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“How I’d Love To Feel A Girl Your Age…”

I can’t believe I’ve never written about Phonogram before.* In short, a comic about how music is magic, with a playlist of Kenickie, The Smiths and, relevantly, the Long Blondes. You can perhaps see why I like it. The latest issue, Lust Etc, finally inspired me to put finger to keyboard and produce this, a review. “It’s hardly a criticism to say a comic left you wanting more, but given that Phonogram mk2 was always going to be my favourite/most important comic of ‘09, there’s something almost infuriating about the tiny 16 page stories told in the pages of The Singles Club. Almost. Each vignette falls very comfortably into the realms of small-but-perfectly-formed, and every time my (musical) worldview is subtly changed, and every time I find myself thinking ‘I wish I’d thought of that’. But there’s just not enough time to invest myself in these characters.” To watch me stumble through pain and praise, in both plain and purple prose, check the review out here. As usual, I can’t resist taking the less obvious path, and wander into wider commentary and theory on music, comics and my huge man-crush on Kieron Gillen. *Journalistically, anyway. Some corner of my dissertation will be forever Phonogram’s.


Today is a very Alex Spencer-heavy day on the internet. Rejoice! Part I.In which I write a (not to give too much away, but completely loving) review of PC pointy-clicky game Time Gentlemen Please for good ol’ Gamersyndrome. In it, I say witty things like: “Time Gentlemen, Please is a point-and-click adventure game where your inventory will simultaneously feature a skeleton arm dipped in Hitler’s bloody fetal matter, glasses stolen from a Neanderthal geek, and some condoms. It follows (very closely) in the grand tradition of the classic Lucasarts adventure games now seeing a resurgence.” Read the rest here to see how much of the game I resist giving away. If you’re looking for a walkthrough (avast, intrepid Googler), this review features some very, very soft hints. Part II.I which I write a (similarly loving) review of the forthcoming Image graphic novel Beast for sexy, sexy Comicsnexus. “At its heart, Beast is both indie-as-can-be slice of life and classic genre story. The two meet and touch, but its not a mash-up in the way, say, Jamie McKelvie’s urban fairytale Suburban Glamour is.The story moves along leisurely, letting the actions of Colette, our protagonist, set the pace.” And read the rest here, to find out whether I can resist stealing this joke from Penny Arcade. For those of you counting at home, the scores are probably 8, and 9. Which way round? YOU DECIDE!

Captain America- (Re)born Slippy?

One of those easy I-prepared-this-earlier link posts while I do important real-life stuff like move house: me and friend-of-the-blog Tom ‘Daylight’ Huxley take on the first issue of Ed Brubaker’s new Captain America: Reborn comic. Follow the link for comparisons to Lost, shocking confessions, and discussion of reactions to celebrity death (which reminds me that I meant to write about the whole Michael Jackson thing, but I’m still not sure what I have to add.)Confession: I reluctantly typed then deleted that title, but the pun is actually quite fitting. Actually, it’s a little bit spoilerish. But fitting.

Monday Links

Dunno if this’ll actually become an at-all-regular feature, but I’ve got a few recommended URLs to share, so I might as well stick ’em up. This is a bit old now, but Kieron Gillen of my adored recently wrote a series of reviews for a WHSmiths’ 7-in-1 Magnetic Family Board Game set. Both funny and, oddly, genuinely thought-provoking. But more importantly, taught me the Mr Chess joke. The Mr Chess joke now rules my life. Not his best, but Simon ‘chewing pixels’ Parkin’s latest gaming-themed story is up at GameSetWatch. I can’t help but imagine Parkin as a little elfin boy, and he’s never less than interesting- in this case, I’d imagine, even to non-gamers. Check it out. Something I found through my tasty comics affiliates,, this is called ‘Neil’s A-Z of Awesomeness.’ No (well, very little) reading. Awesome. ‘Nuff said. Amanda Palmer writes an open letter explaining how “an Indie musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using twitter (yet get $0 for a big, somewhat-successful album”. I don’t think this horse is flogged quite dead yet, so…the music industry seems a little broken. I got it from Warren Ellis’ blog, and it’s not (as far as I can see) NSFW. Which is a miracle in and of itself. Most addictive game of the week goes to the genius concept of Broken Picture Telephone, an online combination of . As massively multiplayer a game as I’ve ever played, and with a lovely community. It also has a quite brilliant ‘Boss Alert’ mode. You will play it and it will consume you. …Narrowly beating out the wonderful Learn To Fly, a game about penguin who just wants to fly, dammit. The caveat that came with it (via, again, chewingpixels) was ‘give it till Day 7’, and I advise the same. Apple Trailer of the Week…obviously goes to the new Studio Ghibli film, Ponyo. Not 100% sold on the concept from just this trailer, but the design on the lead character (and all his tiny mini-versions) are just beautiful. And, finally, in the spirit of Twitter’s Music Mondays, this fine song features both guest vocals from me (try and spot the sneaking Brummie invasion- it’s subtle!) and the chorus “You’re a bitch, you’re a whore.” Lovely stuff.

Dark Young Avengers: They’re Exactly What You Think!

Just a quick one. Dark Reign: Young Avengers 1 & 2, reviewed like never before. BAMF! “A quick exercise; let’s do a rundown of the number of teams carrying the Avengers name right now: the Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, Dark Avengers, and Young Avengers (ignoring the Avengers Initiative and Ultimate Avengers). Now Paul Cornell is throwing, technically, a team of New Dark Young Avengers into the mix. The cover to issue one proudly announces: “They’re Exactly What You Think!”” But are they exactly what you think (whatever that might be)? Find out after the link, over at the lovely Comicsnexus.(Confession: my stupidity, as usual, has shone through. See the comments section to see how the main hook of my review doesn’t actually work.)