Kieron Gillen puts on his game face for new Im­age comic book se­ries DIE

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Af­ter ex­plor­ing mu­sic and pop

cul­ture in Phono­gram and The Wicked + The Di­vine, Kieron Gillen will be delv­ing into gam­ing in DIE, his new on­go­ing Im­age se­ries with artist Stephanie Hans.

“It’s not a throw­away fan­tasy world, it’s a fan­tasy world that in­cludes ev­ery­thing that went into the in­tel­lec­tual stew that be­gat role play­ing games,” ex­plains Gillen. “But it’s not just the cere­bral part. There’s also the per­sonal side of it – what games did for me, why I loved them, where it got me and what they cost.”

In­ex­pli­ca­bly dis­ap­pear­ing while play­ing an RPG when they were only 16 be­fore re­turn­ing just as mys­te­ri­ously two years later, the six main char­ac­ters have also paid a heavy price for their love of gam­ing. “The story is set in 2018, with them as 40-some­things, and that aw­ful past catch­ing back up with them,” teases Gillen. “The first arc is them deal­ing with that, or rather, not deal­ing with it.” Hav­ing de­scribed the se­ries as a “Goth

Ju­manji”, DIE is also in­flu­enced by Stephen King’s ’80s works, and Gillen notes sim­i­lar­i­ties with IT’s re­cent big screen out­ing. “We don’t do the full dual time­line struc­ture, but it’s def­i­nitely one of the clos­est touch­stones,” he says. “The ac­tual in­spi­ra­tion came from jok­ing with some friends about, ‘Hey, what­ever hap­pened to those kids in the 1980s Dun­geons

And Dragons car­toon?’ Fast for­ward 10 hours, and I burst into tears as I re­alised ex­actly why that had stuck un­der my skin. So a de­vice to com­pare your teenage fan­tasies and your adult re­al­i­ties seemed ut­terly es­sen­tial.”

Claim­ing that “it’s ironic and it’s not,” Gillen is re­luc­tant to elab­o­rate on the mean­ing be­tween the suc­cinct but omi­nous ti­tle. “DIE echoes through the book in mul­ti­ple places,” he says. “And half of them are spoil­ers.” SJ

DIE #1 is pub­lished on 5 De­cem­ber.

Those acid flash­backs were get­ting se­vere.

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