Phonogram (comics)

Phonogram (comics)
Cover of Phonogram (vol. 1) #2.
Art by Jamie McKelvie.
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
Schedule Irregular
Format Limited series
Genre Dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy
Publication date (vol. 1)
August 2006 - May 2007
(vol. 2)
December 2008 - February 2010
Number of issues (vol. 1)
(vol. 2)
Main character(s) David Kohl
Creative team
Writer(s) Kieron Gillen
Artist(s) Jamie McKelvie
Letterer(s) Jamie McKelvie
Colorist(s) (vol. 2)
Matt Wilson
Creator(s) Kieron Gillen
Jamie McKelvie
Collected editions
Rue Britannia ISBN 1-582406-94-4
The Singles Club ISBN 1607061791

Phonogram is a comic book written by the noted games journalist Kieron Gillen and drawn by Jamie McKelvie. It is published by Image Comics.


Publication history

As of January 2010, two mini-series have been completed.

The first volume, "Rue Britannia," began in August 2006 and stars David Kohl, a mage who uses the medium of Britpop music to interpret his magic.

The second volume, "The Singles Club" consists of seven one-shots looking at young phonomancers and their experiences over one night at a dance club. Each issue consists of a 16-page main story, rounded-out with features and back-up stories.[1][2]

Gillen has effectively ruled out a third volume because sales were just too low:

Best plan I have is just writing series 3 and then writing into my will that assuming I die young and Jamie's still around, lob him whatever's in my bank account to draw it. Which is assuming he'd even be willing to do it then. It's not that we're bitter about it -- well, not just because we're bitter about it -- but that it's been emotionally exhausting. We've been doing "Phonogram" for over 4 years, not including the years before the first series came out. Imagine if we could have just done the comic and not had to deal with any of the shit we've had to. We'd have been up to issue 44 now. Instead, we have 13 issues.

I feel frustrated. Enormously lucky, sure, but frustrated. We've done this wonderful thing we're crazy-proud about. But if the whole economic system was just a couple of degrees to the left, everything would have been different. I mean, just to give you an idea about narrow the margins are between what we are and what we could be, if we were selling 6K instead of 4K, we could have done those 44 issues. The difference between breaking even and actually being able to do it in comics is insane. It's like being kept under ice, clawing. I feel like a bonsai plant.[3]

Volume 1 - Rue Britannia

The first volume was a six-issue run, collected under the title "Rue Britannia". In keeping with the Britpop theme, the six individual issues and the collection had cover art based on album artwork from that era.

Issue Number Issue Title Influencing Album & Artist
1 Without Your Permission Elastica - Elastica
2 Can’t Imagine the World Without Me It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah - Black Grape
3 Faster Definitely Maybe - Oasis
4 Murder Park Modern Life Is Rubbish - Blur
5 Kissing with Dry Lips Suede - Suede
6 Live Forever The Holy Bible - Manic Street Preachers
TPB collecting issues 1-6 Rue Britannia This Is Hardcore - Pulp

At the end of each issue, and somewhat shortened in the trade paperback, the creators give a glossary of the more obscure phrases and pop-culture references used, as well as musings on the history of Britpop and the influences on the book.


Phonomancer David Kohl has to save his Britpop goddess, Britannia, who is missing. Cursed by a goddess, he follows a series of leads and meets with other 'mancers, and spends time with a "normal" friend, Kid-With-Knife. He eventually locates Britannia.

Volume 2 - The Singles Club

Issue Number Issue Title Relevant Song
1 Pull Shapes The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
2 Wine and Bed and More and Again CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above
3 We Share Our Mother's Health The Knife - We Share Our Mothers' Health
4 Konichiwa Bitches Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
5 Lust Etc The Long Blondes - Lust in the Movies
6 Ready To Be Heartbroken Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
7 Wolf Like Me TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me

Once more, a glossary is included in both the issues and the trade collection. The trade also includes the tracklist that is playing in the club scenes.

  • Note: The first print of issue 5 was recalled due to it having been printed with the bar-code from issue 4. The second print corrected the error.


Several phonomancers center around a club, where phonomancer magic is discouraged. David Kohl briefly appears but is not in the spotlight this time, though his cult leader, Emily Aster, is the focus of one issue.

Collected editions

Both series have been collected as trade paperbacks:



External links


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