In advance of the Image Comics series' much anticipated return later this year, Phonogram: The Singles Club has finally manifested on the mighty comiXology digital comic book service. The sequel to the Britpop-inspired, black-and-white indie opus Rue Britannia, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's full-colo(u)r Singles Club delved further into the series' urban fantasy premise that music is magic, wielded by mostly beautiful young people called phonomancers who live among us in their own kooky sects and cults. A slogan for the last series was "last night this DJ ruined your life," and in Phonogram, that can actually happen.

The first issue of The Singles Club is available now as a free download, and if you read on I'll show you why I really dig it and maybe why you'll dig it too.Launched in 2006, the first series, Rue Britannia, was inspired by British music and, in particular, the psychic fallout of a certain kind of British music. If you follow any of my extra-ComicsAlliance activity, you know I am very into that sort of stuff, both the music itself and the idea of music's influence on or reflection of our lives. That there is a comic book about music, or at least about this dimension of music, is an important thing to observe.

The Singles Club raised Gillen and McKelvie's artistic game with an emotionally affecting and technically marvelous story set during one night at a dance club, with each of seven chapters tracking the perspective of a different patron while maintaining strict temporal and visual continuity throughout. Vignettes include a young woman desperate to get the DJ to play her favorite song; a young man literally haunted by a past experience, triggered by every sound and sight within the club; and a beautiful witch struggling with her dual personality, something that plays into the forthcoming third album, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl.

Here's a preview of Phonogram: The Singles Club #1:














Head over to comiXology to read the free first issue of Phonogram: The Singles Club, which includes bonus material by Gillen and Laurenn McCubbin and Marc Ellerby. As of this writing, issues #2-3 are also available for $1.99 each, with the remaining four to appear on the site shortly.