Out Today: Uber 17

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UBER 17 is basically the end of the current arc, with issue 18 as basically a Very Important Interstitial issue.

(I’ll be writing about that more nearer the time, but 18 would be a good one-off issue to try if you wanted a taste of Uber. It’s a dense, serious standalone “thing.”)

Anyway! This issue of Uber involves gliders, Heavy-on-Heavy battles, secret meetings in hotel rooms, Stephanie drinking in every scene again and lots and lots of swearing. Hope you find it interesting.

You can buy from your local comic shop or digitally on Comixology. There’s also a little preview over on Comixology if you want a taste.

WRITER NOTES: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #3

Spoilers, obv.
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Out Today: The Wicked + the Divine 3

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Half way through the first arc and we basically go all NONE MORE GOTH.

You can get it at your local shop and/or digitally fromComixology. and/or direct from Image.

We didn’t release a lettered preview of this issue as we decided it got spoilery too quickly, and wanted to have everyone experience it in a single unit. That we get to decide this sort of thing does make me smile.

Hope you find it interesting.

Oh – also out today is the second and final volume of the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY complete collection. If you haven’t read it, or if you fancy it in a fine and beautiful volume, it’s well worth picking the both of them up. I suspect overall it’s my strongest work for Marvel, and was written to be read as a single story.

THE PEOPLE INSIDE
By Ray Fawkes

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It’s been an hour since I’ve finished this. I want to get something down. I’m not together enough to do a serious critical piece. I’m not even sure I can write a review.

So I’ll write a recommendation.

This killed me. I actually verbalised a “No” at a plot turn, in a direct and uncontrollable way. And then I did it again. I’m sitting there, saying NO at the book, in a mute protestation of this is not how I want life to be. I simultaneously recognise its truth. Truths. The plural matters.

THE PEOPLE INSIDE is Ray Fawkes’ spiritual sequel to his ONE SOUL. ONE SOUL followed 24 stories, simultaneously, each set across all human history, each story getting a single panel in the double-page spread grid. That’s pretty fancy.

THE PEOPLE INSIDE takes a lot of the formal brilliance of ONE SOUL and adds more heart, pain and more things to say about humanity, specifically the parts related to love, sex and death. Oh – and more formal brilliance. For a moment, you think he’s repeating the structure of ONE SOUL, but you rapidly realise he’s actually building on it. I finished ONE SOUL enormously impressed at the virtuosity of it and amazed that Ray had pulled it off. I finished THE PEOPLE INSIDE genuinely wondering “How!?!?”

Once again, this follows twenty-four characters, but they’re all working in the same time period. We see them fall in love, fall out of love, fall apart, fall together. With a cast so large, we juxtapose these stories and people to create the complex ironies that speaking about life in any meaningful way demands. Yes, this is true, but this is also true and this is also true and all this is true and we’re all stuck in the grid – and grids always look like cages to me – and WTF is it all about anyway?

It’s about love, sex and death.

The enormous cast allows that multiplicity. There is no normality here, but life in its many ways of being, all – thanks to the democracy of the grid – being treated with equal prominence. Gay or straight, sadists or saints, a myriad ways of loving (and failing to love) are explored. Each double-page spread implicitly says all these are the same, a fractured prism of life being lived (or not).

For being a more complicated book than ONE SOUL, it’s also a more accessible one. It breaks you in gently, starting the cast all in couples, all these kisses (or not) lined up. You get to know them, and see how they link together. When we’re familiar, the complexity grows, and the whole cast marches off together towards oblivion.

It does a lot of things. It unpicks the concept of happy endings, while not falling into straight nihilism. It shows joy with nuclear intensity, and undercuts it with loss. It shows life as complex, recognises its fundamental, final sadness, and then still basically gives it a positive review on amazon. Characters destroy one another without realising. Characters destroy each other with realising. All love is transformative here, and all loss of love equally an event of self-annihilation (“Hell is other people”). Characters become someone else, even when they seem exactly the same to the world around them. We touch each other even when we don’t mean to. We’re not alone even when are.

It’s a masterpiece of the form and form. You would want it for that alone, but I think with this one Ray has nailed something much bigger than that. I want to spend the whole day pulling out individual panels and posting them, knowing that doing so would be utterly deceptive. Yes, it’s a book of chosen moments, but it’s a book of juxtaposition between all those moments, a book of limitations and a book of change. You owe it to yourself to read it. If you’ve read a better comic this year, I want your reading list. For me, I can’t think of a comic that has me in the gut as hard since… I KILL GIANTS, maybe? It feels a strange comparison, because for all THE PEOPLE’S INSIDE’s emotional content, it’s not that big sad pop song of a book. This is post-punk, arty, complicated. It’s great. I’m bitterly jealous. I’m impossibly excited. The world is an amazing place. The world is doomed. It’s amazing. I love you all.

This was so good that I’ve only just realised I’ve forgotten to feed my cat.

You can get THE PEOPLE INSIDE from your local comic shop, or an online bookseller (here’s one) or an online retailer (Here’s one). There’s a preview here. Yes.

Out This Week: God Is Dead: Omega

Late in doing this, but been a hell of a week. It’s been a “not replying to people trying to give me free money” kind of week. However, if you’re passing comic shops…

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I contributed a story to the GOD IS DEAD comics. It’s a short story – 11 pages, I believe – about ALASTOR: HELL’S EXECUTIONER, who’s a character I’ve had kicking around for a while who I wanted to take out for a spin. In short: utterly horrible James Bond in hell, who is about as sex positive as he is murder positive. It’s very silly, and very NSFW.

If you want some more, including some (NSFW!) preview art, have a nose down the Alastor tag on my tumblr.

My story is a stand alone which doesn’t even really rest in anything other than GOD IS DEAD’s high concept.

Out Today: Original Sin 3.4 and Uber 16

Two books out this week. Firstly…

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Where I say goodbye to Iron Man. It’s been a fascinating exercise in co-writing this one, and Mark and I have wrestled with it at least as much as Tony and Bruce have. The last one… well, as far as goodbyes go, I quite like this one. Of all my Marvel work, it reminds me most of the second issue of AvX Consequences. See what you think.

Preview here and you can buy Digitally here.

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Wherein we see the effect of the Blitzmensch on the shape of the war. Naval Warfare, more Battleship candidates and lots more. Daniel does some wonderful things with the shippping.

You can buy digitally here, which also includes some preview pages.

Nine Worlds Schedule

I’ll be at the Nine Worlds con this weekend, where I’ll be being aggressively myself for 72 hours straight. Stay clear.

If you decide to disobey that clear guideline, you can find me at any of these. And the bar, obv.

I’m hoping I haven’t forgotten anything. That is very unlikely to happen, obv.

FRIDAY

With some trepidation, I agreed to go on this…

Fourth Wall Fandom: creator/fan interaction, gently crumbling the fourth wall
18.45-20.00
Creators of canon are increasingly likely to interact with their fanbase, whether by referencing fannish tropes in the TV show / film / book, or by interacting with fans on social media platforms. This doesn’t always work out well … The panel discuss how creators can learn to love fandom, how fans can engage with creators, and whether creators (fan or pro) should engage with transformations of their work.
Panel: Emma England, Kieron Gillen, Roz Kaveney, Melissa Taylor, Zalia

…which obviously will be interesting depending how honest diplomatic I decide to be. There’s a panel about sex and violence on at the same time, which would have been much more fun. Man! I just don’t have a tiny drop of sense in my amusingly potato shaped head.

Later, quoting from Paul’s blog

8.30pm: Only A Moment (Room 38). This is a well known game involving speaking for a minute without hesitation, deviation or repetition, renamed because the BBC got in touch. (No, seriously!) I’ll be running it, and Elizabeth Bear, Kieron Gillen, Liz Myles and Laurie Penny will be my guests.

Clearly, I’ll be crap at all of this, so this would be ideal for anyone who likes seeing me being humiliated in public.

SATURDAY

First…

1.30pm – 2.45pm
Dis/Continuity: long-running characters, change, evolution and disruption
The challenges, joys, disappointments and outright confusion of writing, following and redesigning characters with 60+ years of sometimes-not-entirely-straightforward back story.
Paul Cornell, Kieron Gillen, Nat Wilkinson, Misha Sumra

…where Paul and I will have a good whine about our Iron Man and Wolverine runs, I suspect, because we are big ol’ whiners.

Then probably the one I’m worrying about most…

5.00pm – 6.45pm
Creators on Comics
Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, Uncanny X-Men, The Wicked & The Divine) dismantles WATCHMEN to demonstrate everything everyone should have ripped off instead of just tediously having superdudes break other dude’s fingers. Si Spurrier (Six-Gun Gorilla, X-Force, Disenchanted) talks about the eternal sexual war between WORDS and PICTURES! Then they answer questions! And chat! And hold one another!
Si Spurrier, Kieron Gillen, Hazel Robinson

…Where you probably sense a little Gillen-has-written-this about the above text.

(I didn’t write my bio. I’m a little disappointed it didn’t feature STRONG CHARACTER ASSASSINATION and/or mentioning of the Skavengers.)

Anyway – I’m doing a formalist examination of Watchmen, basically in response to Jon Browne asking what was so special about Watchmen anyway. I’m still writing this, so I’m wrestling with all manner of stuff, not least that ejecting lots of more standard literary analysis to concentrate on formalism does miss so much of what makes Watchmen work. And then fitting it in 40 minutes tops.

I may just throw it all out and just spend my time reciting bits of WE3.

SUNDAY

First…

Writing Historical Fiction and Fanfic: is RPF okay when the person is dead?
11.45-13.00
How do we write about historical characters? Is historical fiction a form of Real Person Fiction if it features people who appear in the historical record? A panel of authors and fans discuss techniques of writing historical fiction and how writing about the dead differs from writing about the living.
Panel: Alex Dally MacFarlane, Tanya Brown, Elizabeth Bear, Aliette de Bodard, Kieron Gillen.

…will probably involve me saying “Of course. Lighten up. And write about the living too, FFS. Just know why you’re fucking doing it. Same as all art ever, etc.”

Anyway! I’ll be having a nice lie down until it’s time for…

Cara’s Fireside
Time: 8:30-9:45
Once again, we’ll be rounding out the convention in front of Cara’s fireplace for a relaxed evening chat about life, video games, and whatever catches her and her guest’s interest.
Cara Ellison, Kieron Gillen

No idea what we’re going to be talking about, but Cara and I basically are very mean to each other professionally, so it should be a giggle.

And then I’ll be sleeping and never doing this ever again.

Darth Vader Announced

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As I was leaving my Brother’s wedding, the news broke at SDCC that I’d be writing the ongoing DARTH VADER book. Salvador Larroca draws, Adi Granov on the lovely cover above. In Canon, set between A NEW HOPE and EMPIRE.

(We did talk about maybe doing a live link up from the Wedding for the panel, but clearly midnight at a wedding in Scotland does involve the risk of a lot of men in kilts displaying their wares live to a horrified audience across the Pacific.)

Anyway – I got in last night, and tried to work out what to tweet about it. I ended up saying “So. As announced at SDCC, I’m doing a DARTH VADER book. What can I say? I fear it’s the mainstream comic book I was born to write.”  Which still suspect sounds about right, y’know? I’ve been basically writing Villain books on the sly since I’ve been at Marvel. Time to really go for it.

Let’s pull a relatively restrained quote from the CBR interview which basically explains how the  book operates…

So at the end of the first “Star Wars” film he’s the sole survivor of the greatest military disaster of all time. And more importantly he let the Rebels escape with the plans! He chose to let them escape with the plans. There are lots of people to blame for the Death Star. It’s not like it’s just Darth’s fault, but he certainly foots some of the blame.

Then the next time we see him in “Empire” he’s more powerful than ever. He treats people in “Empire” with more contempt than he treats them in “A New Hope.” So something happens between those two films. There is the question of what the destruction of the Death Star actually created. So this story is basically the fall and rise of Darth Vader and all the things that happen along the way. That’s why it interests me.

When I talk about this I tend to use the film “The Godfather” as a reference in terms of how it worked and that it featured a villain protagonist who we’re still interested in. The second reference I use is “House of Cards.” This is a man who is an incredibly powerful member of an organization and he feels he is being slighted. This is him choosing and being forced to do things he maybe wouldn’t have done originally and to rebuild and change his power situation.

Anyway – lots more interviews, and out next February.

CBR
Marvel.com
StarWars.com
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USA Today

And, yes, this is the one I left Iron Man to do. I think you’ll like it.

ALSO!!!!

ANGELA: ASGARDIAN ASSASSIN has been announced. Details here.

I’m on holiday for a few days, guys. Sorrrry, etc.

WRITER NOTES: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #2

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Once again, we have a little yabber.

Spoilers, obv.

(And for followers of the blog, you may note we haven’t updated for a while – I think we’re back alive. Service should be okay)
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Writer Notes: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1

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As I mentioned this in the back of the issue, I probably better do this, eh?

In short – here’s a bunch of commentary on the issue.

Spoilers, obv.

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