British comics writer and game journalist, known for his series Phonogram and several Marvel books, including Uncanny X-Men, Journey into Mystery, Iron Man, Young Avengers, and Star Wars: Darth Vader. 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 the creator-owned titles Über, The Wicked + The Divine, and Mercury Heat. He will also write the introductory fiction for the second edition of Scion.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. He has a tumblr.
Tropes present in his works:
- Author Appeal:
- He's not shy about his love of pop music, and almost every title he's written has an "official" soundtrack. Phonogram is a love song to Britpop and Young Avengers is full of pop culture and music references.
- He also has a real thing for very intelligent and very evil robots. Most of his non-Loki comics for Marvel feature them. (Even the Darth Vader one.)
- Shown Their Work:
- Phonogram. Both the original comics and the collected editions have a glossary in the back!
- Über 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.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: This is pretty much what he uses Twitter for.
- Screw You, Elves!: While Gillen is critical of many 'traditional fantasy' tropes, Elves are practically a Berserk Button to him:Don't start me on Elves. My perennial bugbear. Elves are basically "What If Aryans were right about there being a master race?" Fucking Elves
- Spiritual Antithesis: His creator-owned titles have a tendency to be explicit critiques of other works.
- In particular, Über is a deconstruction of the "World War II would have been awesome with superheroes" sub-genre.
- Three is an exposé of the actual brutality and inhumanity of the culture of ancient Sparta that was idealised in a certain famous graphic novel by Frank Miller, and its film adaptation.
- The Wicked + 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.