Wednesday, 4 November 2009

[258] Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie Interview

I'm a big fan of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's work, and have written about them on this blog before. So I was really happy that they were willing to chat with me at the MCM Expo. I kept the discussion entry-level, as this was going up at Den of Geek, but it was nice to be able to get an overview of their work, and ask Kieron about his upcoming comic for Avatar - The Heat - for which I believe I got the exclusive. Fun! (Although, it was hard writing about Phonogram in the introduction. What to say about my favourite current comic in such short space?)

My first attempt to start up an interview with Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the creative team behind the music-worship comic Phonogram, was interrupted by a scheduled performance from a Japanese Taiko Drumming band occurring within blistering earshot. We reconvened later, at a pub nearby, overlooking the cosplay vapour trail as the thousands of cosplayers and expo-attendees traipsed home.

Phonogram is definitely one of the more interesting comics of the moment. It brings together a metaphoric concoction of (mostly, but not solely 'indie') music, fantasy and youth culture to make startlingly well-observed and insightful commentary on music and those who listen to it. Taking concepts, applications and effects related to music, Phonogram manages to communicate a lot of the verve and energy of that subculture, in a way that trumps a vast amount of the journalistic, critical, writerly approaches to the topic. Chalk it up to the team's great balancing of style and content - of Gillen's sharp, character-led scripts, and McKelvie's consistently staggering artwork, that give small details (a pursed lip, a mid-dance freeze frame) great importance.

The success of the series has led to the two of them working on many other comic projects. McKelvie has released one series of his own book, Suburban Glamour, about teenagers in small-town Worcestershire. Gillen, known to many as a noted video games journalist, is now penning (plentiful) projects for Marvel, including an upcoming run on Thor, and a recently-published limited series Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter. He is also working on an only-announced-on-Saturday story for Avatar Press, The Heat.

We chat about their experience at the MCM Expo, as well as Phonogram, Suburban Glamour, and what it is like working for the larger publishers, on properties that have been developing and gestating for generations. Gillen also fills us in on The Heat, a project that has been teased as involving 'cops on Mercury'.

Read the full article here.

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