I flew back from Seattle, had to immediately to a dentist where my jaw was pumped full of drugs, and then proceeded to not actually go to sleep at reasonable hours to mean I could get over my jetlag. Hence, I may be somewhat loopy. Be kind.
New books out yesterday.
Star Wars 63 is the kick off the caper itself, and a chance to put a spotlight on Trios’ troubled heart and (er) take over her planet. Those rebels, eh?
DIE 1 (4th printing) is the fourth printing of DIE the first issue of DIE. If you’re looking for jumping aboard, now’s a great time, as I believe we’re in one of those periods where all four issues are in print. It also says something that I had to double check the issue came out yesterday, as I couldn’t remember posting it then. But I did. My memories were consumed. Cripes.
Having just got back from my first post-DIE release US con, I’m aware how this book has landed with people. Stephanie is at C2E2 this weekend, so go and say Hi to her. It’s her first con with a book of her own, so make her feel welcome in this weird and wonderful world. And purr at her prints.
Oh – Matt Wilson is also there, selling a lovely print. Say Hi to him too.
So, Emerald City was a fun time.
Jamie and I had last year off from tabling at cons, so this was the first time we’ve really been accessible for getting on for two years. Equally, we’re in the final approach to the end of WicDiv, while I’ve just launched the worryingly successful DIE, so we were looking forward to making contact with folk.
And we did! Like usual, we had a lot on away from the booth so were only there for certain periods, but Friends Supreme Anita and Kate helped control and/or entertain the queue. Folks were lovely, and many people shared stories about those five years. It really feels like we’ve been on tour with a bunch of folks. The spotlight panel itself, ran by Sean Edgar, was a big room, genuinely packed. The strangeness of having an actual career of sufficient length to do a deep dive. As it’s the end of a period, I suspect we’ll get a lot more of this kind of thing.
In short: I met a bunch of new people and caught up with a bunch more. I escaped with only a single serious hangover.
And then there was the party.
When people have asked me how the party went, my one line answer has been “two people had to be broke up from having sex in one of the booths in the bar.” That says a lot. The Party was a lot.
It was a joint party, thrown by our friends at Bombsheller, who found a perfect venue, then proceeded to decorate it perfectly and fill the huge projection screens with animated versions of Matt’s colours.
Doors open at 8. People were dancing at 8:05. They don’t stop until kicking out time.
Comixology’s Ivan Salaczar was doing a warm-up set. He’s playing Crazy in Love by 8:20. This was not, in any definition of the phrase, a warm-up set. If this was in the gym, your trainer would be screaming at you to take it down a notch before you hurt something. Clearly, no-one did. It was on.
Jamie and I were in the corner, nervous. It was an incredible venue, beautifully decorated. The crowd were entirely committed. A DJ had played genuinely great music. We were aware that all we could do to this evening was to ruin it. We can’t make it any better – we can only fuck it up.
We did something which we never do, which is to start DJing together, like two nervous schoolkids scared to do some task alone. We started with Atomic, and saw where it took us. Within two songs, it was clear we were going to be fine, and Jamie took over. We filled the night between us, with Ivan coming back for spots and Tia Comixology and Ray Fawkes giving us a little witching hour goth (and the necessary Prodigy track). By closing time it’s the traditional Total Eclipse and we all go home.
There’s all sorts of moments which spring to mind – a Morrigan lost in the music, silhouetted against the back wall, the person doing Bowie Tarot readings upstairs, a bit where a Amaterasu was caught in a spotlight and it looked like she was literally divine – but there’s one thing which felt suitably narrative.
The DJ booth is one of the ones that are up in the gods. You’re looking down in the crowd, spread beneath you. I’ve played Once In A Lifetime.
This is a loaded record, perhaps for everyone, but especially for me. A decade ago, on the Thought Bubble dancefloor, I found myself explaining what the song was about to my friend, Matt Sheret – specifically a theory based on the “My God – what have I done?” being a reference to something the Enola Gay bomber recorded shortly after dropping it. It’s a moment I recorded as the last B-side in the Singles Club, so any of you with a The Complete Phonogram will have read it. After this explanation, I have a moment where I nearly break down: “I’ve blown it.”
I’d blown it as Singles Club was a sales disaster, and I felt we’d never be allowed to do anything that good ever again. That it was said in the place – the primordial Thought Bubble Dancefloor – put a lie to that. That’s the soil we grown every dance party we’ve every thrown. But right then, right there it was distressing. I’ve blown it. Once in a Lifetime, and that was the once.
Matt, bless him, found a short way out of that micro-funk, so it made a perfect end to that weird little volume.
Anyway, I’m in the booth at the party, and David Byrne is walking us all through the vagaries and extremes of existence, and the crowd swells to the tidal waves of the record. It’s a moment a peer later tells me reminds him of the energy that Morrison got from Gay clubs which he tried to funnel into the Invisibles, but WicDiv had somehow crystallised a group of comics people who were willing to create their own. The clubs into the Invisibles, the invisibles into us, us into the readers, the readers into a big bang of a dancefloor, and who knows what next. It’s beautiful, and I feel so happy I’m scared.
We hit the “My god – what have I done” and I realise the only thing worse than the existential horror of failure is the existential horror of success. My god. What have I done?
It made me want to write a phonogram comic, which is the best compliment I can give anything (and also the worst). Don’t worry, I’m not. I wouldn’t put anyone through that again.
Here’s McKelvie’s scratch playlist of stuff he played. Mine was solely shot from the hip. Thanks for coming. Must do again. And special thanks to Jazzlyn, Emily and everyone else at Bombsheller. To all my peers – you ever get a chance to work with them, work with them. They throw parties like no-one else.
Cosplay photos by Sean Edgar. Party photos by Stephen Klise.
Stephanie put some progress shots for DIE on twitter, which are worth nosing at, to see how she pulls these pages together.
She does so much work for this bloody book.
Travel ruins everything about work. I’ve done some meetings, and did some documents for non-comics stuff, but in terms of actually generating new script, I’m basically where I was a week ago bar two new pages. Clearly, this is becoming urgent. That said, there’s been a lot of polishing – redrafts of scripts, lettering passes and other things. Still – I’m now in a place where I’m sending brief chunks of script over to Caspar so he has stuff to do. This is not ideal, and something I manage to mostly avoid. I felt terrible until I remembered the story that by the end of Watchmen Alan was sending individual pages in a taxi around to Dave’s house, which made me realise I’m being faithful to the tradition.
Thunderbolt 3 drops next week, and 4 is off to bed this week too. When five is done, that’s something else struck off my New Scripts document. Then is to finish the polish of WicDiv 44 I’m most of the way through, polish Once & Future 2, and start on DIE 7, which I’m looking forward to enormously. In fact, there has been quite a bunch of DIE stuff, as I’m starting to get notes back from my first wave of freelancers. Thankfully, this is mainly structural stuff, which involves just re-arranging the book in a way which is friendlier – which is exactly the sort of feedback I was hoping for at this point. That said, I have been told that it’s basically a document for How To Make A Kieron Gillen story, which makes me smile, as I can certainly see that. It’s a very me move to systemise an aesthetic.
Actually, while I’m talking DIE, this was a good piece on the precarious nature of employment in the games industry. I’ve been thinking about this, in terms of Angela’s background in DIE, so it’s well timed. Simultaneously, I’m reading an advance of Marx At The Arcade which analyses the games industry’s role in contemporary capitalism. I’ve already written the issue that gets closest to this, based off my experience in just knowing people, but it all gets added to the compost heap.
One good part of travel was actually a chance to work my way through a few books – THE THREE BODY PROBLEM, KALEIDOSCOPE SONG and THE LIES OF LARK LAMORA, all of which worked for me, in their different ways. An austere and gloomy take on golden age of Sci-fi with added cultural revolution bleakness, South-Africa set queer pop-culture-obsessed bleakly hopeful YA and not-at-all-bleak capers in a fantasy world. It’s been a good time.
Right – I need to do a bunch of notes on WicDiv 43’s lettering. See you next week and… oh, fuck it. Politics.
Yesterday, I tweeted “This fucking country.” Imagine me wanting to cut holes in the sky in continent-sized letters and you get my mood.