Buy Brindlewood Bay
Firstly: coo. Look at that cover. Mark's done an amazing set for all the Quiet Council, and this rounds it off beautifully with Quiet-Council-Adjacent Doug.
This ends the year of Immortal X-men. I think I'll count it as year 2. Year 1 was up to the reveal of the Xavier-Sinister at the end of 10, and setting up the next status quo. Year 2 is from that, to the edge of the Fall of X. Between the 3 issues of Immortal, 3 issues of Immoral, the Sins of Sinister intro and outro issue plus last week's Sinister 4 special, that's 9 issues, so in the same ballpark as year 1's ten. It's certainly feels like that kind of body of work to me.
I think this is a good one. At the least, it's the epitome of the sort of thing I wanted to be doing on Immortal. Political, scheming, superpowered, human and philosophical. It's about the nature of power, and about Doug being a very good boy indeed. Hope you like it.
Anyway – here's the preview and covers. The preview itself is just the first two pages, which is a nice elegiac introduction to what we're up to.
Next up, the Gala with Gerry and company and Fall of X, with Immortal 14, where everything continues to be just fine.
The lovely Tegan J Gaming had me on as his first game developer interview to talk DIE.
This was a lot of fun. I was amused that I spent most of the back end of the interview raving about other people's games.
Two weeks in a row, and I'm starting with a Sktchd link. This is a big state of the retailer nation piece, interviewing a bunch of folks about how the year has gone so far, and trying to draw lessons from it. The headline is “Could be better, could be worse” which is about the vibe. The “Could be worse” is playing on my mind, as I start making firmer plans for what I'm doing after I leave Marvel.
Jim Zub writes about how to spot predatory publishers in comics. Take this aboard, newer creators. I can't say this strongly enough: you need to know this.
Jay Dragon writes about the Storyteller technique in RPGs. To paraphrase badly, Jay argues taking on the voice of the fiction it's trying to evoke is the most effective way to both entertain and inform someone about the tone of a game.
New Yorker does a bit profile on Sam Delany. This is a hell of a figure.
Steve Orlando and Giopta's Kickstarter for Sainted Love, which looks great. 29 hours to go at the time of writing.
Kotaku on why there's so many people cheating Duolingo – which touches on strategies for easy earning of XP (instead of, for example, actually trying to learn a language. I've absolutely fell into this. I'm trying to get on track a bit more, but in recent months, I've just maximialised the minimum amount of things I have to do to get as much points (so stay in the high league) which is – frankly – just a waste of time. I'm reminded of all the stuff I read about Extrinsic vs Intrinsic rewards when I was a games journalist. The problem with gamification is that it becomes the game and nothing more.
Jon Auerbach writes about my Comics Masterclass, and what he got from having taken it twice. I am fascinated by this stuff. What do people get from stuff? What do people realise they've got from stuff?
As I finished off a first draft of Immortal 17 and 18, and am back on polishing them both this week. Both were an frustrating experience – on the first couple of days, I was feeling they just weren't working at all. Luckily with both, by the end of the third day, things had turned around and I was pretty happy – all it took was to find a key dramatic scene and make it work. The polish for 17 is going to be complicated – as well as the usual tightening, I also need to something that's a little Ewing-like. Less a polish, and more using the Marvel Universe as a found poem. 18 prompted a skeet where I noted that I really should just write the novel, as I'm looking at this script, and it appears I've written the novel. Polishing there is mainly pressing delete and killing darlings.
This week really is mainly polishing – I did notes on the project I can't talk about, and notes on the DIE scenario. By the end, I'll have handed them all in, with luck.
Last week I was talking about the difficulties post-C's eye operations, and a lot of people reached out about it, very kindly. As I was hitting the facts, I want to soften that a bit. C can't pick up Iris, but she Iris can be put on her for hugs – and in the last couple of days in each two weeks she can do more. And while doing all bedtimes, nights and mornings for the period when C can't do them is a lot, it's also kind of magical. Iris is a lovely person to spend more time with, and that's what this is. Caring for someone is a blessing.
Over the last few weeks we've actually managed to slowly work through some media. The end of Succession, rushing through Poker Face and last night, the finale of Barry. Succession and Barry are just some of the best television in the last decade – Barry especially managed to find a tone unlike anything else, this weird, extended, bleak unforgiving black comedy about living, acting and murdering in LA. Not the final series, but I think back to the episode from season 3 which was basically GTA as an art movie, and am amazed it even exists. Poker Face primarily got by on charm. It was borderline for us continuing a few times, and it only really clicked when we realised that you have to forgive something fundamentally dumb at least once an episode. As in, it will do what it needs to do to get to the really cute thing it wants to do. I wish it were more willing to do the heavy lifting to get to the cute thing, but the cute thing is cute. It's a cute thing. We can do with some cute.
I also returned to a book I left unfinished when Iris arrived – the Romanovs, by Simon Sebag Montefiore which is enormous, deliciously salacious and really fucking enormous. Every page has something absolutely ludicrous in, and it's made me want to return to a project I've been chewing over for a long time. It's certainly passed the “will Kieron bore you about the book in any conversation?” test. I'll likely write more when I finish it, in another 350 pages time.