Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Complete Phonogram

Fuck what it means, that much is obvious. The Complete Phonogram as an expensive hardcover shows the team’s enjoyed tremendous success due in some measure to Phonogram. The Singles Club lead to collaborations with Warren Ellis and Journey Into Mystery, which lead to Young Avengers, which lead to The Wicked & The Divine, which became Wic/Div and the rest is a cottage industry of cosplay, fan art and merchandise (which figuratively, and literally, keeps fans in line).

How does The Complete Phonogram make me feel?

Wistful. Happy. Tired. I carried that giant hardcover around all day April 21st and it nearly wrecked my back on its own.

I carried that hardcover around figuratively much, much longer.

I read Phonogram obsessively in my raw, unemployed years and didn’t know I was burning when I was at rest. A hardcover that collects all of the comic and b-sides looks better on the shelf and is easier to reference. I won’t miss Kieron’s essays or annotations, and if I do, I’ve got the singles and trades.

A book this heavy feels like Phonogram’s finally finished now. It’d been overtaken by Wic/Div, and for good reason, the team’s busy growing into this generation’s Sandman. Now Phonogram can rest, and maybe I can too. I’m in counseling and untangling the rat’s nest of cables that’s my brain and behavior.

Phonogram’s a document of years spent listening to bands and letting it change or mutate or infect you. Or something else, in my case. Music held me together when I couldn’t manage that myself.

Do I ever wonder how music changed me? Years at a time, brother.

Phonogram’s done, and everyone’s in a better place. In 2011, I hopped a flight to London to see the boys at Kapow, and Kieron was signing alongside legendary penciller John Romita Jr, whose line (and forty years in the industry) subsumed Kieron’s. Six years later, that’s not the case, and there's a dense hardcover to prove it.

And for that dense hardcover, and what it finishes, a celebration and a task: I must happily wave goodbye to a comic that changed me.

It’s now the morning of April 22nd. There’s a secret Wic/Div party tonight, which Hannah and I’ll show up for. Maybe I’ll let her put makeup on me. Maybe I’ll go a little glam. I’ll say goodbye to Phonogram on the Wic/Div dance floor, which feels like it’s exactly the way PG would want to go. I’m closer to living a peaceful life now than I was when I first read Rue Britannia. That peace is due, in some measure, to Phonogram.

Thanks, gents.
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