By Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson; Image Comics
Phonogram: The Singles Club is kind of a masterpiece of comics craft. Part of this is that The Singles Club is exceptionally well written, with its dynamite premise, an engaging troupe of characters, and perfectly tuned dialogue. It's also a comic with beautiful artwork: fantastic acting, dynamic use of space, and aggressively thoughtful colouring. But the thing that makes Phonogram: The Singles Club the kind of comic that everyone should be taking a very close look at is the way Team Phonogram embeds the story so completely in setting. Structurally, The Singles club tells seven interlocking stories with common settings that occur simultaneously on the same night, and, this complicated, multifaceted beast fits together PERFECTLY. This narratives thread like a tapestry, the chapters obey the timeline of the story like a Teutonic train schedule, and the physical spaces are complete enough to pass building codes. Phonogram: The Singles Club is just about the most granular, engineered short comics run I've ever read.
Because Phonogram: The Singles Club is so well crafted, you can literally create page-by-page maps of plot, time, and setting of really remarkable detail. And, because I love making infographics, I've done just that.
1: Plot Map
3: Setting Map
Setting Map: This is, as accurately as I can figure it out, the location of every page and event in Phonogram: The Singles Club. I tried to be as accurate as possible given the information available in the comic (including Jamie McKelvie's great backup info about the club design which I tried to back-engineer). That said, I took artistic license in a few places (the room behind the bar in the club, for instance), had to make some inferences (like Laura starting in Penny's bathroom, and Penny living in a dorm or room in her parent's house instead of an apartment...), and decided not to draw all of Bristol, so outside is just the area not enclosed in a room. Use your imagination. Areas with free drawn, squiggly lines are kind of my fog-of-war demarcations for areas where I lacked enough information to guess at layout. It's also worth noting that I guessed at overall dimensions of spaces, so that is all kind of eyeball approximate. Despite all of this attention to detail, I strongly suspect I still made some other errors in here. (Like in Lloyd's parent's (I guess) house, the leftmost mainfloor wall is, I think, the barrier wall of the home which I imagine is a rowhouse. Lloyd's room on the second floor, then, shouldn't project past it, but the place it seems to fit easiest (and maybe best given the door opening) violates this...) I am also shit at drawing cars from above. But yeah, overall I think it's pretty okay. Please use the other diagrams for time and plot locations.
(Also, it's pretty cool that I got to use my highschool drafting electives for something after all. Woo.)
This diagram is a plot map so there will be *SPOILERS* in the diagram. Be wary.
I don't really have any after commentary for this one, other than setting is just done FLAWLESSLY in The Singles Club. The fact I could look at the comic and generate reasonable floorplans for spaces in the story is CRAZY (even if I cheated and used the club 3D model pictures in the backup). The way this comic uses is setting is absolutely worth looking at in detail.
(Incidentally, this is my first blog post as married Hoo-mon. Weird...)
So I Read Phonogram: Rue Britainia
So I Read Phonogram: The Singles Club
Deep Sequencing: Phono-Infogram: Plot Maps
Deep Sequencing: Phono-Infogram: Timeline