeling away on my testicles to merely getting kicked repeatedly, but that’s still a huge improvement. I have a lot to do, but there’s more space. I deliberately missed a train so I could spend another half hour chatting about Trail of Cthulu, for example. I wouldn’t have done that two weeks ago. I’d have been writing on the platform. If I didn’t have something to write on, I’d have flayed one of my fellow travellers and carved a few pages of script on their back.
Er… clearly, nudging a Lovecraft game has got to me. I actually found myself flicking through a Lovecraft-riff of a script from a few years ago which I never did anything with, and was surprised how well it held up. Maybe it’ll come out one day, eh?
I’ll be finishing the first draft of my last Star Wars script I need to get done this year tomorrow. My next hard deadline is Thunderbolt 3 just before Christmas, and DIE 6 for January 1st. That basically leaves fifteen work days, which is enough for writing three issues. I have three issues of the main story of WicDiv to write, as issue 45 is an epilogue. I want to sit on 45 until nearer it’s published, but ending the year with “ending” WicDiv has a hell of an appeal.
There is also so much fun stuff to write. It’s all dessert. Explosive, tear-inducing dessert.
I finished a playtest for the current set of DIE rules last night, running it in its two session form. Here we are, with me pretending to be a god and shouting in Adlai’s ear.
It was an interesting one, as the 2012 Reading Festival flyers on the table may suggests. If left to my own devices, I’d have expanded it to another session, but I’d already rewritten the class rules between the first session and the second one, so starting another group made more sense with my time than otherwise. I also learned a bunch, so it’s better to fold the lessons into the game, and reset.
I just have to do some 24 Panels interviews, and then I can turn off for the night. Look after yourself, and anyone near you who needs looking after, unless they’re Nazgul, and if they’re Nazgul just run, you fool of a Took.
Yes, sometimes I just start writing a sentence and have no idea where it’s going. Why do you ask?
Oh – I almost forgot. After I wrote the last newsletter Eric S wrote to me about the DIE pre-orders. In short: they’re as good as I could reasonably hope for. Thanks to everyone who talked to their retailer and retailer-chums.
High fives all around.