Tag Archives: phonogram: the immaterial girl

Rue Britannia, The Singles Club, and The Immaterial Girl Collected into The Complete Phonogram Hardcover Edition this April

New York Times bestselling creative team behind The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, introduce a Day-glo-soaked, music-obsessed experience in the fully-colored collected hardcover edition—The Complete Phonogram. It will hit stores this April and features all three story arcs of the cult-hit series.

Collected into a single volume for the first time, the critically beloved work includes Rue Britannia, The Singles Club, and The Immaterial Girl, with Rue Britannia newly colored. The world where Music Is Magic has never looked better.

The Complete Phonogram hardcover collects Phonogram #1-6, Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #1-7, Phonogram 3: The Immaterial Girl #1-6, and previously single-exclusive B-sides.

The Complete Phonogram hardcover (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0151-1, Diamond Code: JAN170785) hits comics stores on Wednesday, April 12th and bookstores on Tuesday, April 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 27th.


Around the Tubes

Old_Man_Logan_1_CoverIt was new comic book day yesterday! Did folks have luck picking up their new comics? Anyone impacted by the snow? For those that weren’t, what’d you like from this week’s releases? What was a clunker?

Around the Tubes

Huffington Post – Diversity in Comics: Defining Afrofuturism, Afro-Blackness and The Black Fantastic – A good read for those that might know about these things.

A.V. Club – A California college is offering a free online course about comic books – Who’s signing up?

Atoll Comics – Listening to Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 – Read about why you should check out this series now that its wrapped.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – All-New, All-Different Avengers #4

Talking Comics – Cry Havoc #1

ICv2 – DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1

Comic Vine – Deadly Class #18

Comic Vine – Deathstroke #14

CBR – Faith #1

Talking Comics – Ghostbusters International #1

Comic Vine – Grayson #16

Talking Comics – Old Man Logan #1

Comic VIne – Old Man Logan #1

Talking Comics – Tomb Raider #1

The Beat – Up Down Clown

Talking Comics – Victorie City #1


Around the Tubes (Video Game) Reviews

Kotaku – LEGO Marvel’s Avengers

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide

PhonogramIG-06_coverYou can’t talk about Phonogram (or The Wicked + The Divine) without talking about David Bowie. He died the day the final issue of Phonogram shipped with a cover eerily similar to a scene from his final music video*. In death Bowie gave us a final gift— his remarkable new album Blackstar. And with it an affirmation that you can be relevant to the end. A fantastic final statement. It would have given Emily Aster some hope about changing as she gets older. It also makes for one hell of a boss battle in issue 6.

Bowie has always been the best at moving through to new selves. His former selves don’t haunt him. They certainly don’t make him slit his arms with a mirror. He’s not Emily Aster. But like Bowie she comes into the series, sheds a self, builds a new one, grows through it and emerges to seek out what’s next.

The final issues of Phonogram ever are both about people moving on or growing. Example 1: David Kohl learns a thing or two about friendship. No seriously, that’s his story arc. Immediately preceding her attempted suicide Emily’s old self, Claire had isolated herself by breaking up the coven. She destroyed their music scene and when Kohl tries to get its former members together to do a ritual to save her (and use up the last of his power) they’ve all moved on. To conventional adulthood. Or they’ve been burned.

By talking with his mentor Lady Vox (who’s about to “shit out a kid like it’s a cannonball” speaking of growing and changing) he realizes this is Emily’s life crisis and he can’t fight it. She needs to figure out how to move forward in her life.

Kohl then performs an act of generosity that makes up for some of his past assholic behavior. Kohl gives his wheel-man/wing-man Kid With Knife a gift he deserves and needs: he phonomances him off to Times Square . He may even have used his last bit of magic to do so. It’s a mature and loving thing. Maybe it makes up for all the times he’s made KWK drive his ass across town. Like Kohl, I don’t drive and I get by a lot on my ability to persuade. So I appreciate him taking ownership of his behavior. It’s also a literal demonstration of magical power in a story where much of it can be read as strictly metaphor. The final B side makes it clear: Kohl really sent KWK to NYC.

One of the great things about the back-up story in issue 4 was how Gillen says that at one time he was his friend Johnny Panic’s Kid With Knife, a.k.a. his sidekick. For most of the series Kohl has been a protagonist with KWK his dull sidekick. Sometimes you’re the protagonist and sometimes it’s not your story. Gillen gives Kohl a wonderful complete story arc here because in The Immaterial Girl the star is really Emily.

Sure, David Kohl may have killed a god in volume 1: Rue Britannia. But in volume 3 Emily Aster kills the King of Pop. Or his death set her free. One way or another.

phonogram emily hand mirror bloodWhen Emily was a girl the King Beyond the Screen, a Michael Jackson made of TV static beckoned her and offered her the deal. She signs over her depressive self in exchange for the power of image.

Jackson, like Bowie was always changing— physically even. Both were masters of image. Emily’s image has been killing her literally.

This chapter is named “See Emily Play” (a Pink Floyd song that Bowie covered). Syd Barret’s lyrics go “Emily tries but misunderstands. She often inclined to borrow somebody’s dreams till tomorrow.” Emily has been trying to play by the rules of the magic video world she’s trapped in but she misunderstands. Inspired by the Lady Gaga within, Emily reveals the King to simply be an aspect of herself wearing Michael Jackson’s Bad garb. The King/Queen of Pop insists that Emily needs her or else she’ll be entirely empty. In a visual technicolor crescendo of blood splatter that artist Jamie McKelvie and colorist Matt Wilson completely ace, she takes a wrench to the effigy powerfully stating “you can fill empty things.”

phonogram emily smash

In another striking set of panels she dissolves her old depressive self and penetrates the retina of her eye, “the ultimate screen” emerging back into her body on the other side. Throughout the whole arc artist McKelvie has done amazing things using mirrors as portals and playing with screens and windows and faces reflected in windows with raindrops. It’s all very metaphysical. The scene also reminds me of Ann Margaret pushing Roger Daltrey through the mirror in Tommy, Ken Russell’s movie version of The Who’s musical.

She wakes up in a bath of her own blood and to a text message from Kohl saying Michael Jackson has died. That Gillen got the calendars to work for this is very impressive! The sequence counts off the various ways Michael Jackson’s death impacts people, from Black Laura’s relief that it wasn’t her idol Kate Jackson (from the Long Blonds), to the great Poly Styrene’s last song “Ghoulish”, the video for which consisted of Michael Jackson impersonators and called out the media’s description of the late MJ as “ghoulish” (again, a statement on aging). The next panel is a random guy playing Dirty Diana on an acoustic guitar thinking he’s cheeky and a phonomancer “too old to feel so angry, wishes him immolated” (yeah me too). Gillen even writes himself, his actual self, not Kohl, spotting an MJ impersonator on the tube and being wildly disconcerted by it.  But it’s mostly everyone dancing “as close to forever as any of us will ever get.”

Phonogram Very DramaticKohl has been offered a job by “The Adversary” and states that whether he takes it or not it’s proof that he’s irrelevant. Because that means he’s mainstream enough to be marketable. Marketable at what we don’t know– is it music writing? Or is it maybe writing comics (since this comic has frequently been a magical realist auto-biography). Her final conversation with Kohl really got to me. It reminds me of all the people I used to know in the scenes I’ve been in and whom I’ve lost track of. The whole issue has me in a sad nostalgic puddle.

Emily walks away in the rain, alone. For pages. Kohl can go back to his girlfriend-soon-to-be wife. Emily could be on her way to a healthier place but for now she is on her own. She is utterly at sea and is even soaking wet to prove it. Her hair is kinking up in the rain like MJ’s. Her red shirt is a mundane echo of the red Michael Jackson jacket she wore as Queen Behind the Screen. But her shirt is so conventional she could wear it to a job interview <shudder>.

She tosses her cigarette into a puddle and in the next panel we see Black Laura, lighting up her own. A tiny torch has been passed (albeit toxic). We get a final moment with Lloyd and Laura (god I love them!) and Shambles (sure, he can come too) as they prepare to launch their own DJ night and start their own coven. Shambles even calls Lloyd “Logos” (a small victory for his nom du magic). They quote a contemporary song. Good for them. They talk about the important Work they have to do. Kohl may be moving on to a job job but the next generation of phonomancer leadership is just coming into itself and this is their important work– “the sooner we start the sooner we save the world”.

Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars ends with Ziggy’s Rock and Roll Suicide. The rock Jesus from space tells us he’s washed up and feeling old and so, Bowie the artist offs his current avatar in a grand finale chanson.

But as the song ends the singer (I’d argue Bowie at that point and not his character Ziggy) implores the listeners:

Oh no love! you’re not alone

No matter what or who you’ve been

No matter when or where you’ve seen

All the knives seem to lacerate your brain

I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain

You’re not alone

Just turn on with me and you’re not alone

Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone

Let’s turn on and be not alone (wonderful)

Emily Aster has smashed her old selves. Claire has had the rock and roll suicide she always wanted but a new Emily lives on. “I’m still Emily Aster. I’m just not Emily Aster…  I’ve tried everything else. I may as well try changing.”

For us readers and listeners that story is over. The creators told the story of their youth the way they wanted to and so it offed itself so we can grow and change and move to the next thing which is the creative team’s new series, The Wicked + The Divine. May Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have 100 years until their Blackstar. I love this comic so so much.

Thoughts on the Final B-Sides:

Shiney Black Taxi Cab (pencils Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt on layouts/inks/letters) features particularly phonogram-y art. Kohl gets a cab to take him on a drive while the radio pulls up whatever random dreck the radio pulls up. He’s using it as a divination tool. It seems a bit like a mediated version of what the Situationists call Dérive: “unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience.”

It’s also like writer/speaker/activist Deanna Zandt’s annual Magic 8 Ball Music Ritual where you open up your music player, hit shuffle and draw conclusions. Try it. Mine just said Dance Apocalyptic which fits because Janelle Monae’s voice sounds like young Michael Jackson’s on this track.

Modern Love (art by Tom Humberstone)

The last bit of Phonogram EVAR and it’s a Bowie song of course. It’s also another ultra autobio story and it’s so good it could literally stand alone as a comic. Kieron and Kid With Guns are out for Kieron’s stag night and realize they’re the first people in the club because that’s what happens when you’re old. When the music takes over it’s a shared moment. Kieron shows us the story of his life in clubs. Of finding the place that had the music that he needed and “It was like discovering Narnia with hotter people and better music.” This was my life too.

Kieron literally grows up across the 4 panels from a long haired kid, to somewhat shorter haired teen spotting Britannia, his goddess (read volume 1), up to the present where he is remembering what it’s like to be clubbing again. There is one last piece of magic: he asks the record to always remind him and “it obliges”. Because that what music does.

*The totally arresting cover image of issue 6 is actually a reference to Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush video Don’t Give Up (don’t feel bad, I didn’t know that one either). The reassuring title should make us feel better. Personally I’ll always associate the cover with Blackstar even though it was drawn months before the album was released. Synchronicity.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: This goes to 11. Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review,  but I buy it anyway so I can evangelize to the masses

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Captain Marvel #1Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #3 (Valiant) – When a comic is released featuring of one my favourite characters squaring off against the legions of the afterlife alone, how could I not be excited? But beyond that, there is a raw quality to the artwork in this series that lends itself beautifully  to the surprisingly emotional story. Such a great series.

Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The only main Batbook I still read, and that’s entirely because of Scott Snyder. Last issue’s final page has had me counting down the days until #48 was being released. While I’m not a fan of the Robot Bunny Batman suit, I do love where the subplot featuring Bruce is going, and that subplot is the main reason I’m still reading.

Judge Dredd #2 (IDW Publishing) – Dredd was a staple of my childhood growing up in ol’ Blighty, and I’m loving seeing the direction of this new ongoing comic. If you haven’t read the last issue I won’t spoil what’s going on, but it’s not an overly unique idea, but it’s awesome to see it applied to Judge Dredd.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo) – This is a superbly illustrated tale about an American girl accidentally wandering into the world of Scottish mythology. Without any preamble, it’s good. Very good, even, and you should read it.



Top Pick: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – It all comes to an end for Emily Aster as well as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s first series together. Basically everything you love about that team grew out of Phonogram and it will be sad to see the series end it swan song. Will it end in death though? Who knows, but this is Gillen, so probably. There’s also been confirmation that the final B-side story is about David Bowie, who passed away last week.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – More Steph and Babs teamups! The first appearance of Bluebird in a Batgirl comic! Perhaps more resolution on what’s keeping Barbara up at night? Well, those first two are promised at least and I am hype.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Even though they are the show runners of the amazing Agent Carter, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have big shoes to fill being the first ongoing writers for Captain Marvel after Kelly Sue Deconnick’s iconic three year run on the title. With Carol taking up the role of being Earth’s first line of defense with S.W.O.R.D. and Alpha Flight and art by Kris Anka, it seems like they’re up for the task.

Lumberjanes #22 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has been finding new footing since Kat Leyh joined Shannon Watters as cowriter, but the opening to this arc with a werewolf sea captain vs. selkies was just so darn great that it’s hard to think that Leyh hasn’t gained her sea legs yet.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – Kate Leth and Brittney Williams hit it hard out of the gate with the first delightful issue. Now to see if Patsy can survive working in retail to get her business idea up and going.



Top Pick: American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Brian Azzarello’s new series sounds like a twisted version of Walking Tall. A man with a scarred faced heads to a Midwestern town where he gets rid of the corrupt sheriff and racist arms dealers. But, he’s actually there to take over. Sounds awesome.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – The Agent Carter team come to comics to take over this top property. I’m intrigued to see what they do.

Carver: A Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – Just a classic revenge tale started because of a misunderstanding. The first issue felt like one of the films from the 70s and 80s I grew up on.

Star Wars #15 (Marvel)Vader Down is over. Now to see what Marvel does next with their line of Star Wars comics. Really looking forward to see what comes next.

Transformers #49 (IDW Publishing) – All sorts of plots come together here as we head in to the big 50th issue next month! IDW’s Transformers line of comics continuously entertains.



Top Pick: Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – The finale issue of the best comic on the stands. If you are the sort of person who is having a deep emotional response to Bowie’s death then you definitely need this comic. The final back-up story is even about a Bowie song. Go read my essay on why Phonogram is the best thing ever. A comic about fandom, music and growing the fuck up while reconciling your past selves. I cannot over state how much I love this series.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – New Arc! Great creative team. Approachable relatable Babs for the 21st century with art that actually appeals to young people (and also to me because I like things that are pretty)

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – New creative team, the writers on the Agent Carter TV show (yay women in comics) and art by the perfectly matched Chris Anka.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – The relaunch has really rejuvenated the already excellent title. The current arc is focusing on issues like gentrification and cooption of your public image as well as what happens when someone you always took for-granted falls for someone else.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – One of the most anticipated titles of the year! Kate Leth’s first issue felt like a Marvel comics version of the Archie revamp but through female eyes. Leth’s stories often deal with the indignities of the exploitative retail economy and I’m sensing those themes will continue. The comic is already doing great things on the diversity front. It’s going to be funny and interesting.



Top Pick: Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel) – Anywhere and everywhere, hang on! Slott’s Surfer definitely lives up to this promise in every way as the once lone sentinel of the starways continues his universe panning, reality hopping adventures with Dawn and Toomee. One of the few series to continue throughout Secret Wars, it was surprising how much it tugged in the heart strings last year despite not having a strictly ‘Last Days’ story like most other series. In the past comic fans have talked about Slott’s bold and very divisive Spider-Man writing, but for my money some of his best stories are right here with the Surfer. It continues to deliver everything a reader could want from a space bound adventure series and after the last arcs jaw dropping Mobius strip issue I’m left wondering where Slott and the Allred’s will take the trio next as they begin with a new number one this month.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – After hearing her speak about creating fictional worlds at Thought Bubble last year (and then chickening out of speaking to her outside, sigh!) I’d give any series by Leth a chance but was particularly delighted to see her picking up one of the members from Soule’s interesting cast of She Hulk characters, Hellcat! Beyond the recent Soule series I was a little in the dark about Patsy’s history, but Leth effortlessly gets the reader up to speed in the first issue and captures her impulsive and headstrong character. Along with adorable art from Brittney L. Williams the pair are carving out their own unique little queer space in the Marvel Universe, adding more texture and diversity, with Patsy and newcomer Ian’s visit to ‘Burly Books’ in the first issue being one of many wonderful moments with the whole book harking back to the characters roots in romance comics.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Kot’s supernatural noir thriller continues, picking up five years after the last issue and with a previous Zero collaborator Ricardo Lopez Ortiz taking up the art duties from Matt Taylor. Kot’s comics always make or a challenging and intriguing read, and although a little slow to start it finally felt last issue like the pieces were starting to gel together as the writer hits his stride with his newest series. Fans still hurting over the loss of the original John Constantine might find themselves with a new favorite series to fill that Hellblazer shaped hole in their hearts and bookshelves.



Top Pick: Carver: Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – This is my top pick. It’s the comic book Hemingway would write if he was to be resurrected and forced to use his talents to shore up the literary comic book industry.

American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Lately it seems that Brian Azzarello has been writing with one hand tied behind his back at DC. He’s now partnered with a new indie outfit to produce a series, with art by Juan Doe, about a horrifically scarred, battle hardened soldier, returning home with questionable motives. I’m hopeful Azzarello goes all out with this new project.

I Hate Fairyland #4 (Image Comics) – This is the comic book I don’t share with friends and family. They’ll just think I’ve finally went over the deep end. It’s crude, rude, and funny in a sweet bloody way. And yes, I do buy both covers.

Ted McKeever’s Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – We fans sometimes forget that the comic book people who entertain us weekly are human too. This is suppose to be McKeever’s mostly true, semi-autographical, behind the scenes, tell-all of the absurd comic book industry … with a dead stripper. I’ll have fun trying to separate truth from fiction (I’ll bet the stripper is real).

Sunflower #3 (451 Media) – More cults and crime. Not sure why I continually gravitate toward the darkness. Mallouk and Ewington are working overtime to give me nightmares. I’ve been marked.



Top Pick: Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Captain Marvel returns post-Secret Wars as the leader of the Alpha Flight Space Program. Though Kelly Sue DeConnick left some big shoes to fill, Fazekas and Butters are the showrunners behind Marvel’s Agent Carter and I believe Carol is in capable hands.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – Ms. Marvel #3 will draw a three part arc to a close, and leaves Kamala to deal with the villainous Hope Yards Development, the company responsible for brainwashing Jersey City. Ms. Marvel is always a joy to read, and has been one of my favorites since the beginning.

Nowhere Men #7 (Image Comics) – Nowhere Men #7 will begin the long-anticipated second arc, after a hiatus that lasted more than two years. The comic follows the story of four scientists whose amazing work has had the cultural impact of The Beatles, which, to me, is a fascinating concept.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Wolf, a story primarily about myths, and Wolf #5 is begins a new story arc. Ricardo Lopez Ortiz is taking over as the artist for this arc, replacing Matt Taylor (a tactic Ales Kot employs in several of his works). Readers were teased with mentions of the apocalypse but, as with most of Kot’s stories, we also got the sense that Wolf Vol. 1 was just the tip of the iceberg.


Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The clock is winding down and Bruce is soon to be back in the cowl, but before we get to Gordon and Mr. Bloom, we have the tale of two men on a park bench that will change the world forever.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – Greg Rucka’s gamer tale continues with the awesome bounty hunting duo of Tessla and Mathias. Fans of the franchise definitely want to check this out and newcomers will find it very accessible too.

Poison Ivy: Circle of Life and Death #1 (DC Comics) – Finally everyone’s favorite botanical temptress in her own title. Ivy is framed for murder and has to clear her name, or will she find it easier to resort to her wicked ways?

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel Comics) – Dan Slott, Mike Allred in a trippy interstellar tale that leads us to.. Earth? Come see the book everyone is talking about. Grab your board and catch the wave!



Top Pick: Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – McKeever’s projects are always so individual and idiosyncratic that you literally never know what to expect.

Clean Room #4 (Vertigo) – Each of the next three series have had strong starts with terrific stories, all with their own individualistic art styles.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo)

Lucifer #2 (Vertigo)

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! If you want to know what’s coming out this week, we’ll have that in a few hours followed by what we’re excited for! Some great last minute gifts this week.

While you await that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Comics Alliance – The House That Silence Built: Harassment in the Comics Industry – Maybe it’s time to name names and lawsuits to be filed?


Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

CBR – Klaus #2

CBR – Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1

CBR – Ms. Marvel #2

The Rainbow Hub – Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #5

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Lucifer_Cv1_SDCC_559dae8a9dfde9.56453707Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Ivar, Timewalker #12 (Valiant) – This series has become one of my favourites with it’s mix of humour and intelligently handled time travel fueled story line that is both twisted and surprisingly easy to follow. With the current arc coming to a close this issue, I’m stoked to see just how the arc comes to a close.

The Goddamned #2 (Image Comics) – You know what? I love the idea behind this comic, and it’s re-imagining of a certain book has an edgy feel to it that I love. Violent and unapologetic, I can’t wait to see where Jason Aaron takes this.

Huck #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was a great surprise filled with a childlike innocence. While I doubt that’ll continue, I am curious to see what direction Millar heads here.

Judge Dredd #1 (IDW Publishing) – A character that’s a staple for many Brits, I’m looking forward to see how this translates on this side of the pond.

Klaus #2 (BOOM! Studios) – Viking Santa as told by Grant Morrison with some stunning art by Dan Mora? Can’t. Get. Enough.



Top Pick: Lucifer #1 (Vertigo) – I’ve watched the television pilot for the 2016 television series, and I have no idea if this comic will be close in tone or plot. But, Vertigo has a solid history with the character and it’s one I’m eagerly awaiting to see what it’s like and about.

Descender #8 (Image Comics) – Jeff Lemire’s sci-fi tale isn’t just touching and exciting, but the art by Dustin Nguyen is beautiful to look at. Last issue had a hell of a revelation (though you could see it coming) that has me even more excited to see what’s next.

Superman: American Alien #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of this miniseries was one of the best takes on Superman that I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to see what the second issue has in store for us.

Squadron Supreme #1 (Marvel) – The concept of a super power team from other worlds taking out threats through any means necessary is intriguing. This is the Avengers who have no issue killing. The concept sounds a bit like the Dark Avengers to me, and that’s ok since it was a concept that worked, and these character push should make an interesting eventually collision with the rest of the Marvel U.

Weirdworld #1 (Marvel) – I’ve already read the first issue and I’ll admit that this comic was initially low on my list. But, after reading that first issue, I can say this is one of the best debuts of All-New, All-Different Marvel and a solid read this week. Fantastic debut.



Top Pick: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – I couldn’t love a comic more. In Phonogram phonomancers use music to do magic, generally to transform themselves (which never ever backfires, oh no). A must read for anyone who is super particular about what they listen to. Here’s my treatise on why this comic is so brilliant.  and here’s my fan mix/review of issue 4.

Top Pick: The Wicked + The Divine #17 (Image Comics) – Finally: the Sekmet issue! We haven’t heard much from the Rihanna cat goddess stand in so I’m eager to hear what she has to say. The art is from Brandon Graham who’s anime and hip-hop influenced style is PURRREFECT (sorry) for this issue. Check out my review of issue 16.

Batgirl #46 (DC Comics) – Spoiler is back! Spoiler is back! Batgirl is teaming up with Spoiler!

Jem & The Holograms Holiday Special (IDW Publishing) – Sounds like fun mischief with The Misfits. Sophie Campbell’s exhuberant and wonderfully diverse art has been key to the series success but I am excited to get our first look at new artist Amy Mebberson. She’s done a lot of Disney but I hope she maintains the body diversity that has made this comic resonate with so many people.

The Mighty Thor #2 (Marvel)Issue 1 starred the arm seen round the (comics) world. Can’t wait to see what issue 2 has for Doctor Jane Foster who is Thor and is awesome.



Top Pick: Descender #8 (Image Comics) – Tim-21 and Tim-22 team up to join the Robot Resistance. Forget Star Wars, when is J.J. Abrams making a Descender movie. Just kidding, I love Star Wars too, but this is really good sci-fi storytelling. Asimov would approve, and so do I.

Cognetic #3 (Boom! Studios) – James Tynion IV’s and Eryk Donavan’s latest horror book concludes as the Apocalyptic Sister and Brother mind bending sibling rivalry comes to an end (for at least one of the two).

ExMortis #2 (451 Media) – Monsters unite to fight the first True Monster: Hitler. Good old fashioned WW II action with a Frankenstein versus Nazis twist; and a werewolf, too, thrown in for good measure.

Tokyo Ghost #4 (Image Comics) – Rick Remender’s dystopian, over-entertained future society, riddled with Japanese inspired memes, is depressing and entertaining at the same time. Plus Sean Murphy’s visuals pushes this one over the edge.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #2 (Valiant Entertainment) – The Eternal Warrior’s Dantean escape from Hell (or was it Paradise) begins. It’s written by Robert Venditti who never disappoints, with steel inspired blood splattering art by Raul Allen.

Around the Tubes

It’s Thanksgiving Day! For folks celebrating, we hope you have a wonderful day and for those that aren’t we’ll have a normal day here at GP!

While you await the Turkey to be ready, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ArtsBeat – ‘The Walking Dead Experience’ Is Coming to New Jersey – This sounds cool.

Kotaku – Arkham Knight’s New Catwoman And Robin DLC Is A Drag – This game just doesn’t get much love.

Elle – What It’s Like to Be a Woman of Color in Privileged White Spaces – If you read one thing in this list.

Panels – Unconventional Romance Comics! – If you need any suggestions.


Around the Tubes

Comic Vine – All-New Wolverine #2

CBR – Archie #4

Comic Vine – Art Ops #2

The Rainbow Hub – Fight Club 2 #7

CBR – Jacked #1

Comics Alliance – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Oyster War

The Rainbow Hub – Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

The Rainbow Hub – Ringside #1

Comics Alliance – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Silk #1

CBR – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Star Wars: Darth Vader #13

Comic Vine – Venom: Space Knight #1

Review: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

PhonogramIG_04-1_362_557_s_c1I was so blown away and overwhelmed by another outstanding issue that I made a fan mix. I’m ecstatic for the return of Laura Heaven Black and Lloyd Mr Logos, two of the best characters from The Singles Club— the second volume of Phonogram. This issue’s dynamic fight scenes (the most fighty- fight scenes of any Phonogram comic) and power ranking graphics heavily reference Scott Pilgrim. Now, I’m only familiar with the Scott Pilgrim movie and haven’t read the graphic novel but I got along swimmingly reading this. However, I cannot imagine what it would be like to read this comic if you haven’t read Phonogram: The Singles Club. Drop everything. Go read it. Laura and Lloyd are two of the best characters in that collection and I am so thankful we got to revisit them here.

We get to know Lloyd even better through this issue. Lloyd with his Mod revival suit and “how the fuck do I deal with having kinky hair when the subcultures I identify with are all about straight hair?!” hair. I know. It’s really fucking hard. His combination of obsessive music research and conceptual creativity butts up against his self-loathing, turning him in to a wonderful, miserable monster that I’m 95% sure I’d get along with because we like enough of the same bands.

So while I’m not so quietly working away on my next great Phonogram magnum opus (you’ve read my first one, right) I couldn’t let this issue pass without some mention of my love.
I made a fan mix for Lloyd on Spotify

I don’t have as much of a handle on what music Laura likes other then The Long Blondes first album. I don’t really speak 90s-00s Brit-Pop. I do speak Mod, Mod Revival and associated genres. So here’s a thing I made for Lloyd who truly loves and understands Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Unfortunately, the utterly essential “How Does it Feel To Feel” by 60s mod gods The Creation is not on Spotify. But it is what Lloyd would be hearing while Laura dances. Patti Smith’s “Ask the Angels” takes its place in the playlist for channeling the right feeling but with a totally different sound.

So there you have it.
I worked hard on this fan mix. Listen to it. It is my review.

Oh and the first back-up story “I Hate Myself” with art by Julia Scheele is the best back-up yet and a mini-masterpiece.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie Colors: Matthew Wilson Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, and a copy was purchased (because it’s that good).

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

HERO HOURLY COVERWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #1 (Valiant) – The Eternal Warrior has become one of my favourite comic book characters recently, and with this new series being the first released when my ear is turned toward Valiant has really got me excited.

Hero Hourly #1 (21 Pulp) – What if your day job was to be a superhero? What if instead of asking “you want fries with that?” you were punching people just waiting for the clock to tick own? Yeah, I can’t wait to get my hands on this inaugural offering from 21 Pulp.

The Paybacks #3 (Dark Horse) – Probably one of the funniest series on my pull list, the idea of a superhero repo squad is hillarious. If you can’t tell, I seem to have a hankering for non-traditional superhero fare this week.

Red Thorn #1 (Vertigo) – After talking with David Baillie and Meghan Hetrick about this comic (the writer and artist, respectively), I’m really pumped to check this out on Wednesday. That it’s chock full of Scottish mythology is also very interesting, as I know very little about that, and I’m looking forward to read some more.



Top Pick: Hero Hourly #1 (21 Pulp) – You think your job sucks? 21 Pulp kicks off their publishing slate with this new series which sees an average joe who can’t get the work he wants after college taking on a low paying gig as a superhero. Yes, superheroes are hired out as hourly security guards

Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven (Lion Forge/IDW Publishing) – I remember watching WWE/WWF when I was a kid in the 80s, and one of the rockstars of that time was Andre the Giant, the mountain of a man. This graphic novel, working with his daughter, presents us the life of this legend. There’s already been one graphic novel released on Andre, and I loved that, and am looking forward to seeing how this one compares.

The Paybacks #3 (Dark Horse) – One of the funniest comics out there right now. It’s a superhero repo team. If that idea alone doesn’t put a smile on your face…

Star Wars: Vader Down #1 (Marvel) – I’ve read the first issue and if you’re a fan of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, you’ll love this start of their first crossover event. So good.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 (Valiant) –  When I think of Valiant, I think quality. The event Book of Death really shook up the Eternal Warrior setting him upon this new path. When it says Valiant, I know I’m going to be entertained and this kicking off a new series is a great place to start and find out yourself.



Top Pick: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4 (Image Comics)Phonogram is the best new comic around. I wrote an essay on why. A must for all music lovers and comics fans alike.

Jughead #2 (Archie Comics) – It’s a new world — one in which people who mostly read super heroes or read creator-owned comics are won over by the quirky humor and art of Chip Zardski and Erica Henderson. A world where people like me actually read an Archie comic. I truly enjoyed this new take on the world of Archie. From what I know of Jughead (ok, not much) Erica and Chip are channeling Jughead’s spirit for a new age. Really fun.

The Mighty Thor #1 (Marvel) – Thor is still Doctor Jane Foster, therefore I’m still interested.

Pretty Deadly #6 (Image Comics) – Pretty Deadly is about Death’s Daughter. But the real focus is the comic’s atmosphere — like a psychedelic Western movie, and the unusual poetic rhythm of its prose. This new arc takes place many years after issue 5. It starts like a psychedelic western too but it ends like…. you’ll just have to read it.


On Phonogram and Breaking Up with Bands


We need to talk about how Emily/Claire handles her depression in Phongram: The Immaterial Girl. It is central to the whole story. Her first solution was to revel in it– black is what she wears on the outside because black is how she feels on the inside (that joke is in the actual comic, right?)  She even had a dependence on self-harm. Her later solution was to excise depression from her body– by making the deal with The King Behind the Screen to take away the vulnerable, sad part of her personality. That choice has come back to haunt her. Ok, worse, it’s come back to destroy her.

In issue 3 she uses her grimoire/fanzine to travel back in time to confront Emily and Claire debate each otherher pre-teen self. There, we finally get the debate between both halves of the character’s personality over which has the best interest of her early pubescent self at heart. Each of her halves ask her pre-teen self: would you rather have success or integrity? Brilliance or Decadence? Decadence or Tasteful Decadence? What does barely pubescent Claire decide? She blows the question out of the door. She will be something better.
On the one hand depression absolutely gets in the way of living your life the way you’d like to. It’s not glamorous. On the other hand, completely compartmentalizing yourself is generally not regarded as a healthy approach. But on the third hand– and this is my favorite hand– do we even really believe in an “authentic self” anymore? If there is no authentic self then why not get rid of the parts of yourself that aren’t serving you well.

Perhaps, Emily’s real problem is that she’s decided to be mean. Perhaps compartmentalizing her depression away isn’t actually the problem at all.

You could argue that if she doesn’t love herself (herself which includes her depression) how could she love anyone else. But who’s to say that darkness is the important part of her personality? Aren’t her wit and her enthusiasms a more important part of her personality? She can be witty and have impeccable taste in indie music while still being a good friend. She just chooses not to and that’s the problem.

But as I said in my last review, I can’t talk about Phonogram without talking about my personal relationship to music because that’s what the comic is about.

Anyway, this scene above, of Emily/Claire ending her friendship with Indie Dave, and The Immaterial Girl #3 in general, reminds me of when I stopped listening to Leonard Cohen going in to my senior year of college. His music made me sad. I had too many sad associations with his songs. I also stopped listening to The Smiths not long after that. Before that The Smiths had been VERY important to me.

The first time I played The Smiths again in years and years was when I was first started dating my husband. We spent an inordinate amount of time teaching each other our music. Still do. I hadn’t played The Smiths in a lifetime but it was my responsibility to his cultural education in the ways of goth and indie that he get to hear them. So I put on the tape (yes, tape) and I sang along. And to quote Lou Reed “it was aaaalright.”

Today, on those rare occasions when I’m not pushing for full cock-rock-bombast I’ll sing a few songs by The Smiths songs at karaoke. I’m really good at them and it doesn’t make me sad anymore. It makes other people happy because I’m A. good and B. they remember being a teenager. But I still don’t listen to Leonard Cohen. In both cases I made the right choice. It didn’t require any surgery though. Just pruning my music collection. And spending less time with depressing people and more time with people that make me happy.

Anyway I’ll be back with a new essay about Phonogram probably right around when it concludes. Here’s my earlier piece covering issue 1 and 2 with nods to the earlier series. I promise that essay is waaay less introspective and way more informative.

PS: I’m that jerk who doesn’t like Total Eclipse of the Heart. Except when it’s a joke in The Mighty Boosh. I love that bit. But I won’t begrudge you playing it. I know that I’m the one that’s wrong.

(Oh, hey, it’s Spiral from X-Men! Because I made jokes about having three hands! Also Spiral is the best!)

Also, I was googling for a definition of “Authentic Self” to link to for those unfamiliar with psychology. Don’t google it. The internet is dark and full of new wave horrors. Just visit Spiral’s Body Shoppe. What could possssibly go wrong?


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