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Review Group Week 168 - PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB #2

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Punchy
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Postby Punchy » Fri May 01, 2009 3:36 pm

48THRiLLS wrote:I haven't read From Hell so I cannot comment about that but comparing the 2 pages of annotations to a couple editor boxes here and there is apples and oranges.


From Hell has like, 30 pages of annotations, check it out, they actually make the story better, as you see how much sheer effort Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell put in.

Maybe I don't mind the annotations as much because I actually got most of the references (not a hipster, just British, and this period in late 2006 is the last time I was really passionate about new music), and I read them only to see what Gillen's opinions are.

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Postby 48THRiLLS » Fri May 01, 2009 3:56 pm

Punchy wrote:From Hell has like, 30 pages of annotations, check it out, they actually make the story better, as you see how much sheer effort Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell put in.

Maybe I don't mind the annotations as much because I actually got most of the references (not a hipster, just British, and this period in late 2006 is the last time I was really passionate about new music), and I read them only to see what Gillen's opinions are.


For the record I am not calling everyone who listens to indie-rock music hipsters... I am just an admitted music snob that thinks my music is the only music and other music sucks...
That being said, I get what the writer was trying to do it was just over executed. In the end I just think I wasn't the target demo for this book... I have always wanted to check out From Hell but your 30 pages of annotations scares the crap outta me.

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Postby Punchy » Fri May 01, 2009 4:04 pm

48THRiLLS wrote:For the record I am not calling everyone who listens to indie-rock music hipsters... I am just an admitted music snob that thinks my music is the only music and other music sucks...
That being said, I get what the writer was trying to do it was just over executed. In the end I just think I wasn't the target demo for this book... I have always wanted to check out From Hell but your 30 pages of annotations scares the crap outta me.


In From Hell they aren't there to explain the story, but show that how all these weird esoteric bits were drawn from real events or ripper theory rather than made up by Moore, it enhances the text, and makes an already impressive work even more interesting

What is 'your music'? I assume you like the Clash from your username?

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Postby 48THRiLLS » Fri May 01, 2009 4:34 pm

Punchy wrote:In From Hell they aren't there to explain the story, but show that how all these weird esoteric bits were drawn from real events or ripper theory rather than made up by Moore, it enhances the text, and makes an already impressive work even more interesting

What is 'your music'? I assume you like the Clash from your username?


The Clash is my favorite band ever followed by the Descendents then Against Me!

I listen to mostly punk rock... old, new, popular, and unknown... but have a healthy respect for some classic rock (Queen, The Who, Cheap Trick) and some old school metal (Maiden, Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies).

...From Hell is on my list of things to read, eventually I will get to it.

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Postby KING King Impulse » Fri May 01, 2009 5:00 pm

I don't see how annotations are a bad thing, I can list like 5-10 bands I've gotten into just because of this comic and the back-matter. If anything, it's better than editorial boxes every other panel. When ASM went x3 they threw those boxes about everywhere and it was really distracting and annoying.
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Postby Punchy » Fri May 01, 2009 7:17 pm

King Impulse wrote:I don't see how annotations are a bad thing, I can list like 5-10 bands I've gotten into just because of this comic and the back-matter. If anything, it's better than editorial boxes every other panel. When ASM went x3 they threw those boxes about everywhere and it was really distracting and annoying.


But how many bands did you get into because of ASM? :P

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Postby KING King Impulse » Fri May 01, 2009 7:42 pm

Punchy wrote:But how many bands did you get into because of ASM? :P

I bet Parker would think The Pigeon Detective are the height of indie. :roll:
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Postby Punchy » Mon May 04, 2009 8:58 am

Phonogram: The Singles Club #2(of 7) - 'Wine and Bed and More and Again' - Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson

Story - I'm having a bit of trouble formulating this review, because after 3 reads of this book I'm still not really sure what I think of it. Basically, I like it, but I also don't, it often makes me angry at how fucking hard it's trying, it's good, but it's not as good as it thinks it is, and that makes it less good... if you know what I mean. Yeah, I don't either.

The basic premise of Phonogram is that 'music is magic', it's a kind of nebulous term that I don't think has been fully explored or explained by Gillen, why is it? How is it? What can these Phonomancers do? Mainly they seem to drop references and quote lyrics. what amazing magic. But I do think this issue is the clearest expression of how one aspect of the music as magic thing works, as it takes something from real life (songs reminding us of stuff from our pasts) and making it a tangible thing, as the character Marc is cursed to a flashback of some Manic Pixie Dream Girl with oh so funny foreign speech patterns. It's a good idea, and it's clearer than whatever David Kohl's powers were in Volume 1 and what Penny did in the first issue, but that female character was a fucking cliche and a half, she's so free-spirited and fun! 'Dancingman' Ugh and indeed Blerg. It was just the kind of self-involved stuff Gillen does so often. I did like how the flashbacks were structured though, with them happening concurrently to Marc and the annoying european commenting on it.

Perhaps the best thing about this issue is how it links in with and expands on #1. Gillen is going for something like that movie 'Go', you know, the one with Katie Holmes, and all the different issues of the story take place in the same club night and mix together, so we saw Marc and Lloyd (Sorry, Mr Logos) in #1, and Penny from #1 is in here, and Emily Aster from #3 is seen in both issues. This is a fun idea, but it does end up making each issue feel incomplete, so it's hard to judge it all until it's finished, but Gillen structures it well, like, if you'd only read last issue, you'd think that Marc was a total fucking dick, but this issue, well, it doesn't show that he's not a dick, just that maybe he's slightly less of a one, and more goes into his decision not to dance with Penny than meanness, he's cursed or whatever, still, he's so self-involved! Get over yourself!

So this is kind of a ramble isn't it? Sorry, but since the book veers from good to bad, so shall this review. What else was good? Hmm... I did like Lloyd, he was a dick, but unlike most of the characters, it's probably intentional. Other stuff... the references to music, I didn't have that much of a problem with it as I got pretty much all of them, but I do think he goes overboard, like the character of Laura Heaven, who speaks almost entirely in quotes from the Long Blondes' first album, I like that band, love that album, but it's actually annoying, and a bit too arch and knowing, I think Gillen needs to focus on telling a story and stop trying to show how much he knows about music, too often his job as a Music journalist (for pretentious magazine Plan B, which my brother has a subscription, oy) seeps into this comic.

Overall then, how is Phonogram #2? It's decent, I probably would recommend it, but if you're not as into music as Gillen is (I certainly aren't anymore) and are willing to put up with indie moaning and poorly explained magic, it's an enjoyable, if not as good as it thinks it is experience.

Art - Now this was the best thing about the book, McKelvie is amazing, and he's gotten even better since he's made the jump to colour, his work here and on his own book Suburban Glamour (take the best things Phonogram says about youth, take away the pretension and add monsters) is amazing, distinctive and just plain ace. Matthew Wilson's colours also deserve a nod, they fit with McKelvie's art, and while a lot of the backgrounds are blank, he puts some interesting stuff there. He also uses more muted colours to differentiate between the present and the flashbacks, the art in the back up stories by Emma Vieceli and Daniel Heard was excellent too. I didn't mention them in the story section, because... well they didn't have a story.

Best Line - 'Why does no-one understand my genius?' Sometimes it seems to me the whole book is Gillen shouting that at us.

7/10
Last edited by Punchy on Mon May 04, 2009 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby SuperginraiX » Mon May 04, 2009 11:31 am

To the infinite surprise of no one, my shop did not have this comic.

I know. Didn't see that coming. :wink:
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Postby guitarsmashley » Mon May 04, 2009 5:00 pm

Anyone else read this crap?
doombug wrote:You really are the george carlin of the outhouse. that's fucking hilarious.


doombug wrote:and yeah, Yoni called it. :drunk



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Postby ****** » Mon May 04, 2009 5:15 pm

No time for love, Dr. Jones. Quick review, sorry...

I love music. I love comics. I love Phonogram. I love McKelvie's art. I love the annotations. I love the afterwards. I love the B-Sides.

I think the idea of a 'cursed' song and how it can trigger memories of loves/times past is infinitely relatable regardless of your music preference and it's place within Phonogram's 'music is magic' construct is pitch perfect. The way this issue and the first fit together have me very excited for future issues. My only gripe would be while girls with piercings and pink hair who speak in broken English are infinitely hot in real life, the broken English doesn't read very well in a comic book.

Did I mention that I love Jamie McKelvie's art? His growth from the first Phonogram album to this issue is fairly stunning and the color's by Matthew Wilson just make everything pop.

I guess Phonogram often get's stuck with that label of not being for everyone, but I really wish that wasn't the case. I wish the series was as much fun for everyone else as it is for me.

Story: 8
Art: 10
Overall: 9

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Postby KING King Impulse » Mon May 04, 2009 6:28 pm

amlah6 wrote:I wish the series was as much fun for everyone else as it is for me.

That's exactly how I feel about it, I picked it because I wanted people to feel what I feel when I read it. It's a shame only the three of us could say we enjoyed it, at least most people were civil about their dislike

Also...

Kieron Gillen wrote:Thanks for picking us for the review-group too. Your review is lovely. The other reviews have put a smile on my face too, for totally the opposite reason.
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Postby Punchy » Mon May 04, 2009 6:31 pm

It's odd that this is a love or hate it book, and I'm the only one who's in the middle.

Awesome that Gillen responded.

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Postby KING King Impulse » Mon May 04, 2009 6:38 pm

Punchy wrote:It's odd that this is a love or hate it book, and I'm the only one who's in the middle.

Awesome that Gillen responded.

Yeah, I just kept looking at the email in shock/joy. I was kind of embarassed to write a fan letter but the response made it all worthwhile.
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Postby Punchy » Mon May 04, 2009 6:44 pm

King Impulse wrote:Yeah, I just kept looking at the email in shock/joy. I was kind of embarassed to write a fan letter but the response made it all worthwhile.


I had the same thing when Bryan Lee O'Malley replied to my email.

Did he see my review do you think? Because it's kind of a middleground, I didn't love it enough or bash it enough to really make him smile.

He's a nice guy, so I kind of feel bad for criticising him. I met him at Thought Bubble, should have bought a Phonogram or Suburban Glamour T-shirt though.

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