#24 PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB #4 – Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie
“Dancing is imminent. The room is primed. Adventures!”
Phonogram: The Singles Club is a comic book about something as non-Comic Book Guy as you can get – clubbing. The comic-booky thing about it is that in Phonogram’s world music is magic. Or more precisely, being obsessed with music is a magical act. And fair enough too. In Phonogram “I’m on the guest list” are literal magic words, but if you care enough they may as well be an incantation in the real world too.
This issue focuses on two DJs for five hours, almost every panel a shot of the two of them – Seth Bingo, who wears ironic t-shirts and disdain for your favourite band, and Silent Girl, who doesn’t say very much and therefore invests the things she does say with Zen-like wisdom – doing their thing in the DJ booth. This would be boring to look at if it weren’t for Jamie McKelvie’s ability to invest every hair-toss, arm-cross and hip-swing with personality, and the setting allowing for sight gags like a certain Blondie single glowing radioactively.
One of the things a great pop song can do is take a sentiment that’s as clichéd as they come and make it worth listening to for the two-minutes-thirty that it takes to understand why that sentiment was enduring enough to become a cliché in the first place. For instance: if you love something, set it free. In this case, set it free at a monthly club night, or anywhere else other people will have the chance to appreciate it and share a little of that love. Seth Bingo and Silent Girl are the kind of obsessives who don’t just like the music they like, but are driven to proselytize at you about it no matter what you think. They will do inappropriate things to your eardrums with mid-’00s Swedish pop and there’s nothing you can do to stop them, so you may as well enjoy it.
Of course, one of the other things a great pop song does is make you want to dance. Phonogram is a comic you can dance to.