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Blog: Planetary/Phonogram

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I had a bit of a COMICS SPLURGE the other day. I'd read an article in a magazine about Phonogram, a comics mini-series which has been CALLING to me for a long time now, with it's combination of a writer i KNOW i like and it being based upon a large CHUNK of my record collection. The article was a reproduction of the original PITCH for a series, which made me think "Yes, that definitely looks like the sort of thing I'd like." So I bought it.

And I did! So much so that it FINALLY persuaded me to go and buy the SECOND Kenickie album, which I had YEARS ago on Cassette but listened to about three times, became hugely disappointed with, and never went near again. This morning I downloaded it and have listened to it almost as many times again and found it to be GRATE. I don't understand -it's not THAT different from the first one and sounds ACE. Maybe I should give the second Charlotte Hatherley album another chance too?

Anyway, the comic itself was dead good. Funnily enough it wasn't THAT amazing as an actual STORY, but the memories it stirred up, the OPINIONS it expressed AND the opinions it reminded me of, and the MORAL that I took from it were all GRATE. I think we can all now retire our copies of "Watchmen" from LENDING duty, for LO! it surely is THE perfect Comic For People Who Have Never Read One Before But Would Like To Try It.

The same could not be said for the OTHER longstanding comics series that I finally got round to reading this week, which was PLANETARY. I never got into it because it STARTED many EONS ago before I got back into reading comics and came out extremely erratically, but i FELT like I'd read large bits of it before, probably because it is VERY MUCH in The Warren Ellis Style i.e. all the characters talk in the same Arch Manner, someone tells them a Very Clever And Interesting story which they don't really take part in, and it's all over in about five minutes.

Honestly, I read the first 18 issues of it in just over and hour and a half - it was really interesting and funny but BLIMEY I'm glad I didn't have to wait MONTHS between issues. Mind you, i suppose if it's that long between issues you'd re-read each one a few times, rather than flicking through each one so quickly.

It WAS, as I say, really good in its own way - the re-interpretations of the MYTHS of comics and popular culture and the way he ties them all together was brilliant - but I'm glad that Comics In General have moved on from the simultaneously SLOW MOVING and FAST READING nature of The Decompression Movement of which this is a KEY EXAMPLE.

So there you go - if you've not read comics before and would like to, I'd say read "Phonogram"... but then somebody else has probably already THRUST it upon you. And if you HAVE read loads of comics before and are used to How They Work then read "Planetary"... but then I think I'm probably the last Comics Reader on EARTH to have done so.

In summary then: 2000AD is GRATE at the moment!

posted 14/4/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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Comments:

I got into Phonogram late but once I had read Issue 4 I had to buy the others. The back matter in the issues was almost a reason to buy them (not sure if that made it into the trade?). Like you , i thought the story was ok but the memories of my late teens was brilliantly re-created. Sadly Phonogram series 2 issues have been a nightmare to get hold of, so off to Ebay I must go. As for Planetary - I dropped out of comics for most of the 90's and as a result I have been picking up the big hits from those years. (Invivibles, Preacher, Transmetropolitan etc) I have read the first 2 trades of Planetary and love the ideas and the art. There is a depiction of John Constantine that acheives more in a few panels than most writers do in their run on the character (In my humble opinion anyway). Great post Sir Paul R
posted 15/4/2010 by Lairdofdarkness

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