Phonogram #2

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
"Can't Imagine the World Without Me"

Lyrics by Kieron Gillen
Music by Jamie McKelvie

Publisher: Image Comics

Yeah, that's a music reference in the credits, and even though I usually don't parrot clever credits (after all, my job as a reviewer is to list the creators sort of dispassionately, translating the comic for non-readers so they understand the quality of the comic), in this case, it fits. Gillen and McKelvie's comic drips with musical references. Music permeates and penetrates every panel of this comic book, to the end point that it's very hard to read this comic without feeling like it was written with a soundtrack in mind. And lo and behold, it was written with music in mind, music from Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers and Sleeper and Echobelly and a whole lot more.

All that gives the comic a very interesting sort of rhythm. The story in this issue sort of drifts in and out of focus, like verses of a song with a catchy chorus. The chorus is how the ghost of Beth, haunts David Kohl, a British guy who's passionate about music. David dated Beth for a couple of years before he betrayed and left her. Suddenly this dead girl is back in David's life. Is her return real and if so, what does it mean? Why does David's friend see Beth, too, and what is the meaning of the very surprising final page?

The verses of this comic have to do with David's passion for music, and how it plays into his perception of Beth. We hear a lot about Echobelly, who were part of the Britpop movement of the '90s, and read lots about the Manic Street Preachers and a fictional (I think) band called the Manics.

It all comes together as a very unique and intriguing package, a wonderful twist on both rock music and relationships. By the end of this issue, I really found myself intrigued by the story, and I really wanted to know just what the heck the story was with Beth.

Jamie McKelvie's art fits the story really well. I like the way he draws David so he mainly looks like a jerk, except when David looks like a nice guy. I found myself really intrigued by the way McKelvie drew Beth. She looks so much like a ghost, all willowy and ethereal while also looking awfully damn cute.

This comic sucked me in the same way that a good song does.

Community Discussion