British comics writer and game journalist, known for his series Phonogram
and several Marvel books, including Uncanny X-Men
, Journey into Mystery
, and Young Avengers
. He also helped found, and for a long while wrote for Rock, Paper, Shotgun
, and wrote the creator-owned mini-series Three
. Currently, he's writing Iron Man
for Marvel, and the creator-owned titles Uber
and The Wicked And The Divine
Many of his best-known works, including Phonogram
, Young Avengers
, and The Wicked and the Divine
, are collaborations with artist Jamie McKelvie
Not to be confused with Karen Gillan
Tropes present in his works and in real life applying to him:
- Author Appeal: Pop culture, especially pop music. Phonogram is a love song to Britpop and Young Avengers is full of pop culture references.
- Berserk Button: Evidently, Double Standard and sexist lines of thinking, and general distaste towards people who treat women negatively. He tends to be calm and respectable, but he loses his snarky Cloud Cuckoo Lander exterior.
- British Accents: Gillen has one, unsurprisingly.
- Broken Base: Similar to his friend and fellow writer Matt Fraction, he's gained something of this with his work on Young Avengers and Iron Man for Marvel NOW. Both are either clever, fun books, or pretentious drivel, while he himself is one of the best writers out there or an overhyped hack. It appears this is partially the result of Hype Backlash, though.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Comes across as this when talking to people, evidenced by his semi-joking ramblings during letter responses.
- Motor Mouth: He talks so long in interviews that he often forgets the question or starts interviewing another person.
- Shown His Work:
- Phonogram. Both the original comics and the collected editions have a glossary in the back!
- Uber for which Gillen wrote a 25,000-word world bible. He notes he was so deep in research that at one point his German friends have found him with map of 1945 Berlin and pile of Nazi biographies, World At War on TV, and listening to Richard Wagner.
- Working on Three he is in close contact with a historian specializing in the period, to get it as accurate as possible.
- In Young Avengers #3, Billy at one point goes into detail about Norse Mythology, specifically the changes made to it by Marvel, such as Loki becoming Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis rather than his best friend. On Tumblr, Gillen admits that he would've had him go into more detail about his knowledge of Norse Mythology, but the scene would've dragged on.
- Keet: He's certainly a excitable fellow.
- One of Us: A given, being a comic book writer, but especially notable from his Tumblr account and the general presentation of Young Avengers, which includes him drawing attention to fanart, and his regular references to such topics as slash-fiction and fandom.
- His comics fanboy comes out in afterwords to Uber #0 in which you can feel how happy he was when Garth Ennis read his world-bible and said it has potential.
- He is also found of works of Junji Ito, calling Uzumaki his favorite horror comics.
- Production Posse: Several of his books (Phonogram, Young Avengers, The Wicked and the Divine) are done with artist Jamie McKelvie, colorist Matt Wilson, and letterer Clayton Cowles.
- Snark Knight: The aforementioned Phonogram glossary is marvelously snarky. It's entertaining enough in its own right to justify buying the comics, even if the actual comic bit sucked. (Which it doesn't.)
- Spiritual Antithesis: His creator-owned titles have a tendency to be explicit critiques of other works. In particular, Uber is a deconstruction of the "World War II would have been awesome with superheroes" sub-genre, and Three is an exposť of the actual brutality and inhumanity of the culture of ancient Sparta that was idealised in a certain famous graphic novel by Frank Miller. The Wicked and the Divine is, according to Word of God, a deliberate self-Spiritual Antithesis to Phonogram - Phonogram was about the relationship that fans have to recorded music with the actual artist being wholly irrelevant, while The Wicked and the Divine is completely about the relationship between fan and artist and fans as would-be artists.