Phonogram: The Singles Club Review

16 Mar

Holy shit.

This was a masterpiece.

Before meeting Kieron Gillen and being charmed by him, I really wasn’t intending on ever reading this comic, but thank goodness I did.  It would be a shame for anyone whomever 1. likes comics or 2. likes music to not read this series.  Honestly, it is a masterpiece of tremendous integrity.

First off, let’s be honest, this is not a comic that’s for everyone.  Many of the references to music and pop culture went even way and above my head (luckily, in this Trade Paper Back collected edition, there’s an index/reference guide to many of the references), but when there was one that I did get, I gleefully cheered for myself as I turned the next page.

Kieron Gillen handles the writing duties phenomenally.  Blending music and comics is no easy task, and frankly, at first, I was rather confused.  Such as, “why the fuck do I have a character on the first page breaking the fourth wall!?”

Actually the second page shown here, but still breaking the 4th wall with a Reader Appeal

There’s a tempo to every comic that comes off both through the writing and the artwork with the cleverly simple layouts.  Lo and Behold, I turn to the back of my collected edition, and they actually created a playlist to listen to while you read the collected edition!  Hot damn, I’m going to have to reread this while that’s playing because, allegedly, it actually matches up pretty damn well.

Now, that’s crazy cool.  That’s like Zaireeka cool.

Sure, some of the writing comes off as a bit pretentious, but I believe that is mostly because Kieron really has a handle on these characters.  He knows that half of these characters are fucktwats that just happen to be really compelling.  Hell, he even admits in the appendix/notes section that he occasionally felt bad making fun of a couple of the bands through his characters, but he did it anyway because that’s what the characters would do.

Easily, he came up with one of my favorite characters ever: Silent Girl.

Look at those perfect facial reactions!

My favorite part of the series was easily the issue focusing on Seth Bingo and Silent Girl because it’s so formulaic with almost every frame being the exact same angle, never changing, showing different times, characters move in and out, the text never over does it, and only at the end does it change in a startling, lovely way.  What’s accomplished in such a constrained area is really amazing and shows how tallented both Kieron and Jamie McKelvie are.

So, I suppose that I’ll move onto the art.

The art is so precise and clean.  It’s ridiculous.  Frankly, I was under the impression that his was vectored for the longest time until it was confirmed in the back by showing the art process that it was not.

Each character looks different but still has a refreshing feel to them. Girls look different from each other!  With different sized boobs and everything!  It’s a real shame that I’m celebrating this, but it’s true that this is fairly uncommon.  Heights are also different too, it’s great that every minute detail has been worked out.

Hell, Jamie McKelvie took giant steps in the art by creating a 3D rendering of the club and lining all of the stories up to make sure that the other club members shown in the background would be shown in the same place at the same time in all of the comics.  That’s effort and talent to make things right.  I’m really impressed with that much dedication, and, the thing is, it shows.

One unfortunate thing is that the back-up stories are missing from the collection.  I didn’t read the comic as a series, so I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I would have at least liked to see them.

Phonogram: The Singles Club has a goal from the very beginning.  It accomplishes this goal and more, and there’s no doubt about it.  For some people, 7 different perspectives on a single night set primarily within a club just does not seem interesting.  However, I implore you to give it a chance because it blew my mind, and I believe it can do the same to you.

It’s upsetting that there will be no third series, but reading this one does make me excited to read the first.

Had I been reading this during 2009, it would have easily made it within the Top 3 comics of the year.


One Response to “Phonogram: The Singles Club Review”


  1. Comic Book Cache – Round 4 « MechanisticMoth - August 9, 2011

    […] Ed. Note: Check out my review of Phonogram from awhile ago here. […]

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