Back from a trip to the local comic shop. I picked up one comics and two trades:

  • Walking Dead- 38
  • Unlike some of my friends I am not getting bored with this comic. Sometimes when a book is consistent people get bored with it. I think people like when a book goes from good to bad to good around and around. It make them feel like there is more to get excited about. Anyway this has ben a consistently good comic.

  • Girls “Survival” TPB (3)
  • Girls “Extinction” TPB (4)
  • I liked the first two trades of this series so I went and bought two more.

    And now for some reviews of recent stuff.

  • Phonogram “Rue Britannia” TPB
  • Those British love their music and their youthful days of going to clubs and listening to live bands. I’ve seen quite a few movies and read quite a few comics that deal with this setting and subject. I think it’s a genre now. Nostalgia is always big in these types of stories and Phonogram is no exception.

    I have always listened to music and own hundreds of CDs (plus hundreds of albums in other formats before CDs and now hundreds in mp3 form) yet I was never into going and seeing live bands. So even though this type of story is usually drenched in nostalgia I kinda miss out on the emotional resonance. But I like such tales anyway because I enjoy stories about people and their passions.

    Phonogram sets itself apart from the rest of the genre by dealing with magic. Not a “we duel each other with ectoplasmic blasts” kind of magic but an “Earth Mother magic that takes place outside of a normal person’s perception but still affects the world” kind of magic. In the world of Phonogram magic influences music and music influences magic. The two are tied up in this tale.

    Phonogram is the story of a “Phonomancer” named David Kohl. He’s as much an aging hipster as a magician and is really more about music than magic. He used to be big into mid-ninties Brit-Pop and those are the days he’s nostalgic for. But his memories are being changed and he now likes bands he never did before and can’t remember some others he used to like. Someone is magically messing with time and music and he wants to find out who and why. He also does not want to lose the nostalgia for his favorite bands. All the normal “is nostalgia good or bad” stuff is dealt with as he progresses on his journey.

    Usually this isn’t the type of magic I like to read stories about. I like my magic to have well defined rules. I find that magic stories without any rules tend to be amorphous and the magic suits whatever purpose the author wants at that moment regardless of logic or storytelling. There was some of that going on here. By that I mean there were times when I just didn’t know what the author meant by all the magic mumbo jumbo. But y’know what? The ending made it for me. I really appreciate a good ending and Phonogram’s pulled all the vague magic stuff together and made sense of it.

    All in all I liked Phonogram. I think it might be one of those stories that gets better with the second read. So if your into comics, nostalgia, music, or magic give it a read.

  • Tricked by Alex Robinson
  • And speaking of things that get better with the second read I pulled this off my shelf this week. I am a big fan of “Box Office Poison” by Alex Robinson so when “Tricked”, his second book, came out last year I immediately picked it up. And I was disappointed with it. Not that it was bad I just didn’t like it as much as BOP. But I suspected my own expectations might have colored my perception of “Tricked” so I decided to reserve judgement until I could read it again sometime in the future. Welcome to the future.

    Tricked is a 350 page comic with multiple running narratives. BOP was a loosely structured story that meandered and seemed to go where ever on a whim. BOP imitated life. I liked that about BOP. Tricked is very tightly structured and that took me by surprise the first time I read it. It has four running narratives:

    1-A poor little rich rock star who is miserable, can’t write songs anymore, and has a hard time dealing with life despite his wealth and fame.

    2- A young waitress and her coworkers who are living their lives and looking for love.

    3- A semi-slimey guy who works in a baseball card store and forges autographs for a living.

    4- A fan of the rock star who has gone off his meds and is becoming deluded.

    Each story was separate but you know they are all going to crash together in the end. There are even chapter numbers that count down. I was totally distracted by this plot structure the first time through and had a hard time paying attention to the little things as I went along because I just wanted to see the inevitable crash. The second time through I could enjoy the ride.

    Most of the large cast of characters have their own journeys going on unrelated to the inevitable crash at the end. It was these journeys that were more enjoyable the second time through. I still didn’t find the poor little rock star character too interesting but some of the others were and I could take my time with them.

    One strange thing about this book is though it is a story that takes place in the real world and is about real life all the names of places and people are made up. Unlike Phonogram which references real music and musicians all of the names of musicians, songs, athletes, and places in Tricked were fictional. And a lot of time is spent discussing these music and athletes. I found this odd and not very effective. It took me out of the moment because although I didn’t get a lot of the music references in Phonogram I knew they made sense to someone. All of the talk about sports figures and musicians in Tricked made no sense to anyone. Why was it there at all? I always found it strange. Small quibble.

    I’d say the second time around is the charm for Tricked. I still like BOP better but what does that matter? Tricked stands on its own as a nice piece of work. I even recommend reading the climax first if you think you’re going to be as distracted as I was by wanting to see the crash at the end. You can make your first read your second read that way.