Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wicked, Divine, What?

Beautiful ain't it?

While I read The Wicked + The Divine, all I can think about are the colours. The colours and the pretty pictures and oh my god they're dead! I've yet to read a more effective roller coaster, especially when we know that all of the characters we're growing attached to are going to die within a couple years.

I leave the spoilers out of it though. They're the best part.


You thought I was talking about the art, eh?

Well, I am.

Check out these page layouts. Seriously. I'll admit I'm somewhat cheating here - I'm using material from all over the place, I'm talking about a million things, and I'm fragmenting my point. But hey, so does The Wicked + The Divine. I'd give credit to the writer, Kieron Gillen, or artist Jamie McKelvie, or even Matthew Wilson, the colourist, but to be honest, I have no idea how they actually derived the form of the narrative here. Did Gillen come up with the basic storyboard that was then adapted by everyone else? Was it McKelvie that adapted prose to segmented panels? Was it Hannah Donovan, who is credited as the designer? These fragmented jobs at the creation level truly mess with my head, since I have no idea who really is conveying the story to me, who the person is that is telling me the story.

In any case, whoever came up with some of these page layouts seems, to me, to be pretty clever. This series knows how to create an impact. Again, I'm going to skimp on the spoils, but if anyone can explain this to me, I'll be eternally grateful.

I mean, I get that it's about the incoming rhythm. The beat goes on, et cetera, et cetera. But sometimes The Wicked + The Divine just loses me. Not in terms of my investment, oh no! I love the series. But when I come to moments like this one, I feel that I'm missing some kind of message. I always feel that I'm victim to narrative misdirection, that if I look deeper at the symbols on the page, I can unlock their meaning. And yet, my expectations are routinely denied, my anticipation totally off. And yet, it's also on.

This is what Dr. Jacobs refers to when he talks about the development of multimodal literacy. Clearly, my limited experience is keeping me from truly understanding and anticipating and reading between the lines, keeping me from seeing connections in the invisible web of narrative. Perhaps someone better steeped in closely reading comics can tell me what's going on.

Either that or a lot of the style is nearly nonsensical where the meaning is simple and is meant to be digested subconsciously to give us the illusion of experience.

That's some next level s*** right there.

Stephen St. Louis

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