Joseph Glass wrote from NYCC. You can see the first part of this interview on Marvel Comics here. Avatar is the publisher and owner of Bleeding Cool.
At NYCC, I managed to pin down Kieron Gillen for a catch up on his work and how well his series Uber is doing, as well as getting a ton of new information on his upcoming Avatar project, Mercury Heat!
Obviously, Uber is doing really well and you have the first trade out now. Has that had the kind of reaction you were expecting?
I had no idea what to expect with it. It’s done incredibly, Avatar couldn’t be happier with it. And meeting the fans is always interesting, in terms of who it appeals to and that people get it. It’s not like many superhero comics, it isn’t really a superhero book. There’s so few tropes of the genre; this is a book about powered humans, and y’know, World War II, it really is about World War II.
So yeah, what to expect? I never really expect any response. The weird thing is, the early stuff being, as I say repeatedly, issue 0 was done in 2008; and so I’m aware that that’s early work and as you go through it becomes more modern and coming up to the current issues, it’s actually contemporary me. So yeah, I’m quite defensive about it, but the fact it’s done as well as it did, the early issues, it means a lot, it’s impressive.
And Canaan’s lovely! [He is, Kieron introduced us, and he was quite charming!]
Any other Avatar projects coming up?
Yeah, at the show we’ve announced Mercury Heat. We’ve talked about The Heat previously, but Mercury is aptly renamed, to avoid being confused with a Sandra Bullock vehicle. And Mercury Heat is probably a better title, ‘cause it’s set on Mercury and it makes it immediately very clear that this is a science fiction kind of thing. And of course it’s basically a police thing, kind of scratching my 2000AD cyber-punky itch, that basically this is about someone who is basically a sort of enhanced police officer on Mercury, basically policing the people there and the people there are pretty much solar panel workers; the whole Belt, or what we call The Belt around the centre is basically where they’ve solar panelled Mercury and all the energy is basically exported back to Earth.
There’s some playful stuff, and some world-building stuff and there’s lots of tech in there. I think there’s like forty-four citadels around Mercury on The Belt and the entire population migrates because there’s about a three day zone on Mercury in which it’s habitable, so as long as you’re migrating around the same time as the planet’s moving, you’re alright.
So it’s mixed with a lot of hard science fiction…I’m trying to think of an example of the tech. Generally speaking, human ability and human excellence is now obsolete, rather human skills are, and everyone is now on crystal chips. So you take the crystal and you basically have the skill and that’s how most people do stuff; so if you want to be a martial artist or whatever, you can buy the crystal. In fact the entire society runs on personalities really. As long as they have the right crystals for doing the job, or other cybernetic enhancements, but really it’s like ‘Oh, I’ve got a personality as well’.
It’s kind of an extrapolation of all the Google-watching you do on the internet and analysing, so everybody has a personality rating that describes what type of person you are. Our lead character, Louisa, she has quite an obscure personality rating that makes everyone shit themselves, but basically she always wanted to be a cop, but she can’t be a cop on Earth, which is kind of nice now really, because she is this ‘class’, but she can be a cop on Mercury. ‘Cause Mercury’s like the fuckin’ Wild West.
Louisa, I’ve never really talked about her much in many of the interviews, but she’s felt she’s wasted a large part of her life and she’s trying to start again. She’s inspired by a lot of my friends when they’re turning 30, a lot of my women friends, with that like ‘Oh for God’s sake!’ that moment of madness. She’s human in a world that’s pretty much gone mad, but she’s a serious bad ass as well.
When’s Mercury Heat coming out?
I think it’s April? WILLIAM [shouting over to editor also at the Avatar booth] when does the Heat drop? April. April!
Frankly, with such a huge amount of info from the man himself, and seeing how enthusiastic he was about it, Mercury Heat sounds like another must have!
And of course, Uber keeps going from strength to strength, and Kieron has no need to worry any of the issues, whether written years ago or now.
The final section of our chat covers his new work with Image, and an update on a little book called Phonogram.
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