Monday, 21 September 2015

Worshipping The Wicked + The Divine #14

Or breaking down the comic remix in WicDiv #14 
by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles, and Dee Cunniffe; Image Comics

WicDiv #14 is formally a very interesting comic book. I'd like to talk about why. 

There will, as always, be *SPOILERS* for WicDiv #14 below.

WicDiv #14 is, to a certain extent, a flashback comic. It recontextualizes numerous events in the comic from the perspective of Woden, who beyond being a creepy enigma, Knows Some Things. Like a lot of flashback comics, WicDiv #14 takes advantage of existent panels and artwork to show memories. It's an expedient choice because it let's the comic replay the events exactly as we all remember them and because it makes sense not to unnecessarily spend time redrawing events. What makes WicDiv #14 interesting is that it constructs the entire issue, including current and unseen events almost entirely out of recycled artwork.

WicDiv #14 is interesting in that it repurposes artwork from previous issues to construct entirely new comics. Given no other information, this discussion above looks and feels like entirely native content, that it's a brand new sequence custom drawn to deliver a pitch perfect sequence. Kind of incredibly, everyone panel on this page is lifted, without major alteration from an earlier issue of WicDiv. It's pretty cool stuff.

WicDiv #14 takes the experiment further by building new comics out of not only its own past, but also from depictions of its characters from other comics. Specifically, WicDiv #14 also uses artwork clipped from Sex Criminals (by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky), which contained the WicDiv porn parody, 'The Lick-ed and the Divine". Beyond being a fun little meta-circle jerk, this choice really advances the question about remix culture and comics: if you have the vector artwork of digital pencils (or a vectorized scan), just how much comic can you build using recycled artwork? If you make it seamless enough, like WicDiv #14, is using reused artwork markedly worse or lesser than new artwork? And, as a creator, can you use recycled artwork to increase the length or speed you create comics without compromising comics? WicDiv #14 is an intriguing story, but as a critical experiment, I think it really opens an interesting discourse on the nature of comics.

WicDiv #1 and popart head-splosions
WicDiv #2 and the use of black-space
WicDiv #3 and character design

WicDiv #4 and body language 

WicDiv#5 and facial acting

WicDiv #6 and possessions as character
WicDiv #7 and the power of lettering
WicDiv #8 and the disorienting layout
WicDiv #9 and the economics of design

WicDiv #10 and powers as character design

WicDiv #11 and stretching the moment

WicDiv #12 and layout encoding

WicDiv #13 and retroactive narratives

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