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.
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.
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).
Three, the new miniseries from Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly and Jordie Bellaire, was first conceived when, after flipping through the pages of Frank Miller's 300 one night,Gillen had a bit of an angry realization. Miller's popular graphic novel presents the famed warriors of Sparta in a wholly positive, heroic light. Portraying the Spartans purely as heroes, defiant in the face of oppression and persecution while declaring themselves "The only free men the world has ever known," ignores one crucial detail that Gillen screamed into his copy of 300 that fateful night: Spartan warriors hunted slaves. And from this realization, Three was born. While it may not be a total repudiation of Miller's comic, it certainly presents the other side of the story, as readers witness three Helot workers attempt to escape the savage brutality of 300 of the most revered warriors in history.
The end of the first issue revealed the beginning of a mass slaughter. In issue #2, three survivors of the carnage race toward the free city of Messene, with 300 warriors on the their heels. Image Comics has provided ComicsAlliance with a six page preview of the issue, which you can view below.
Over the past year, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton's Young Avengershas been one of the most consistently enjoyable comics on the stands. The thrilling, completely unsubtle adventures that take teenage problems and blow them up into world-threatening monsters have revived Marvel's teenage heroes and put them back to the forefront in a way that fits perfectly with their position that universe.
At New York Comic-Con, I spoke to Gilllen about the first year of the comic, his approach to capturing the feeling of being a teenager, and, of course, those first four drumbeats of "Be My Baby."
The last issue of Young Avengers in 2013 and the first in 2014 tell a two-part story of a single night at a party - a chance to blow off steam after the trials and tribulations ahead. What makes the story really exciting is its guest artists, including Becky Cloonan, Joe Quinones, Ming Doyle, Christian Ward and Emma Vieceli. ComicsAlliance spoke to Kieron Gillen to find out more about the story, and what readers have to look forward to in the meantime.
What you're seeing here for the first time is the cover of Three #1, the first chapter in a new miniseries written by Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, Young Avengers) and drawn by Ryan Kelly (Saucer County, Local) that takes a much different, more historically accurate look at the violent world of ancient Sparta and the legendary 300 warriors than we've seen in some other comic books of note. Specifically, Gillen and Kelly's Three undermines the notion of Sparta as a free and heroic society -- as dramatized by Frank Miller in his celebrated graphic novel 300 and its hugely popular film adaptation -- by telling the story of three slaves on the run for their lives.
We at ComicsAlliance have never been shy about our love for Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's excellent indie Phonogram. We named The Singles Club the fifth-best comic of 2010, broke the story about Phonogram's end, and wondered hopefully at the teasing implications of a return. When The Immaterial Girl was announced in 2012, we celebrated, and when we heard it was pushed back to 2013, we were a little crestfallen. But when it was announced that Gillen and McKelvie would be the creative team on the relaunch of Young Avengers, we figured we could probably wait a little longer. We were right. Five issues in, the creative team has made Young Avengers one of the most exciting and experimental books on the stands, and one of the few comics about youth that actually captures the energy and potential of it.
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