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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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Kieron Gillen Explains How To Pre-Order ‘The Wicked & The Divine’ (Or Any Comic), Fumetti Style

A Guide To Preordering Comics Kieron Gillen

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?

Gillen's got you covered.

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Kieron Gillen’s Unused ‘Dazzler’ Pitch Is The Kieron Gillenest Kieron Gillen To Ever Kieron Gillen

Dazzler (Left), Kieron Gillen (Right)

You probably don't know this since he keeps it pretty quiet, but Kieron Gillen, the writer of Young Avengers, Iron Man and The Wicked + The Divine, is a pretty big fan of pop music. I know, I was surprised too, since it almost never comes up. But, back when he and artist Jamie McKelvie were working on the first volume of Phonogram, the word got out and Gillen was apparently asked to pitch a story starring Marvel's very own mutant pop star superhero, Dazzler!

The story was never picked up, likely owing to it being a Dazzler story about the Inhumans and the Celestials, but today, Gillen posted his full pitch on his Tumblr, and, as you might expect if you're familiar with Gillen's comics, it's actually pretty awesome.

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Gillen & McKelvie Preview ‘The Wicked & The Divine’ In Two-Page ‘Trailer’

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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.

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Infographic Documents The Complexities Of Gillen, McKelvie And Wilson’s ‘Phonogram: The Singles Club’

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Writer Kieron Gillen, artist Jamie McKelvie and colorist/my nemesis Matthew Wilson have a third volume of their hit image series about music, magic and demons series Phonogram coming later this year, but what if you're still trying to make sense of the second volume, The Singles Club?

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.

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Wicked & The Divine’ #1 Covers By Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson

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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.

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Noh-Varr No More: Saying Goodbye To Marvel’s First Male Pin-Up

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Young Avengers has gone away again. It's a state of affairs that fans of the book are used to. Series writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie have set off to create a new book about super-teens, The Wicked & The Divine, and Young Avengers fans are left hoping someone else will pick up the baton.

Pending any announcements this convention season, that means a lot of fan favorite characters now go back into mothballs, including Marvel's premier gay teen couple, Wiccan and Hulkling, and breakout fashion icon Miss America. But the one I'll miss the most? Marvel's first male pin-up; Marvel Boy.

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Exclusive: Gillen & McKelvie Announce New Image Series, ‘The Wicked & The Divine’ [Interview]

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Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have just completed a successful year-long 15-issue run on Young Avengers. The widespread expectation was that their next collaboration would be "The Immaterial Girl," the already announced third volume of their music-is-magic series Phonogram. It turns out they had a surprise up their sleeve.

Live on stage at Image Expo in San Francisco, publisher Eric Stephenson just announced a new ongoing Image series from Gillen and McKelvie titled The Wicked & The Divine. This is a story about gods, teenagers, life, death, and David Bowie. We spoke exclusively to Kieron Gillen to find out more.

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Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week): Jamie McKelvie, David Lasky

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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 all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).

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