We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.
One of the most discussed news items from last month's Comic-Con International was the first look at Wonder Woman as she will appear in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the new DC Entertainment film by Zack Snyder. Played by Gal Gadot, this will be the first cinematic appearance of William Moulton Marston's Amazonian princess and feminist icon in her nearly 75-year history, and naturally fans have had a lot to say about the portrait debuted in San Diego. In reaction to the image, members of the ComicsAlliance staff assembled to discuss and critique Gadot's costume, depictions of super-women on film, and the current state of superheroine fashion in general.
Today's participants include CA's superheroic sartorialist Betty Felon; clinical psychologist and Arkham Sessions co-host Dr. Andrea Letamendi; comic book editor Janelle Asselin; journalist Juliet Kahn; comics writer/artist Kate Leth; and blogger/vlogger Angelina L.B. aka ALB, who makes her CA debut in this in-depth analysis. Join us for our roundtable discussion on Wonder Woman's newest live-action steez, high heels, and the balance between practicality/realism and style in superheroine costume design.
Because you're young you may not realize the latest Wicked + Divine variant cover is a particularly cheeky reference to a 1976 mugshot of David Bowie, himself a major inspiration on the Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie series about ancient gods reincarnated as glamorous pop stars. But hang on to yourself; the only way to get ahold of this conversation piece is to buy it from Beach Ball and Corner Store Comics in California.
The mark of a great pop song is not just that it's a pleasure to hear and hear again, but that it rewards struggling with it. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have been conflating pop music and comics since they first collaborated on Phonogram ten years ago; Gillen's described the central conceit of their new series The Wicked + The Divine as "gods as pop stars, and pop stars as gods." That's a good way of describing the story itself -- but the comic is also about presenting Gillen and McKelvie as pop stars, and as pop mechanics. It's the product of a decade spent working out what makes comics click, and how to make them speak to a mass audience.
I've been fortunate enough to read the first two issues of The Wicked + The Divine; they're marvelous, a little bit maddening, and thoroughly worth wrestling with.
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.
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.
Described by writer Kieron Gillen as “a superhero comic for anyone who loves Bowie as much as Batman,” The Wicked & The Divine launches this June from Image Comics. To encourage retailers to pre-order the first issue, this month's edition of Diamond Comic Distributor's Previews catalog comes with an exclusive two-page strip introducing the stylish and esoteric new series drawn by Jamie McKelvie.
The comic-book analysts at Atoll Comics have you covered. Their first of three infographics about the series lays out all the details of just which character was in which place as the series progressed.
Described writer Kieron Gillen as "a superhero comic for anyone who loves Bowie as much as Batman," The Wicked & The Divine launches this June from Image Comics. The first issue will come with two covers by series artist and co-creator Jamie McKelvie and colorist Matt Wilson that succinctly and spectacularly express the core relationship of the story, that of the goddess Luci(fer) and her devotee Laura, who wishes to make the move from fan-to-pro, as it were. Both covers are now available as high quality, limited edition giclee prints directly from the artist.
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
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