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Phonogram: Rue Brittania

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

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Phonogram: Rue Brittania
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
(Image Comics)
Phonogram is a comic borne from the authors' nostalgia for the Britpop phenomenon of the '90s, and an interest in magic and fantasy. This could be trite, but it's not. Aging British scenesters have magic powers gained from tapping in to the energy of music; 10 years on, David Kohl's memories are fading and his identity shifting beyond his control.

Fixing the balance of the music world takes Kohl on a journey through shitty dance clubs, creepy music gurus in basement hovels, suicidal Manic Street Preachers fans on bridges and arguments about bands with trendy teenagers hanging around parks. It's preposterous but almost plausible. How exactly this magic business works is often murky, though it hardly detracts from the story.

Gillen's writing cleverly winds together plots and McKelvie's art is spot-on. Fortunately, in the compilation the authors have cut down the rambling after-words of memories from 1997 that appeared in the series, to a single Britpop glossary. There's a lyric quoted every other sentence, but it's not a requirement to have spent the '90s making mix tapes of Oasis and Elastica to get this---anyone who spent their adolescence putting on headphones to escape the world can relate to the emotion behind Phonogram.
Laura Kenins
type: graphic novel

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