The People You Are Not – Phonogram: The Singles Club #5

The cover to Phonogram: The Singles Club #5
Not sure what this is advertising but I’m listening…

From Series: Phonogram: The Singles Club

What Happened:

Laura Heaven feels bad and you should too. So you will. Because she is a magic person.

Laura Heaven is a phonomancer (person who can use music for magic) but got the short end of the stick when it comes to fantastical powers. While her friend Penny B can charm nearly anyone with her dancing, Laura is just a concoction of all the music and pop culture she has taken in. She constantly quotes her favorite band The Long Blondes both in conversation and in narration. This makes her less of an original flavor of taffy and more of a smooshed ball of all the taffy flavors she enjoys.

Probably the biggest bummer of all, Laura is self aware enough to recognize and hate these limitations in herself. Not restricted to self hatred though, Laura turns her cynical eye on everyone in her life. Most of all on her best friend Penny. Penny is happy, loved by all, and charming. Laura hides her self-cutting and insecurities with long sleeves and sarcasm. Best friends don’t always make sense.

Their night is laser focused on getting Penny and her newly-single crush Marquis to dance and hook up at the club. Penny’s phonomancer powers come from dancing, so she’s pretty confident about her chances with Marquis in the dance club. Laura willfully (but not excitedly) goes along with the plan while feeling like no one would ever pick her for a dance/hook-up/conversation. She considers herself the perpetual “second choice”. And hey, look at that, another bummer because Laura wants to get with everyone at the club. Everyone.

This neediness depresses her.

Depression may have many cures but I was surprised to learn running into Dark Aster in the bathroom was one of them. Aster, the probably-evil-but-we-love-her-anyway phonomancer Coven leader sees Laura for who she really is and does not judge her. Aster laughs at Laura’s posturing and lets her know “You’re a bad person. That’s not so bad.” This alleviates some of Laura’s need to be like Penny, some of her need to be like anyone else, and all of her need for other people.

After everyone at the club has coupled up and gone home, Laura and Lloyd (Logos) share a taxi. Lloyd being Marquis hanger-on gives Laura a sense of camaraderie. When he tells her his plans for a band and she deduces that he’s about to ask her to be the singer. She also realizes she would be his second choice and then she surprises them both by leaving the taxi, with new magic forming in her eyes.

What I Learned From this Issue:

Quoting the movie Airplane to people can result in profanity.

The Creators:
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler/Inker/Letterer: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Black Magic Washes Away The Goth – Phonogram: The Singles Club #3

The cover to Phonogram: The Singles Club #3
A new haircut and a new attitude! That’s all you need to turn your life around! And a lot of dark magic! That’s all you need!
From Series: Phonogram: The Singles Club

What Happened:

Emily Aster does not want to go to the club with her friend and fellow Phonomancer (music wizard) David Kohl. David promises the club will not be terrible, because the music is only allowed to have female singers. It will probably be a little bit bad though, because it is an indie club. Regardless, this tiny lifeboat of hope somehow coxes Emily into going to the club.

She’s a little peeved to learn the DJ is Seth, a man she hates. Seth also hates her. They’re two peas in a pod! Seth hates Emily because she stole his girlfriend from him. Emily hates Seth because Emily hates people for petty reasons. Seth is still pretty cool about the whole thing and offers to play requests for David and Emily. Emily and Seth manage to insult each other over the popularity of her request then Emily runs off victorious.

Emily feels GREAT about how awful she was! Before, when she was different, she would let Seth walk all over her and get under her skin. She just doesn’t care about that stuff now. Now that she’s changed.

Because she HAS changed.

When Emily goes to the bathroom she doesn’t see herself as she is in the mirror but instead the version of herself she banished to limbo with her phonomancy magic. That version was depressed, cut herself, listened to bands like Garbage, and was very very very very 90’s. Now that that version is threatening to return. This startles the newer, more chic Emily. She never wants to be that type of person again and is willing to fight to make sure she does not.

Emily then successfully freaks out another girl in the bathroom by using her phonomancer magic to know the song that was playing on the radio when she was in a car crash which killed her brother. So lets not root too hard for Emily to win this battle! She doesn’t approve of the song, either.

She dances with David and his friend Kid With Knife in the club. They are eye-balled and gossiped about by clubbers in the know (David made a name for himself by killing a God a while back). Then Emily, discovering she hates the club now, decides to do something the old her never would: sleep with a stranger. This turns into a symbolic and literal middle finger to her banished self.

What I Learned From This Comic:

You really don’t want to listen to LL Cool Jay in the car.

The Creators:
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler/Inker/Letterer: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Phonogram: The Singles Club #2

The cover to Phonogram: The Singles Club #2
Uh oh! That lady that lives in your heard and control everything with computers and pulleys wants me to come inside. Must be a kink in one of pipes she blows air into to make your eyebrows go up and down.

From Series: Phonogram: The Singles Club

What Happened:

Two phonomancers, Marc and Lloyd, are hanging out before heading to the dance club. Marc hasn’t been there for a while because of his recent break up with a girlfriend. Lloyd is angry that he’s still thinking about her.

Llyod is angry about a lot of stuff though so we shouldn’t take too much notice of this. He’s angry nobody understands how incredibly genius his naughty word pop cover band idea is. He’s angry nobody calls him by his self appointed nickname “Mr. Logos”. He’s angry he’s the only one going to a dance club dressed for success (a suit). Lloyd’s a real fun guy!

Anyway, they get to the club where Lloyd promises to further explain his plan on making an awful Insane Clown Posse version of Weird Al Yankovic BUT SERIOUS. Before this nightmare can begin they bump into fellow phonomancers Penny B and Laura Evans (Laura Heaven). Penny asks Marc for a dance and he agrees to for later in the night. Penny runs off to DANCE LIKE THE WORLD DEPENDS UPON IT and then Laura aggressively hits on Marc. Marc is pretty weirded out by this pretty obvious betrayal of the sisterhood but moves along.

Then Marc’s phonomancer powers kick in. A phonomancer is a type of wizard. But instead of magic, they can use music. Marc’s phonomancer powers seem to be based on memories tied to music. He’s shown the first time he met his ex girlfriend on the dance floor while he talks to an avatar version of her in the vision. After her eyes turn black in the memory Marc suspects that she cursed him with her own Phonomancer powers. She denies this but, she’s just a memory avatar. You can’t take their word for nothing!

The avatar scolds him for being boring during their introduction. To be fair: he does seem boring. They dance until a lame song plays during which point they go have sex in the bathroom until a fun song comes on. It’s a very efficient system! No time wasted! Gross bathroom sex!

The avatar gets upset that Mark doesn’t believe her when she says she wouldn’t have done this with anyone else in the club. Man, these two kids are really hitting it off. “Did you curse me?” “You were boring.” “Would you have had sex with anyone that night?”

No idea why they couldn’t make things work between them.

Mark tries to end the vision by jumping the vision of their relationship towards the last fight they have, but the avatar forces him back towards the first meeting because that’s more fun. At this point, Penny B approaches him and asks him if he’d like to have that dance he promised her. Marc’s still in his vision though. Seeing his ex girlfriend dance with a younger version of himself he admits he does not want to dance with Penny.

What I learned from this comic:

A god was murdered and some people just don’t care.

The Creators:
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler/Inker/Letterer: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson

Phonogram: The Singles Club #1

The cover to Phonogram: The Singles Club #1
Turn around white eyes.
From Series: Phonogram: The Singles Club

What Happened:

Penny B introduces her self to the reader and starts walking you through what she’s convinced will be a fun night. But first: the girl’s gotta dance.

Just a skosh, just a teensy tiny bit, to hold her off until later. Penny’s a Phonomancer after all, which means she can tap into the music and use it like magic. Penny’s specialty is dancing. The attention is gives her, how much fun she has doing it with her friends, and the influence she can have over people are all components of this power.

Her best friend Laura Evans (aka Laura Heaven) arrives. Laura is a stark contradiction to the cheerful Penny. She dresses in layers and replies to most things Penny says with a sardonic reply. Laura is also a phonomancer but Penny is unable to explain her powers to us. Great. Thanks. You’re doing a wonderful job as the narrator of this story Penny.

At the club, which Penny insists is the BEST club, Laura and her discuss the possibility of Marc showing up. Marc’s on the rebound after a bad break up and Penny has her eyes on him. She knows if she can get him to dance with her she will have it on lock. Her cutting of his rug will be all that’s needed for… smooches? Probably smooches.

Penny will need the perfect song though. After requesting Pull Shapes by the Pipettes to the DJ’s Seth Bingo and Silent Girl, Penny is screamed at for having bad taste in music. She apparently doesn’t know enough of music or it’s context to get the approval of the Seth and she runs off upset.

She sees Marc leaning against a wall and asks him to dance but he declines. The upsets her further and she tries to find Laura. Only Laura is hiding from her.

Then friend of Marc, Lloyd yells at her for being shallow and not liking music the way he thinks it should be liked. Things are reaching a boiling point for Penny.

But then Pull Shapes starts playing.

Nothing else matters. Penny wants to dance. Not for the attention, or to dance with friends, or to influence people but just for the raw joy of it. David Kohl and Emily Aster watch on approvingly. Llyod watches in shock. Laura watches in awe. Seth looks repulsed he had to play this song.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Sometimes a childhood first memory is unintentionally terrifying.

The Creators:
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler/Inker/Letterer: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson