Kieron Gillen (born 30 September, 1975) is a British comics writer and game journalist, known for his series The Wicked + The Divine, 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, Once and Future, and DIE. He also wrote the introductory fiction for the second edition of Scion and contributed a setting to the second edition of Monsterhearts.
Notable works by him include:
Marvel titles he has worked on include:
- Angela (Marvel Comics)
- Eternals (2021)
- Iron Man
- Journey into Mystery
- Star Wars (Marvel 2015)
- Young Avengers
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.)
- He is bisexual, and many of his works feature gay or bisexual male characters whose m/m sex lives are given just as much story prominence and fanservicey depiction as female lesbian or bisexual characters', in contrast to populist comics' usual fanboy-friendly bias towards depicting f/f erotic scenes.
- The Cameo: He makes an in-universe appearance in the Gamebook comic You Are Deadpool to demonstrate the dice combat mechanics in the story. He even wields a sandwich to serve as a "Combat Roll".
- Promoted Fanboy: He is an enthusiastic player and huge fan of Warhammer 40,000, and in 2020 was overjoyed to be hired to write some spin-off comics.
- Saved from Development Hell: The Ludocrats was teased for many years before finally being released in 2020. The third volume of Phonogram, Immaterial Girl, also came out much later than anticipated.
- Self-Deprecation: Outside of his work, Gillen is frequently self-deprecating in interviews, essays, blog posts, his newsletter, his tumblr... Perhaps the greatest example of this is his reaction to the cancellation of Hell Blazer:...part of me also thinks youre not a real British Comics Writer unless youve written Hellblazer. So thats me doomed...
- 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.
- For Die, Gillen actually created the roleplaying game that the characters are playing in the book (a beta version was released as a free download at the end of the first arc).
- 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.
- Die has parallels to Phonogram, but is about tabletop role playing games and the wider fantasy genre instead of music.
- Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, while not a creator-owned title for Gillen (the character is originally from Charlton Comics but uniquely had his rights reclaimed by his original creator, Pete Morisi), turned out to be a commentary on Watchmen and critique of its ongoing shadow over the superhero genre. (The Watchmen costumed characters were originally inspired by those of Charlton Comics - Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt being specifically the basis for Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias, and the villain of the story is an alternate-universe Cannon who is a blatant Captain Ersatz for Veidt).