- "You will go on long after we are gone."
- —Woden, quote on back cover
1831 is the first special of the The Wicked + The Divine. Illustrated by guest artist Stephanie Hans, it focuses on the 1830s Pantheon, who are based on writers of the Romantic era. The issue was released on 21 September 2016, and will eventually be collected in a trade with the other specials at the end of the run.
“MODERN ROMANCE” Critically-acclaimed THE WICKED + THE DIVINE goes back to the nineteenth century, to see what became of the Romantic poets one infamous night on Lake Geneva… Showcasing STEPHANIE HANS (Journey Into Mystery, Angela), this special is NOT included in the forthcoming THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, VOL. 4.
A week later, in Lake Geneva, Lucifer and Inanna are engaging in sexual relations when Ananke arrives with a mysterious package for Lucifer. Inanna suppresses her feelings of disquiet. Later, they join Woden and the Morrigan and begin to tell horror stories. Inanna starts off the proceedings, recounting the tale of how she eloped with her step-sister and her husband, only to watch as they achieved divinity while she remained human, eclipsed by her sister as always. The story ends happily, however, with Inanna joining her sister in godhood.
Woden is unimpressed with this tale, reminding her sister that there are no happy endings for the gods of the Pantheon. She tells her own horror story, of losing three children in their infancy and having a husband who thinks her cold. This depresses Lucifer, recalling the deaths that befell the other members of their Pantheon. He announces Hades's death to the room, and reveals what had been in Ananke's package: Hades's severed hand. Lucifer and Morrigan propose to resurrect their fellow god, and are met with resistance only by Woden. Their plan appears to succeed, but their newly created Creature turns violent and immediately kills them both. Woden sacrifices her life to stabilise the Creature, which then takes on her appearance.
Inanna is horrified by these events, and follows the Creature as it turns toward the lake. When she finally works up the courage to speak, the Creature confronts her about the deaths of Woden's children, who are revealed to have been killed by Inanna in exchange for godhood. It moves to kill Inanna, but is stayed by her confession that she is pregnant with Lucifer's child. The Creature leaves in disgust, disappearing into the mist.
Inanna dwells on these events, recording her thoughts in her diary, relieved to have escaped with her life. However, at that moment, Ananke appears, telling her no one escapes. She kills Inanna and her unborn child. The issue ends on a title card that reads "Of the Devil's Party, 19 March 1831".
- Lucifer, Woden, Morrigan and Inanna are based on Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley and Claire Clairmont, respectively. Other gods of this Pantheon are inspired by Keats (Hades), Blake ("the angel of Soho"), the Brontës ("the lonely sisters"), Coleridge (Morpheus), Poe (Thoth), Austen (Hestia) and Pushkin (Perun).
- The issue is primarily set in Lake Geneva, where Byron, the Shelleys, Claire Clairmont and Dr Polidori famously stayed in 1816. Byron challenged his companions to write ghost stories, which resulted in the beginnings of Frankenstein for Mary Shelley, and the first modern vampire story for Polidori.
- The year 1831 was chosen because it is the year the edition of Frankenstein in which Mary Shelley recounted the events of that night in Lake Geneva was published.
- Hades's introductory dialogue directly quotes "This Living Hand" by Keats.
- The structure of the issue mimics the structure of Frankenstein (i.e. epistolary format, frame narrative). Like Frankenstein, the issue ends with the Creature disappearing across the water into the distance.
- Inanna's description of Ananke as "she who walks without beauty" is a reference to Byron's poem, "She Walks in Beauty".
- Urizen, Enitharmon and Orc are all characters in Blake's poems.
- The events surrounding Morpheus's death are inspired by the caller from Porlock making Coleridge forget the end of "Kubla Khan".
- The "lonely sisters of the Parsonage" resemble Cathy's ghost in Wuthering Heights.
- Thoth's death references "The Raven", "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".
- Hestia's "pride of suitors" is a reference to Pride and Prejudice.