I've regularly been impressed with Kieron Gillen's scripts that stretch artwork in comics into more and more pages, extending the reader experience without extending the cost, and time, of creating accompanying comic book artwork. Whether that's making every other panel the beat of a number, throwing in blank pages with speech balloons t carry the conversation through or using those big single title pages that have been so popular across Marvel Comics of late. An artistic choice, certainly, but also a commercial one.
Which is where The Wicked + The Divine came in this week. I'm not exactly how much time it will have saved. But it is a remarkable achievement, with Jamie McKelvie drawing the new Phonogram series, for him to get another issue of the series out with his name on the artist credit. And all power to Matthew Wilson, for his rejigged colour that helps giving the whole thing some kind of a cohesiveness.
Because almost every image in this issue, aside (I think) from the beginning and end is a repurposed image from another issue of the series drawn by Jamie. It is a complete mash-up of itself.
Thematically, the comic reinterprets many scenes that we have already seen in a new context, retconning the reader's mind, if not the creators.
The knocking back of black lines into colour, and the variance of colour from repeated image to repeated image gives the impression of block printing, the kind that Andy Warhol, that most famous remixer of all, after William Shakespeare, made his signature.
Something I guess Kieron and Jamie pay have done when creating the damn thing. And preparing for a new way to do a clips episode for the upcoming TV adaptation?
It's not the first time this kind of thing has been attempted. There was the adaptation of Ulysses entirely using Jack Kirby swipes. There were the issues of Supreme created using cut and pastes from Chris Sprouse's previous issues after he left the book. But this they actually did on purpose. And it really works.
We'll talk about that ending another time…
The Wicked + The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, published this week from Image Comics.