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Comics Interview

Kieron Gillen at Kapow! Comic Con

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Kieron Gillen
London-based writer Kieron Gillen has enjoyed an incredible rise through the ranks of Marvel Comics. Last year he was announced as an exclusive with the publisher, and is currently penning Generation Hope and the legendary Uncanny X-Men (after a stint as co-writer with Matt Fraction). DS caught up with him at Kapow! Comic Con to discuss his forthcoming Journey into Mystery relaunch.

When did you first realise that you would be writing Uncanny X-Men on your own?
"I knew when I felt Matt's windpipe crushed between my two thumbs, and the light in his eyes just drifted away and I thought, 'Now. Now Uncanny will be mine...' It was one of those things where I was brought on to work with Matt due to him being as busy as he is. You know what Matt's doing, being the heart of Fear Itself. They thought I was working really well [on Uncanny] and Matt's workload wasn't going to be getting any easier, so they thought it would be better if I took over. It was all very natural. It was also quite sudden. It felt good. And seeing as I was working with Matt already on the Generation Hope characters, we had a pre-existing relationship."

Can you tell us about Journey into Mystery?
Kieron Gillen artwork
"Of course, now I'm working quite closely with Matt again on Journey into Mystery - the Thor book - so, what Matt does in Fear Itself and later on in Thor works synergistically with what happens in Journey into Mystery. Both books are totally doing their own thing, and I want to have the omnibus, 40-issue trade as a single statement, so if it's too based around crossovers it can't really do that. I think Journey into Mystery is going to be a book that is unusual. Whilst a Thor spinoff, it's very much its own thing. Asgardian Tintin is one way of describing it. Or Secret Avengers meets I, Claudius, that sort of thing. It's all the myths put into one place, but about the politics. If a character from one myth attacks another set of gods, what's the other gods' response to that? That's not what I'm doing, but that's the sort of plot."

Do you ever meet up with London-based X-Men Legacy writer Mike Carey?
"I see Mike sporadically. We make sure we're not stepping on each other's toes, see what the other characters are doing. The X-Office has the larger picture of what the books are for, where the people can tell their own stories. Legacy is more its own entity than Uncanny, which is like the Central Station of the X-Men. On my first arc in Uncanny I'm picking up minor plot threads from an issue of Legacy - I'm doing that to create a sense of the world, so that while you're reading other books there'll be nods and awareness and a more hologramatic picture of what the whole universe is, and that's one reason to do multiple books. So, I talk to him occasionally. I also talk to Jason [Aaron] a lot, because obviously Jason is writing Schism, which is such an enormous thing for the X-Universe. We're doing 'Fear Itself' while Schism is actually happening, but immediately we go into the after-effects of Schism, and Generation Hope ties in directly."

Kieron Gillen artwork
Is Uncanny tying directly into 'Fear Itself'?
"It does. My first arc is Breakworld related, called 'Breaking Point'. It's basically involving the fallout from the whole political situation in Breakworld, in which an enormous armoured ship comes to Earth. That's a plot mainly involving Colossus and Kitty. Then we've got one issue which is about Hope and Wolverine, in which she gets kidnapped and he goes to rescue her. That's interesting because Wolverine has a problem with Hope. Then we go onto 'Fear Itself', which is about the Worthy attacking San Francisco. I got the image of doing it as a disaster movie - facing an unstoppable threat and trying plan after plan after plan to see which one works. And then we're onto other stuff."

Wolverine is known for befriending young X-Men such as Kitty Pride and Jubilee. Was his antagonism with Hope done with that in mind?
"Yeah. It's surprising. What I like most about modern Wolverine is that, while he's always had a thing for the girls, he's expanded that to the younger generation. He's a guy who's been through the grinder. He's not just a feral, stabby-dude anymore. He's the guy in the bar who's been around the block who says, 'I'm not judging you, but I've been there.' When he says something is not a good idea, it's not a good idea. That means something. Him not wanting anything to do with Hope definitely says something. It immediately felt very right. That issue explicitly sets up what's going on between them, which is a very different sort of relationship than he's had with a teenage girl before."

Journey into Mystery launches this month alongside Gillen's debut solo Uncanny X-Men #534.1.

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