Wednesday, 5 September 2012

So I Read Phonogram: Rue Britannia

A 250 word (or less) review of the first Phonogram collection.
By Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Image Comics

Phonogram explores the idea that music is magic. Literally. In the book, Phonomancers, musical magic adepts, harness the energy in music to affect their world and themselves. Rue Britannia focuses on David Kohl, a Phonomancer devoted to Britpop, as he struggles to discover who is interfering with the goddess of British guitar pop in an effort to retain his very identity. What follows is a deeply personal exploration of an individual's relationship with music and how, for certain people, music transcends entertainment and becomes something identity forming; something almost magical.1 For lack of a better way of putting it, Phonogram tries to explain why some people love music so bloody much.  And for trying to articulate something so intangible and personal, I think it does rather a good job. Creatively, Rue Britannia is a lot like a debut album: there is this dynamic new creative team (Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie) making this deeply personal and original content seemingly without regard to audience or marketability. In that sense, Rue Britannia is the Phonogram statement album: it tells us who they are and what their sound is. Of course, who they are is exemplary comic book makers and their sound, Phonogram, is one of those rare books worth checking out for the quality of the writing by itself and for the quality of the art alone. The combination of the two might just be magic. So yeah, go read Phonogram: Rue Britannia.

Word count: 241

1: It also tries to explain Britpop.

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