Comics Creators

Wednesday Fan Chat #24 - Kieron Gillen


Welcome back for another Millarworld Fan Chat. This week’s guest will be Kieron Gillen. Kieron is a former video game and music journalist. He’s written numerous projects for Marvel like Journey Into Mystery, Uncanny X-Men and Young Avengers. However, he is probably most well known for his creator-owned work with artist Jamie McKelvie at Image on Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine where he parlayed his experiences as a journalist and artist into stories about the power these mediums hold. Please leave any questions you might have for Kieron in this thread. Questions only though as all other posts will be nullified from existence.

If you have trouble adjusting the time for your time zone, try this link.


If you could write a biographical comic book for any 20th century figure, who would it be and why? Who would be the artist you would like to illustrate it?

What is your favorite Kurt Russell movie?

What is a typical work day like for you?


Hello Sir, I have 2 questions:

1.- How manyDart Vader’s issues will you write? (I hope 48)
2.- What’s the difference between working in a superhero book and a scifi mega franchise?


Hi Kieron, thanks for taking time to do this AMA.

Recently I’ve felt like there are two Kieron Gillens writing comics - the cool, playlist making, Phonogram writing Gillen and the more visceral Gillen writing thing like Uber and Mercury Heat for Avatar. Would you agree with this? Do you feel there’s a big difference in how you write between certain titles and is this a deliberate, conscious thing you do or is it a more natural thing with the subject matter influencing how you write? (I suppose there’s a third option, the “What the fuck are you talking about? I take the same approach across all my titles!?!!”)

Thanks again!


Hi Kieron
Other than Ludocrats, do you have any more projects coming out from Image in 2016?


What is your meal of choice, including dessert?

What are some of your favorite fiction and non-fiction books?


There is only one question. Skaven: why?


If I’m not mistaken, “Mercury Heat” had long-gestated as “The Heat”, which I think was discussed as early as 2008 or 2009. Was it just a commitment with the Marvel work that prevented it from coming out sooner? Did the project evolve drastically since it’s initialy conception? Or something else altogether?


Hi Kieron, I always liked your version of Pixie in the X-Men because she was written with a tidy Welsh dialect. The comic I read with her the other day had her saying ‘mom’ :imp:

If you write any character, not just Pixie, with a particular dialect do you get anyone to check it over for authenticity or just try your best approximation and hope for the best?


@KieronGillen - What is your favorite comic (not your own) that you are reading right now? I think I might know the answer to this one but who is your favorite collaborator? Are there any creators you would like to work with in the future?


Hello Kieron,

Firstly, Happy Birthday in advance. If Wikipedia is to be believed, you share your birthday with Ian Ogilvy and Marian Cotiliard.

Are there any particular genres that you feel you would like to give a shot to? Also, would you be interested in writing a novel?


Hi, Kieron. As your comics often contain references to (largely brilliant) pop music, I thought I’d ask who your favourite recording artists around at the moment are and if you have a favourite album of 2015?
Also, judging by your references, I feel like you’d get a big kick out of listening to upcoming indie-pop kids Trust Fund from Bristol, if you haven’t already.

A lot of the artists you’ve been working with lately have impressed me a lot, and Maguerite Bennett has become a name I look out for on the stands since being introduced to her work through the Angela series you collaborated on. Which other newish writers and artists would you recommend looking up?



Hi. I’m Kieron Gillen. I’m in the pub. I’m with my friends. They will be judging my answers harshly. I will try to be useful to you. Be gentle to me. Or be rough. I’m kinda switch like that, etc.


Welcome to Millarworld, Kieron. What’re you drinking?


More importantly, whos round is it?!?


This is a really good one, and I’m not entirely sure. Have you read than Ayn Rand bio comic? That’s astounding. Google that if you haven’t - the idea of a critical eye rather than eulogising is very appealing.

I wrote “I’ll do WARREN ELLIS and Jamie can draw it in his own poo” but that’s silly.

I’ll do Warren Ellis and Chip Zdarsky can draw it in his own poo.

If I was trying to be a little cooler, I’d say THE THING, but I’ll be honest and say BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.

Too long.

I joke - I’m actually pretty lazy most of the time, and by design. I have a rough structure, which is…

BEFORE NOON - Write a minimum of 5 pages.
AFTER NOON - Everything else. As in, editing, mail, polishing those crappy pages, etc.

I keep weekends free, partially for my mental health, but primarily when the shit hits the fan I have an extra two days I can then work in. Scheduling to my max output is a very bad idea, as eventually you’ll flake.

Ironically enough, I’ve just come out of a 2 week crunch period with serious work all day.

In reality, I actually do bits of work at the weekend - just not the actual hard-crunch of writing pages.

(And me relaxing occasionally involves writing for shits and giggles.)

Also, that schedule? It’s a plan, rather than a reality. It’s more me having a “I should be doing this” rather than anything else.

  1. As long as it takes to tell the story, really. Sorry to be dodging the question, alas.

  2. Size of canon is a big thing. I don’t mean the DEATH STAR IS AN ENORMOUS CANNON. I mean that, compared the MU, the Star Wars Canon is smaller, especially the “pop” canon that most people know. In Superhero comics, it’s literally impossible to be 100% serve the continuity because the continuity is oft contradictory. In Star Wars, you can make it more seamless, or at least try to.

The bigger change is much more the tone - Vader’s a villain book. That’s the inverse of most Marvel books.


Oh noes! I replied in the wrong bit of the forum. Er… mods, save my ass and move it?


I would never be so rude to say the third option, even if it was true.

You’re actually onto something. I occasionally think my work is in two parts - the stuff with a playlist and the stuff which I don’t do a playlist for. It’s almost left brain/right brain stuff. You can literally look at my work and see what I have a playlist for (not that you all can - I keep some playlists privately). The playlist books are ones where I’m serving some rather strange intellectual masters, and trying to keep something intangible there. The ones without a playlist are ones which are often more intellectual, and application of craft, and not connected to “music” - which is more than just a literal sense of something being about music. Let’s do a quick list…

Uncanny X-men
Generation Hope
Journey Into Mystery
Phonogram (Obv)
Mercury Heat

Darth Vader
Iron Man - though I did try to make a working Iron Man playlist, and it never quite came into being.

So there’s definitely an internal difference between how I see it and how you see the books - I suspect some of my traits cross over in ways you can’t see. I mean, WicDiv’s treatment of the cast really is a lot like Uber’s…


I don’t see the other reply. Was it in a Private Message?


I’m drinking cheap Pinot Grigio. I know. I had a medical thing and all I drink is wines and spirits now. Admittedly, me being the one guy in British comics who is always drinking wine in a room full of Guinness and Ales certainly fits my terrible wanky reputation.