The Pitch: The Wicked + The Divine

OMG MY FIRST BLOG POST!!

Hey reader!  Welcome to Sparkly Rainbow Nerd!  

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One of my friends designed this logo for me.  I regret nothing.

So for my first post, I thought I’d start with something that might become a regular feature on this blog, depending on how I end up feeling about it.  Since I basically started this thing to sing the praises of media I love, I decided: Hey, why not literally just give a a shout-out to something I really, really like that people might not know about?  And thus, The Pitch was born.

Here’s how I see these Pitch things working out.

  1. I pick a piece of media I love, preferably something that I’m actively loving at the moment (but I may dip into my archived “Once Upon a Love” folders as well), and preferably something that’s not super mainstream.  I probably won’t, for instance, do a Pitch column on an Avengers flick or new big-budget Star Wars game because, well, any person who’s even a little nerdy knows what those are.
  2. I give you the basic set-up.  What is it?  Why should you care?
  3. I tell you why I’m so in love with it: what’s special about it, what is it doing well, why should more people be paying attention to it?
  4. And lastly, I’ll tell you how you can get your hands on it.  Legally.  I’m not about to get sued here, people.

Oh, I’ll also be avoiding spoilers like the plague.  I want to encourage you to experience these stories, not ruin them for you.

Well, that’s the dish on The Pitch.  Let’s get started, shall we?

The Pitch #1: The Wicked + The Divine

What is it?

When people think about comic books, most of the time they think about buff men in tights slapping each other around.  You know, the hero vs. villain stuff that’s been around since time immemorial.  And don’t get me wrong, I looooove me some peeps in tights slapping each other around.  But comics are about so much more than that these days; they’ve become an incredibly fertile medium for storytellers to create original worlds, some of which are nothing short of breathtaking.  Case in point: The Wicked + The Divine.

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The Wicked + The Divine, or WicDiv, as fans like to call it, is a comic written by Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie.  It’s a gorgeous book about a world where…oh, I’ll just give you their tagline.

“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.  It’s happening now.  It’s happening again.”

I kid you not, the first time I read that, it sent shivers down my spine.  Anyway, like that delicious bit of prose says, twelve young people become gods.  And these are gods from every culture, mind you.  Amaterasu of Shinto myth, the Roman goddess Minerva, the Celtic Morrigan, they run the gamut.  And in a brilliant bit of world building that grounds this story very, very firmly in today’s world, these gods and goddesses aren’t just all-powerful beings to be admired in temples.  They’re pop stars.

Amaterasu

The story follows Laura, a young, god-obsessed girl who longs to be special, longs to escape the crushing feeling of being ordinary in a world where some are so extraordinary.  She follows these gods near-obsessively, reading their every update on social media and spending every penny she has on their concerts.  Essentially, she’s a huge fangirl.  A fangirl who wants so badly to be a part of this world, it’s a little heartbreaking.  Who among us can’t relate?

Laura WicDiv

The thing is, in this world, the god-like celebrities Laura admires are actually gods with incredible powers, and when she gets a firsthand peek into their world, it ends up being a bit more than she bargained for…

So what?

A looot of media suffers from the fatal combo of great (!!!) concept coupled with poor execution.  You know what I mean.  A great idea that makes you say, wow, that sounds cool!  Then you get the final product and watch as that exciting idea fizzles out into something utterly mediocre.  Have you seen Jupiter Ascending?  Classic case.  I find situations like this particularly disappointing because, often, you can see the remnants of the greatness that might have been.  Maybe it’s a fantastic opening, or moments of brilliance peppered throughout a clunky narrative.  Not so with WicDiv.  Not at all.

From the very beginning, Gillen and McKelvie don’t rest on the laurels of their admittedly excellent premise.  On the contrary, this book is devoted to telling a very specific, always engaging story.  What’s notable here is that this is a story that’s executed with almost pinpoint precision.  You get the sense that the people running the show know exactly how they want to make you feel at any given moment, on any given page, which is especially remarkable given the breakneck pace of the series.  And oh, the things you will feel.  More than once I gasped at what I seeing in front of me, or laughed at a particularly juicy quip of the sort that Gillen seems able to manufacture at lightspeed.  There’s an emotional intensity here that’s hard to find, whatever the medium.  Make no mistake, this is a rollercoaster of a story, and I have enjoyed every moment of the ride.

The care the creators have poured into their world is evident in almost every facet of it. The lore is engrossing, and the steady drip at which new information is revealed to you is agonizing because it always leaves you wanting more. The characters are rich and foul-mouthed and sexy as hell, each with their own voice.  Lucifer is a particular standout.

Luci Wic

Yes, that’s the devil, yes, she’s a she, and yes, she wears a killer white suit.  WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR.

And have I mentioned the fact that this book is SO

Amaterasu Singing

DAMN

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BEAUTIFUL?!?

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But this book is also so damn smart and so damn inclusive.  There are SO many gay (I’m using it as an umbrella term, because “queer” has never really sat right with me) characters that I’ve lost count, there’s a fantastic trans character who is treated with so much respect that literally almost every other piece of media should take note, and the book is stuffed full of characters of color.  And it’s not just cosmetic diversity, either.  The book takes the time to grapple with questions like: “What does it mean for a white woman to claim the identity of a Shinto goddess?”  Just delicious stuff.

But the intelligence of this book doesn’t stop there.  The creators of this baby clearly love pop culture and music, and they have a seemingly endless number of things to say about the two.  They make countless allegories between the gods in their book and the way we consume contemporary pop culture, and those are only the ones I understand.  The writer is clever AF, and he doesn’t let you forget it.  I’ve re-read issues and discovered new things every time.  I love that in my media, and if you do too, you can’t afford to sleep on WicDiv.  It’s a weird, sexy, hilarious, brilliant, GORGEOUS comic, and more people should be reading it.

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Plus, with memes like this, you know it just HAS to be good.

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Where can I get it?

So, have I convinced you?  Want to get your hands on a copy right now?  Well you should!  Here’s how you can make that happen:

WicDiv is an ongoing monthly series, which means that a new, floppy issue gets released every month.  These are the single issues that you can find at your local comic shop, or order online.  Issue #28 just came out, and you can read more about how to get individual issues here.

You can also order trade paperbacks, which are sturdier collected editions of multiple issues, on sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or pick up a copy wherever you buy books/graphic novels.  Here’s a link to the first volume, which has the first 5 issues, on Amazon.

Or, if you like to get your comics digitally, here’s a link to Comixology.

I am so, so, incredibly in love with this series, and I hope a few of you who read this take the plunge, pick it up, and like it as much as I do.  It’s really something special.  And now, a word from Lucifer:

Luci 2 Wic

 

 

 

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