This is the first of five parts of The Last War in Albion Chapter Eleven, focusing on Alan Moore’s The Ballad of Halo Jones. An omnibus of all eleven parts is available on Smashwords. If you are a Kickstarter backer or a Patreon backer at $2 or higher per week, instructions on how to get your complimentary copy have been sent to you.
The Bojeffries Saga is available in a collected edition that can be purchased in the US or in the UK.
“Our skullbabies will always tight the day for peoplekind.” – Alan Moore, Crossed +100
|Figure 794: The debut of Halo Jones.|
This is The Ballad of Halo Jones, an ongoing strip for 2000 AD published in three separate runs. The first, published as Book One, ran for three months beginning in July of 1984, one month after Moore ceased work on Captain Britain, one before he ceased on Marvelman for Warrior, and alongside the publication of Swamp Thing #29, the infamous zombie incest rape issue. The second launched in February of 1985, the same month that Moore began work on American Flagg and that Warrior ended, and again ran for three months. And the third, Book Three, began in January of 1986, one month after Moore’s tie-in issue to Crisis on Infinite Earths and one month before Miracleman commenced in the US, running until April, two months before Watchmen debuted.
The strip’s existence marks an obvious and in many regards overdue shift in Moore’s status within IPC’s roster of 2000 AD writers. Of the UK comics companies with which Moore worked, IPC was the last to give him an ongoing, waiting until after he was already writing Captain Britain and winning massive acclaim for his work in Warrior, and even then offering him nothing more interesting than “can you write us an E.T. ripoff,” an unpromising request that Moore shaped into the better-than-you’d-expect Skizz, alongside artist Jim Baikie, one of the many eternal journeymen of British comics. Subsequently, one of his Time Twisters, “D.R. & Quinch Have Fun on Earth,” done with frequent collaborator Alan Davis, got expanded to a series of recurring stories. But once Moore started making waves in the US market IPC, mindful of how it had lost both Brian Bolland and Dave Gibbons to DC, finally deigned to offer him a relatively free hand to create a concept of his own design.
|Figure 795: Call me Kenneth as Jack Kirby|
pastiche. (Written by John Wagner, art
by Ian Gibson, from 2000 AD #17, 1977)
Teaming with Moore for the new strip was Ian Gibson, who had worked with Moore on his early Future Shock “Grawks Bearing Gifts.” Gibson’s style was distinctive, mixing a cartoonish and exaggerated sense of figure and facial structure with dense line work. The result was particularly well-suited to humor strips, and indeed, prior to The Ballad of Halo Jones Gibson was most associated with the ongoing Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter strip, chronicling the adventures of a humorously taciturn bounty hunter on the trail of various robots.