Thursday, 14 March 2013

Part 2 Of An Interview With Kieron Gillen On Kid Loki, Matt Fraction, Journey Into Mystery, Cosplayers & 3am Theories Of Creation; "The point of doing it was doing it"

What follows is the second part of TooBusyThinking's interview with Kieron Gillen on the subject of the "Kid" Loki series which ran in Journey Into Mystery. The first half of this interview can found here.

Cropped panel from KIM #629. by Kieron Gillen Gillen, Whilce Portacio et al
6. Let’s focus in on the character of “Kid” Loki. You’ve said elsewhere that everything you write is meta, and it’s easy to see Kid Loki as a representation of a great many things. But for all of that, what matters first and foremost is that we can’t help but care, and care a great deal, for Kid Loki's poor doomed self. 

You mentioned “Elric Loki” earlier in your answers; how did “Kid Loki” come together? When did you know you “had” the character, how did he evolve, and what would you now tighten up or even change? Were there any particular inspirations for him? (For example, it’s hard not to see a tradition of arch Brit outsiders being put to use there.) Finally, did you ever feel that he in some ways represented Kieron Gillen in the MU, as, for example, Howard The Duck represented Steve Gerber in the mid-to-late Seventies?"

I've a theory that almost everyone working in the mainstream has a character they're uniquely aligned to in temperament. It's not something as simple as "Author Surrogate" , but it's something about that character that aligns with you. You can probably work them out, really. Fraction's is Tony Stark, for example. Pretty early on, I worked out mine was Loki. Well, Loki or Namor. Depends what kinda day it is.

Worth stressing that Kid Loki wasn't my creation, but Matt's. I knew he was planning to resurrect Loki as a kid even as I started my ever-extending fill-in run on Thor, but I didn't know he planned to keep him like that. When I started to pull together the proto-Journey Into Mystery, I presumed that Matt would want to turn him back into an adult form at some point shortly after Fear Itself. At which point he tells me that, no, he's like that for the forseeable. His core insight was that we'd never really seen why Thor gives a damn about Loki. By showing what an adorable creature Loki once was, it makes people understand why Thor hasn't just clubbed his head flat Ragnarok cycles ago. My response was "Er... are you sure, Matt?". But the second I actually sat down and wrote him, it all made sense. Loki as a kid allowed you to do things with Thor you simply couldn't before, and vice versa.

From JIM#622, by Kieron Gillen, Doug Braithwaite et al
At least part of the plan originally was that Kid Loki would be playing a long game, but after Matt and I chatted, we ended up feeling that really would be the wrong way to go. As I've said before, I'd be damned if I was going to write a predestination story. Working out a way for Loki to legitimately change, while still playing with the possibility that it could all be a trick was part of the maths of it all. Early on in the run I leaned into the fact that Loki was pretending to be more sinister than he actually was to make people at least think he *could* be a problem. After Fear Itself, and as distraught as he seemed to be, I knew that'd be unsustainable. The middle third  of JIM is - relatively speaking - happy times for Kid Loki. To borrow Tom Ewing's phrase, the ponzi-scheme heroism clearly was going to come and bite him on the ass at some point, but it was relatively fun and games - even if he's enduring all manners of emotional pressure and bullying. Then the final third was everything just exploding, issue after issue. The artful part was working out how to put the  fake-heel-turn so close to the end that it could actually be considered a real heel turn (I suspected most people wouldn't believe it, but I needed it to be enough to create a flicker of fear that it was real. After all, Kid Loki had every reason to hate everyone).  I mentioned this in the last issue of JIM's letter page, but it was Matt's suggestion we run an epic crossover that actually gave me enough space to finish Journey Into Mystery, so he's actually gets the credit for both alpha and omega of all this.

Hmm. That's all a little cold. Why did Kid Loki work with me? I think he gave permission for me to overcome some of my weaknesses in style and allowed the audience a way to see past things which I feel alienate a chunk of the mainstream readers. My character tend to be - in the words of  bloody TV Tropes - Deadpan Snarkers. They hide behind masks. They go for one-liners to avoid having to admit they're dying inside. Even my characters who aren't particularly witty don't exactly always come out and say it (Hope spent 12 issues of my run not talking about her Dead Dad). It's very British, y'know? As such, some people feel that I'm not taking the material serious due to the verbal levity (or in the case of people like Hope, leads to common critiques of my work as being cold and unemotional). Generally speaking, I cut about 20% of the one-liners from my first draft and suspect I'd be better off cutting another 20%. With Kid Loki, due to his extreme predicament and the simple fact he's bloody Loki allowed people to see the defense mechanism for exactly what it is. Flipping that around, it allowed me to push past my own tendency towards emotional reticence. Loki being 13 meant that I wrote his emotions much nearer the surface. Sure, he could lie with the best of them, but I always had permission to make it all be too much for him and have a proper cry.

Panels from JIM #642, by Kieron Gillen & Carmine De Giandomenico
(You asked earlier what I learned from this - I suspect that more than anything, JIM has allowed me to bring my emotions nearer to the surface in my work. Before JIM I would have never considered writing Young Adult books, but afterwards it seems almost inevitable that I'll try one eventually.)

Basically, a character naturally aligns to part of a writers voice, and you're sorted. The trick in WFH is finding the part of your voice that aligns with a character, but sometimes it's easier than others. Loki was definitely one of those. As was Namor, but that's a very different part of me. What would I change about Loki? Hmm. Surprisingly little. There's bits where I'm a little heavy-handed, but that's a matter of execution than specific philosophy. Some of the changes were in response to the character of the art as well. I suspect the cuter parts of the middle third were in response to Rich Elson being the main artist. I suspect Kid Loki would have remained a little more sinister, a little more Game Of Thrones for a little longer if Doug stayed on the book. But that's not a problem either - it's just how collaborative comics like this work.

I think you're right to pick up on the British thing. As I said earlier, there's that distinct core to a lot of what I do, and Kid Loki certainly files into that. I had to be particularly careful not to just turn Hellstrom into a Constantine surrogate, because clearly the part of me that wanders around London in the small hours craved it. Early on I remember Doug really finding the Britishness of JIM interesting, and I'd agree with that. I suspect we reached an apex there with The Manchester Gods, which mined every single British thing I could imagine.

From JIM #641, by Kieron Gillen, Richard Elson et al
That said, the original archetype for Kid Loki I used in pitches was considerably more continental: "Machiavellian Tintin".

(The one I never mentioned was old kids' TV show Vicky The Viking, which has a lot of smart-viking-kid-tells-thicko-adults-what-to-do in it. I swear that wasn't deliberate though. Equally, Calvin & Hobbes, though you can easily map Calvin, Susie and Hobbes onto Loki, Leah and Ikol.)

Was Kid Loki my Howard? Hmm. I suspect only a little more than most of my characters. I've said before that in my first THOR arc, Doom and Balder are both about my own response to being asked to write Thor - Balder being aware he's painfully underqualified to control this kingdom and Doom being hubris personified. But there's certainly more than a little of Loki's attempt to write a happy ending being equivalent to my own. I view his final defeat and final victory as being pretty much identical. The meta reading about the problems of change in a corporate superhero universe has been pretty widely distributed, but that one is relatively overlooked.

Heh. I thought this answer would be a short one.

From JIM #634, by Kieron Gillen, Richard Elson et al
7. David Mamet's written that theories of storytelling are often unhelpfully over-complicated. His take is that the job is no more or less than making "the audience want to know what is going to happen next." Re-reading the different chapters of JIM really brought home to me how you managed to do this despite some ferocious challenges. For example, in the first Fear Itself collection, you're dealing with a huge amount of backstory, and that includes events going on simultaneously in other books. But even as you pull free of some of those connections to other titles, you’re adding, for example, the Fear Lords and the class struggle in Otherworld into the mix, pulling in material from far beyond Asgard’s normal hinterland.

But obtuse storytelling isn't what JIM is known for. So how did you keep readers wanting “to know what is going to happen next”? How did you ensure that the story of Kid Loki felt focused and purposeful instead of “Kieron Gillen’s Experiments With Form And Content In The MU”?

A sizeable answer I fear would just get Mamet tutting at me in a real-dramatic writer fashion, so I'll try and keep this brief. For once. He's got a point - it doesn't matter how exquisitely structured a work is, if there isn't a desire to know what's next, it falls apart. That said, the desire to know what comes next is necessary but not  *sufficient*. To flip media for a second, there's an occasional belief in designers (and gamers) that "compulsive" is intrinsically a good thing in games and if people play for hours, it's a good thing. But there's been many games that I've played for eons which never moved me at all and gave me nothing. It wasn't even empty calories. It's empty hours, wasted time. I'd say there's certainly dramatic choices that I'd say create engagement and what-comes-next which are absolutely detrimental to the quality of the work. I suspect my avoidance of a bunch of them may hurt me as a writer of serial comics. I've tended to play the long game. The end of my runs tend to review better than the start. That was true with both Uncanny X-Men and Journey Into Mystery - and JIM's reviews were never any less than glowing. You do end up questioning your suitability for the medium - but I also know I'll always do that, as any bloody writer does. Beware the writer who doesn't question their merits. Or rather, beware their work. Anyway: I'm trying to bring some of the lessons from JIM and frontload it so I can reach the pitch of emotional involvement earlier in Young Avengers. But I digress.

In my case, how I ground all the complexities and madness of the work with some relatively conservative craft. This is something you've picked up on in your reviews, actually. There's lots of very clean delineation of emotions. The story structures are often archetypal, and perhaps exist as something familiar to hang my craziness off. That's something I discovered with Rue Britannia - that everything about the story is absolutely apeshit, except the basic heroic quest structure. As I lay down all the theory and whatever else I'm doing, there's something which the readers can attach to and comprehend.

From JIM #638, by Kieron Gillen & Carmine Di Giandomenico et al
The other big part of it is just the emotions of it. Invest people in the characters, and even if I drop the ball a little and get some readers lost, the fact they care about the individuals that much means you'll go through. That was especially important in Journey Into Mystery.

And the final bit is just selling a structure to understand the larger picture as simply as possible. JIM's got some big ideas, but they're framed in a way that you can grasp. "There's an embassy of the gods - they promise not to mess with each other's civil wars" to pick one I dropped early in JIM, and was fundamental to the politics of the thing. Knowing what's too much and what's too little is the art of the thing.

(Not that I think I'm particularly good at judging that. My biggest weakness, I think, is a tendency to over-complicate. Any of the many ideas I used in my re-imaging of Mister Sinister would have been enough for a perfectly acceptable supervillain, but I used them all at once. And while that has its strengths - I think my Sinister was one of the strongest parts of Uncanny, and #14 one of the best single issues I've ever done - it does mean that the pace drops when you have to explain it all to the reader. I mean, all of Uncanny X-Men 2 was basically a series of fight scenes designed to introduce these various elements and philosophical flourishes.)

In short: you make sure the basic fundamental stuff is there before you worry about the wankiness.

I'd stress that I don't mean that either is more important than the other. The emotional attachment isn't a device to make people swallow the cod-intellectualism. It's all one creative unit, and each part supports the other. If there isn't a harmony, it's nothing.

From JIM #623, by Kieron Gillen, Doug Braithwaite et al
8. How did the fact that you were collaborating with a good few artists on JIM affect your work? It’s often assumed that a run of different artists is a bad thing. Is this always so? Is your craft strengthened by the opportunities and challenges posed by not having a single collaborator. such as you have with Jamie McKelvie on Phonogram?

Changing an artist is always going to change a work, in some way. Unless an artist is just ghosting another one, this is going to alter the tone of the work significantly. Seeing what works leads you to push in a different direction, and what works changes with each artist.

Heh. This is a fluffy answer. Let's get specific.

To play a hypothetical, if there was a version of JIM that had Doug Braithwaite on art for all 30-odd issues, how would JIM have been different? I think it'd have been a more obviously serious book. Doug's art is all mythic grandeur. He's very good at making characters both heroic but also physical and real. You could buy Doug's heaven and hells as real places. Loki, even at his cuteness, would have been undercut by the sinister sense that maybe he is evil after all. One reason why the middle act of JIM drifted a little into fun and games came from the artists. I'd have done it a bit anyway - the middle was about giving Loki a relatively happy time, and past the first arc people would be less likely to buy a IS LOKI EVIL!?!?! beat - but I leaned into the more broadly comic surface, because Rich (the primary artist) takes a more cartoon approach and his Loki was always warmer than Doug's. There were things I wrote for Rich (Elson) that I doubt I would have written for Doug - for example, the board-game conclusion to The Terrorist Myth. That was something that demanded someone with a more cartoon-heavy style. Rich's ability to move between more and less cartoony was used when we wanted to play with the level of implicit realism, like in the issue when Volstagg re-tells Fear Itself.

My poor old scanner can only cope with half of the board game that's referred to above, but if you haven't read The Terrorism Myth, then what more incentive do you need? (Page by Kieron Gillen & Richard Elson, from JIM#636.)
So changing the artists made JIM a different book. Does that make it a better or worse book? I'm not sure. You can experiment with tone if you switch artists, but that's reliant on the story being one which bends to the available artist's style. We were incredibly lucky that the Breitweisers were available for the Christmas issue, for example. I don't think it'd have worked nearly as well with many artists. 

Hmm. Honestly, my gut answer is "I'm not sure it makes a better series. I am sure it makes you a better writer". Being able to write for and deal with a variety of artists makes you question your craft in a way which falling into a comfortable relationship with one person doesn't. At least one cost is multiple teething issues as you feel out working with a new creator. 

From JIM#645, by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans et al
9. I don't want to ignore the really good moments which working on JIM brought you. So what were the moments which just cheered the heck out of you? If we are looking back over this period of your life, we ought to discuss those times when being involved in JIM left you feeling absolutely splendid. That might involve something which struck you when you were struggling with a deadline at 4am, for example, or seeing a 40 peace Kid Loki choir performing at a convention or whatever ....

When it wasn't breaking my heart, JIM was an enormously rewarding book in every way. Hell, I just saw someone who's done their own fan-herbal teas for Loki and Leah, y'know? How can that sort of thing not make you smile. 

There's the basic ones anyone could guess would be amazing. Any time anyone does fan art. Any time someone puts their brain to task and do an essay. Any time anyone says "this was the first comic I've ever read!" Any one of those things to happen once would be amazing. That they've happened as often as they did is miraculous. As I said in the final issue, my life was made better any time I turned on the Internet by JIM's fanbase. Occasionally it was made worse, of course, but mainly better. Chatting to Si Spurrier about his Crossed: Wish You Were Here, he's exploring the whole concept of a writer without an audience on the island - as compared to an artist who does stuff just for the pleasure of creating. I always phrase that as ARTIST-AS-PERFORMER versus ARTIST-AS-ART-FOR-ARTS-SAKE-ist. JIM certainly tickled my artist as performer side.

From JIM #630, by Kieron Gillen, Richard Elson et al
But it was good for artist-as-artist too. It gave me as many moments of I-am-on-fire-and-god-better-watch-out as anything short of Phonogram. Especially as the book rushed to its conclusion and I got to start kicking over the dominoes, and every one of these desperate conversations gained that doomed momentum to them. The sheer wonder of looking down at what you've written and not being sure where it's from, but knowing - at least for a few seconds - that they are *right* and *magical* and *true*. Writing things like the scene where Loki comes clean to Thor, and Returned-Leah confronting Loki, and his apparent heel turn were amazing to do. The Loki-rewriting-Leah was even more so. And the whole last issue was insane. The point of doing it was doing it, etc.

If I had to choose one form both? 

For the performer: at NYCC Stephanie Hans arranged a get together of anyone in JIM cosplay, and there was a bloody mob of Lokis. I turned up late - I was on a signing  - and there was still more than 10 people in various Loki and Leah attire. That's kind of mad, y'know? And totally humbling. Bless them. Bless them all.

For the artist: At about 3am one night, just doing my teeth and have a whole download of a theory of creation that I was sort of flirting around before, and suddenly was very clean and true. It was basically narrative-as-gamesmanship, turning the actual final script into something like journalism about it. It's sort of sprawling and mad, so I don't want to elaborate on it yet, but I'm sure it'll work its way more explicitly into whatever comes next. But the slow increase of stories vs games imagery came from it, and it felt like a real breakthrough. 

Cropped panel from JIM #642, by Kieron Gillen & Carmine De Giandomenico
Once again, my sincere thanks to Kieron Gillen. Cynics go hang, it's been an absolute privilege.

And if you've not had the chance to read Kieron's Kid Loki saga, or at least read it all, it can be found collected in the following volumes;
  1. Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery
  2. Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout
  3. Journey Into Mystery: The Terrorism Myth
  4. Journey Into Mystery/New Mutants: Exiled
  5. Journey Into Mystery: The Manchester Gods
  6. The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns
 while Kieron Gillen's substantial body of Asgard-related stories from before Kid Loki's emergence are collected in Thor: Ultimate Collection 


  1. Last night I told a friend he had to hurry up and finish reading Journey Into Mystery so he could read this interview. Well done, Colin. It's been fascinating.

    1. Hello Jody:- Thank you. I was hoping that the interview would be interesting for folks when they'd finished reading JIM. But then, KG doesn't give interviews that aren't worth reading, and all I needed to do was save the answers and make sure the file was backed up! Voila, hopes fulfilled :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Excellent interview, Colin & Kieron. Was reading the L*ke H*ines issue of Phonogram today, and your ex was spot on about the fantasy writer bit. Although, Namor? Really? Guy's a sleazy fish-tank, and he couldn't bogle if his spangly pants depended on it. 'mon, man.

    What's most interesting to me, as a constantly frustrated writer, is Kieron's sense of perspective with respect to career trajectory (he said, slipping into the third person in order to spare the mawks). When I look at the career arcs of the creators I most envy/admire - Brian Wood & Mark Millar, for example - I have no buckin' idea how to make that work for me. I need to win the Lottery or find a way to get T***n to publish a superhero comic (!) without any good art in the pitch or...etc..

    Gotta say, though, Kieron is a lucky lucky man wrt artists. Rich Elson drew That Spidey Comic and jiminy christmas!

    (bonus: his art reminds me of that Barry Kitson story where Spidey teamed up with Tommy Boyd to win Bullseye.)

    And finally, re: Wickie, I'm not sorry about this:

    (the live-action movie is unavailable in English. :( )


    1. Hello Matthew:- I rather like the idea of Namor having such an ...egoistic view of sex. The moment in UXM where he emerges having obviously, er, engaged in intimacy with a fish queen was of course hilarious, but it does also mark him out as someone with a quite different way of seeing, and enjoying, the world. Sleaze back or counter-cultural purveyor of free-minded attitudes? Lucky Namor that's he's got that super-powered immune systems to cope with all those other bodies he's, er, interacting with.

      As with you, I found the way in which KG thinks about both writing and the business that writing contributes to be fascinating and refreshing. And I've always been admired by how he really has done his time as a writer. All those years as a games journalist, Phonogram, zombie and space franchise tales, a HUGE number of Marvel stories beyond any regular gigs; it's a story of doing the hard yards. isn't it?

      Liked the Kid post :)And that trailer looked liked Hagar, Asterix and The Princess Bride all fused together into a promo that I couldn't understand a word of! Splendid :)

  3. A wonderful back-and-forth, this. In the past two years Gillen has proven himself to be one of the best in the field.

    Thanks to you both for taking the time to share these insights.

    1. Hello Otty:- Thank you :) They are much appreciated. As I was saying to Jody above, all I had to do was make sure the words reached the page. I'm grateful to KG for making sure the interview was, as you say, insightful.

  4. I really enjoyed that. I'm 2 trades from finishing JiM (not counting the New Mutants crossover; I'm about to start Manchester Gods under the assumption that it will read well anyway) and can't say enough good things about the series.

    I appreciate how open KG is about both his writing and that of his peers. He seems to enjoy his work, and the interest and enthusiasm he displays in the Decompressed podcast is nice to hear.

    I hope you get access to another creator soon, as all the interviews on this site have been entertaining.

    - Mike Loughlin

    1. Hello Mike:- Thanks for the kind words, and I'm glad you've enjoyed the various interviews. On a 100% selfish basis, I always appreciate the opportunity they give me to learn something about a creator's methods and thoughts. Obviously, this particular interview was a gold-mine in any and all respects.

      I was surprised how much I enjoyed the New Mutants crossover. Meaning now disrespect to the creators of the NM title, it simply wasn't a book I cared too much for. But ALL the issues were thoroughly enjoyable. I know you'll enjoy it when you get to it :)

  5. This was excellent. I feel into Journey Into Mystery rather by mistake, and loved it so much that I marched out to my beloved comic book store and ransacked the shelves for all of the issues that I had missed, and the Fear Itself trade.

    I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Loki, back when I first started reading Thor, which was about 30 years ago! But He's never been as well written as here.

    1. Hello Sally:- I will take "excellant" from your good self each and every time. Far more to the point, I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it. It was a pleasure for me to read KG's thoughts too. Of course, as Neil Gaiman has argued, your beloved Green Lantern books are in essence fantasies, so it makes sense that you'd enjoy the Kid Loki Saga too.

      "So good I abandoned my beloved comic shop for it"; now that would have made a fine line of copy for a JIM advert. Maybe they might use it for the Omnibus which Marvel is surely - surely! - currently putting together.

  6. THANK YOU! Both to Collin and Gillen- this was a great interview to read, it's really got some creative juices flowing in my brain, which is all I really ask for when I read anything (hence my love of Invincible, even though all my friends dislike it and think I'm crazy)

    Would you believe I was going to ask for a JIM reading list, then decided against it, what with how busy you are, only to find that you'd ALREADY posted one at the end of the interview. I really can't ask for anything more, can I?

    1. Hello Isaac:- Thank YOU, good sir. I'm chuffed to hear that it was an inspiring interview. As each answer came back to me from KG, I felt exactly the same :)

  7. Great interview mr. Smith! I've been a great fan of Kieron Gillen since I first read his works, absolutely a span above a lot of writers (and yeah, in my opinion above Snyder too :D ). Obviously I can't wait for his Young Avengers (here in Italy we will get them in about 3 months). I'll share this interview as much as I can!

    1. Hello Marzio:- Thank you, though once again I do feel I ought to say that I had little to do with this interview beyond making sure I saved the answers as they arrived. The kudos lies elsewhere :) Stiil, I'm very pleased you enjoyed it, and I admire your powers of restraint in waiting for the printed Young Avengers when you could pick up a digital comic from the likes of Comixology anytime. I'd struggle to be that self-disciplined!

      And thanks for saying you'll share the interview. That's much appreciated.

  8. Eheh the temptation is always strong, but we're used to it, the delay is physiological for countries with different languages. by the way, your merit was to make very good and never trivial question, so again, thanks for all of this!

  9. What a privilege to get such an insight into the creative process, thanks for putting this together with Kieron (cheers!). It's heartening to find that comic book magic can arise from a mixture of craft, inspiration and circumstance.

    1. Hello Martin:- Thank you. And I so agree with what you say. I so admire how KG has demystified the process of comicbook writing while never diminishing the skill, creativity and perseverance which has led to his achievements. I think I would've benefited from reading this about, oh, 35 years ago :)

  10. What veryone else said, Colin - fascinating interview. It takes good questions to get to insightful answers. I'm glad I read this.

    - Björn

    P.S. The "Wickie" movie ist not available in English at all? Wow. Not that I ever bothered checking, but with director Michael "Bully" Herbig having made what I think is still the most successfull german movie of all time, the hilariously low-brow Winnetou parody "Der Schuh des Manitu", I kind of assumed that here was an international release for his work for sure. There's probably also a totally offensive joke in here somewhere about how the world is only interested in german movies if they're dealing with Hitler. That's just not right. Then again, our most successfull movie of all time IS a low-brow Winnetou parody so...uh, never mind.

    1. Hello Bjorn:- Thank you, both for your kind words and the info about the kind of films which we insular Brits so typically and counter-productively tend to ignore.

  11. Leandro M. Duarte18 March 2013 at 14:11

    Hello Colin!
    Don't really have much to add here, but I'd like to congratulate you and Mr. Gillen on the insightful interview.
    I first got acquainted with the work of Kieron Gillen by way of a copy of the Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter TPB. I was tracking down stories involving that character (of whom I’m a great fan since discovering the legendary Simonson run) when I came across this mini-series by some guy I had never heard of before. I had a blast reading it, and since then he has become one of my favorite writers in all medias, part of the select list of modern comic book writers that compel me to read everything they write (alongside Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jason Aaron, Brian K. Vaughan and Paul Cornell).
    I think that there is no truer testament to the quality of the Journey into Mystery saga than the fact that just by looking at these panels adorning the interview my mind is flooded with such strong memories and feelings. And to quote a word used by Mr. Gillen, it is quite a miracle that a book that used the talents of such a diverse roster of artists actually managed to feel like a harmonious whole.
    Maybe the reason for that is that each artist seemed to fit very well with the specific story they were assigned to. I don’t know if Mr. Gillen tailored his scripts to the artist, or if the artist was chosen based on the previously written scripts, but rarely did the thought that another artist should be telling certain story cross my mind. Doug Braithwaite with the mythological, ancient-fantasy tone. Rich Elson with the more lighthearted, comedic beats. Carmine Di Giandomenico bouncing between the funny and the super-dramatic (just look at those “I was only trying to help!” and “We will make it right” panels!). Stephanie Hans’ superb, epic final issue. Brilliant stuff, really.
    Here’s hoping Mr. Gillen enjoys a long and prosper career in comics, both in the mainstream front (God knows these icons need good writers to make them shine) and in the creator-owned realm (can’t wait for Über! And Three! And Phonogram!).

    1. Hello Leandro:- Thank you for the kind words :)

      The Beta Ray series was one I hadn't read when I started this process. I went back and bought everything from KG's past I could, and found myself regretting that I'd not been on board from the likes of BRB and SWORD. I can only agree with you on the company you place their author in.

      There's abit in his answer to question 8 which indicates that KG very much did tailor to work to the artists who were working on his script, or at least, wherever he could. And the result was those moments you mention. I found that choosing the panels to accompany the interview was a memorable business in itself. From the joyfulness of the V-For-Vendetta homage to the scene of Thor holding his brother and promising he'd make things right; those are indeed scenes to treasure.

      And there's a great deal a-coming, isn't there? A Loki/Mr Sinister story last week, Young Avengers, Iron Man, Uber, Three and, eventually, Phonogram. Heh :)

  12. This is a timely reminder that I need to buy the second half of this run NOW NOW NOW.

    (The fear demons board game made me laugh my butt off)

    - Charles RB

    1. Hello Charles:- You've not read the second half of JIM? I assure you, it just gets better and better :)

  13. Thankfully Marvel are releasing a Gillen's run as a Complete Collection series too.

    1. Hello There:- Yes, I was looking at this over at Amazon just the other day. A must-buy, and even for those of us with the original tpbs :)