A Good Walk Spoiled
The penultimate issue of Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar is out. I’m finding it enormously entertaining to just write “Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar.” It’s just a satisfying sentence to tap out. After DIE’s response to The Wicked + the Divine being incredibly long, I suspect my next creator owned book will have an overblown. Perhaps it’s time for something which homages the multiple colons and subtitle-overload of mid-00s C-list PC games?
Anyway – this issue, as James Stokoe’s astounding cover shows, is very much about Marneus Calgar becoming a space marine. One of the goals of the series was basically to do that – while we’re showing a specific marine’s journey, there’s the implication that all marines have their own version of this particular hell. Let’s show the hell.
Of course, there’s also the story happening in the present day as well. Here’s the first two pages of the preview…
Amble is a narrative game for two people on separate walks. You talk on the phone, and use environmental prompts to tell anecdotes about a horrific journey. I was doing the cover of this, and found myself thinking "the aesthetic for one-page narrative RPGs and self-published poetry collections are identical, and I am all for it."
It’s only a 2 page thing, so here’s the rules…
You can download the PDF from here though. I released it as a pay-what-you-want, but the recommended level is zero. I’ve been quite touched by people throwing in a few dollars though. I really wasn’t expecting anything.
Marvel released their solicits for April, where Eternals 4 drops.
I’m unsure how I get the reputation for puns when Chip called his series with Jason Loo about a app-Taxi-to-hell series Afterlift. It’s unfair. Anyway, after it’s time on Comixology, it’s now in print over at Dark Horse. Chip did a trailer which is another amazing example of how Chip is redefining standards of professionalism in this industry.
I suspect Joe Glass has published more queer superhero comics by himself than many major publishers. His latest kickstarter for The Miracles has just launched, and is a 120 page OGN where he, Vince Underwoods & chums are doing a story about “superhero refugees, and deep family secrets.” Go read for some more – sounds a little more meta than Joe normally touches, which is really interesting.
It’s Zine Quest month, where we have zine-level RPG stuff, bursting into the world. I haven’t had a chance to dig in deeply enough yet, but I’ve backed Back Again From The Broken Lands, which is basically “Sad hobbits coming back from the end of of LoTR: the RPG”. I’ve been thinking of a post-DIE game with not dissimilar emotional terrain, and I’m really into it.
CBR did a serious overview about DIE. CBR has, in the last few years, moved its coverage to an often lighter format, so it’s great to see them do something like this with some more heft.
Aditya’s newsletter is always good but I want to highlight his analysis of the Eteransl Never Die, Never Win, where he really digs into the concept of Page Budgets. This is something I highlighted in that masterclass I did last year, and I suspect I’d dig into a whole bunch if I ever wrote a book on comic writing.
I appear to have been going through a purple patch for heavyweight interview coverage. Since last time…
Three Crows Magazine did a long profile interview with me, which you can read here or buy the issue it’s from here. It’s so long I’m not sure I want to pull a quote – I touch on a lot. Hmm. How about this bit?
Luke: We’ve talked a lot about The Wicked + The Divine, which is a book that I love, so thank you for that. I want to talk about DIE as well because you have done something ridiculous here. You have created a whole RPG to go along with the comic because you felt like it, I guess. As far as I can tell from other interviews I’ve seen, it was part of your world building process gone completely out of control.
Kieron: It is one of the things that I have done that I have spent a lot of time reverse-analysing. I think this might be from Natasha’s Dance, and I’m paraphrasing, it is the difference between German and Russian writers. Germans will make the theory, then write the book, while Russians will write the book, then make the theory to justify it. I feel very Russian. I wrote that and I always question how much I planned. In the case of DIE, the weirdness of it came from a conversation I had with Leigh Alexander, the writer and ex-critic. We were having a drink after the launch of The Wicked + The Divine magazine issue and she’d done an interview for and she said, “you know what Kieron, your work is most interesting when you are doing something only you can do.”
I had a think about that and said, ‘pull the other one.’ She talked a bit more and got what she meant. This is based on the fact that I was a magazine writer and played internet message board stuff in the 1990s, which meant that I could role-play the character I’d written to journalists I knew; I am a critic as well and all of those things come together. I wouldn’t say I’m the only one who can do those things, but it is a unique set of skills. It’s led me to want to push to the extremes more, so yes, I will have conversations with Hollywood and take those meetings, but also try to be in touch with the Alan-Moore-of-it-all–as in doing stuff only you would do. For example, I’ll just make my own RPG. It was almost like The Wicked + The Divine playlist in that it was an object of obsession. To put it another way, this is the device that allows me to think about the work from a different angle. There were times when I wondered which was the tail and which was the dog. Though I don’t see it like that anymore. I kind of see it as like a superimposed hologram as in DIE exists as an idea that is emerging into different shapes. and I try to triangulate it. I found myself thinking about Tolkien. There is a weight to Middle Earth that is palpable. It is easy to mock Tolkien, god knows I have, but the amount of work he put into it gives it a weird gravity that is undeniable.
Luke: A few editions ago, I interviewed Marlon James and he said something like, “Tolkien is both over-exposed and under-appreciated.”
Kieron: That is entirely right. There are so many levels of rebellion against him, including mine. There is a weirdness to Tolkien because he sits to the side of fantasy separate from the American pulp tradition. He wouldn’t have gone to the Hugo’s. He is almost an outsider artist despite the fact that he sits at the heart of the genre.
Secondly, the always sharp Elana Levin over at Graphic Policy Radio had me on their podcast, which was also lots of fun. She uses the tagline “How are The Celestials and The Eternals like Diana Ross & The Supremes?” and I can’t see any reason to change it. There’s stuff on everything, but it does float around the Eternals and Kirby. Oh – it’s also on Youtube. That’s an easy link.
Also, after the Kickstarter, Wyrd Science is now available to buy both physically and in PDF. Click through to see what they’re covering – it’s really that intense approach to tabletop gaming culture which reminds me a little of what Arcade magazine did for videogames back in the day. Oh – here’s the opening of my interview to give you the idea of the design.
Lots more example pages from the rest of the magazine in the link. Also, so many footnotes in the interview, which does make me smile. It makes me feel like I’m a character in a Pratchett novel.
I started this one thinking it’d be short, but when I have a week off, stuff does build up, right? Hell, the quote from the interview would be a newsletter alone. I’m going to keep this tight. I want to try and do a bare minimum of actual typing today, as my RSI is a bit up.
Short version: January closed out, and I kept roughly on target. Four scripts for the month (A DIE, 2 Eternals and something else), plus significant other work. I hope that February keeps on that – I’m starting on DIE, planning to write issue 19 and 20 back to back. As I ended January with the DIE, I’m actually keeping it in in subfolders in the same Scrivener file, and sort of moving between them as needed. Stephanie is just starting 17 now, which means that I do have space to do that – a rare luxury, but a useful one. Then… back to O&F, and more Eternal planning.
Also, fingers crossing. This month is a lot.