Portsmouth Comic Con 2019: Spotlight On Kieron Gillen

by Olly MacNamee

We opened up the panel with Kieron Gillen giving us an update on The Wicked + The Divine with Kieron stating that he’s writing the last issue of Wick+Div, but is overall happy with the way it’s come out. But, as it comes to the end readers who he’s met are going back to look at earlier issues for clues, just as Alan Moore’s Watchmen structure encourages this too. Kieron makes no secret of his influences from Watchmen, and it’s well documented.
It’s been a huge run and that’s part of the reason Die is a smaller series. “(The Wick+Div) has taken it out of me,” seems to be something of an understatement. What Kieron does see as upsetting as the series comes to a close is finishing this chapter in his and Jamie McKelvie’s working relationship. They both came into the industry together and have continued to be a recognisable partnership. This is not to say they’ll never work again sometime, but this particular chapter of their long lasting partnership is coming to an end. And, with that end in sight, Gillen knows he’s finishing the series in a way that’ll never see a sequel.

Moving onto Die, also from Image, we were told that the kernel of the idea came from a San Diego Comic Con a few years ago when Kieron, Jamie and others were joking about whatever happened with the kids from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon of the 80’s. And so the series was conceived. It’s a intimate, personal book and one Kieron described as the natural successor to Phonogram, his early indie work. It’s also a book that comes, somewhat, from his life in gaming journalism.
What came across whether talking about Die, Wick+Div or even Über is that Gillen does a lot of research. To illustrate this point he used the Wick+Div specials which are roughly published every 6 months because that’s the time he puts into each special. That’s a lot of research, right down to the right type of wine they would have had available in the Roman era. It may not be picked up on by the reader, but it certainly adds more depth and texture to the story.

In the pipeline – now he’s finished off on both Star Wars and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt – is a story based on King Arthur entitled Once and Future with art from Dan Mora. A monster hunting themed book from the little he told us; a series that poses the question: what would happen if monsters returned to England? As a huge Arthurian nut, I can’t wait for this to come up from Boom! Especially as he hinted at this being an idea that no other writer has even done with the King Arthur legend. And, having been given a glimpse of the artwork, I can already tell this is going to be something very special. You only need to look at Mora’s stunning work on Klaus from Boom! Studios to see how amazing his fantasy art is. Trust me, you’ll love it.
Asked about his writing, he did sound regretful for not writing too much prose in recent years, but did suggest that he probably would “inevitably” write a book, claiming if he’s flirting with the idea, it’ll  “probably come out in about two years.” So, watch out for that.

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