Aww, fuck. Might as well start off with a quote from Millar, the Instigator:

“But I love that Kapow! is sold out. I want people to turn up, find that out and think: ‘Damn, I’m definitely going to get my ticket next year.’ There is something cool about that.”

(Kapow! Superheroes come to Britian – man, this even willingly leans in to those Zap! Pow! punches, eh?)

Ok so one of the weird things about Mark Millar, as a figure in popular culture, is that I’m predisposed to disbelieve almost everything he says in interviews. He’s like Tony Blair that way for me, only, you know, Millar’s not actually irredeemably evil.

He is the king of the obvious idea, apparently, and as such the first person to write a comic where a supervillain is the main character. The book in question? Nemesis (Icon Comics, 2010), except… that’s not quite right.  You see, the weird thing about this particular boast is that Millar actually beat himself to the punch on this one, with Wanted (Top Cow, 2003). Or maybe the pluralisation invalidates that example, in which case all I have to say is: Zodiac (Marvel, 2009). Or maybe: Irredeemable (Boom Studios, 2009). If plural supervillains count then maybe I’d be saying Empire (Gorilla Comics, 2000)  instead, but the point is that it’s a silly boast, one that’s easily proved to be untrue.

Still, at least it’s still a relatively new idea, eh?

Well... there were probably no gay incestous womb-bombs in this comic, but maybe that's because it's a shit idea?

Oh. Okay. Maybe not. Well… there probably weren’t any gay incestuous womb-bombs in those old Joker comics, but maybe that’s just because it’s a shit idea?

More fear and self loathing at the comics convention after the cut!!

  • Phonogram Book Two: The Singles Club #7. By Keiron Gillen, Jamie Mckelvie, and Matt Wilson.

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  • Getting this post done is probably the only New Year’s Resolution I will stick to. Shame then that I haven’t, crucially you might think, thought of anything good to say or interesting to add* to the established critical consensus, let alone a structured, witty overview, analysis and pithy summation of Phonogram. (Which was a great, perfectly imperfect comic that lived in the zeroes and died in 2010, and whose passing should be marked.)
  • In the absence of trifling little entities like Form and Content, we will therefore be going with the randomish bulletpoints format again, fire up a few bad jokes, misapplied anecdotes, predictable gimmicks, attic junk, and creepy sextalk, and see if anyone makes it to the end.
  • There’s not a prize or anything.
  • *Like really I haven’t, this comic’s been out for so long, it’s pathetic I haven’t thought of anything good to say about it by now. But we proceed – Singer’s Law be hanged bedad!
  • Oh but, I’ve just read it back to myself and by god this is probably the most annoying, which is to say @@nnnnyyoyyyeeeeiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnng, review of a sweet, innocent little comic book that you will have ever read, so if you’ve the guts to go on, be warned – it gets a little unreadable out there.

But will I get it done by Xmas Eve, Eve?

Being: the first of two short posts building up to a third, hopefully more substantial one.

This series of posts is supposed to be all about mirrors and vanity, so what better way to start than by quoting something I said in the comments to this Phonogram review?  Cast your mind all the way back… to December 2009!

I like The Phonogram – it shows me something I like to recognise, namely, me!

I hate The Phonogram – it shows me how stupid that bit of me really is.

Which is why it’s good, and why I love it, and why this review gets to the core of The Singles Club better than any other (though Nina’s review was also very good, if far harsher). I’ll be happy to see more issues, and sorry to see it end.

Still, it’s a bit of a prick at times, The Phonogram.

Sometimes, I don’t think it likes me as much as I like it…

How does the song go? Oh yeah: “I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in love/ Is to like the other slightly less than you get in return/ I keep feeling like I’m being undercut…

Of course, much as I admire these tricky qualities in Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen‘s Phonogram, and much as I’ll always be grateful to them for dedicating an issue of their fanzine-as-fantasy-comic to a defiantly minor group like The Long Blondes, I’ve always known where to find the best example of this trick in all of comics.

I'm not going to have time to properly get into it here, but Jamie McKelvie's art was just so perfect for Phonogram, with its cast of fragile characters trying so damned hard to pose their thoughts into reality. Suffice it to say, if you got McKelvie to draw a working diagram of the universe I'd expect it to be boys who like

Indeed, even back in December 2009, when I was young and naive and actually pretty cowardly about these things, I was still careful to give tribute to The King:

But then I thought of Alec – The King Canute Crowd: “yeah, all these books were written about you!” That Eddie Campbell’s a clever bastard, you know – I don’t think there’s a better laid trap in all of comics than that page.

And yeah, I’ll stand by that statement!

Wanna find out what’s through the looking glass? Click here and all will become clear! Well, mostly!

& babble on & on & on & on

December 24th, 2009

Articles of the Shame of a Common Man ~ #1 ~ Things I’m Glad No-one Knows About

A long time ago Laura, who I mentioned in the review of Phonogram 2.1 a year ago and is in no way like the character who once reminded me of her so,  set me a challenge to which I was too weak to rise. She said: ‘If you love Dexys Midnight Runners so fucking much, come into our trendy metropolitan university one morning dressed as one of them circa Come On Eileen. Dungarees, kerchief, hat, the lot. And I will give you fifty English pounds.’ Scared stupid, and unwilling to give her the satisfaction of pissing herself laughing at me while I got stabbed by less tolerant fellow students, I declined, without so much as a too-rye-aye.

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Smirking lke a Cheshire cat, she christens me. ‘Your Phonogram name will be, ‘ she says (except she didn’t of course, it’s just how this could have played out if you were writing the scene like that now… The bit about the bet’s true though, and the name:)

<i>Princess Dexy</i>

In response to this slice of post ironic pop-cheesecake she says to me she says, ‘Just because they’re not superheroes, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ashamed.’

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Loook readers, you can see her knickers! Le Fwoar!

Phonogram Book 2: The Singles Club #4, by Keiron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson

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Not, by the way, going to allow this review to be coloured by how annoying those Pipettes at the next table in the cafe on Saturday were. Didn’t really notice myself, to be honest, I was wrapped up thoroughly in my weekly dose of Wednesday wonder (it’s the comic it’s OK to read in public! Best Aquaman ever!), but when I looked up my betrothed had her homicide face on, filled me in on the details later. One Pipette telling off another Pipette for not being Pipettey enough. Read: first rule of Pipette club – do not be a better singer than lead Pipette. Another line-up change on the horizon? How 2006.

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Which I think is big of me

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So this is an interview in three stages. If it was an album it would be a prog album. One of Rick Wakeman’s later efforts involving Arthurian legend and horses on ice skates. Or perhaps it would be a three hour gabba techno set by Lenny D. Or maybe it would be Sandanista, the Clash album that never knew when to stop…

I’d wanted to meet up with Kieron as I knew he was a local London boy and would most likely be amenable to a few shandies whilst discussing his cult comic series Phonogram as well as his recent forays into the Marvel Universe. And any other shit we could think of. To my pleasure Mr Gillen was up for it. 

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Read the rest of this entry »

As The Muzak Killer once ranted to his hapless hipster accomplice, ‘Music is only cool when it’s old!’ It’s the same with comics about music, which is why this  review of Phonogram 2.3 is so late that the next one is even out by now.

And I’ve nothing to say about it really, as it happens, so let’s do bullet points. You know, hip young gunslingers! In with a bullet! Peow-peow!

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Steven Wells RIP

2sday night reviews

May 6th, 2009

Just time for one last bite of the week-old bread before the supermarket chucks it in the dumpster, from where it will be cycled on to assorted tramps, birds and City sandwich-bar proprietors.

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Which of those are you, dear reader?

…said Steve the shop. Luckily, I had the issue in my hand already, thereby narrowly dodging another cruel flechette of conversational shrapnel, saved from a fresh scar of shame and age gouged from the old character armour.

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Candy covers – Pic’n'Mix (Woolies RIP)

If it hadn’t a been for Jimmy Jump