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AICN COMICS Q&@: The Dean catches up with UNCANNY X-MEN, IRON MAN, YOUNG AVENGERS Writer Kieron Gillen!!!

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Q’s by The Dean!

@’s by Writer Kieron Gillen!!!

Hey, everyone! The Dean here with a Q&A from one of my favorite writers at Marvel right now, Mr. Kieron Gillen. Gillen’s just wrapped his run on UNCANNY X-MEN after twenty issues, and will now be lending his talents to Marvel’s YOUNG AVENGERS (hitting stands this January) and the freshly painted IRON MAN (first issue landed last week ). This was a really fun and insightful conversation, in which Gillen’s enthusiasm for his work was palpable in every answer given. Check out the interview below, which covers his time in the X office, plans for his Marvel NOW! titles, and his thoughts on comic book reviews and criticism…

DEAN: Hey, Kieron!

KIERON GILLEN (KG): Hey, how are you?

DEAN: I’m excellent. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk today. You’ve got a lot going on these days, moving onto some cool new projects, but with UNCANNY, is it hard leaving the title? There’s so much going on right now after AVENGERS VS X-MEN and with CONSEQUENCES, so do you wish you still had some time with it?

KG: It’s a weird one. It’s certainly going to strange not working with Nick; Nick gave me my first ongoing. But, you know, I’ve been at the X office as long as I’ve been working commercially at Marvel. Nick gave me my first work in the Marvel Universe with the little eight page Dazzler story. So yeah, it feels weird--I mean, it’s a natural place to leave, it’s just going to be weird not doing any work there. We were talking about doing a few minor things, but it was the case that it was just a good place to leave. I got through basically like the end of a major X office arch plot, you know, Cyclops’ arch, going on for like maybe 5 years or whatever, since MESSIAH COMPLEX, and I got to pretty much write the final scene of that, you know? So it was a good time to leave. I’m not saying that there’s not other stuff you could do there; certainly there were lots of things I sort of thought about doing, but you know, new challenges excite me in a very fundamental way.

DEAN: So then how early on did you know that your story was going to be invaded by AVENGERS VS X-MEN?

KG: I knew AVENGERS VS X-MEN was coming before I started, and I kind of knew the endpoint, and that was Cyclops gets possessed by the Phoenix Force and goes to jail. So I knew that before I had even written my first issue. So year one for me was basically all the stories leading up to SCHISM, and year two was basically all the stories which led up to the end of AVX. Then year three would be maybe Hope, or you know that sort of thing that might go on from there. But yeah, I tend to model stories and use that kind of modular structure. So yeah, pretty much my entire run was delineating towards Cyclops going to jail having got what he wanted at the cost of everything. So that was my narrative destination, you know, and I always was aware of it.

So basically I saw my run in two parts – one part basically leading up to SCHISM, where I kind of set the ideological ground for where we were going with a relaunch. Year two was pretty much everything from issue one to issue nineteen/twenty, the idea that Cyclops was going to jail getting what he wanted at the cost of everything, and then yes, he wishes he could have done a different way if he could do it all again. That was basically…everything I did was knowing that’d be the character arch, and I think if people do look at my writing it’s very clear to see that I’m foreshadowing the route Cyclops is taking pretty much throughout, really.

DEAN: Okay, so this still got to be pretty much your own story then. It wasn’t necessarily taken over, or something more invasive where all of a sudden Aaron and Bendis and all these other guys are taking the characters and pulling them in a different direction, right?

KG: You know, it’s like the fact I knew it was coming made me decide to run around it, you know? So if I go to do something solely, I’m going completely do my own imaginary thing, and then that could derail the book. But I designed the book with that coming, you know what I mean? And it’s kind of what I’m doing with JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY as well, as in like a lead-in to crossovers is the way I put it. So my books tend not to feel derailed by it, because, you know, they’re designed for it, which has advantages and disadvantages, but at least it plays into the core themes, I think.

DEAN: With you putting this together in the beginning, then, I mean so many of these characters have huge fan bases just by themselves, so I don’t know, I guess with the team aspect of something like UNCANNY and putting all of these guys together, as a writer how does that process work? How do you start doing that?

KG: Oh man, it’s funny, you know the thing with the X-Men, there are just so many characters, there’s no way, there’s literally no way you’re going to make everyone happy. So you just know that, you make peace with that and learn to accept it. Which kind of frees you, you know? If you know the task at hand is mentally impossible, you stop worrying about that and worry about what you can do. For me, like the first arc we’d done pre-relaunch was kind of tying up a lot of that stuff there. There’s a little bit of Phoenix foreshadowing in a one-off, and then you’ve got the FEAR ITSELF arch, which was really about showing Cyclops’ realization that now he’s got to play hardball. It’s a sign of the end when he turns to Magneto and threatens to kill the mayor if he ever tries anything like that again. SCHISM then delineated where Cyclops would be going in the next part.

So then, basically, I actually got to do a formal team building. So as opposed to using the Utopia status quo, I wanted the most powerful X team in history. One of the documents I sent in for UNCANNY X-MEN had “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” as the subtitle (both laugh), so part of my job…a lot of it was setting up for the big fight, essentially bringing together all the people who will fight The Avengers and who you’re interested in seeing the outcome from it. So I wanted a team that was scary, the sort of core idea that was maybe if humans were more scared of mutants, maybe you wouldn’t have this problem (laughs). It’s like, it’s fundamentally Batman tactics applied to the world stage. So it asks “can you do that well?” and the story says, “no, everything goes badly” (laughs). So everyone on the team except for Storm and Cyclops had been a ”villain” at one point; Colossus abstractly has been a villain, but that’s because now you’ve got the Juggernaut at the table. One of my regrets of the run is that I never gave them a unifying uniform for issue one – I would have dressed them all in black, or something like that. That tends to be a bit more scary (laughs).

So yeah, I picked the most powerful people, I picked the people I thought would go well. I just liked Danger; I had the image of, like, with the group being incredibly powerful, instead of a scientist on the team, you’d actually have someone who was like a drone. She goes and takes readings and feeds that back to mission control, and you know, the idea being that this team goes to places where normal sorts of people could not survive, you know? That feeling, the paramiltariness of it…so I just had a vision of a very efficient, very brutal world-saving operation. They want to make people love them, but also be afraid of them.

But yeah, so we sat down at one point and bounced back and forth what we were going to do. We kind of had a list of who we wanted and we talked about why we wanted them. I think I kind of wanted Gambit at one point, I talked them into giving me Storm and Magik…it’s fun, there’s a kind of a toy box element, like picking sides and saying “okay, which super heroes can we have?”, you know? You team build, you think how they’re going to interact. That’s kind of what I did. I mean, the team was big, which made some things tricky in terms of getting enough character development in there, but I think for the purpose we wanted it kind of worked.

DEAN: It’s funny with that first, sort of tribal issue of the X-Men picking sides after SCHISM, now it sounds like that was a very real scene for you guys at the X office.

KG: Yes! It’s like, you know, picking the football team in the playground. I didn’t get to wear a lion skin in the office, which is the one thing missing, I suppose, but yeah, it was a little bit like that. The thing with that, especially that period of the X office, one thing that was so amazing…Rick was doing X-FORCE, Jason was doing WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, and of course I was doing UNCANNY, and you know these guys, their work was something I didn’t know I could get on with, and so there was a great energy there, like you didn’t want to be the bad one, and I certainly didn’t want to let the side down. There was also a willingness to intertwine stuff, you know, like the second arc after the relaunch, “Tabula Rasa”, did sort of a soft crossover with X-FORCE, you know? So, it perfectly works by itself, but if you’re reading both books, it kind of rewards you. It sort of leads you more into a shared universe and making that a bit more fun, you know?

DEAN: Well, you mentioned the one regret of wishing you had given them the unified wardrobe, but is there anything else, maybe not necessarily regrets, but things you’d want to revisit, or go back to in the future?

KG: Oh man, you know, it’s like if you look at your work and don’t see problems it says bad things about you, I think. It’s like, the big structural issues…I said earlier I wish I had done the uniforms, but I wish I’d made Mister Sinister’s eyes all red, instead of the pupils, because he tended to come across slightly more jovial than intended. The point being, he’s a guy who is quite extravagant, but there’s a blank coldness to him, and that probably would have underlined that for that character a bit more. Or Kruun in the Breakworld arc; I kind of wish I’d left him in a wheelchair. He’s weakened in the plot, but you could tell that he’s actually physically ruined more, and actually I think I did suggest that, but for some reason we didn’t go that way. Stuff like that. But in terms of stuff to revisit, I never really got to do the Unit plot I wanted to do, kind of ran out of time. Stuff with Scott and Emma, Namor, you know that kind of thing. These are great characters, and I kind of fell in love with Namor; I think people who read my book kind of see I’ve got a very distinct take on Namor, and I think I kind of would like to write that guy some more. You know what I mean?

But you know, when you do actually get to play with these characters, it’s a process of discovery, and you’re surprised but what you discover about them. It’s like Wolverine, and I know I didn’t use Wolverine that much, in fact I think I used him less than any writer in the history of UNCANNY, but I thought from the beginning that I had nothing to say about Wolverine – there’s been so many stories that, I mean, what else can you say about the guy? But the second you start writing him you understand why he’s been in so many stories. He’s such a robust voice; he can be used in lots of different ways. But yeah, maybe I’d like to do a Wolverine story down the line.

But it’s all stuff like that. I have very few regrets. Some of the bigger issues were things that were really more beyond my control. But you know, I’ll…I’ll walk into the night happy.

DEAN: (laughs) Well that’s good to know, and I think most fans are left pretty happy, too. But then what are you going to take from this? What did you learn from your experience on UNCANNY that you’re taking into IRON MAN, into YOUNG AVENGERS, and everything else going forward?

KG: Oh man, this and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, these are my two longest runs of any book. I look at my stuff and it’s all been sort of all over the place, relatively small stuff. So basically I did, like, I think thirty four or thirty five issues of UNCANNY, if you include the ones I had co-written with Matt, but obviously all the plot issues, just the experience of writing a long-form serial, and how to actually keep all those plates spinning. Yeah, that’s fundamental.

Umm…I kind of learned the works of the page. I mean, I talked about reducing the team size, and you know, my character work is something people tend to respond to it seems, so with YOUNG AVENGERS I’m keeping the team a bit smaller. Some of my best issues of UNCANNY, I think, were some of the single issues, you know? I tend to be quite a structural writer; I set up/resolve, and those kinds of strengths across a multi-issue arc are sort of underplayed--you can’t really completely own that setup there, or show this will specifically relate to something else. With a single issue you can see how it kind of, like clockwork, forms a bit better. So like the Sinister issue, fourteen I think, or the .1 issue, or like some of the issues near the end? That concentrate is something that worked really well. So IRON MAN, the first five issues, there’s a theme with a story between them. It’s fundamentally five one-off issues, so it’s that kind of thing that maybe I’ll try pushing a bit more.

But you know, as a writer you always want to challenge yourself, so the stuff which I don’t think worked as well as I hoped it would I’ll probably return to (laughs), and I’ll try to make it work better with experience I learned there. Kenji in GENERATION HOPE was me playing with the idea of creatorhood, you know, a creator being undermined by his work. The fact the he’s very derivative, being made incredibly…a lot of people just took it as a rip off of Akira, which, you know, is sort of so much the point. In JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY I did similar sorts of things in terms of like Loki, and his basically writing Leah into existence in a bad way, and that worked really well, so it was kind of like okay, yeah, I can express this better.

So yeah, one of the lines that never made it into the final issue with Mister Sinister was like this idea, Sinister’s idea, saying something like, what every great man has to do once: refuse to learn the lesson that the world is trying to beat into you (laughs). So, there’s a bit of that, but if it didn’t work, maybe I’ll make it work this time.

DEAN: Well then, now with IRON MAN, going back to that, he’s a much different character, I think, than he’s ever been before. He’s an A lister, really an A plus lister, due to Marvel’s cinematic success these past five years or so, so this’ll be a good start for people who may be coming over from the movies or something. So for them, and longtime fans as well, what aspect of the character are you trying to bring out, or are you exploring initially here?

KG: Wow, I mean, it’s like going back to his first issue, Matt’s message from IRON MAN was incredible, Warren’s message was also incredible, and a really great statement on what the character can and should be. So with my first issues that’s kind of what I’m trying to do; I want to pick something that…for people that actually follow the Marvel Universe, they kind of know the position Tony’s in, which is basically this sort of crisis of faith as he’s trying to accept the Phoenix. Obviously, I don’t want to dump all that into a first issue; what I actually write about is he’s just, you know, he’s having a crisis. So people don’t need to know why he’s having a crisis, but they need to know how he’s responding to it, and that’s actually…some people from the movies are going to be familiar enough with the character to know this is unusual for Tony in a way, so you’re simultaneously both introducing the character, introducing what’s different, introducing why that’s interesting…but you want to write an IRON MAN in which, and I said this about UNCANNY, if someone comes to the book in good faith, and actually just reads what’s on the page, they’ll have all the information they need to enjoy it. So the first five issues will be out by the time the new movie hits next year, and I want people to be able to pick up that and think here’s an Iron Man I recognize, here’s an Iron Man who is different enough to intrigue me and justify why comics are interesting.

So that’s definitely something that can be kind of intimidating, but kind of a good kind of intimidating. Especially because, I mean, I talked about challenges, and I had never really written a solo ongoing before, you know? I mean, I wrote THOR, but my THOR run was very strange in that I didn’t really get to use Thor for most of it. I did JOURNNEY INTO MYSTERY, but JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY is like a long way from your standard Marvel hero book, more of an ensemble thing, really. So yeah, this is the first time I got to really write an icon of the Marvel Universe in ongoing fashion, so that’s an interesting challenge.

DEAN: Is there any more relief, or I guess I’ll say, do you feel any more freedom in writing something like YOUNG AVENGERS?

KG: Yeah, I mean people always ask “Well, how much do they tell you what to do?” but as I said with AVX I knew where it ended, or where it needed to end, pretty much before I started writing UNCANNY. However, within those limits you’d be amazed at the sort of freedom you have in terms of like, you know, they want you to come up with new ways for their toys to be used. You know, that’s what they pay you for; they pay you to come up with interesting ideas. With IRON MAN, he’s the more mainstream of the two books, between that and YOUNG AVENGERS. YOUNG AVENGERS is the one that kind of replaces JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY in terms of it’s more about how you push it, it’s a bit more left of center, while still fundamentally being a pop book. IRON MAN is me trying to basically reinvent how a major Marvel icon works. Kind of like how it fundamentally has to be a car that does roughly the same thing, but it’s a whole new look, with a slightly new engine or something. That’s a bad metaphor (both laugh).

DEAN: So how many issues of this have you got planned so far? How long do we get you on IRON MAN?

KG: Well, like with UNCANNY, as much as it was able to be planned, I planned it. You know, I knew AVX was coming so everything I had was heading toward that conclusion. JOUNREY INTO MYSTERY I knew the final page before I started writing. IRON MAN it’s a crisis of faith, and he wants to go out into the universe, and try to understand things better. He wants to; essentially, really know what’s out there. That’s kind of what I’m doing, and I mean, I’ve got god knows how many story ideas, and I kind of know roughly what I’m doing for a very long term, but in terms of where it’ll end and stuff, I don’t know (both laugh). And that’s exciting. You know, I’m basically Tony Stark, I’m exploring the Marvel Universe, and seeing where it takes me. I want to be free to improvise or react. There are so many writers, especially in the old school world, where you don’t know what’s happening in the next issue, and I’m not quite doing that. They’re laughing at me because the idea of me actually being free to improvise is something that’s just not a big deal to them, but in terms of me not knowing the long term, I want to be as surprised by Tony’s answers as Tony is. But on the other hand, I roughly know what I’m doing with…I’ve sent the issue breakdown up to about issue sixteen or seventeen, and then from then on I’ve kind of got at least enough plot to go to issue thirty, and then I realize there’s probably a bit more after that. So unless it all goes “tits up”, as the English would say, I’d say this’ll probably be the longest run I’ve ever done on book.

DEAN: Well, that’s cool!

KG: Unless I get into it and go “actually, I don’t know what I’m doing” or “those ideas that interest me are not actually interesting. I better leave.” But yeah, I’m planning for a long book. After the first five issues I’m planning to introduce new villains, and each of the villains sort of speak to the nature of Tony and also different aspects of the book. So I’m trying to introduce themes in these miniature one-off singles, and each of the themes I’m going to return to, so like what I introduce in issue four I might not come back to until issue thirty, you know? I look at what happens and I then I really don’t think they’ll come into play until then. But yeah, I’m planting seeds early.

DEAN: That’s awesome--that’s actually really cool to hear. I want to get into the topic of your blog – you’ve got a pretty cool blog, and a while back you got onto the topic of reviews. You started talking about comic book reviews and what you want to see from them so elaborate on that a bit, if you can.

KG: Oh the “Gillen/McKelvie Paradigm” I did? Yes that got re-dug up recently, and the fact that I call it the “Gillen/McKelvie Paradigm” implies I’m tongue in cheek, slightly, but the idea that basically a creative team is like a stout cartoonist – the idea being that when you review a comic and say “oh, the writer fucked up here”, or “the artist made a mistake”, you don’t know how that book was made, you know? I mean, I’ve gotten credit for stuff the artist did, and the artist gets credit for stuff, too…I think if you take a story and lay it out so, the fundamental inspirations, or…I tend to think writers get more credit from what artists do than vice versa, and I also tend to think writers tend to get the blame for mistakes that artists have made, if that makes sense? Point being, my suggestion was you stop basically lying, and don’t say “oh, the writer’s done this.” You basically treat the creator as an imaginary entity, so in the case of me and McKelvie, you treat us as sort of one hypothetical creator.

I don’t think many people ever tried it, looking at it as more of a sort of holistic way, so rather than trying to attribute things to a specific person, try to just view the effect of the comic as a whole. I think one of the things comic reviews tend to be quite bad at is talking about it as a whole. They mainly talk about, like, “here is the writing; the writing was good. Here is the art; the art was okay”, you know, that separation? So yeah, I wrote that to encourage people, because I used to write pop reviews, I was mainly a games writer, I did write music as well, so I’m somebody really genuinely interested in the state of criticism, not just sort of running my mouth off or nonsense like that.

DEAN: I would really agree. I mean I think the hardest thing about comics is that you get these little snippets of stories in one issue, and you get so many of them in any given week, so reviewers, including myself, don’t get the chance to go as in depth as I would like sometimes, because you’ve only got that one part to look at.

KG: Yeah, I mean there’s nothing quite like comics, is there? Except recently with TV, I guess; TV journalism in the last five years I think has changed fundamentally, in terms of critique or writing about it, and that’s the only real thing in comparison. And even then, you know, an hour long episode of “Game of Thrones” has considerably more content than your average twenty page comic. So, umm...(laughs) I don’t know, I guess that’s me shrugging. Yeah, it’s a problem, and I don’t envy you, but I think people wrestling with the problem is at least something. I mean, there’s lots of reviews I explicitly like, and I do think comics journalism is in a pretty good state at the moment, so I wrote that piece as in, “how ‘bout thinking about this for a bit?”

DEAN: Yeah, and even with the distinction between creators, I mean, you go back to the birth of the industry, look at Kane and Finger and all the trouble that exists still from that, from that separation, or attempt to separate. So it’s so hard to divvy things up like that, but at the same time it’s so easy now because the names are right there on the covers that way, telling us who did what, when that’s not always so easy to say, at least clearly or definitively.

KG: Yeah, and I mean even just as a sort of intellectual exercise, you know you could even just…”they,” you know, you don’t have to talk about specific creators at all, just give it a “they.” Would that help? I don’t know, I mean I guess that causes a different set of problems. As an example, like when my writing can be clunky – it’s like suddenly an artist has not gotten information into a panel that perhaps should be there, and then you rewrite to see if they can make stuff clearer. But then stuff that was already quite dense becomes even denser, you know? So it’s…it’s a surrogate entity, and I think, I generally think artists don’t get nearly enough credit, especially at the moment. I think since critics tend to be writers, they are more comfortable about bringing literary analysis stuff to comics, so they can talk about words, talk about structure.

What’s that book…Tim Callahan wrote a pretty decent book about Morrison…it’s around here somewhere…but there’s pretty much not a single mention about what artists actually did, in terms of like how or what they did, how this effect was created, essentially what was fundamentally comics about all of it. So yeah, and people just think they don’t know enough about art to critique it. I think critics should have more faith in themselves, and just honestly look at a picture and think “okay, how does this make me feel?” I think as a writer, if you don’t know anything, going back to your genuine emotional response to something, saying “this sequence of panels was amazing, and they made me feel like this”, and you start to work out your own theory of what works then. If you start distrusting your emotional response to something too much, I mean pop criticism, I think, has to come from the gut, and keep distrusting it and you won’t get why you’re feeling like that. So yeah, I’d encourage people not to be scared.

DEAN: That’s exactly my feeling when I start talking about art. I mean I’m not an artist, I don’t think I know what I’m talking about, so sometimes I try to keep it vague, when it really only hurts it more than it does help by being like that.

KG: The more you know about it you sort of know something’s wrong and you realize what that is. When you start telling an artist “this is a bad choice because of this”, I mean when I talk to some of the indie guys I can talk basic facts like “oh, you made a mistake here.” But until you’ve actually seen this side of the machinery of comics it’s quite tricky, but because, you know, it’s not your job to (laughs). Reading, reviewing comics isn’t that same as, you know, making them. I do a podcast called “Decompressed,” which is about pop stuff, cause you know as I told you I used to be a critic, and I can’t really do criticism now because if I start saying what I really think about comics, I’m just going to be set on fire (both laugh), so it’s difficult for me to talk about that. However, I’ve still got the itch. So “Decompressed”, the idea being basically each time we do one, I get a creator, and we talk about an issue, and we talk about it not like vaguely, but it’s like “okay, why this panel? What were you trying to do with this page? What about this design?” so it’s the idea of really putting it under a microscope. I think people are really responding to it well, and I always say the more you understand about a medium the more you appreciate it, the more you can get from it.

I don’t think educating someone about a medium makes them cold, and distant, and wanky. I think genuinely, the best music criticism for me unlocks songs in new ways. Even the minor, technical bits, the more you listen to it the more you can appreciate it. I think knowledge is really a pleasure multiplier, and that’s kind of what I do with “Decompressed.” Also, the ten years ago me, ‘cause I only really properly got into comics properly circa 2000, so the ten years ago me, he would have loved that. So people like me then, I would have loved that, so I’m going to do it. So yeah, that’s why I did it.

DEAN: Yeah, it’s great that you’re just talking about it. I think the more people that do, the better; different opinions, more to think about when people do sit down to review or criticize. But I’ve already taken up way more of your time than I intended to, so I want to make sure I can get anything else you’ve got coming up; independent, creator owned stuff, anything like that coming up in the future?

KG: Yeah, yeah! Sorry, I tend to talk too much, it’s one of my things, my answers are always long.

DEAN: No that’s awesome! This has been great.

KG: But I signed with Marvel for like two and a half years, and the exclusive ends around the end of the year. I have no idea if I’m going to re-up or not, probably, but the way Marvel works is: you sign an exclusive, then you write exceptions, and it’s what you can do. But then of course none of them come out (laughs) so I think I’ve got like twenty, twenty-two issues of comics written that’ll be coming out over the next year, year and a half, hopefully. In terms of that stuff, I’ve got two projects at Avatar; one was announced, called THE HEAT. It’s had some artist problems, it was all written like two years ago I think, maybe even longer, but it’s basically a science-fiction cop thing set on Mercury. Like two issues are drawn and the rest will hopefully get done at some point.

The other is kind of like an ongoing for Avatar, but basically there’s almost seven issues of art already done for that, so that’ll be next year at some point, that’s yet to be announced yet. PHONOGRAM 3 was supposed to be this year, but that got pushed back. The last six months have been hell for Jamie (McKelvie) really, so pushed back to, basically, when it comes out it’ll come out, but that’s all better now, and that’s all written.

Then I just announced at New York Comic Con a book I’m doing with Ryan Kelley called THREE, and it’s basically, it’s a historical fiction story about the Thermopylae myth, so three Helot slaves go on the road after killing one of their leaders, and the response is to send the 300 after them. So I wanted to tell an adventure story about people who never get heroic adventure stories told about them. I was interested in also talking about Sparta, because the reasons Spartans are such kick ass warriors is because essentially each one had about ten people doing all the work for them, you know? The idea being, I wanted to think about things in a systemic way. So that’s very different for me, it’s very laconic, you know? All my characters tend to be a bit wanky, they talk too much, but this is different, this is terse.

So that’s next year, oh and then there’s the Image CBLDF anthology came out, and I’ve got a very short two page story in that, which I’m quite happy about. It’s about a dog. I sort of realized it’s been over two years since my last non-superhero work came out, so I wrote a two page story about a dog which made me quite happy. Because, you know, I genuinely love superheroes, but I’ve always been a guy who needed everything, sort of that Warren Ellis kind of model. But I like superheroes much more than Warren does, I think (both laugh). But you know I like doing lots of things all the time. I’ve got a list of things I want to do and have to figure out what am I going to do next. I’ve got some things that are sort of really big, really intimidating things, and that excites me, so yeah, it’s going to be a good year.

DEAN: Well that all sounds great, I’m looking forward to it, and I’m glad you’re getting more and more work both with Marvel and with the stuff you’re doing on your own. Listen, I really appreciate your time today, it’s been great, and I wish you all the best.

KG: Been a pleasure talking to you.

DEAN: Be sure to pick up his run on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and UNCANNY X-MEN, available now at your local shops (don’t forget to grab IRON MAN #1 while you’re there!), and then check out Kieron’s podcast “Decompressed,” available for free on iTunes.

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Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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