If you’re feeling Sinister (again)
Meet Si-nister, Al-nister, Kier-inister
New year, new marvel event I’m writing. This better not become a habit.
Luckily, this is a different sort of beast. For a start, I’m not alone on this. It’s Si, Al and myself taking over the Marvel Universe via the medium of Sinister being an absolute shithead. It’s done in one of classic modes of X-men crossovers – an Alpha issue to set the scene and an Omega to bring it all home, with the plot passing between the three books involved along the way. In practise, we haven’t quite done that – we’ve made it much more modular. While you’re gong to get much more if you read everything – and they’ll certainly be collected together - we’ve all tried to write our arcs as self-contained as possible, each doing one episode across the three time-zones the story takes place. More aesthetic coherence and style is brought into this by each time period having their own artist – Paco Medina in +10, Andrea Di Vito in +100 and Alessandro Vitti in +1000.
But that all that kicks off next week, with Al and Paco doing Storm and the Brotherhood. This time it’s Lucas, myself and a murder’s row of guests murdering everyone, with 40 pages to show exactly how bad Krakoa can go, and how quickly. We start right where Immortal X-men left off, and then give 10 years of history… and also reveal a whole lot of what Sinister has been up to, and where he plans to go next.
I really enjoyed this – I got a chance to write a whole bunch of characters I’ve never written before (JJ Jameson was always on my list) and, as a writer, I always enjoy showing how a world comes about, piece by piece. 10 years in 40 pages is exactly my sort of thing.
Anyway – this is intermittently grim and blackly comic stuff, and I hope you like it.
If you want a bit more of the vibe, here’s the trailer again.
And here’s a big interview with Jordan and me over at Marvel, trying to talk about Sins of Sinister without giving away too much. For example…
MARVEL.COM: What kind of impact will SINS OF SINISTER leave on the Krakoan age?
JORDAN D. WHITE: I think it all goes back to what Kieron said at the start of this—SINS OF SINISTER is NOT an alternate universe. It’s the next stage of the plan Sinister has been setting up since Krakoa began—for him, it’s the culmination of the Krakoan age.
KIERON GILLEN: I would describe the SINS OF SINISTER as the nightmare future of Krakoa—exactly how bad it could get. When you wake up from a nightmare, you’re sweating and petrified, glad it wasn’t real.
But this nightmare happened. It was real. And that can’t help but change everything.
…and you can read the rest here.
Plus Al just has lobbed up his five favourite sins-related songs, and they’re all bangers.
Oh – while we’re talking Sins of Sinister, Forbidden Planet has just announced a signing for Al, Si and myself on Feburary 25th at their London Store, between 2 and 3pm. Come say hi, and we’ll scrawl our names.
Chip’s Public Domain was released last week, and he talks about it here. I can’t stress how much you need his one – it’s personal, funny, and telling far too much truth about comics. It’s a pure burst of Chip, and I can’t get enough of it. We’re trying to arrange a time to record a Decompressed, but he’s been under the weather with hellplague. Soon, hopefully.
Nick Sounanis shares the Bible of Etienne Harding (c.1100) which is amazing. It’s a medieval bible in a form which looks a lot like a comic – including some storytelling techniques which seem positively modern. Maybe the 1990s Image artists picked up all the frame-breakng stuff from medieval studies?
Nick Cave again, being asked about joy, optimism, Leonard Cohen and his favourite cartoon is strong stuff: “It seems to me that to make suffering the focus of our attention, to pay witness only to the malevolence of the world, is to be in service to the devil himself.” When it’s someone who has been through what Cave has saying this, it hits in a certain way. My position has always been Optimism as a tactic is the only thing we really have, despite an outlook which can be charitably described as cynical. Optimists make the world as pessimists never try. It doesn’t matter if we’re mostly wrong. To try is to be optimistic, and a try is a necessary step to achieving anything.
Talking about joy, I’m really liking the Young Fathers’ New Single, Rice. It’s good hearing them go here when my fave previous song was coming from the opposite place. Shame was a late period-WicDiv song and a key memory circa Brexit, seeing them play it a few days after the vote, and it just seethed.
I’ve been running a game again, with the just released playtest of Hollows, the next game from my RPG publisher RRD. Here’s the first session. I suspect this may be only useful as reference if you want to play it – it’s much more combat-orientated than most the stuff I play, and works off a grid, which I’m not showing in the stream.
Comrade Rossignol interviews Jesse Ross about all things RPG, but mainly Trophy Gold, which Jim and I both love. I’ve got a huge essay written on it which I plan to include in a newsletter when I can find the half hour required to do my usual half-arsed editing job on it.
This NY Mag longform article about the twitter takeover is compelling stuff. I’ve been using twitter as I the previous post – I have things set to delete after 2 weeks, and I’m popping on to reblog and plug stuff and – for my shame – to occasionally check the temperature with what’s going on. I’m also using Mastodon as a much more casual place. It’s pretty depressing that I now view Twitter as kind of a fake-jollity Linked-In.
On January 23rd 2013, Young Avengers #1 was released. 10 years ago, two days ago.
Jamie, Matt, Clayton and my book about (mainly awful) teenagers is nearly a teenager itself. This has hit me at a weird angle, and I’ve been aware of it approaching for a while, and being distinctly uncomfortable with it. It was only relatively recently that I realised the full extent of why - because of what lies beyond its veil. Shortly after is a rush of awful ten-year anniversaries, building to the 10 year anniversary of my Dad’s death.
So yeah. That’s on my mind. Also, the nature of 10 year cycles. Cycles are ritualistic bullshit, I know, and I am prone to that kind of magical thinking, but I can’t help but map the 10 years backwards and realise you can do a narrative history of my life in those chunks. Almost exactly 10 years before Young Avengers, I leave PC Gamer to go freelance, leading to a decade of being a particular kind of writer – New Games Journalism, Phonogram, Rock Paper Shotgun. It ends when we find a way to make all that stuff sell in the form of Young Avengers, and leads to a 10 year period when I was mostly successful and mostly sad. Now I’m less interested in success (“If I do one near-perfect thing I’d be happy” is the Belle & Sebastian lyric that always came to mind through the WicDiv period, which WicDiv conclusively answered with no you won’t), definitely calmer (and probably a better writer for it) and certainly happier. I should also note that Iris’ first Birthday is in the next week, if you want another data-point for eras.
Go 10 years before 2003, and you hit me in the sixth form properly starting to buy the music press – I suspect you can map the start of that period to me buying Line Up by Elastica, which was the first record I understood the semiotics of the act when purchasing it, and so perhaps the birth of me as the wannabe-turned-actual critic/journalist that I was for most that decade and the material I’d mine in Phonogram in the next period.
Of course, I also know that this is nonsense. I have a few data points and I cheat to make it work. The real start of a new era would be leaving Stafford and moving to Bath, which is only 9 years before I leave PCG. I could do this game next year when WicDiv’s anniversary comes around, I’m sure – 94 (Leave Stafford), 2004 (New Games Journalism), 2014 (WicDIv), 2024 (Whatever I can see out of my office-window when making up the cycle.)
But that it’s nonsense doesn’t make it useless. It’s made me think about time, perspective and who I was at each of these points. One of the things that has struck me as I’ve aged is that old people never actually explain what they mean “you’ll see things different when you’re older. You’ll have a different perspective” That only comes across as patronising, because it is patronising… but they’re also not really saying what they mean.
What being older does is provide a variety of perspectives – not just who you met, but from your own moving identity. You have been a different person at different places, and seen the world from where you stood. It’s not about the final perspective being correct – but an awareness that there are multiple perspectives one can inhabitant, and they were (mainly) true and necessary responses to where you were in that moment. Unless they’re being a total shithead (which is entirely possible) what they’re really saying is “you will see things differently when you’re older because you will have seen things differently at different points, and then have a different understanding based on all those people you’ve been.”
The danger for the old is that because they have had all these multiplicities of experience is that they think their multiplicities are all there are. That is fatal.
Okay, I’m deep in the ruminating hole. I was going to do some book reviews, but this is already long enough.
Oh – I did try to find the Curse of Monkey Island review, but it’s not anywhere logical on the hard-drive. I’ve started looking in other places, and – my god – there is some amazing, awful stuff here. I was thinking how much I admire Morrison for putting their juvenilia out there on their mailing list, but I’m not sure anyone could handle the juvenilia jamboree I’ve uncovered.