Not My Books
A double Immortal issue this week, with the latest issue of the ongoing and the first trade.
Issue 9 is being labelled as the opening prologue to Sins of Sinister, which seems fair, not least as Sinister does a whole bunch of sins this issue. His plans kick into action, and his plans are murderous. For a brutal issue, I think this one is fun – the next one is bleak, but this one has a certain giddy charm. When flicking through it, I thought “Deadpool with a PhD” which kind of gets the vibe. It also has actual drawing from yours truly, so I am now officially a Marvel artist. I am the new Alec Ross.
I just got messaged to say that British shops didn’t get any Marvel books this week, so it’ll be next week for Britfolk.
However, the trades did reach the UK. This week also sees the release of the first Immortal X-men trade, entitled (er) Immortal X-men Volume 1. This is something that I only really realised about the Krakoa age right now – there’s no trade titles. I’ve tended to conceive of my comics as books – even if in a series, they’ve got their own title and their own identity. This is something different, entirely pushing that this is an ongoing series, and that is its identity. That’s more like a TV show, or Manga.
It also feels a really Hickmanian move, right?
That said, it suits Immortal X-men – it may be the least trade-structured comic I’ve ever written, with a firm modularity married to an equally firm larger plot which moves at its own speed.
Anyway – trade folks can jump aboard now.
Golden Rage #5 is out, concluding the series. There’s a bit in this which absolutely makes me well up. Hurrah for emotions! Emotions are the best.
Here’s Chrissy and Lauren being interviewed on the Capes & Tights podcast.
DIE news! For a start, the HC is in bookshops, and available to buy. It was briefly not available from Amazon UK due to (er) reasons, but is available there now if you looked and were surprised it’s not there. It’s everywhere. Book Depository, for example. and your local shop and my house, as my comps have finally arrived.
Rowan, Rook & Decard have also released the DIE PDF to the PDF retailing channels. You can buy it directly from them, but also on DriveThru RPG and Itch.io. If you buy directly from RRD, you also get a voucher for the full PDF price which you can then deduct from an order of DIE in future. In other words, but the PDF now, and you can order the HC later when it’s printed and available.
Worth noting that you can still pre-order if you want a HC – if you do, RRD will get you a PDF as soon as possible – it normally takes a day or two, as mailing out PDFs is a manual button press thing.
It was also Dragonmeet this weekend, the largest RPG-centric con in the UK, where RRD had a bit of their stand where they showed off the printed manual and some of the other kickstarter goals. Check it out.
“Check it out”? Am I drunk before noon? What is this, 2013?
Children of Memory is the second sequel to Children Of Time (which is a genuine classic of 2010s science-fiction, and made me cry about a spider). It’s developed into a series of book about first contact events between different intelligences and cultures. A key element of what Tchaikovsky does is to tell that first contact story while understanding that it takes two minds to first contact, and understanding they are mutual protagonists in this endeavour. What I most like about the series is how it manages to hit such real, unremitting sadness of things going wrong and beings not seeming to find an equitable understanding, and then still managing to find something profoundly optimistic and life-affirming from the chaos. By discussing what life can be, it reminds us how wide that is, and how worth fighting it is for – and understanding literal fighting is a failure to communicate.
Children of Memory builds on the motifs of the series: a community of humans trying to survive in the ruins left of a galactic collapse interacting with an earth species who has developed its own idiosyncratic form of thought. The broader science-fiction palette has increased since the more austere Children of Time, but this one goes hardest in the fall of poor old homo sapiens. The colony in distress is actively upsetting, especially given how the chronology operates to explore its futility by showing you the hope that is snatched away. It upsets you in exactly the right way, and trying to describe the plot in full to Chrissy the morning afterwards proved difficult – not due to its very real complexity, but due to how choked up I was.
Most of all, it is a novel I have read. The first since Iris arrived, so it’s a major rubicon, and a good river to swim across.
Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden’s BREAKS has reached its conclusion after 369 episodes. Cripes. You can go and read the whole thing here and do throw ‘em money. There’s some fine physical collections too.
AIPT interview me on their X-men monday about Judgment Day and write it down. Comic Book Herald interview me and video it. Between the two, this is the closest you’ll get to be post-gaming Judgment Day (with some teases for Sins of Sinister, obv)
While we’re talking Judgment Day, Graphic Content’s reading order is the one I’d recommend, if you want to try and read the whole thing as one narrative.
Chip writes about the science of Variants over in Substack, including illustrations, because Chip can’t help rub our noses in the fact he’s better than us. After the latest ChipClass, I may never write a comic again from shame.
Tini writing about the melancholic joys of this season was excellent.
Comic News Insider grabbed me at Thought Bubble, and made me talk to them with words about stuff. If I remember correctly, this has some end-of-con energy to it.
The Gutter Review’s euology piece on Kevin O’Neil is great work. Since last time, I realised that The Gutter review is accepting patreon-style patronage (though via paypal, not patreon) so I jumped aboard. This is a great site which deserves your support.
I’m a big fan when mini painting articles start actually explaining real painting stuff, as this goonhammer article which goes deep on Renasiance techniques on underpainting. I am trying to get better at this broadly – you really want to learn the why, not the how. The main thing on my mind is cooking, which I tend to approach like I do mini painting. I want to not just follow recipes.
Tom Ewing’s classic column on Imperial Phases crossed my browser, and made me realise I may not have linked to it (and also aware a bunch may not even be aware of the particular phrase and its usage.) I think of this stuff a lot, and enjoy looking at folks in their Imperial Phase and how they choose to use it (or not).
As it’s been a few weeks, it’s tricky to hold things together in my mind. A lot has happened, but simultaneously, the structure of my days are so regimented now that it blurs. I wake when Iris does and look after her. I arrange – cook is a grandiose term – breakfast. I start work around 10. We do lunch. I try and work in the afternoon and find time to squeeze in a walk. We eat at 6 with Iris, and go into bed. Iris is asleep by 8, hopefully. I am asleep by 11, at the absolute latest. Repeat.
That’s a backbone, and everything else is an ingredient added or removed to in the ever-bubbling stew.
Thankfully, no matter what, it’s a tasty stew.
Work wise, we’re wrapping up Sins of Sinister. After I send out this newsletter I’ll be doing my notes on Sins of Sinster #1 and then doing my pass on the final Sins of Sinister Dominion issue to add reference and align everything that needs to be aligned. As you can imagine from three pretty intricate writers being given a thousand years of history to play with, there’s a lot of moving parts, and making sure that the gears are all meshing and don’t spin off into space and decapitate someone is pretty important. That said, even in the first draft, I’m pleased with it. When Jordan read it he said a metaphor involving (presumably) basketball which I didn’t understand, but I presume is a compliment and he’s not just insulting me.
(It was something about dunking, when being a simple minded brit the only dunking I understand is to ascertain the presence of a witch.)
Before this I finished the script for the first act of the OGN, which I’ll be passing over to the artist shortly. I’ve broken the whole thing, so I’m confident that they can start work while I finish off the rest. The plan is to wrap it all before May and then release (er) at some point after May. I am a professional. I re-read it, and it’s simultaneously very clearly me, but also very clearly unlike me. It seems a little closer to what I hoped I would do with DIE before I got distracted by trying to tell the whole history of RPGs. I still can’t decide whether it’s YA or not. I suspect it will tell me.
I’m unsure what actually happens next. I suspect I’ll do a tight synopsis of my issues for the Fall of X sequence – I have a lot of material, and deciding where to go with it is fun. Lucas is on Dominion, but will need 11 soon enough too, so that’ll likely be the first thing I write in terms of script. After that, I suspect I’ll round off the year just completing the OGN and whatever small things catch my eye – unless I need to write a one-off issue ASAP, which I may have. I’ll have to ask Jordan.
And now I get back to it.