"Phonogram

by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie

Image Comics; $3.50

David Kohl is a second-rate Phonomancer and a fourth-rate human being. A Phonomancer is someone who feels the magic through music, and uses that same music to channel magic. Unfortunately for Kohl, he’s in a spot of trouble. The Goddess has sent him on a mission that his very existence depends upon: Brittania, The Goddess’ very dead aspect, which embodied the Brit pop movement of the mid ’90s, is in peril and Kohl must save her and by proxy himself.  

The six-issue comic mini-series Phonogram, written by Kieron Gillen (Commercial Suicide) and illustrated by Jamie McKelvie (Negative Burn Winter Special 2005), touts the idea of music as magic. While many have made mention of this idea, Phonogram may be the first dedicated title to lay it all down.

Gillen’s writing reads like a bittersweet love letter to pop music, filled with moments of pride and shame. In the first two issues, he captures Kohl’s sense of alienation, confusion and driven purpose perfectly through inner monologue and his interaction with this musically magical world hidden right underneath the grimy surface. McKelvie’s black and white artwork contains the same sobering perspective, which makes the occasional surreal elements of the art even more unnatural and cool. Issues 1 and 2 of Phonogram are sold out but publisher Image Comics will have more on the way.

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