A Solemn Watcher

Thomas Lawrence frowns intently at pop culture.
Recent Tweets @Meserach

abigailbrady:

Pretty much every part of Wicked + Divine #2 is set in a real location.  One of them is the Romantics Room at the National Portrait Gallery. Kieron even wrote the scene there, although I’m not sure how, as there were no seats in the room when I visited on Thursday.  I took this sneaky photo after I’d taken notes in case I got thrown out, me having had run ins with the NPG before.

I was looking for clues.  alwaysalreadyangry pointed out that the Shelley and Byron pictures in WicDiv #2 were based on the real ones.  But they are different.  The portrait of Mary Shelley in the NPG does not have a ponytail, winged ears, or ravens; and the one of Byron does not have him dressed all in red with a goatee.

We know Byron is Satan from Cass saying that Luci is the latest incarnation of “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know" (this quote is one of about five facts I know about Byron and has been burned into my brain since a teacher described me as such at school).  We can infer that Mary Shelley is Woden, who is Odin’s English analogue (the ravens being equivalent to Hugin and Munin).  That leaves Percy Shelley, on the right, looking rather similar to the original, which is quite goffic.  Is he the Morrigan?  (I’d originally thought Mary was the Morrigan, because there is really None More Goth than writing Frankenstein, is there?  But Woden makes more sense.)

Since I was there I had a look at the rest of the sequence.  The other portraits, less prominently featured, are Humphry Davy (in the next room), Francis Chantrey, Princess Charlotte on the first page of the sequence; J. M. W. Turner (and a corner of William Blake) on the second; and on the last we have John Clare, Robert Bakewell and Edward Jenner in the first panel and William Wordsworth, Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine.  None of these seem different in the same way as Shelley and Byron.  A couple are completely different colours, but that might just be Matt not having reference.  It is possible to overanalyse these things.  (It is possible I reached that point some time ago.)

You can find online versions of all these portraits at the NPG website, or go in and visit.  The standing exhibits are free, although they solicit donations.

(via kierongillen)

philsandifer:

abigailbrady:

So, I’ve seen some theories that the gods are rotating clockwise and then when they get to 12 they fall off.   Certainly the Owl and Ram end up clockwise in the 2010s from where they were in the 1920s.

However, this theory asserts that Susanoo is at the top.  And then Luci manifests at 1 o’clock in the 2010s.  That presumably means that Luci was Byron’s replacement.  HOWEVER, we from issue #2 we know that Byron was Lucifer in the 1830s.  Maybe Luci fell off just for one cycle, or maybe it’s more complicated?

I would guess more complicated. I’m pretty confident that Baal is the ram, which would make sense with the idea of recurrence - Baal’s a black man in both the Jazz Age and the present day. Owl is surely Minerva, who we know exists, and I’m guessing is the older one of the four in the Jazz Age.

But that leaves the sun at the bottom for the Jazz Age. And everything about the young girl, with her enthusiastic “three!” and her heavy makeup makes me pretty sure that’s Amaterasu.

See, I dunno. 

This image credited to “eatmystardustloser”

So this image matches up the 1920s symbols, the 2010s symbols, and the seating positions of the 1920s gods in their scene in issue #1. It seems too much of a coincidence for the 1920s pantheon to be seated at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions and for that also to be their symbols, and given that Susanoo’s symbol is obvious (he even has it on his cufflinks) that strongly suggests that the 1920’s blonde has the owl symbol, the brunette the sun, and the finger steepling guy is the ram.

THen furthermore we;ve got the interesting correspondence of Susanoo’s position and Amaterasu’s: they’re both Shinto gods, and they both occupy the 12’o’clock slot. Given that Kieron’s said in interviews that he’s gone for broadly one deity per mythological pantheon, it feels a lot like we get one Shinto god per recurrence, and it just so happens that this time we get Amaterasu and last time it was Susanoo.

This also means that if anyone’s Minerva it’s actually the blonde in the heavy makeup. But she doesn’t feel much like a Minerva (admittedly this is basing a characterization on one line and two facial expressions)

Arguing against this is that Ananke in issue #2 has clearly met Lucifer specifically before, so it can’t be all new gods in every recurrence. I’ve been chatting to someone named jynx about all this (much of the above theorising based on their work) and they reckon that 1920s owl is actually Lilith (also associated with owls) and hence that the 3’o’clock slot is Lilith/Baphomet (i.e Abrahamic demons). Of course on paper Lucifer feel like an Abrahamic demon too, unless that slot is Abrahamic angels…

The rotation concept is interesting but only holds for the owls and rams; if we assume that the transition from Susanoo at 12’o’clock to Lucifer at the new 1’o’clock is the “ticking over” transition, then the acid test would be if a sun-like symbol ends up between the Morrigan and Inanna.

miklausnotes:

This’ll probably be a LONG LIST of all things glorious about the new issue. Sorry not sorry!

• The parallel descents of Lucifer and Laura: we see Ms. Rigby proclaimed by the thousand eyes and voices of Ananke, reborn as the Fallen Angel. Feathers were such a nice touch I could cry. Laura’s…

See, re: whether we’ll see a 2010s Susanoo - I’d been dead settled on the theory that there’s only one God or Goddess per each ethnicity’s pantheon, mostly because we’ve had word of God (ahah) to that effect, eg. here:

CA: Tell me about the mythology. It sounds like you’re drawing on a mix of sources, from Christian to Celtic to Egyptian. 

KG:That’s been a good chunk of work – going through all the mythologies to see who fits the cast. At the same time, I was going through the pop-star archetypes, picking them. Sometimes I got a god I liked and worked out which pop-stars they would be like. Baal would be a good example of that. Sometimes I got a pop-star archetype and worked out what god suited them best. Having a character heavily informed by Prince and those who love Prince would be an example of that, which had me moving through about twelve gods before finally settling on one at once. Sometimes I got them both at once. Lucifer would be a good example of that. She’s very much cocaine-abuse megalomaniac ’70s Bowie.

When I started pulling together the cast, there was a time when I thought the whole cast would be women. I got to seven characters, and there was a bloke in there. I was thinking perhaps I’d end up doing that… at which point I got one that inspired me. It’s a 7/5 split, in terms of gender. In terms of the pantheons, the further I got into my research, I realized I was basically doing a god per pantheon, and should lean into that. In the end, certain areas have more representation – I’ve treated different periods of Greek religion as different pantheons.

As a result I’ve been assuming (e.g. here) that getting Susanoo in the 1920s and Amaterasu in the 2010s means that each recurrence we get one god from each mythological background: so the Shinto “slot” is taken up in 1920s by Susanoo but then in the 2010s by Amaterasu.

Then again, Ananke says to Lucifer that she’s missed her, implying she’s seen Lucifer specifically before. But that could mean any of:

  • Lucifer’s in every recurrence, but the other gods may or may not be
  • The 12 gods are the same every recurrence (which means we get Susanoo and Amaterasu, so two Shinto gods)
  • Ananke simply remembers Lucifer from the last recurrence Lucifer was in, even if that was back in the 1100s or whatever.

Still so much we don’t know for sure! The only thing that’s definitely clear is if the same gods do recur every recurrence, their positions on the diagram do shift (since Susanoo’s 1920s slot is taken by Amaterasu this time out)

jynx:

meserach:

EXTREME SPOILER ALERT FOR THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #2:

I updated my diagram based on the information we gleam from issue 2 (which blew me away, especially with Luci’s Magical God transformation sequence).

image

First of all the biggie: wow, Baphomet is terrifying. We’re a little heavy on hell gods this generation, don’t you think? It’s a shame about the Morrigan since I really like her character design. RIP.

Some of my speculation is denied: the black god of #4 is Baal, and in retrospect, I was a little too focused on the Canaanite Ba’al (associated with heifers) and didn’t look closely enough at the Carthaginian Ba’al-hamon. He’s often depicted with Ram’s horns, and if it’s Carthage, that explains the Greco-Roman influences in his tattoos. I’ve adjusted the diagram accordingly.

On the other hand, my speculation that the winged helmet is Odin is confirmed, in a way: instead of the Norse god, though, it’s the germanic Woden, though. The winged helmet thing is still a bit of a recent invention, but it makes more sense if it’s Woden rather than Odin— Woden and Hermes/Mercury (the original winged helmet god) were closely associated/conflated, and Woden was consequently associated with the headgear. Either way: he sounds gross: “cheerily racist army of ethnic mono-cultured valkyrie fuck buddies”? Ew.

There’s just one slot left, and one God mentioned left: Tara. I still haven’t added her to the diagram, because I still think there’s something tricky going on here. Even if there are a million gods among many cultures named Tara, I can’t find one that would be appropriate for the masks. Tara is typically a feminine name, and, like most goddesses, all the Taras I’ve found stick to the usual life/sky/abundance/etc. domains. Since masks play with identity/falsehood/duality/drama, my new theory is that Tara may not be “Tara”, but rather a trickster god(dess) under an assumed name. Dionysus is still a good choice, since he’s a known shapeshifter and is more explicitly associated with these masks than any other.

One final note: with the revelation of Baphomet, my 1-1 pantheon theory still sort of holds. Susanoo’s place was taken by Amaterasu, and Baphomet takes the place of the blonde goddess of the previous generation, who I speculate to be Lilith. There aren’t very many other gods associated with owls, and Athena/Minerva’s clearly out.

Hi Jynx, whoever you are, you continue to have the best speculation about #wicdiv god identity on Tumblr.

Issue #2 then! Gosh.

I wonder if Morrigan is actually dead? I mean, yes, decapitated. But her symbol didn;t seem to change„ and it doesn’t feel like she was dead all along (it seems like a fresh decapitation, what with all the blood). Of course, in an amusing piece of design trickery the symbol for “this god is dead” is usually a skull, but Morrigan’s symbol appears to have been a skull anyway, so. Anyway, it would seem apropos for the Morrigan to be able to cheat death somehow. Plus, all that design work just to be dead straight away? I mean, flashbacks and so on, sure…

Love Baal, of course. Pleased that Kieron’s finally gone ahead and just started writing Kanye West after channeling him for so long to write male Marvel heroes (mostly Namor).

If the masks ARE Tara (and I’m still leaning toward Tara being a false God purely because of Laura’s distaste for them), then it’s interesting Tara’s associated with the West End (and therefore theatre, and hence the masks).

Oh stahp. You’re making me blush.

Good call on the Morrigan not necessarily being dead— I was so shocked by the turn of events that I hadn’t considered that her symbol hadn’t changed a la the Jazz Age dead gods.

W.R.T. Tara: Laura seems unusually angry about her this issue, enough for me to have a new wildly speculative theory on that: I think Tara and her used to be friends, or otherwise have a personal relationship. It would explain her anger, explain her comments about friends in the National Portrait Gallery scene, (as well as her knowing how Tara “doesn’t see anyone”) and explain how obsessed Laura is with the gods. Of course, Laura could just be an extremely devoted fangirl who despises false idols.

Your connection between the West End and the masks is also insightful. I can’t wait until the next issue.

Oh hey, on your 1-1 pantheon theory, what else can we derive from that? So we’d have 1920s : 2010s pairings as follows, going round clockwise and just looking at those alive in the 1920s scene:

  • Susanoo (lightning bolts) : Amaterasu (sun)
  • UNKNOWN (stylised owl) blonde in heavy makeup : Baphomet (goat head, crossed swords)
  • UNKNOWN (stylised sun) brunette w/ headband, necklace : Morrigan (skull with crow eye-makeup)
  • UNKNOWN (stylised ram?) sharp dressed, steepled fingers : UNKNOWN/Tara? (the masks)


So if we’re assuming based on Susanoo : Amaterasu that these pairings are drawn from the same culture’s mythology, then what can we derive?

The pairings seem to be Shinto, Pagan/Demonology?, Celtic/Irish and… well we really can’t tell for that last pair as we know so little.

Several things come to mind. One, your guess of Lilith for the 1920s owl is astute. Two, the 1920s brunette is a Celtic sun god/dess (Bel? Brighid? Lugh?). Third, I wonder that if the hypothesised Baphomet/Lilith pantheon is drawn from “demons”, then perhaps Lucifer is actually being treated as an angel here, and the 1920s person in that slot was Michael or Gabriel or something?

Finally, I just noticed that the skull next to Susanoo (on his right, anti-clockwise from him) has a whole chunk taken out of it, whereas the other skulls placeholding for dead gods seem intact. I suspect this has meaning.


Oh yeah: this line from #1 has been bugging me too, and might also be the plainest clue to the Tara thing. So Luci’s accusing Cassandra of being “another hypocritical parasite” by using that name, Cassandra - a mythological name - so Luci’s saying that others have taken god names in vain, as it were. As Tara may or may not have done…

Incidentally while I’m wicdivvying, how perfect is Laura’s Goth makeup? Like, it’s both so clear that she spends a lot of time on her makeup looks and so can pull off the winged liner for the Eye of Horus thing here, but also that this isn’t really her scene (notably, she kept her hair colour). Well observed, not that we should expect less from Team Phonogram.

EXTREME SPOILER ALERT FOR THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #2:

I updated my diagram based on the information we gleam from issue 2 (which blew me away, especially with Luci’s Magical God transformation sequence).

image

First of all the biggie: wow, Baphomet is terrifying. We’re a little heavy on hell gods this generation, don’t you think? It’s a shame about the Morrigan since I really like her character design. RIP.

Some of my speculation is denied: the black god of #4 is Baal, and in retrospect, I was a little too focused on the Canaanite Ba’al (associated with heifers) and didn’t look closely enough at the Carthaginian Ba’al-hamon. He’s often depicted with Ram’s horns, and if it’s Carthage, that explains the Greco-Roman influences in his tattoos. I’ve adjusted the diagram accordingly.

On the other hand, my speculation that the winged helmet is Odin is confirmed, in a way: instead of the Norse god, though, it’s the germanic Woden, though. The winged helmet thing is still a bit of a recent invention, but it makes more sense if it’s Woden rather than Odin— Woden and Hermes/Mercury (the original winged helmet god) were closely associated/conflated, and Woden was consequently associated with the headgear. Either way: he sounds gross: “cheerily racist army of ethnic mono-cultured valkyrie fuck buddies”? Ew.

There’s just one slot left, and one God mentioned left: Tara. I still haven’t added her to the diagram, because I still think there’s something tricky going on here. Even if there are a million gods among many cultures named Tara, I can’t find one that would be appropriate for the masks. Tara is typically a feminine name, and, like most goddesses, all the Taras I’ve found stick to the usual life/sky/abundance/etc. domains. Since masks play with identity/falsehood/duality/drama, my new theory is that Tara may not be “Tara”, but rather a trickster god(dess) under an assumed name. Dionysus is still a good choice, since he’s a known shapeshifter and is more explicitly associated with these masks than any other.

One final note: with the revelation of Baphomet, my 1-1 pantheon theory still sort of holds. Susanoo’s place was taken by Amaterasu, and Baphomet takes the place of the blonde goddess of the previous generation, who I speculate to be Lilith. There aren’t very many other gods associated with owls, and Athena/Minerva’s clearly out.

Hi Jynx, whoever you are, you continue to have the best speculation about #wicdiv god identity on Tumblr.

Issue #2 then! Gosh.

I wonder if Morrigan is actually dead? I mean, yes, decapitated. But her symbol didn;t seem to change„ and it doesn’t feel like she was dead all along (it seems like a fresh decapitation, what with all the blood). Of course, in an amusing piece of design trickery the symbol for “this god is dead” is usually a skull, but Morrigan’s symbol appears to have been a skull anyway, so. Anyway, it would seem apropos for the Morrigan to be able to cheat death somehow. Plus, all that design work just to be dead straight away? I mean, flashbacks and so on, sure…

Love Baal, of course. Pleased that Kieron’s finally gone ahead and just started writing Kanye West after channeling him for so long to write male Marvel heroes (mostly Namor).

If the masks ARE Tara (and I’m still leaning toward Tara being a false God purely because of Laura’s distaste for them), then it’s interesting Tara’s associated with the West End (and therefore theatre, and hence the masks).

(via jynx)

eatmystardustloser:

I got tired of breaking my neck to keep track of this. Table is aligned with Susanoo at twelve o’clock like he is on the first page, and the inner circle is the 2014 as they appear on page nine. 

Re: previous post. Susanoo -> Amaterasu apparent transition particularly interesting.

eatmystardustloser:

I got tired of breaking my neck to keep track of this. Table is aligned with Susanoo at twelve o’clock like he is on the first page, and the inner circle is the 2014 as they appear on page nine. 

Re: previous post. Susanoo -> Amaterasu apparent transition particularly interesting.

jynx:

broiling:

thewickedandthedivine:

jynx:

Minor spoilers, maybe?

Yesterday, The Wicked + The Divine #1 came out— it’s the new book by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the creative team behind Young Avengers and Phonogram, and it’s fantastic. A cool concept, sharp dialogue, and some of the best character design in the biz come together in a beautiful book that’s a huge pleasure to read. McKelvie’s art pops as usual, aided by amazing colouring by Matthew Wilson.

Anyways, after finishing the first issue I sort of obsessed with figuring out which gods correspond to which icon in this diagram, and here’s my wanton speculation. (It’s admittedly probably a futile effort that will be revealed to me if I just wait a month, but whatever.)

We’ve seen Amaterasu, Luci, and Sakhmet in the first issue, and their symbols are more or less no-brainers. Interesting to note is that Amaterasu occupies the same space as Susanoo’s icon from the previous generation, and, as siblings, perhaps this suggests that there’s a 1-1 correspondence for mythological regions for each generation. That’s probably a bit of a stretch though.

Mentioned in interviews but not in this issue are Minerva and Morrigan, whose symbols are also fairly clear. Morrigan, a Celtic goddess, is often symbolized by crows, and she covers #3 with fairly similar makeup. I suspect that the god covering #4 might be Minerva— in the trailer comic he had a sleeve that slightly reminds me of Greek pottery (if only I could see the top of that column!) Since Laura fails to mention either of them, it’d also make sense for Morrigan and Minerva to work in musical genres dissimilar to the others, and the god of #4 looks way too stern for pop music.

The gods Laura mentions in #1 include Inanna— several results in Google  tell me that her symbol is the eight pointed star, so she’s included here— Baal, and possibly Tara. Baal could possibly be the ram head at 10 o’clock, but he’s usually associated with heifers, so I didn’t want to jump the gun. Tara doesn’t fit any of these symbols at all, and she’s mentioned with such derision by Laura that I suspect that she isn’t a real god at all. I also don’t think Gillen would want to offend any Tibetan Buddhists with that.

On the last two spots: the masks could be Dionysus— IIRC, differentiating Greek/Roman mythology is alright since there’s such a generation gap. The winged helmet could be something from Norse mythology— maybe Odin, or someone— but the idea of Norse helmets having wings was chiefly a 19th-century invention.

Wow I’m a mythology nerd haha

Heimdall would be awesome … But I have to admit: Winged Helmets remind me of the Valkyries in Wagners Operas: And Odin (or Wodan) is somehow the father of them so maybe … I think he is a very interesting god, because of his knowledge and magic, he is also the god who wanders the earth and is known by many names (at least in the so called Snorra Edda). I think he would be an interesting choice for a “pop-god”. 

i hadn’t thought of minerva being the guy from #4 but i love it a lot. we already have luci as lucifer, a traditionally masculine figure, so having minerva be a guy(?) isn’t out of the ballpark at all.

also placing my bets on the “tara” laura speaks of being a fake. gillen answered an ask a few days ago where he talked about not including hindu figures because he knew hinduism was an actual living and breathing religion, and i’m sure he knows the same for buddhism. i’d wager whoever “tara” is happens to be someone looking for their fifteen minutes of fame by faking their place in it (if so i’m very curious to see where gillen would be going with all the talk of cultural appropriation- cassandra already pointed out in #1 that there’s something a bit skeevy with amaterasu being a white girl).

can we assume by three of the slots being fake here they they’re places yet to be filled, or otherwise gods who haven’t shown themselves yet?

Gillen’s said that only nine of the twelve gods have reincarnated, so I assume that the three blank spots will be filled later on in the story as they emerge. Also, if Tara isn’t a fake god, she could also be an ordinary human pop star going by a mononym.

Currently obsessed with speculating on the wicked and divine’s cast.

The point is that no successful payment system ever attracted users by an argument; you can’t build a mass brand in this category by winning debating points, but by demonstrating convenience and confidence points.

If we’re speculating on the linguistics / semiotics of bitcoin, I think it’s done a good job with its brand name - if not the crypto-whatever designation. Coin is nicely solid. And what did old school minters and money-transfer people - think pirates in the movies - do to test if a coin is real? They bit it.

(For all that I’ve seen scenes of some hairy pirate firecracker-beard guy biting a coin, I’ve zero idea how they tell if it’s real or not) (Much like bitcoin tbh) (If Coin = Not.Chocolate maybe)

It turns out the reason for biting coins to tell if they’re real is a thing is because real gold that isn’t mixed with baser metals should be soft enough to get dented when bitten.

(via tomewing)