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the wicked and the divine

The Queer + The Divine: How ‘WicDiv’ Gets LGBTQ Diversity Right [Pride Week]

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Queer characters in comics have had a slow burn. There are more LGBTQ characters appearing in comics narratives than ever before, but there’s still room for improvement, and rather than being content just to see queer characters represented at all, readers want to see series that explore a range of LGBTQ identities and stories.

The Wicked and The Divine by Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles is one of the best representations of the queer community in comics. The characters are complex, multi-tiered, sexual --- and even permitted to be strange and disturbing. Near half of the WicDiv casts falls under the LGBTQ umbrella, yet they're all fiercely differentiated from each other. (Note: This article contains spoilers for the series.)

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20 Great Black Comic Book Characters

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It's no secret that white male leads have dominated comic books since --- well forever. In the '60s, Marvel and DC finally started to put a change to that with the addition of super-powered people of color, which led to some of today's biggest names in comics. But it still wasn't enough. Eventually the lack of diversity led to the onset of Milestone Media in the '90s, where Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle crafted several intriguing characters. With an increasingly active black nerd, or blerd, community, new black characters are being created every day --- primarily through independent publishers, though Marvel has also kickstarted a focus on one of its most notable black characters --- but more on that later.

To celebrate Black History Month, ComicsAlliance is running down our list of 20 Great Black Comic Book Characters. Our list considers old staples as well as some new favorites, including a certain katana wielding badass, space explorers and of course, plenty of superheroes.

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The Bleakness + The Delight in ‘Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl’

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Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are probably now best known for their Image series The Wicked + The Divine, set in a world where popstars are gods. Their other Image sieres, Phonogram, is set in a world where music is magic. The two books have a similar premise, and deal with some of the same ideas and themes, but they attack them from completely different angles.

While The Wicked + The Divine is about making art, Phonogram is about consuming it. The former is about being young and deciding to give up your life to music, but Phonogram – and The Immaterial Girl in particular – is about living with the consequences of that deal. Not burning out in your early twenties, but fading away into middle age, with a great record collection instead of a family.

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‘WicDiv’, ‘Midnighter’, ‘Lumberjanes’ Among 2016 GLAAD Award Nominees

Carolyn Nowak, Lumberjanes
Carolyn Nowak, Lumberjanes

GLAAD, the advocacy group that monitors lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender representation in the media, has announced the 2016 nominees for its annual Media Awards celebrating positive LGBT representation, including five comic book series that provided outstanding examples of fair, inclusive, original and impactful LGBT characters in 2015.

Four publishers are recognized this year; DC leads with two nominees, Harley Quinn and Midnighter. Marvel's sole nominee is Angela, Queen of Hel, while Boom's Lumberjanes and Image's The Wicked And The Divine complete the list. For the first time, the GLAAD website lists the artists for the books rather than just crediting the writers.

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Best Cosplay Ever (This Week): Power Rangers, Amaterasu, Storm, Steven Universe and More

Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions.

In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.

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On The Cheap: Humble Bundle Offers Up ‘The Wicked + The Divine,’ ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ And More For $15

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The Humble Bundle's biweekly book sales have become a bit of a risky proposition for people on the lookout for cheap comics. On the one hand, you can get a whole bunch of stuff for whatever price you want to pay, with more content unlocked at a still-pretty-low price of $15, and you get to support a charity while you're at it. On the other hand, sometimes you end up reading a bunch of Transformers comics for the next six months.

Really, though, it's almost always worth looking into, and the bundle that launched this week is no exception. The theme is comics based on music, and for $15, you can grab the first volume of The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram, Nowhere Men, Hip Hop Family Tree, and more.

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Break Out the Glitter: It’s Utter Pandemonium in the New ‘The Wicked + The Divine’ Book Trailer

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The second volume of The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s cult hit comic about a pantheon of pop stars, will hit shelves on July 1st compliments of publisher Image Comics, and ComicsAlliance is pleased to have an exclusive first look at the trailer that ushers its way into the mortal world. The title of the volume, which collects issues #6-11 of the series, shows off writer Gillen’s well-known penchant for puns: Fandemonium. (Volume 1, which centered on Lucifer, was The Faust Act.)

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Best Cosplay Ever (This Week): HeroesCon 2015 Edition

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As readers will know from our weekly Best Cosplay Ever feature, we’re big fans of cosplay at ComicsAlliance. The comics, sci-fi, gaming, and fantasy communities have proved time and again their exceptional talents for homemade disguises and superheroic sartorial excellence, and all of their craft and skill will be on display this weekend at HeroesCon. Our chief cosplay correspondent Betty Felon is on hand to document as much of it as she can.

Scroll down for some of the very finest cosplay from HeroesCon!

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Why ‘The Wicked And The Divine’ is Worth Losing Your Head Over

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Fandemonium, the second arc of The Wicked + The Divine, is the work of creators at the top of their games. Jamie McKelvie gets more room than ever to showcase costume designs that tell you everything you need to know about a character at a glance, and expressive facial acting that tells you everything else. Kieron Gillen writes dialogue packed with wordplay and puns – and if they don't make you groan, the plot's gut punches will. Clayton Cowles' letters grant each god a distinct visual voice to match the way they're written and drawn, and Matt Wilson's colors add unique pyrotechnics, at one point reinventing his style between pages to create a convincing drug trip.

The sheer talent on display in these pages is enough to make you jealous and, if you haven't read previous Gillen/McKelvie collaborations Phonogram and Young Avengers, you might wonder where this team got their powers. What makes The Wicked + The Divine especially interesting is that this is exactly what the comic is about.

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Comics Alliance Presents ‘Kate or Die’ in ‘Made For TV!’

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ComicsAlliance Presents “Kate or Die,” a series of exclusive comic strips created by one of our favorite cartoonists, Kate Leth! In this episode, with the news that The Wicked And The Divine is going to be adapted for TV, Kate reflects on what might be next in TV's gold rush for awesome comic book properties.

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