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Author Topic: Comic Review: PHONOGRAM TPB  (Read 1404 times)
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« on: August 02, 2007, 01:34:24 PM »

I picked this up based on a review I read on a different site, and was happy to find that this Trade Paperback of a 6-issue limited series did not disappoint one bit.  PHONOGRAM is a black-and-white book released by Image Comics, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie, who are two blokes from England I've never heard of.  However, based on this, I'm going to start trying to find everything else they've written, because this book is awesome!

The general concept behind PHONOGRAM is that music has power--magical power.  Those who know how to use that are called phonomancers; the protagonist of this story, David Kohl, is one of them.  The nutshell description: David Kohl gets mixed up in a bunch of bad magical business involving his own past and the British indie music scene, in a story told with a suitable amount of angst and intricate character development.  It's very reminiscent of the very early arcs of HELLBLAZER, where the story was as much about John Constantine and his past (particularly in the UK punk scene) as it was about magic.

So it is with PHONOGRAM.  The main plot is pretty standard--journeyman magician gets mixed up in bad mojo and has to get himself out.  Moving along, the real strength of the book is how it evokes the indie music scene in a way I haven't seen since the Hernandez Bros.'s LOVE AND ROCKETS in the mid-to-late 80's.  It also has that weird knack that LOVE AND ROCKETS had for making the indie music scene, the supernatural, and amazing character development somehow all fit together amazingly well. For anyone who loves music and comic books as much as we do here at EGE, this book is a treat.  Using magic as a metaphor for how we choose and create identities for ourselves, Gillen and McKelvie deal with aging, mortality, identity, and what it's like to watch "your scene" flower and wither away.  I found myself reminiscing about my 20's a lot when I read this, and all the time I spent in clubs, record stores, and generally hanging out and trying to find people into the same stuff I was into.

The writing in this book is first-rate; the plot is not the best, but Gillen more than makes up for it with character development and a wealth of atmosphere that evokes an "alternate reality" which could easily be real--Hell, it might be, for all we know.  It's a solid plot set in a rich and detailed world, with a strong emotional punch.  McKelvie's art is solid--very expressive of emotion, strongly drawn characters, with a style that reminds one of Mike Allred; actually, it reminded me more of our very own Crowbot's art--an ironic point since the main character pretty much looks like our very own Crowbot.  No lie there!

Anyway--I give this one 5 out of 5.  Very highly recommended.  This shit is good--so good that I was actually disappointed when I found it this was only a limited series and not a monthly book.  Trade paperback from Image Comics, and a fucking steal at $14.99.
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2007, 09:47:20 AM »

Sounds great. Can't wait to read it. Not enough good black and white comix these days.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 09:49:48 AM by crowboy » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2007, 11:50:30 AM »

...the main character pretty much looks like our very own Crowbot.


Well, he's not as cute as our very own Crowbot.

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It's a very cool book.  You'll love it. 

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