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Kieron Gillen

Kieron Gillen is an award-winning comic book writer and former computer games journalist.

He is known for his creator-owned comics, Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine, alongside numerous projects for Marvel Comics, such as X-Men, Iron Man and Star Wars. Previously, he wrote games reviews for PC Gamer, Wired and The Guardian, among others. He was also a founder of independent PC gaming website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which later sold to Eurogamer.

Growing up in Stafford, Kieron had a keen interest in writing from an early age, publishing zines in his spare time and getting involved in anything related at school. He also enjoyed reading the Dandy and Marvel comics, as well as playing computer games, during his teenage years. “I wasn’t really aware this could be a career for someone like me,” he said, “so I went to the University of Bath to study biology.”

Kieron paid for his second year by writing for now-closed Amiga Power and, part way through his studies, decided against a career in science to pursue his passion. He landed a job as a staff writer at PC Gamer and, in 2000, became the first ever video games journalist to receive an award from the Periodical Publishers Association, for New Specialist Consumer Journalist. By 2003, he had risen to Deputy Editor of the magazine, before leaving to work freelance.

Over the next six years, Kieron slowly moved away from games journalism and further towards comic book writing. In 2006, he launched the first volume of Phonogram, about a mage who uses Britpop to power his magic. The second volume was published at the end of 2008, by which time Kieron was only writing significantly for Rock, Paper, Shotgun. He had come to the attention of Marvel Comics and, by late 2009, his workload had increased to include Thor and Dark Avengers: Ares, among others. He officially retired as a games journalist in 2010 to devote his time to comics.

He worked on a range of superhero stories, including Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man and the Young Avengers, which won the award for Outstanding Comic Book at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. In 2015, he switched to Marvel Comics’ Star Wars series, writing Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra and the main Star Wars book.

The year previous, he launched The Wicked + The Divine, winning the Best Comic Award at the 2014 British Comic Awards. The series follows a group of twelve reincarnated deities masquerading as popstars. The comic met with huge success and has since been translated into 10 languages. Kieron also launched Die at the end of 2018, about a group of adults dealing with a returning horror they barely survived as teenagers.

The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Kieron in recognition of his outstanding achievements in cartoon and comic arts. It also acknowledges his role as an inspirational and highly influential figure within the industry.

Photo of Kieron Gillen

Kieron Gillen was bestowed the award in 2019

It feels doubly weird that someone is giving me an honorary doctorate. It’s an incredible honour. I look forward to working more closely with the University in future.

Kieron Gillen