Why The Wicked + The Divine Doesn’t Deserve its Own Movie. ASAP or Otherwise.
The Wicked + The Divine doesn’t deserve its own movie. Perhaps The Wicked and Divine does. I’m not quite sure what that is. Over at Vulture, Brennan Carley argues that because Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson’s’s new comic is quite lovely, it should be turned into a movie posthaste. UGH. UGHHH.
WicDiv is a lovely comic and I’ve struggled to come up with things to say about it. The first issue was strong, breadcrumbs + solid character notes + world building, and the second issue keeps up that momentum. The artwork is crisp and the colours, dare I say it, divine. But we’re a long way from knowing whether the promises the creative team is making will bear out. WicDiv is a serial, after all, and shouldn’t be judged on one or two issues. Will we still love it by issue twelve? Issue thirty? Keep reading and we’ll find out.
But more than that, WicDiv is a comic book. A form of art that exists in and of itself, not just as a feeder class for Hollywood. We’re far from the days of HasselFury or the Star Wars Christmas Special — we comic book nerds are spoiled for choice when it comes to adaptations of our favourite works. (Top five comic book movies: Akira, Ghost In the Shell, History of Violence, American Splendour, Scott Pilgrim. No other answers acceptable. Move along.) Comics have been adapted into novels, plays, TV shows, and so so many movies. But no comic deserves adaptation, least of all into a generic Hollywood blockbuster. No work of art ever earns adaptation — because adaptation is not a reward. And comics — popular comics — are a maligned art form if ever there was one. Outside of those works which have made it into the literary canon, or those which have made it into the TCJ canon, ordinary, everyday comics, like pulp fiction, like pop music cheap and high end, struggle to be taken seriously. Or, no. They struggle for recognition of what they are: expression, creation, art.
When we talk about comics, we should try meet them on their own terms — they are comics, not adjuncts to cinema or television. Two page spreads aren’t cinematic. They may be panoramic, though. When a comics action sequence reminds you of the best of Michael Bay (is there a best of? there must be), it’s not sad aping by an artistic failure who landed in comics world on their way up to the wonders of Hollywood (except when it is), its a comics action sequence that has adapted techniques from movies, that is responding to movie language, in the unique visual language of comics — this is adaptation, not preparation for exaltation into the cinema stratosphere.
I don’t mean to pick on Brennan Carly. Make This Thing Into a Movie! is a great headline, of course. (Check mine — clickbait if ever you saw it, right?) But rather, I mean to pick on the tendency to criticize comics in the language of some other art. There’s no paucity of comics terminology to account for it, no lack of great critical work to excuse us — it is just that movies are such a cultural juggernaut that they creep into the way we think about everything else. But come on, stop that. The more every-art is like a movie, the more we lose focus of what makes that art unique, and the more we lose focus on what makes movies unique.
The Wicked + The Divine doesn’t deserve to be adapted into a movie. Maybe movie rights will be sold, but please, not to Hollywood.
— Megan P
But what is art, really?
Shut Up, Little Man is a thought-provoking exploration of what defines art. Snippets of other people’s conversations, quick snapshots of strangers, and the general ebb and flow of daily life are beautiful things. But where is the boundary between passive observation and aggressive surveillance? This documentary follows the dissemination of audio recordings that two Californian men gathered from their hilarious (yet genuine and vulnerable) curmudgeonly neighbors. What starts off as sharing the tapes for laughs with a few friends morphs into exploitation of their unwitting neighbors. Watch this if you need an empathy booster shot.
Wired is my number one source for robot art. ROBOT. ART. YESSSS. Rising Colorspace, a Berlin installation by Michael Haas and Julian Adenauer, is designed to be a mural forever in progress. Every day the installations robot, a kind of stripped down, suction-based Roomba that makes a mess instead of cleaning one up, cycles through eight preset colour forumlas — and paints. Haas told Wired that “We found out that many of our works contain a surprise for the spectators which leads to a calming effect. We ask ourselves how to touch people in a gentle way.”
Watch the video below to see the Vertwalker in action:
— Megan P