So far, Bleeding Cool has brought you the announcement that Alan Moore has written a Glycon-based story for God is Dead: Book of Acts ‘Alpha’, alongside an interview with Mike Costa about his masterplan for the two-parter ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’, and a virally-funny interview with Simon Spurrier about his story ‘Pitter Patter’, also in ‘Alpha’. There are only two ducks left in our firing line up: Kieron Gillen and Justin Jordan, who are the writers, alongside Costa on God is Dead: Book of Acts ‘Omega’.
If you thought Simon Spurrier’s story sounded dark, or even Mike Costa’s exploration of a very disturbing underworld where the key to the death of God lurks, there really is no comparison to the furthest hell Kieron Gillen will take you to in his contribution, “Alastor”. Researching actual historical engravings and illustrations of demons, Gillen puts a mad political and Machiavellian spin on the power structures of hell in his James-Bond-inspired, sex-driven, and slick but gruesome anti-hero Alastor. Gillen may be nonchalant about the ways in which these elements have turned up in his other works, but in combination, this is truly bound to be something you’ve never seen before in comics. It also offers a unique window on the God is Dead universe by showing that not every supernatural being gives a shit that all the gods are returning and vying for power over earth. Why not, instead, rule in Hell?
Gillen talks with us here at Bleeding Cool about his view of black comedy, a hellish perspective, and necessary evils.
Hannah Means-Shannon: Does it feel good, as a writer, to switch into a more comedic mode here? What’s the difference between comedy and black comedy in your opinion?
Kieron Gillen: The difference between writing comedy and black comedy is the sense of shame you feel at the possibility of your mum ever reading it.
It was just an opportunity to do something entirely different, and utterly awful. I was thinking of “Alastor” fitting into my work in the same way – say – Dicks does in Garth [Ennis’]. I had the character idea lying around, and was playing with writing some short novellas starring him as a prose experiment. I hadn’t got around to doing it, so when William asked, I thought that a short story may be a safe place to take him out for a spin. Alastor being this odd sex-positive murder-positive kind of character just appealed. The James Bond archetype with the breaks off.
Outside of Uber, there’s a lot of comedy in my work. I’m all about the word-play. There’s also that long theme of devilish characters, so this is me pushing that part of me far into the red on the dial. Equally, if you know me from my history of being a journalist and a critic, when I’m not actually being ludicrously pretentious, I’m the sort of person who likes comparing spider-attack waves to “weaponized Bukkake”.
In a real way, there’s so much of my work at the moment which is emotionally traumatic or ludicrously heavy in research. Doing something that’s an evil snickering giggle is an agreeable break. I had a hell of a time in hell.
HMS: Is Alastor’s indifference to the death of God typical of a hellish perspective, or a savvy one at least? Is that somehow superior or smarter than the reactions of the pantheons clamoring for change and handling things badly in the wider God is Dead storyline?
KG: I’ve got a terrible attraction to that sort of bored evil. And savvy is the word, really – the whole Machiavellian hell is a model which goes back a long way, but I was thinking of something more The Thick of It than anything else. If I ever wrote any more of “Alastor”, it’d certainly have that satire of politics in there, with the hyperbolic aspect of the whole thing. Bureaucracy, boredom and backstabbing, on both a literal and metaphorical level.
HMS: If we invent our gods through ideas and both limit and empower them, as much of God is Dead is increasingly suggesting, what are the ideas at work behind a demon like Alastor past and present? Why would humanity need/create him in your opinion?
KG: A grinning, hyper-sexed octo-cocked murderer strikes me as a highly necessary evil.
God is Dead: Book of Acts ‘Alpha’ appears in shops from Avatar Press on August 13th with the item code JUN140844 and God is Dead: Book of Acts ‘Omega’ arrives on August 27th with the item code JUN140851. The first trade collection of God is Dead is also currently available.
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