Tuesday, May 19, 2015

31 Days of Comics: Day 18 – A Comic That Deserves A Soundtrack

ROB'S NOTE: May has become the go-to month of the Comic’s Industry (even though National Superhero Day is late April, but whatever… Congress… pshaw).  It is when Marvel drops their big movie of the year.  May also sees the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration take place on the first Saturday of the Month, so I hope you all got to check that out.  May also has 31 days of the month so what better way to celebrate the wonderful world of sequential art with the 31 Days of Comics?

Seth Hahne, who runs the blog GoodOkBad, has put together the 31 Days of Comics challenge.  A daily challenge in which you are given a category and you have to fill it with a comic that you think fits it the best.  You’re all on the internet, I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.  For the rest of the month I will be taking this challenge.  It is my hope it encourages others to make and share their own lists either in the comments here or on their own websites.  The sharing not only might turn comic fans on to works they have yet to sample but maybe catch the eye of a few non-comic fans and highlight the diversity of the form. 

Our prompt for Day 18 is “A comic that deserves a soundtrack.”

Phonogram: The Singles Club #4 “Konichiwa Bitches”
Written by Kieron Gillen
Pencils, Inks, and Letters by Jamie McKelvie
Colors by Matt Wilson

This one is a cheat, and I don’t care. 

Adding a soundtrack to a comic seems like a natural aspect of the reading experience.  I know that I often find myself reading my books with some type of music going on in the background.  However I can’t remember a specific time where I attempted to match the type of music with the books I was reading.  As comic creators have established a larger presence on the internet one of the benefits has been a look into the various things that have inspired their creative process, and it’s no surprise that music is often cited as a primary influence.  And no comic creator wears those musical influences on his sleeve more than Kieron Gillen.

Gillen’s first volume of Phonogram centered on Britpop and the concept of music as magic.  Gillen not only constantly referenced songs and albums in the narrative but created a “soundtrack” for the series using Spotify.  His second volume, The Singles Club, was a bigger experiment in the form.  The whole of the series takes place in one night at a club, and each issue follows one character throughout the night.  If you go through the series as a whole you can actually see how the character’s actions are playing out in the background and impact the other characters.  It’s actually a masterclass in the technical aspect of constructing a time line for the story that both Gillen and McKelvie deserves major kudos for.

Issue #4, “Konichiwa Bitches”, may be my favorite single issue comic ever.  It focuses on the DJ of the night, Seth Bingo and his partner “Silent Girl.”  The vast majority of the book consists of the back and forth between the two, or mostly the forth since Silent Girl is mostly silent.  But watching them go back and forth over the crowd and the music is just a joy.


The main reason I think this comic deserves a soundtrack is simply because the songs referenced by Seth and the crowd are amazing.  The “theme” of the night is music by female vocalists.  Any genre is fine but its female vocalists only.

And I want this to be a real album I can buy.  I mean, I know I can use the Spotify list, or compile my own, but I really actually want to spend money on this.

Plus having spent time behind a DJ booth this part about taking requests really hit home.

So, I picked a comic that overtly references the music and that has a soundtrack already posted on the internet.

I don’t care.  The music here is magic.

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