Immoral X-men #2 is out, continuing Sins of Sinister, catching up with how things have been going for the Council across the last ninety years. In short: pretty well for them, and pretty badly for everyone else.
The +100 period is basically our Space Opera period – while Si and Al are taking other classic Space Opera, I’m definitely leaning into Evil Federation. Andrea Di Vito does amazing work across the whole of +100, and in Immoral it really does the pretty, shiny, evil.
Here’s the preview of the first three pages which gives you the tone.
In a running theme in recent newsletters, I didn’t know my final Eternals trade came out last week. ETERNALS: HISTORY WRITTEN IN BLOOD collects the specials we included in the run – Thanos Rises (with Dustin Weaver), Celestia (with Kei Zama) and The Heretic (with the much missed Ryan Bodenheim). As that would be short for a trade, it also includes the WHAT IF 1970s shorts where Uranos and company first debuted - as in, the material I mined and reworked into the Eternals stories generally and these stories specifically. I’ve given a few Director Commentary notes to each story as well, to talk about the process of what I was lifting and how I tried to at least create a reading of the original stories that is “true.”
I was really happy with all these specials, so I’m glad that they’ve been collected. If you’re reading the Eternals run, Thanos Rises and Celestia should be read between issues 6 and 7, and The Heretic should be read after issue 9.
I’m reprising my Comics Writing masterclass on Tuesday 6 June 2023, 6pm–8.30pm BST. It’s online, and you’ll have access to a recording to watch if you can’t make it. You can buy tickets here.
I’ve ran this a couple of times before, so this will be a further refined version. There’s a lot about pacing in the class, and I realise I should go into more detail about why pacing is about the only thing that matters if you’re writing comics with a set page count.
New Decompressed! And I really should get around to making some kind of template I could drop art into, but that would be work, and I shun and fear you, work.
Anyway – I chat to Chip Zdarsky about the first volume of the excellent Public Domain, eventually. Decompressed is raw and off the cuff, and I feel this is the most raw and off the cuff one in a while. I’m not even sure it has cuffs.
You can listen here, or whatever podcast thing you listen to, assuming it’s one I update to.
James Tynion IV lobbed me the first issue of his Fernando Blanco and Jordie Bellaire’s new book from Image, W0rldtr33. Any envious monsters who were hoping the hot streak would end soon will be disappointed – this is, as strong and (if anything) even bleaker than the previous books. Out soon. Pre-order, etc.
I had a huge ramble about having players be Fallen in your game on the DIE Discord that I was going to re-use here, and then I realised there’s no reason you all need to suffer my hypergraphic tendencies. But time for another plug for the Discord if you want to. The rant is in Dierpg-gameplay-discussion channel. Search for “You may see why Grant had to introduce me to the delete key. I appear to have written a supplement.”
Actually, compared to some, I’m writing haiku. One of the weirdest things about getting old is that you can have occasional correspondents from over a decade ago turn up in your inbox again to chat. For example, Andrew Doull. I knew Andrew Doull back from when I was a games journo when he wrote the RogueLikeDeveloper blog. He’s spent the last eight years taking that sort of knowledge and approach and making a huge RPG based on the High Frontiers boardgame. 60 Years In Space is a whole lot and you can get the core 350 page manual for $10, with the rest of it being given out if you give more. Here’s the devblog for it, which is… well, Gmless procedural mission stuff? Reading the manual with friends to be akin to running NASA control? I’m fascinated.
My brain has gone “Wait – what did I do this week?” As it turns out, I did a lot.
Work wise, I finished the draft of the OGN and got it over. We’ll see what they make of it. I did manage to get it to 80 pages, but there was an amazing moment when I realised that despite my best efforts it was actually 82 pages – I’d missed the 2-page epilogue from my count. So, for this draft, I cut the epilogue and let it hit its beat and go out. Writing is editing and all that. We’ll see if my collaborator thinks it work, or what we’ll do – the other option is to add another 10 pages, really. We actually talk a bit about the pros and cons of this stuff in the Decompressed with Chip. 249: I also just got the first roughs and some more character designs for it, and have the moment of weird excitement when I see the book morph. There’s all sorts of artists, and all sorts of stories, and just seeing a couple of the choices the artist has made makes me see exactly how this is changing, as is only right. Writing something with a little more space for an artist to fill shouldn’t make you surprised when you see an artist fill it, but here we are, and we are delighted.
It’s also been an oddly sociable week – I went straight from finishing that script to going to my first actual gig since the pre-pandemic years, seeing The Hold Steady on Friday night. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been surprised to go into a band like I did with them – they are the most classically-Male rock band I’ve bee into for a long time. That aspect of them turned up in conversation before the gig with a few friends, as (being new) I didn’t quite realise how a Male Thing it was, in audience as well as content. That means I’ve realised they’re another example of an artist I’ve been introduced by people who are not male, and so don’t think of them in the same way that most people do. I’ve always got a bit twitchy over old twitter conversation around people like – to choose someone who really has an orchestra’s worth of actively misogynist notes – Bukowski. Like, I didn’t read Bukowski until a woman made me, and that absolutely changes my relationship with the work. There’s a lot of things like that in my life, over the years, which is something odd enough that it’s got me thinking about the why of it all.
Went to a kid’s party – my first post parenthood – which was exactly what I knew it would be, and smiled a lot at the singing of Frozen. It was also C and my 12th anniversary, where we managed to get out to eat and see a film. The food was Japanese, and excellent. The film was Cocaine Bear, and not excellent. Though the 2-minute music-video sequence in the middle killed, in about every way you can imagine.
A+ Margo Martindale throughout too.
I also bunked off on a schoolday on Monday to run death-metal RPG Mork Borg for some friends, including the friend who bought it for me. I ran The Cross Stitch which I am loathe to talk about, in case any of you play it, as the core concept a great high concept. One you’ll have seen in other media (and games, even) but one that sings here. You can probably convert it easily enough into your fantasy RPG of choice too.
I never used to run pre-written adventures. I’m straining my brain, and I can’t think of any time prior to about 2018 that I ever ran a pre-gen for more than a session – certainly not a campaign. Indie games are trickier, because the story is often in some way built into the rules in a way which is easy to overlook. As a teenager, I always thought the point was you made up the adventures. Which was, I suspect, half purism and half arrogance. Now, in my old age, I’m interested in the stuff I didn’t explore then – the forbidden fruit. What have I been missing? Let’s find out.
Anyway – Cross Stitch was good.
I’ve also been still playing Marvel Snap, and oh no.