Colin Smith and Kieron Gillen talk about the latter’s Journey Into Mystery and it’s all rather wonderful, as Smith’s questions are more macro-scale than many, and Gillen is impressively open:
JIM’s relation to crossovers is one of the stranger things about it. I described it as a novel earlier, but it’s a 30-odd issue novel that a full 3/4s was tying into other books and a full quarter was actually primarily written by other people. Yet somehow it holds together. I talk about JIM being miraculous, and that’s the one that rates the highest. In a real way, it’s less that the crossovers stretched writing muscles and more that JIM literally couldn’t exist without them. When initially conceived I knew that JIM would be tying into Fear Itself for its entire length. As usual, I leaned into it. I planned those 8 issues to dove-tail completely with Matt’s Outline, with one eye on making sure my ironic counter-point to its narrative would play off entertainingly from what Fear Itself had done immediately before – and one eye on making sure it worked as a singular entity by itself (I always said if FEAR ITSELF was WW2, we’re a movie about the Enigma code. You don’t need to know more than the bare shape of WW2 to understand a film about the Enigma code, after all). After my original planning, I realised that the schedule had another couple of JIM issues on – which lead to that very tight response-structure I’d planned to be entirely thrown out of sync. That lead to inserting the two extra issues into the structure – the Mephisto Issue and the Volstagg one, which both ended up being some of the most popular issues of the run. Frankly, the extra space to introduce the wider picture in the Mephisto issue was a particular boon.I’d written JIM to be able to end at the end of Fear Itself, if sales weren’t great. However, I also realised if we *did* continue, I couldn’t just start the “real” story. As I said, a run of 30 issues, 10 issues is basically a third of my book. If I was to tell a 30 issue novel, I had to keep Fear Itself right at its heart. Basically, and I say this with my tongue deep in my cheek, it meant that I’d designed the whole of Journey Into Mystery to be the greatest Fear Itself tie-in of all time.