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Kieron Gillen on the future of 'Eternals' and creating its berserk sci-fi mythology

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Kieron Gillen on the future of ‘Eternals’ and creating its berserk sci-fi mythology

Plus, exclusive details and art from November’s ‘Eternals’ #7!

The Eternals are a fickle sort of group of heroes, with an incredible history starting with their creation by Jack Kirby. Since their debut in the late 1970s, though, there have been stops and starts for this gaggle of gods, various attempts at fleshing out their world, but nothing that has stuck in any meaningful way. That is, until this year, when writer Kieron Gillen and artist Esad Ribić kicked off their series in January. With six issues under their belt, including the intriguing addition of Thanos, the series has since taken a hiatus. But the revolution isn’t over yet, folks.

It may be driving readers mad to wait, especially as the Marvel Studios film draws closer to its November 5 release date, but we have your exclusive first look at what comes next with issue #7. And from the cover alone, things are about to get very interesting indeed.

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Ahead of the series’ return on November 3, I was lucky enough to ask Gillen a few questions about the second arc for the series and where he is at in his master plan. The second arc serves as a kind of jumping-on point, and promises more Thanos in both the solicit and the cover art to boot.

Read below for the exclusive solicitation, the cover art, and interview!

NEW ARC! NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! MORE THANOS!
The Eternals have learned the truth of their existence. Their society is in shambles. Who can lead them? Who is the visionary that can lead them from the ashes? And how did they take the throne? Hail Thanos the Mad Titan, Eternal Prime.

Welcome to a new day. Welcome to hell.

ETERNALS #7

Kieron Gillen (Writer) • Esad Ribić (Artist/Cover)
Variant cover by Peach Momoko
VIRGIN VARIANT COVER BY PEACH MOMOKO
On Sale 11/3

Kieron Gillen

Cover art by Esad Ribić. Courtesy of Marvel Comics. 

AIPT: Thanks for taking the time! You’ve set out to revive a set of Marvel characters relatively untouched for some time, with six issues behind you, how far have you taken them in your opinion? We have a heartbeat, are they out of the hospital?

Kieron Gillen: I think Esad, Matt [Wilson], Clayton [Cowles], and myself are making the most berserk sci-fi mythological comic on the shelves. We throw ideas at the page at velocity and quantity unlike anything else in superheroes. After six issues I think, at the least, folks know what we’re doing and why it’s not quite like anything else.

Of the many creative goals of Eternals, do that was certainly the biggie.

I think we’ve done that core work on the Eternals. Next: the other half of the mythology. The second arc is very much putting the deep focus on the Deviants.

AIPT: Now that you’ve gotten your hands dirty, has your perception of the Eternals changed?

KG: Not hugely. I came into this knowing a lot. It was a case of having much more material than I could ever put in a series. Scale was the point – the ideas that this story sprawled off the edge of panel. It’s one reason why I’m delighted I’m getting to do specials, because I’ve got literally no end of things I want to write.

In reality, what it feels like is that I’m slowly explaining more and more of what I know about the world to the readers. Ideally, it’s not my perception that’s changed – it’s the readers perception. By the time they’ve hit issue six, they should be seeing them in entirely different ways.

Ideally, that never stops. Characters are fractals. There’s no end to them.

AIPT: Thanos is a character that has permeated this series, is there a certain joy in throwing multiple characters at him in battle?

KG: You correctly guess that it doesn’t get boring writing a fight scene like that, knowing Esad is going to do what Esad does.

But it’s also the quiet scenes too. My take on him is that he’s an artist. He’s a philosopher, a poet, and has a body count equal to the greater powers of the universe. You put words in his mouth, and you want them to burn.

AIPT: What’s something about your Thanos most people don’t know?

KG: He’s arguably not even the worst person in his family. That’s a fun issue, when we get to it.

AIPT: November marks a new story arc for Eternals, and judging by the solicit there’s a new ruler in town (funny that, since November is election time in America), can you talk a little bit about what you have in store?

KG: Well, let’s just say democracy continues to have a difficult time of it.

There’s lots in the arc, but as well as the deviants side of things, having a look at the political dealing of the Eternals is a big part. Druig is someone who’s been doing this for a million years, and he’s using ever part of his sleazy skills to help Thanos.

Oh – and huge action. Issue 9 has the biggest battle we’ve shown so far. I figured I hadn’t given Esad a chance to draw a city being smashed yet, and this felt like a huge oversight.

And the back half? Oh my. Things escalate. Guest stars. Broken hearts. Trust shattered. Beating up gods. All the good, bad stuff.

Eternals #7 Kieron Gillen

Cover art by Peach Momoko. Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: I’d be remiss to not ask, but what did you think of the Eternals trailer?

KG: I liked it. The day the trailer dropped was actually the day after I’d finally got around to watching Nomadland, which was just startling meditative cinema. As such, I was excited by just picking up some of [Chloé] Zhao’s eye echoing through both. Clearly, they’re different beasts, but I’m really interested in what she does with it.

AIPT: With your second story arc and the film on the way, why do you suppose now is the time for Eternals, and more specifically your series?

KG: I’ll admit, I’m tilting my head at your questions, AIPT. Are you talking art or commerce?

For commerce, you’ve answered your own question. It’s clearly a good time to do an Eternals series. A single trade out and a new arc circa a new movie? That’s sensible comics publishing.

For art, it’s always time for art.

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