There’s a comixology Phonogram sale on at the moment. That means you can get any individual issue for 99c (69p) and each series together for £2.99. This strikes me as good value.
Here is my entirely impartial buying advice.
Why you Should Buy If You Already Own The Collection
There’s a mass of back-matter in each issue. While you’d have to be a serious Phonogram fan to buy Rue Britannia again digitally for the essays, in The Singles Club we basically turned each issue into a micro-magazine. Putting aside the text pieces, each issue also contained six pages of back-up comics (“B-sides”) with art from a bunch of our fave people. Hell, issue 7 included 10 pages of comics rather than the 6. You have to buy the individual issues rather than the digital collection, but the first issue is free, so that’s “only” six of them so 6 dollars/4 quid.
If you enjoyed Phonogram, and you haven’t read them, I suspect this may be worth your time. At the least, it’s some new Phonogram for you until we get to season 3.
Why You Should Buy If You Don’t Own Any Phonogram
Phonogram was Jamie McKelvie and my original Indie darling. It’s the comic of ours that people have tattoos of. It’s the one that I’m painfully aware changed some people’s lives. It’s the one I’d keep if I had to only save one thing I’ve written from the bonfire. It means a bit too much to the people who love it, myself included. It’s a bit precious, which is part of its questionable charm.
The first volume (RUE BRITANNIA) was my first work in American comics. As such, it’s the sort of thing that Jamie and I tend to feel is a bit awkward now, but that’s just the standard creator iffiness around older work. It’s got that raw fanzine feel and was very much created in a if-i-do-one-comic-ever-it-will-be-this mode. It reviewed well, and basically birthed both Jamie and my career.
The second volume (THE SINGLES CLUB) we were joined by Matt Wilson, and where I think it really clicks. This is where we find our pop voice, and start pushing the formalist thing. When we say “with Young Avengers we’re bringing some of our Phonogram toolset to the Marvel Universe” we actually mean “with Young Avengers we’re bringing some of our The Singles Club toolset to the Marvel Universe.” It’s the one that won awards, and birthed the TEAM PHONOGRAM GillenMcKelvieWilson Troika.
Normally we say people should start with the second, as it’s the more mature and arguably more accessible work, but at this price, I’d actually say grab both. Rue Britannia is our Homework and The Singles Club is our Discovery, if you want to throw a Daft Punk metaphor at it. I’d recommend buying the collections rather than the single issues, btw. Not least as it’s cheaper, but there’s some small tweaks to them from the singles that make them the best way to read the main story.
We have a third volume presently planned for the second half of next year, so it’s an ideal chance to catch up in advance of that. And hell, if you want it in a physical form afterwards, the trades are also lovely objects and not too expensive.
Why You Should Buy If You Own The Single Issues
Actually, you can probably skip it. Unless you really want to own them digitally or something.
Er… what’s it actually about?
It’s an Urban Fantasy comic based around the idea of music literally being magic. Less in a Dungeons & Dragons way and more as a metaphor of all the way that music influences and inexplicably warps people’s lives. As such, it gets talked about as Music Criticism fairly often, especially as it uses real bands. Don’t hold that against it. There’s some more stuff about it over at the (dormant) site.
Why am I still reading and not clicking the link to buy this?
I don’t know, man! I just don’t know!