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.
So here are the facts as I understand them: Pepsi -- you know, the cola company? Born In The Carolinas Since 1898? -- is producing an album that is nominally about soccer called Beats of the Beautiful Game to tie into this year's World Cup in Brazil. And this album, which will becoming out soon, features a cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" by the always amazing Janelle Monáe. And that song, in turn, has a music video where bullied children are inspired by Monáe, who in the world of the video is a comic book superheroine rather than a musician (or possibly both?) to dress up as homemade superheroes and overwhelm their oppressors through superior numbers.
If that sounds a little bizarre, I can assure you that it is. But it's also pretty awesome.
I'll admit that when I heard that J.H. Williams III is doing art for Blondie, I was more surprised than anything else. I mean, I'm as big a fan of Williams as the next person, and if there's anything we've learned from his work on books like Batwoman, Promethea and Seven Soldiers, it's that he can provide pretty beautiful art in a variety of styles. I just never expected him to turn his talents to the world of a three-panel newspaper strip is all. That said, I am pretty stoked about seeing him draw one of Dagwood's signature massive sandwiches. Can you imagine the detail --
What? Oh, he's doing art for Blondie the band? Yeah, that makes a lot more sense.
If you've ever been listening to pop music and been frustrated because the song you're listening to is not about Green Lantern, then you are the exact target audience for Kirby Krackle. Formed in 2009 in Seattle, Kirby Krackle is a band known for its high energy, geek-friendly rock 'n' roll, and they've spent the past five years touring comic book conventions across America and Australia.
Now, to celebrate that milestone, they're putting out Kirby Krackle: Geekiest Hits, Volume 1. The album features 20 songs about the Konami Code, henchmen and why they love superheroes, including five from the first album (recorded as a duo) that have been newly recorded this year with the full band. Check out the full track listing below, along with a few samples!
Hey, you know how you wanted to spend the next 15 minutes watching a Norwegian metal singer belting out every Power Rangers theme song from the past 20 years? No? Well, too bad, because that's what we're doing, and it's going to be awesome.
The singer in question is PelleK, who's been getting attention lately for his energetic, soaring cover songs like Frozen's "Let It Go" and Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball," but since those songs aren't about teenagers with attitude fighting monsters in a giant robot, I'm comfortable in declaring that nobody cares about them. This, however, is fantastic -- and considering that he sings every song from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers all the way up to Power Rangers Super Megaforce in one continuous shot, it's actually really impressive, too. Check out the full video below!
Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a comic book masterpiece. It's one of my all-time favorite stories, a tribute to one of the all-time greats, Carl Barks, by a guy who isn't too far shy of that title himself. Expertly researched and threaded through an existing continuity in a way that's still incredibly accessible to readers. And yet, every time I read it, I find myself thinking "wouldn't this be better if it was told through the timeless medium of Finnish prog rock?"
Okay, well, no, I actually don't think that, but apparently Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist and songwriter for Finland's own NIGHTWISH, did, and now it has become a reality. The Life and Times of Scrooge, a 10-song album of symphonic rock inspired by the adventures of everyone's capitalist duck, is coming, and it's got a cover by Rosa himself. Check out the video below!
We've seen some officially superheroic album covers over the years, but German artist Uwe de Witt answers the question: What if every musician lived in a comic book universe? ComicsAlliance and Ultimate Classic Rock have teamed up to feature de Witt's clever album cover parodies, which inject Marvel, DC and other characters into both classic and contemporary imagery popularized by The Beatles, Metallica, Lady Gaga, Pink Floyd and more. You can get a look at a few of our favorites after the jump before hitting Ultimate Classic Rock for another solid selection.
Over the past 20 years, the music of Batman: The Animated Series, composed by a team led by the amazing Shirley Walker, has been praised to the high heavens. There's a good reason for that, too, since it's basically amazing, but one of the side effects is that it's overshadowed the music of Warner Bros Animation's other shows based on the DC Comics supheroes. Now, two of them are finally getting their due in the form of a special edition release from La-La Land Records.
Released this week, the four-disc soundtrack album for the classic 1990s Superman: The Animated Seriesand a two-disc set for contemporary favorite Batman: The Brave and the Bold are now shipping from La-La Land, with selections from the best episodes of each series, comprising hours of audio alongside in-depth liner notes.
Here's something weird for you: Miley Cyrus and John Kricfalusi, the animator and Ren & Stimpy creator often goes by John K., are pals. They apparently met a while back over a dinner in which Kricfalusi drew stuff for her for more than two hours.
Now, Kricfalusi is serving as a vaguely defined artistic director for Cyrus' tour in support of her album Bangerz, which starts up next month. I told you it was weird.
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