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The Ballad of Halo Jones
Saturday, November 12, 2011
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The Dimension Vault
The Ballad of Halo Jones
Category: General Blog
Tags: ballad halo jones 2000 ad comics sci fi alan moore ian gibson

One of the most highly acclaimed stories in 2000 AD was The Ballad Of Halo Jones written by the legendary Alan Moore with artwork by the also legendary Ian Gibson. The story was centered around a 50th Century 'everywoman' and hailed as 'a saga of one woman’s quest for reason in a galaxy gone mad'. First appearing in the pages of 2000 AD in 1984 in 5 page installments and covering 3 books, later compiled as 3 individual graphic novels (books 1 to 3) and athough later reprinted, it was actually out of print for a decade but has since been given a new release by Rebellion in 2007.  I personally read the story in a complete graphic novel form and it's a reading experience that stands out among the many. I loved the language used with its futuristic slang, for example when Halo's flatmate compiles a shopping list:

"We need ghost-toast, chickpeas, kriskies, a plasbulb of algarythm, about a drum of nulcept, brown rice..."

And when the girls go out they 'carry insurance' for protection when 'Streetside' such as Sputsticks and Zenades.

A Zenade is a 50th Century hand held weapon which, when used against an opponent, makes that opponent incapable of anything but meditation, intuition and complete nonaggression.

Halo's flatmate Rodice is agoraphobic and when Halo suggests that they go outside of 'The Hoop' in order to make up time for their shopping trip, Rodice threatens her with a Zen Grenade:

"Anybody even twitches, they got a head full of Alpha Waves.... and I'm not just whistling Erskold's Akron Concerto For Sublimuzer And Glass Percussion".

Brilliant stuff! Also amusing is that in this 50th Century society people think having extra words in their name is cool. The poor save up money so they can have a second name, for example a woman they meet at the Ring Roadster Station has the name 'Snivelling', but when she can 'afford a second word in her name' she will be known as 'Snivelling Earthquake'.

At the beginning of the story the characters are tuned in to the news channel on the futuristic looking holographic TV and there is a report about a public figure that has announced a name change:

"After his promotion to procurator Fiscal, Mr Bandaged Ice That Stampedes Inexpensively Through A Scribbled Morning has added another three words to his name, he will now be addressed as:

'Mr Bandaged Ice That Stampedes Inexpensively Through A Scribbled Morning Waving Necessary Ankles'

The Ballad Of Halo Jones is nothing short of a work of art, in fact... I'm going to read it again after I've posted this as it's been a few years.

Here's some quotes from the Wikipedia:

The tone of the strip runs from the comic to the poignant. The three "books" span more than ten years of her life and also serve as a tour of the well-realized futuristic universe which Moore and Gibson created. Originally, Halo Jones was planned to run to nine books chronicling Halo's life from adolescence through to old age. However, the series was discontinued after three books due to a dispute between Moore and the magazine's publishers over the intellectual property rights of the characters Moore and Gibson had co-created.

In Book One the readers are introduced to the 18-year-old Halo Jones who lives in a floating ring-shaped conurbation or housing estate called "The Hoop" that is moored in the Atlantic Ocean off the East coast of America. The story takes place over one day and follows Halo's violent though also partly comical misadventures on a shopping trip. When Halo firstly discovers a good friend has become a 'Different Drummer' (a youth cult numbed by the beat of a drum in their ears) and then returns to her apartment to find her flatmate and best friend Brinna murdered, she decides to leave Earth never to return.

Book Two depicts Halo's life as a stewardess on a year-long space voyage. Halo discovers that it was her robot dog Toby who was responsible for her flatmate's death and is forced to destroy him. It is also revealed in a framing sequence that Halo becomes a legendary historical figure in centuries to come.

In book three the darkest part of the saga, ten years have elapsed and Halo has become a soldier serving in a Vietnam-style guerrilla interstellar war which had appeared as a back-story in the previous two books, and is courted by a famous, fearsome-looking general; Luiz Cannibal. The series ends with the cessation of hostilities after which Halo commandeers a spaceship and deserts, determined to take charge of her own fate.


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