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Where Are Superhero Comics’ Big Name Bisexual Characters?

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It's Celebrate Bisexuality Day today, also called Bisexual Visibility Day -- a day to celebrate and promote recognition of those who are sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The day exists because people with non-monosexual queer identities face unusual challenges in being recognized by both mainstream and queer cultures, yet visibility helps break down barriers and encourage acceptance.

In superhero comics, the problem of bisexual invisibility is as ingrained as anywhere; the medium struggles to acknowledge the existence of anything that didn't exist in The Honeymooners or The Andy Griffith Show, unless it's a space god, a shapeshifter, or a parasitic psychic monster. Having a character say, "I'm bisexual" is apparently more implausible than any of those things. There are signs that the industry is changing in this regard -- but slowly, and rather half-heartedly.

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I, Vader: Kieron Gillen & Salvador Larroca Talk ‘Star Wars: Darth Vader’ [Interview]

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Few in the Star Wars universe are more enigmatic, more revered, or more quoted than Darth Vader. And yet, despite being introduced to Vader's conflicted adolescence and troubled past in George Lucas' most recent film trilogy, we are still not fully aware of who the galaxy's most sinister villain really is beneath that obsidian faceplate. Sure, some of us root for the rebels. Some align with the Empire. But we all, without a doubt, want to peek under the mask of the most interesting villain in the universe; especially during that mysterious time between the first Death Star's destruction and The Empire Strikes Back.

Now we finally get more pieces of the personality puzzle with a story taking place during a time when Vader's vengeful thirst for power solidifies. It's a period explored before in various Expanded Universe stories, but never before by Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine) and Salvador Larroca (Invincible Iron Man, Uncanny Avengers). Their new ongoing series, Star Wars: Darth Vader, is one of three new series announced by Marvel at Comic-Con International in San Diego over the weekend, the first since Marvel acquired the Star Wars comic book license as a consequence of Lucasfilm's acquisition with Marvel parent Disney.

We spoke to the creative team, cover artist about the psychology of sci-fi's most famous villain and what to expect from the new ongoing series.

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Force Works: Marvel Announces Three New Star Wars Titles From All-Star Creative Teams

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The Cup O' Joe panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday featured one of the biggest announcements of the weekend as Marvel unveiled the creative teams for its first three all-new Star Wars comics. The new books have been hotly anticipated since plans for Marvel Star Wars books were first announced back in January.

Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca will team for a Darth Vader ongoing series; Mark Waid and Terry Dodson will author a five-issue Princess Leia mini series; and Jason Aaron and John Cassaday have been named as the creative team for a Star Wars ongoing series. The three series will launch through the first quarter of 2015.

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‘Angela: Asgard’s Assassin’ Creators On The Scariest Woman In The Galaxy [Interview]

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Marvel is committing fully to Angela with the character's first ongoing series, Angela: Asgard's Assassin, which comes with yet more surprises. It's a solo title starring a female lead, which of course is still rare in American superhero comics, and it's also drawn by Phil Jimenez, whose long association with certain amazon princesses and other distinctly powerful women characters sends a very loud and clear message about Marvel's intentions for Angela.

Joining Jimenez is writer Kieron Gillen, himself one of Marvle's most acclaimed Asgardian scholars, if you will, having done very well regarded runs on Journey Into Mystery and Thor. Also writing Angela is Marguerite Bennett, who's penned numerous books for DC and other publishers, but who this year landed two ongoings in the form of Angela and the recently announced Sleepy Hollow. As part of the book's unique "stories-within-stories" structure that you'll read about below, Bennett will collaborate with noted cover artist and illustrator Stephanie Hans, who's making a relatively rare visit to the realm of sequential storytelling to help make Angela that much more distinct.

ComicsAlliance spoke with all four creators and series editor Wil Moss about the endlessly impressive surprise that is Angela.

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Angela Stars In New Ongoing Series From Gillen, Bennett, Jimenez And Hans

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Asgard already boasts an unlikely agent in the form of young trickster god Loki. Now it has an unlikely assassin as well, as Loki's sis from another exis(tence), Angela, gets her own solo title this November, Angela: Asgard's Assassin.

The new series by writers Kieron Gillen and Margeurite Bennett and artists Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans was announced at the Avengers NOW panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday -- the same panel where Al Ewing and Luke Ross's Captain America And The Mighty Avengers was unveiled.

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Comics Unmasked: UK Comics’ Rebel Edge At The British Library

Photograph by Tony Antoniou, courtesy of the British Library.
Photograph by Tony Antoniou, courtesy of the British Library.

Comics have seized center stage at the venerable British Library in London this summer in an exhibition celebrating the history of British comics and the work of British creators. Subtitled, 'Art and Anarchy in the UK', the Comics Unmasked exhibition places an emphasis on protest, outsider culture, and anti-authoritarian voices.

Curated by Adrian Edwards, Paul Gravett, and John Harris Dunning, Comics Unmasked draws heavily on the British Library's own collection to establish and define Britain's relationship to the comics art form -- stirring up nostalgia, scandal, and some surprising discoveries along the way. And Kieron Gillen's giant head.

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Original Spin 5: Going Commando [Marvel Original Sin Recap]

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Inexplicably cleared in the phone hacking scandal, ComicsAlliance is back with the fifth installment of Original Spin, the only Original Sin recap that... exists, maybe? We don't know! We haven't done any research. That's what makes us a name you can trust.

The Watcher is dead. Nick Fury is also dead. A bunch of disparate heroes spent four issues wandering around crime scenes before discovering they're maybe all working for Nick Fury, who isn't dead, and was maybe responsible for all those crime scenes, so.. what? The Watcher probably also won't be dead, eventually. That's the story so far. With issue #5... that's... still the story, because nothing really happened. But here's a recap anyway!

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‘The Wicked + The Divine’ #2 Variant Cover Gazes A Gazely Stare

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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.

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Oh Snap! The Godlike Genius of ‘The Wicked + The Divine’

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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.

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The Wicked + The Divine: The Entire Creative Team Talks Story, Art, Design, Color, Letters + Music [Interview]

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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.

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