Monday, September 7, 2009


I want to talk about Phonogram. And Kieron Gillen. And Jamie McKelvie. And a bit of Suburban Glamour. And how I'm addicted. Cause I am.

Phonogram started out as something I might eventually pick up one day. This was before it was in a trade paperback. Oh, I saw it, and it looked interesting, but it had something to do with Britain and there were other comics out there that I was more into at the time. Shame on me. I can't believe I didn't follow my instinct and buy it out of compulsion like I do with so many of the comics I've come to love. I would say, on average, a good 60 percent of the comics I read with certain enthusiasm these days were impulse buys. I would be like, well that looks kinda cool, or I would only buy it because of the art. But on that day, I did not buy Phonogram out of compulsion. I think the first time I saw an issue was about he time I started reading comics, which wasn't until I got into College. The first issue I ever bought was when me and Sarah went into a thrift store in Hawaii, It was an Alien vs. Predator #1, I believe.

So Phonogram sat in the back of my mind, waiting. Then I found Suburban Glamour. This book was the key. It opened the door to the greatness that would ensue. Suburban Glamour, with the well defined art style, the colors, the edge to it. It was something new. At the time, I think I might have had less than ten comics I was reading, Fathom, Witchblade, Iron and the Maiden, the Darkness, and TombRadier were about as far as I had adventured into the comics world. While those comics might have not been as mainstream, as say, oh Batman or Xmen, they were still pretty big names already. They had established writers and well-known artists. Suburban Glamour kinda threw opened the door for my love for more...indie type comics, I suppose. The ones that are printed by the smaller companies, no less amazing though than the big guys.

But there I was mesmerized by the characters in the book. The art alone...even without words, would have been enough to get me to buy it, but the story was just as original. Just as likely to pull you in. It was only four issues long. I wanted more. I googled Jamie McKelvie and guess what I found- Phonogram, the Brit-Pop comic I had passed over so long ago. I gave in. I bought all six issues in the single form off of eBay. I read through them. They deal with music mainly. Music I had never listened to. It was all based around the premise that music was magic and could change your life. The first time I read through it, I didn't understand half of what was going on, mainly because I had no idea what the bands sound like. (I'm still trying to find a few Kenickie songs.) I'd never heard of Kenickie before. Who the hell was Tim Eastwood. The Manics? I read it any ways. I didn't read the glossary. Big Mistake. All my questions would have been cleared up. But I was so anxious to get to the next issue I gave the glossary a miss. It stayed like that too. Shame on me again.

I bought the trade: Phonogram: Rue Britannia. I read it again. Like it says, you don't have to know anything about the bands to make it through. Its an outstanding story. David Kohl is my hero. And I love Kid-with-Knife. Emily Aster was just as likable in her unlikeable ways. I loved it. Almost the entire thing. The Story. The Art. The Characters. Not the glossary. Too many words. I wasn't that concerned with who these people were they talked about.

Then, a second volume came out- Phonogram: The Singles Club. This time in color! I was ecstatic. I tried to hold off, and wait for the trade. By the time the second issue had found it's ways onto the shelves of Parker, Banner, Kent, and Wayne, I have given in. This volume was different. It's 7 issues, each detailing the events of a single night from different perspectives. I can't decide who I like more, Silent Girl or Emily Aster. Silent Girl and Seth are awesome. The art is just as beautiful as before and the storyline just as brilliant. I believe we stand at issue 4 right now. I'm dying, waiting for every issue to come out.

I can't do it justice. And something changed, I read the glossary. I know who Kenickie is, I know who the Pipettes are. I really like Robyn. And Girls Aloud. Ice Cream is one of my favorite songs right now. I may not understand Brit-Pop, but I know about it now. I'm learning. I re-read Phonogram: RB again today. Every time I read it, something new catches my eye. If there's not a third volume, I am going to have both the first two volumes memorized.

Gillen and McKelvie have also created a comic together for the Playstation Magazine, called SavePoint. Its really good. Although, not being an avid gamer, I do miss a few of the things they are talking about. Gillen writes an excellent storyline. I can't give enough credit to the guy's originality.

I think if it wasn't for Jamie McKelvie's stunning art, however, I might have never known the greatness of Phonogram. His art caught me like a few others have. ( Micheal Turner was the first, but Talent Caldwell, Josh Howard, Ebas, Tim Sale, and Brett Booth have all dragged me into their worlds with the allurement of their visuals.) I can just flip through his books and do nothing but look at the art. I also have Long Hot Summer, which he worked on with Eric Stephenson. I am currently looking for a copy of Four Letter Worlds, with no luck.

I'm well aware that barely any of my friends are enthusiastic about comics as I am. Not many of them share my love of movies or books. It makes for alot of things I want to say that no one wants to hear. Which is why I write these. It's like, hey, I want to talk about this stuff, here's a way I can, and if people want to listen that's fine, if they don't, I'll remember that when I'm famous.

I don't know. I woke up on the wrong side of the cool bed according to some, but that's fine. I enjoy the things I do. I still participate in reality. I have a job. I have friends. I'm just a little in the strange side of normal.

Here is an article from Comic Book Resources about Phonogram: Rue Britannia, they do more research than I do.

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