Kieron Gillen's workblog




The neurotically twitching tone of recent posts will continue with this one, I'm afraid. Except no quote to start it with, which was beginning to bring a livejournal-rash to my forearms. I'll be writing about how Suzy is such a FUCKEN BITCH and I HATE HER SO MUCH if I'm not careful.

(Fuck it: M Ward's "Transfiguration of Vincent" is on the CD player, which is my favourite album of last year I discovered this one)

Games comment before I start the post proper: First Thief III reviews starting to appear. Interesting reading between the lines, to be honest. I think it's clear that every single reviewer in the world is living in fear of becoming another Invisible War kicking boy. I know I certainly was. However, it's lead to some genuinely interesting observations, where someone's gone for a Hard Man pose on something that doesn't really appear to deserve it. Take Gamespy, who says that Thief is
"doubtlessly one of the ugliest games in recent memory" or Gamespot noting that "Lock picking has also been changed--and not for the better... this a process that can be learned quickly and neither requires nor rewards finesse". Both are, clearly, nonsensical statements. No matter the merits of its graphics, there's millions of B-games which look much worse than it. Equally, no matter what you make of the new lock-picking system in Thief, you can't imply that the one it replaces was in any way more sophisticated or interesting. Possibly justiable critiques are rendered nonsense. Why? I don't know, and it'll be bad form to speculate. You put it together.

Anway: With the comics out the way (which the people in question apparently love, bar a possible problem with a handful of possible too-dark bits. All can be easily rescued, I feel), I've been twitching for a new creative comics project. I've reached a small break in my stuff for McKelvie, as we need to chat at Bristol this weekend and take some photos and similar.

Turning my mind inwards, I found top of the list to be something else for Charity. Now, after "Something's Wrong" was completed for Variance (Available to order this week, with any luck) I promised to write her something specifically for her to draw. Something substancial. I was thinking kind of Kill Your Boyfriend Comic-Novella length, just because it's a size I liked. And it had to be something completely written for her, to play to her strengths. Well - it didn't have to be, but it's what I *wanted* to do, which is all that matters.

So I'm chatting to charity about what she likes drawing. And she, jokingly, says a word.

Except I know that she clearly isn't joking, and it's what she really likes drawing.

The word may have well been "Barbie", y'know?

Anyway, I lob it into the internal processor and leave it to be churned up by my writerly four-stomachs for a bit. Ruminate. Chew cud. Ruminate some more.

I kind of leave it, and start bouncing a few other projects I've had lying around for a while off her. I know that none of them is really right for her, but I've got all sorts of crazy mental energy at the moment and need to be doing something with it, or Gril's going to wake up to find the his entrails decorating the house. One of them's HOMO DEPRESSUS, whose original artist disappeared into the ether but is all about very ugly people and not really the thing at all. The other is something which hasn't a title - or any I chose to share - which is a Travel Journalism Sci-fi thing which is best described as the Anti-Transmetropolitan. Now, I think Charity could do this well but still... not it. And then there's my direct continuation of "Something's Wrong"'s themes currently called LOVE=1, which she'd be perfect for, but she almost killed me for making her draw pretty people kissing last time, so I can't do it to her again yet.

So, nothing. And I get drunk over at Jim's last night talking about this thought extensively, before coming home and chatting to Charity a little bit more. She's looking at websites and suddenly says another word.

I go to the toilet, and I put her first word and her second word together and... something's there.

I go back, and hit Google, checking a few things. And it's all there. In fact, the more I look, the more there is and the more there is, the more other things just start slotting into place. An art style, storytelling techniques, pacing, structure of piece, mood, message, tone... it comes in a huge rush. I mention the rough idea to Charity, and she nods her assent. It's her two words, but a comic.

Anyway - today, among my other tasks, I start my proper research. This is a coming of age sort of thing, with every implication of the word "age" in that particular one. I want to have lots of information about the two words at my finger-tips, so being able to draw lines between the pair of them, and then present it to the protagonist (and the reader) in a suitably enlightening fashion. You know - writer stuff.

Thing is, I know virtually nothing about either of the words. While I understand them, the raw Stuff will have to be found. Clearly, I've got the Internet, which is a wonderful boon, but I decide I need some stuff with a spine on it too. So I head out to Waterstones and go a-nosing.

One of the words has no books about it. The other has millions. We've gone on long enough being vague, so let's reveal one of them.

Fairies. Faerie. Faeyrie? Fucking Fairies.

Now, I go looking for books about Fairy. I grab a copy of Midsummer Night's Dream, as I want to read it before doing anything else - I'm re-reading Coleridge's Christabel for pretty much the same reason. Dover Thrift edition so I can scrawl on it and tear it up. And then I look for something a little more illustrative with a smattering of legend. I look in Mythology. Nothing there. Hmmm.

It takes a few minutes for me to realise that Fairies are kept in the Spirituality section, intermingled with all the Angel books, because - clearly - Fairies are real. Stupid old me. If I were an Enki Sumerian God Of Wisdom, I'd be mightily pissed off.

So, I grab a copy of Froud's famous "Faeries" book and head towards the counter. I'm standing there, looking at the assistant, as I realise I'm going to be the strange looking man buying two books about Fairies. I wish that I had the brains to pick up a copy of something by James Ellroy and add it to my pile, casually commenting "Hell. Those two are for the lil' lady back at home".

Anyway - I'm now the proud owner of books about fucking Fairies, which is going to tar my bookshelf forever.

Thanks Charity.

Thanks a fucking bunch.

Working title for this one is "Busted Wonder", and I'm clearly not going to tell you what the second word of the equation Charity posed and I devised a solution to. And I'll shut up about it now for - oooh - forever.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.