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"Superheroes can be violent monsters.” Of all the things Watchmen does, it is by far the least interesting, and the worst thing it did to the medium. It’s not Watchmen’s fault, of course, as you can’t help what people take from you… but what Moore described as a bad mood he had one year becoming a primary aesthetic for a long time is pretty depressing.

So let’s do it for an issue, eh? That makes sense.

Now I said the first issue was kind of the Ellis issue, and the second issue was the Morrison issue. But when I say all of the above, I surely can’t say a name for whose issue this is.

Well, yeah, it’s probably unwise, but f*ck it. Like last issue wasn’t just Morrison, this issue isn’t any one name, but I did have an internal codename for it. I don’t want to write a bad issue, and to show the thread of the influence, I can nod to the very best from that tradition. If I want to do operatic, horrible, imaginative superhero throwdowns I have to homage the best – in which case, this is the Mark Millar issue.


-- Kieron Gillen

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The push and pull of escapism is right at the heart of DIE, for better for worse. There's a great quote from Tolkien which I'm sure I'm going to use at some point, about those who critique escapism confusing a deserter's escape from a prisoner's. -- Kieron Gillen

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I’m very angry with a lot of things with superhero comics. This is a comic about how we could be better than this. -- Kieron Gillen

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One of Jamie McKelvie's favorite stories about me is the time I explained, at length, that elves were basically "what if there actually was a master race" racial supremacists to a group of people cosplaying Tolkien elves. I'm annoyed at the Know Your Place implicit in Middle-earth, the hatred of the industrial world and the working class who inhabit it. My standard line is "If I was in Middle-earth, I would clearly be an orc" and I still believe that.

But feel the simmering resentment there. I quickly realize why. I came to comics as an adult. As such, my comic influences are all adult influences. I'm chill about them. Conversely, Tolkien was what got me into this world. He's the father figure I have oedipal rage towards.

As such, the research [for DIE] was my process of forgiving Tolkien.


-- Kieron Gillen

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There's a lot here, born of my love of Watchmen and a frustration with the primary parts of its influence. It's like if everyone loved Daft Punk but the only thing they lifted was wearing robot hats on stage. Like ... that? That's what you take? So taking a character who influenced Watchmen and then using him to examine Watchmen's influence seemed a useful angle. Let's look at the superhero comics, how we've got here, and what we can do with it. -- Kieron Gillen

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I wanted to be deconstructionary (As in, the world takes apart some common RPG tropes) while also reconstructionary (As in, creating a whole fantasy that is seductive and enchanting). I wanted character types that could be commentary on your cleric and paladin and the rest... while having the potential to operate by themselves as their own iconic sense. -- Kieron Gillen

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It's very much the sort of book I can only do at Image, which tries to do everything. As well as this personal story around the cast, the whole thing basically is a Planetary-but-for-Fantasy-and-RPG deconstruction of the various elements that gave birth to the modern conception of games and fantasy. And as well as that, it's also an entirely coherent, and hopefully enchanting fantasy world summoned by Stephanie [Hans]. It's a lot. It doesn't aim low. -- Kieron Gillen

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It's a book that does not shy away from the question of monstrosity — it's very much a theme. At what point does it become divorced from the intrinsic humanity? 'Superhuman' is just another way of saying not 'human.' -- Kieron Gillen

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To broadly paraphrase: “I understand how I felt as a teenager better when I was 36 than when I was 16.” I wouldn’t go that far—and, I stress, I paraphrase that, from memory—but if you don’t other your past and remember those emotions, you can write them. One good thing about getting older is that you can write from experience about more stages of human life. -- Kieron Gillen

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I always knew this would be "our heroes are separated from the rebellion and on the run" part of the story, but after six issue of hell in HOPE DIES it felt like we'd be hitting the same depressing notes again and again. Then, visiting a mansion in Scotland, and looking at the sprawl of countryside I found myself thinking that what would challenge our heroes wouldn't be more in the dirt grind. It'd be a chance to be happy. -- Kieron Gillen

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The “youth culture” is one that does make me raise an eyebrow. I always see I write about how art impacts humans. That the arts I choose to champion—pop music, games, comics—are cultural underdogs speaks to my fundamental perversity, and that people put it in a box of “youth culture” says a lot. I mean, when comics discussion does it, it’s weird. If I did what all too many writers do and write comics about comics, comics critics wouldn’t say I was just writing about youth culture. That I do comics about pop music, people do. I think that says does say something about comics culture, and that oddly inward-looking worldview is something that I feel Jamie and I have kicked against our whole career. -- Kieron Gillen

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Clearly, if we had the money, we'd have printed 90 black pages. The most poetical instrument in the world is a sledgehammer. -- Kieron Gillen

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In one way, I just wanted to give Jamie [McKelvie] a guitar solo. I think he’s the undisputed costume designer of his generation in the American field – even putting aside his work on WicDiv, he’s responsible between three of the most influential looks of our time, two of which are going to be everywhere for the next five years at least (Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel being the Everywhere-ers, and America Chavez being one of those period touchstones.) The idea of having half an issue devoted to 128 new and individually researched character designs is absolutely a mike-drop. No-one’s done this. No-one would try to do this. I wanted Jamie’s peers to cry at the idea of even considering trying this. Admittedly, this involved Jamie crying doing it, but the cost of doing business. So yeah – while arrogant and desperately overambitious, especially in the context of a monthly comic book (this is easily as much work as two monthly comics) this is one we’re intensely proud of. -- Kieron Gillen

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People have wondered what the fourth year is about. We’ve normally described arcs like albums. The Faust Act like that urgent first introduction, the second the awkward Sophomore, the third going to our Berlin Experimental stage, the fourth a band deciding they want to sell lots and lots of records… and it working. And after winning, what do you do? Whatever you want, which is inevitably the coked out double-album indulgent mess of Imperial Phase. I’m not taking the metaphor any further, at least yet. Or to put it another way, what the fourth year is about is ending this fucker. -- Kieron Gillen

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