The creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie first made their mark with the 2006 Image Comics release Phonogram: Rue Britannia, a thrilling and thoughtful story about magic, music, modern sorcery, and how the records we listen to affect our lives and identities. The series combined cultural touchstones and urban fantasy trappings in a way that captured the imagination of critics and readers, and its success ultimately led to Gillen and McKelvie becoming separately and together some of comics' most fan-favorite creators on books like Journey Into Mystery, X-Men Season One, Suburban Glamour, a second series of Phonogram, and their rmuch-lauded collaboration on the recently concluded reinvention of Young Avengers.
This week, they're releasing the debut issue of their latest (and most ambitious) project: The Wicked + The Divine, an ongoing series from Image that blends together many of their favorite subjects: youthful reinvention, manifest deities, supernatural superpowers, and, of course, the transformative power of pop music. The first issue is both intriguing and exhilarating, depicting the adventure of a superfan as she rubs elbows with ancient gods who return every ninety years, this time in the form of gorgeous young people who become 21st century celebrities. At once sublimely understated and action-packed, the first issue grabs you instantly and leaves you anxious to read more.
ComicsAlliance connected with the entire W+D creative team of Gillen and McKelvie; designer Hannah Donovan; letterer Clayton Cowles; and colo(u)rist Matt Wilson for an in-depth conversation about the story they're telling, their collaborative process, and the artistic and cultural inspirations for the series. Along the way, we're revealing some previously unseen behind-the-scenes materials and an exclusive previews of The Wicked + The Divine #2.
The foul-mouthed, booze-fueled adventurers of Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch's Image Comics series Rat Queens probably wouldn't be welcome on The Disney Channel or Cartoon Network (maybe Adult Swim), but that isn't stopping the Weta Workshop's Pukeko Pictures and the Heavy Metal brand from developing it into an animated series.
The two production companies, which jointly acquired the rights to the series, are hard at work developing a half-hour animated version of the exploits of Betty (thief), Hannah (mage), Dee (cleric) and Violet (fighter). They're planning to pitch it to networks soon.
Through its prior two volumes, Image's Liquid City has established itself as one of the most intriguing anthology series on the comics landscape. Though it's only comes out once every couple of years, the collection featuring the work of Southeast Asian creators is nonetheless one of the most beguiling collections of talent largely unknown in the west, and provides a wealth of curious comics in each volume.
This week, the anthology returns with another cabal of creators providing over twenty original stories for the 250-plus-page Liquid City Volume 3. And even though there was a huge leap in quality from the first volume to the second, the newest edition is easily the best in the series.
This week, Chris and Matt talk about how much they love Big Trouble in Little China, and how much they enjoyed the first issue of the new comic sequel by Eric Powell and Brian Churilla in spite of some art hiccups; then it's on to Nailbiter #2 by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson; and finally they discuss the first volume of Afterlife With Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla.
Rascal, the savvy young heroine of Antony Johnston and Christ Mitten’s Umbral, is a thief with both feet planted firmly in the muck. She lives by her dexterous fingers, her knowledge of the city’s side streets, and an arsenal of four-letter words for anyone who stands in her way. Whispers of myth and monsters at the fringes of her world fail to turn Rascal’s head—in fact, she fears and loathes magic and its practitioners. Too bad she’s the heroine of a fantasy story.
Over the course of its first volume from Image Comics, Umbral creates a world rich with ethnic conflict, class struggle, human emotion and totally wicked looking monsters. A cast of scholars, refugees, thieves, and magicians populates its pages, simmering with glimpsed backstories and murky intentions. At its heart is Rascal, staring down a grand destiny she never wanted. As the first volume hits the shelves, ComicsAlliance spoke with Johnston and Mitten about fantasy tropes, developing character voices, and the importance of The Dark Crystal.
Alien invasion stories have always been fertile ground for allegory. Throughout the history of the sub-genre, spaceships filled with arachnid creatures, little green men, shape-shifting Skrulls, omnipotent super-beings, and brain-eating slugs have come to represent oppressive and militaristic governments, Communism, the disenfranchised, and several more variations of the great and unknowable Other, usually influenced by politics or social issues. Yet with all the metaphoric territory the alien invasions have covered, in Image Comics' Trees, Warren Ellis and Jason Howard prove there's still plenty left unsaid.
A great comic book cover has a lot of work to do. It’s both an advertisement and a work of art; both a statement and an invitation. Sometimes they convey character, sometimes mood, sometimes moment. Sometimes they pastiche the classics or pay tribute to the past; sometimes they strive to show us something entirely new. Always they show us a glimpse of somewhere else through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the month that was.
Some familiar cover concepts get inventive new spins in the best covers for the month of May, and we put the spotlight on great work from Dan Panosian, Mike Allred, Ron Wimberly, and Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson.
Writer Kieron Gillen has a brand new comic with Jamie McKelvie and colorist Matthew Wilson (my nemesis) called The Wicked and the Divine, which comes to comic shops June 18. Certainly you could go to your local comic shop that day and hope to pick up a copy, but it isn't guaranteed unless readers pre-order it by the order cutoff date, which is Monday, May 26 and give your retailer an idea of how many copies to order (or to order it at all). "Pre-order?" you may ask. "How on earth do I do a thing like that?
MPH, the new super-speedster book from Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo, debuts from Image Comics this week. And apparently it's pretty awesome, because it's already getting its own movie, optioned by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura just one week after Fox bought the rights to Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu's Superior. If Millar didn't already have a tight-enough grip on the nexus of Hollywood and comics, Superior and MPH movies would give him the metaphorical finger-strength to squeeze it into a diamond. So is MPH worthy of the same treatment as Kick-Ass and Wanted? Please read this next part with the inner voice of Dateline's Keith Morrison: Or is Hollywood, much like Roscoe Rodriguez in MPH, moving a little... too... fast? Thank you for playing.
Last week, Image Comics announced that Jim Zuband Steve Cummings' Waywardwould be launching in August. Billed as "the perfect new series for wayward Buffy fans," the new ongoing series is focused on a group of teens in Tokyo, dealing with the monsters of Japanese mythology, and it's Zub's first creator-owned title since he launched Skullkickers back in 2010.
To find out more, I spoke to Zub about the inspiration for the series, why you won't be seeing Rori, the main character, running around with a slice of toast in her mouth, and how her feelings of being isolated reinforce what's going on in the series. Plus, we have an exclusive first look at the variant cover for Wayward #1 by AdamWarren!
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