I had a couple of weeks off the newsletter due to nothing happening. Stasis field accident. You know how it is.
German for “why did you call it this?”
Image May Solicits are out and look what’s back.
WRITER: Kieron Gillen
ARTIST / COVER A: Stephanie Hans
COVER B: Ben Oliver
MAY 06 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
“THE GREAT GAME,” Part One
Half the party is ruling a whole empire. The other half is on the run. Neither has it easy. There is nothing easy in this game, especially when the stakes get shockingly real. The most epic arc of DIE begins as it means to go on: messily.
Which begins our third arc, which is very much the Lord Of The Rings epic mode. Or Game Of Thrones. Whichever one you like and/or will make you most likely to buy it. Stephanie is at work, and doing amazing stuff herein, and we can’t wait to show it. After character work of the last arc, this is very much throwing the cast and everyone around them into the blender.
THE LUDOCRATS #2 (OF 5)
WRITER: Jim Rossignol, Kieron Gillen
ARTIST: Jeff Stokely, Tamra Bonvillain
COVER A: Jeff Stokely
MAY 06 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99
How could we follow the startling first issue of LUDOCRATS? With issue two. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to overthink these things. Herein, stuff of a ludicrous and oft entertaining character happens.
The second issue of the greatest comic of all time (called the Ludocrats). We’re inching towards the order cut off for Ludocrats, so I’ll be beating a drum about it some more. The single issues of this one are going to be a (er) ludicrous slab of anticulture, and I think people will flip over ‘em. In terms of the amount of extra content in the single issue, this is at least as dense as the Singles Club, and perhaps even more. Dense in both senses of the word, really.
Speak to your retailer. They’re probably friendly.
I mentioned Ludocrats is coming up to its order cut off in a week or two, and I thought I should tease something else in here. Talking to an artist about them made me dig out Jim and my initial character descriptions for them, and I smiled, and thought I’d share one of our leads. I may show Hades down the line – more changed with hers, and if I show it, I’ll have to talk about some of it. Though the “ Reed Richards as conceived of by William Burroughs” did make me smile.
For as berserk this is, it’s relatively restrained paragraphs for Jim and my writing around Ludocrats, and I also smile at the way it shifted since we started working on Ludocrats. Otto has been softened emotionally considerably for many reasons I’m sure I’ll also talk about eventually –Obelix up in the mix, Harkonnen a little down. Still – the energy here is very much why we love him.
And the axes.
BARON OTTO VON SUBERTAN
Obelix accelerated to lightspeed and smashed into Vladimir Harkonnen, the implosion dragging the corpulent DNA of a thousand lunatic John Bull gentlemen who made beasts of themselves into that man-singularity. Fat, but with momentum. He is so often crashing THROUGH what is structure for others. Curly red hair on a vast, red-lipped head. Alternatively, brutally bald, all flesh and meaty folds of fat and flesh. Scarred. Oliver Reed and Brian Blessed at full power would be the men needed to animate the vast CG Gollum if this were the movie.
He drinks, he eats, he commissions projects to destroy the moon or create new hybrid animals for their supernatural steak. He is enormous. He bellows. He strangles with vast hands. Nothing can contain him. He generally seen with an axe in hand. Ludicrous wigs, which fly off in all directions when he flies into a rage. Huge jackets embroidered with insane patterns, the floppy white torn shirt of a fop gone to seed. Huge sleeves/cuffs. Splatted in black, brown and red. A vile, planetoid child monster in a playground of infinite resources.
If you wish to imagine him saying anything, imagine him shouting the word BORING! with joyous energy as he slams one of his axes through its head.
This year’s creators for creators has kicked off, with a $30,000 grant available to new creators. May 11th cut off date.
Project ArtCred the second, with Tom Taylor providing the script and with a variety of wonderful artists showing their stuff on the page. Strong!
Writing and Breathing is Antony Johnston’s new writing podcast, where he interviews folks from multiple media about how they do what they do. This is real practical, nuts and bolts stuff of how to live while getting people out of your head and onto paper. First one is with romance novelist and critic Maya Rodale, and is absolutely excellent. I’m on it in a few week’s, and had a time. Add to your feeds.
I discovered that Andi Watson is selling digital copies of his comics over on Gumtree. Watson is a huge influence on both Jamie and me, right at the core of the early-00s Oni scene which was inspirational for our work. This is all incredible stuff you should investigate. I don’t even know where to suggest starting. Slow News Day and Breakfast After Noon are seminal period “Real Mainstream” books. Geisha is sharp social sci-fi. Love Fights is one of the best superhero comics of the 00s. Dumped is still a book I refer to when talking about how to use your life in comics in your book without just making it about fucking comics. Go grabs.
Young Southpaw interviewed me in a gleeful stream of consciousness style about sort of music? And maybe games? And what alignment bassists are? Go listen.
And this video essay on Thunderbolt is also lovely. Much lovely!
Interesting article picked up from the DIE discord about a queer fanbase grew up around the powered by the apocalypse RPG system, which struck me as both true and also interesting. PBTA in RPG space as Twine was in digital game space.
Here’s an ask I answered over on Tumblr this morning which seems worth including here.
Q: Hi Kieron. My friend and I write Spanish reviews of comics that we enjoy and we absolutely loved the Wicked + the Divine. As we usually make a comparison between the original and the translation I wanted to ask you if you’ve ever considered translation issues (like how the hell are they going to translate this pun) when writing the script or if you’ve ever read one of your works translated. Thank you so much for your work and your time.
A: Firstly, thank you.
Regarding thinking of other languages, the process is basically this.
1) Oooh. This is going to cause people problems in translation.
2) Do it anyway.
3) Apologise to translators whenever I meet them.
I suspect that I called a book “DIE” causing no end of German Problems may have meant you could guess this.
As a writer, I’m interested in what a specific language can do. I like to push it, play with it and see how many layers I can get in a moment. This sometimes means puns. With my stuff there’s some elements of the work (and not even puns) which are nightmarish to deal with. Take WicDiv’s repeated use of “Okay”. It’s very specifically about the ambivalence and flexibility in that word in English, and only works in the story because we use it in every single place in the story so it haunts it. That isn’t always possible in another language.
I also have utter respect for the art of translation - the comparison only comes to me right now, but a translator is a similar type of collaborator to a certain kind of artist, if you squint. Translation is both transformation and recreation, and based around all manner of micro and macro decisions of what is actually important in text, whether it can be turned into another language, plus the specific problems of the form (i.e. length of balloons).
Translators I’ve spoken to generally seem to have enjoyed the task. We’ve also been involved in some translations in terms of talking about key bits like titles, and highlighting things which are important but are not obvious at this stage.
And I’ve never read my books in translation. I only speak a tiny bit of German until recently, a matter of some shame. I’ve actually started learning Italian this year, so maybe I’ll be able to read them. I have Bao’s lovely WicDiv editions around the house.
As always, if you wanna ask stuff, do so here.
There hasn’t been many books out – between arcs with DIE and Once & Future, and other stuff unannounced. I understand the second volume of my Uncanny X-men run has been released, which is nice to hear. Of all the runs on big properties in the Marvel Universe, the Uncanny run is the one I think I’m most pleased with, so it all being in two big spines is a kick. Oh – and there’s some more Once & Future reprints, but I have completely lost track of which one we’re up to now, which is a pretty good problem to have.
A three week gap does make me think “Wait – what have I been doing?” While January was long, February seems terribly short.
Did I say I’d done the first script for PROJECT COWBOY? I think I may have. Anyway, that’s with the artist. I’m doing a draft of the first issue of PROJECT BRIGHTER SHADE OF BLUE right now, which is amusing for lots of reasons, and have been chatting to to artist to. I handed LUDOCRATS 5 over to Jim yesterday, and ONCE & FUTURE 9 off to Boom last Friday. Stephanie is at work on DIE 12. Just got off the phone for some PROJECT MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER stuff and got a cheque for PROJECT PRIVATE BUKOWSKI, which is nice (as it’s being paid for doing something I’ve never done before) and also extra nice (as all cheques are good cheques.) Some work on the DIE campaign mode, which is agreeably shambolic, but is sort of coming together. Also started doing some writing exercises as they amused me.
I mean, in terms of the biggest impact to my life, the huge comics change is that I got rid of all my comps. Our house has two writers, neither of whom are good at getting rid of stuff. I ended up getting rid of something like nine longboxes of single issues of my own comics, and now we have space, which I swear I won’t just fill with tiny Warhammer miniatures. The next step is trying to work out what to do with the boardgame stuff – I want to think down what I have, as I simply have too many games I don’t play, and some I shamefully never have.
I’ve been trying to learn a little Italian via the medium of a tiny owl judging me, which has been interesting coming to it as an adult. I got through GCSE in German simply by memorising stuff, and had absolute no knowledge or interest in how it works. Neither my short and long term memory isn’t great, but I’ve always been good at hyperfocus cramming. Now, learning with an actual motivation (when I go to visit C’s Italian relatives I’m basically the dog who looks around uncomprehending, nodding excitedly, being fed and took for walks) and a different sort of skill approach. In some ways I’m looking like it like the times I’ve learned basic scripting programming languages, and thinking about syntax that way. It’s going okay.
That said, when the tiny bird asked me what Italian for “Pasta” was, I felt that it was just throwing up its wings and giving up on me.
I also managed to catch Los Campesinos. It’s the end of the day, so I haven’t the brainpower left to do the full Phonogram on it, but it was a time. Quite literally. I found myself thinking about time and space, and the gap between 2006 (where I discovered them and they discovered me – they lifted a line from the first issue of Rue Britannia to use in one of their songs) and now. Still felt like (to use McNamee’s idea) an act of revenge from the fanzine boom of 98, a sampling and remixing of a lot of beloved bands who never quite made it, turned into a band who would be Big For Some People.
A lot has changed in those 14 years. That said, we went to see it on Valentines day. They played the entirety of their Romance is Boring. This shows that while a lot has changed, a lot really hasn’t.