For those out of the loop, THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE is an amazing series created by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie. It’s a pop culture-themed story that features a pantheon of gods who inhabit mortal forms on Earth to be worshiped as celebrities. From the initial glance one would assume its sole intention is to provide social commentary on fanatic celebration of celebrities, but it gets far crazier than that. After a set period of time, the Gods must die in order to let a new collection take their place. However, not everyone is too keen on this tradition. Tension rises and a war erupts between members of the Pantheon, with our human protagonist Laura, an avid groupie, smack dab in the middle. THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE is a wicked series with some divine art and deserves to be another hit series on Netflix.

Starting in 2015, Netflix has has added multiple new shows adapted from comics to its lineup: DAREDEVIL, JESSICA JONES, and LUKE CAGE. In the coming years, IRON FIST and THE DEFENDERS should be added to their ranks. Each show has been able to give us thrilling adventures while providing social commentary. With ample amounts of time, production value, and eager creative teams, Netflix has been able to bring these shows to life, and THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE would be at home in their lineup. This comic is alive, aware of the world, and has a lot to say about our culture, which it expresses though its aesthetic design, empathetic connection to readers, and its diversity.

READ: Need more proof this series is worth adapting? Here are six more reasons to read THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE!

1.Aesthetic Design 

McKelvie’s artistic design is more than deserving of recognition. Each issue’s cover is just begging to be a poster. It’s due to the heavy aesthetic influence of music and pop-culture that some panels look like they’re ripped straight out of a music video. For example, the palettes used tend to incorporate neon colors attributed to the ’80s. Neon pink and turquoise are paired, simulating extreme shading and depth. The very nature of such colors is to be vivid, vibrant, and captivating. It’s then intensified by a good use of ambient lighting.

Coupled with the intensity of the ’80s color is the God’s glamorized sense of style. The characters make a statement with what they wear. From zebra-print jackets to the most elaborate mascara, what they wear states who they are, what they stand for, and why they are fabulous. A prime character for example is Lucifer. While on the simple side, her white suit is somehow rebellious. She’s wild, chaotic, and indulges her carnal desires yet looks sophisticated when doing so. Her formal attire somewhat contradicts her unbridled nature. Unhindered by others’ conventions, she proves that to be free does not compromise one’s character. One shouldn’t feel that their natural urges are a bad thing. In a way, she resembles David Bowie, an unrestricted individual who challenged conventions to remind us to be ourselves. In both a superficial and profound way, the aesthetic of the comic stimulates one’s interest and curiosity of pop culture.

 

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THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE COVERS

Some settings are surreal while others are simplistic yet glamorous. My guesses for major influences on the design would be from music videos of Prince, Daft Punk, and Drake. Such impeccable color and staging help define the comic; it helps it make a statement. the same way music videos capture culture, the aesthetic of THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE is a visual representation of today’s culture. It’s important that whomever is chosen to direct the series be capable of mirroring these visuals. Speaking of directors, Nicolas Winding Refn should be a primary candidate. His work includes films with hyper-stylized imagery that’s akin to THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE. Films such as DRIVE and NEON DEMON are just a taste of the surreal color that Refn would have to offer.

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DRIVE MOVIE POSTER

2. Empathy

Gillen has written multiple empathetic characters throughout THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, but the jewel of the bunch is Laura. Like every teen, she wants to be her idols. She wants to be popular and unique yet stumbles on her faults. Her emotions constantly fluctuate, and she barely understands them half the time. She’s unsure if she’s ever in the moral right and sometimes doesn’t care. She’s fallible and empathetic, and that’s why she’s such a good character.

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THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE

Unlike other prominent young female leads, Laura is a uniquely generic teen. In contrast, we’ve had THE HUNGER GAMES present us the unwavering Girl on Fire. TWILIGHT gave us the dramatically involved Bella and DIVERGENT gave us the trend-setting Beatrice. While independent and strong, they’re all so unrelatable. Each one of them is a character with two defining attributes, at best, who falls hopelessly in love and accomplishes the impossible because the author says so. While it’s great that there are more strong female characters, the films don’t portray a real girl. THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE gives us a real girl; it gives us a tangible protagonist. Because Laura behaves like a real person, people will want to watch her story and root for her, which is all the more reason to put it on screen.

3. Diversity 

Gillen makes an adamant point of accurately representing the spectrums of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. While the comic’s other aspects are significant, most of what Gillen has to say is expressed by how he depicts diversity. There are characters of all shades, sexes, and sizes that aren’t isolated for such qualities; they are all treated equally as a part of the social norm. While this sounds like a mundane point, it’s not particularly often that shows treat diversity as an organic part of life. More often than not, a differing quality becomes the defining aspect of the character, as if it sums them up as a person. It’s downright demeaning when characters are expected to follow stereotypes just because their skin is different. Such notions isolate audiences because they’re being told not everyone belongs together, that we have to be separated according to arbitrary reasons. Diversity shouldn’t be a reason to ostracize others and that’s why it’s so refreshing to see characters such as Cassandra, a transgender woman, simply exist. While her gender may be brought up from time to time, it never shapes the purpose of her character.

Adding another show on Netflix that presents diversity would not only attract a larger audience, but allow a wider range of actors to be noticed. It’s become all too common to see roles slip though diverse actors’ hands (GHOST IN THE SHELL, for example), and it needs to stop. THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE would be a good push in the right direction.

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THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE comic shot

LISTEN: Still curious? Here’s an episode of the ComicsVerse podcast about THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE!

To sum things up, THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE is the comic series that best reflects our culture as of now. It projects our ideals, our flaws, and our desires. It has too many good elements that many shows are lacking, and would look pretty damn good on screen. Here’s hoping that, in 2017, we’ll see an announcement at Comic-Con.

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