There are many creators that provide playlists for their comic works to give that feel for the scenes and added insight into where their mind was when they produced the page. It is quite an interesting concept but I have still felt a little disconnected from the book when playing songs whilst reading. This comic took things a little further and legitimately provided a beat through the writing, the art styles and specifically the colour. As Laura arrives at the door, we see the usual angry bouncer with dark surrounds, and Dionysus welcomes her. There is a dalliance of colour and enticement in this very panel as the God looks very relaxed, his speech bubble is purposely bright (as they all are) and the background starts to fade at his feet. Along with the cleverly titled YOL∞ (You only live forever) t-shirt, he beckons Laura to try something new, quite akin to a drug pusher especially with the phrase “Think “South American frog”. And then the song begins.
Whether you are naturally enchanted by the music or psychologically “high” on illicit substances there is a rhythm to feel and once you catch it, it carries you away into the night. This journey is gloriously represented by McKelvie and Wilson as Laura looks blankly forward waiting for it to happen.
The double page spread is just a sequence of repeated panels of her expression, it moves from anxiety, to pondering to surprise to confusion and then finally to blissful clarity. Each panel has a number that are the quarter notes of the beat and as the bass increases you can see Laura’s face reverberate. The colours and backgrounds are all quite unique as she moves through the range of emotions but there is a deliberate brightening of her mind as the darker colours become more light pastel. McKelvie is a master at capturing Laura’s feelings with the simplest of strokes and Wilson provides the backing track. And finally the music hits.
The next sets of pages are all of a similar theme, eight panel pages with the alternating numbers one to four, maintaining the beat. Laura finally enters this dreamlike state and begins to dance to the music and then sees everyone else as she lets go of herself. These pages are almost hallucinatory in nature as everything is unreal, bright and crystal clear. McKelvie maybe able to keep his art beautifully simple but it is Wilson that provides the distinctness of conversations and God personas. Each page has a set tone and colour complement such as the story unfolds through a delightful surrealism. The combination of blues and greens, oranges and reds, purples and pinks are just so aesthetic. The double page spread which features the title of the book is a wide shot of the frenetic group dancing with Dionysus at the head. The dancers are almost awash with bright light and fade into the ether. They are defined by white lines and their movements tacked by whispers of white and yellow. The title of the comic aligns the rook and adds perspective and depth to the scene. The scene screams of ecstasy and exhilaration.
There is nothing quite like these pages except when you are out at night, dancing to music when the lights flicker and rotate around you. The feelings of euphoria pervade through but are balanced by the ever so real reasons why Laura is there in the first place. As she connects with the Gods and asks about the death of Lucifer, her high doesn’t wane until three days later and the music stops. The exit sequences are very similar to the opening scenes and are reminiscent of the exit of a great clubbing venture. The contrasting club highlights and drab darkened streets are where you truly appreciate the spectacular you have just witnessed and read. The pages are so bright that they dazzle and the numbers cause your head to nod unwillingly at your own reading pace, and when you come down and turn the last pages you feel desperate to go back in. Welcome to your fix and welcome to The Wicked + The Divine.
P.S. I thought of this post as soon as I read the book and I almost didn’t write it because @Avantgarde produced this spectacular homage to the book. It doesn’t so much summarise what I have been describing, but it is the feelings I have been writing about.