Propaganda – The Ballad Of Halo Jones

Published On June 24, 2008 | By Richard Bruton | Reviews

The Ballad Of Halo Jones

by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

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This is Alan Moore early in his career, before the celebrity and the white suits, before Watchmen, before From Hell and before becoming a magician. Here’s a chance to see talent develop before your eyes. The story, in three sections in this complete volume was originally published as three separate stories and it takes at least a volume and a half before the book becomes worth buying.

The whole thing is very episodic. This is always going to be a problem with any work written for 2000AD. The format demands weekly installments of 5-7 pages, start, middle, cliffhanger ending, week after week. It’s because of this that I still can’t read anything by Pat Mills because his work is so suited to this format and just doesn’t work as a long form Graphic Novel. Even Charley’s War, easily the best thing Mills ever did is really hard going because of the constant stop start nature of it’s serialised origins.

Moore’s space opera doesn’t really take off until the focus changes and the book stops being a simple space opera & suddenly turns very dark indeed. The scenes of a morose, depressed Halo Jones in a faraway bar are quite chilling and suddenly the whole thing gels.
It just goes to prove that he is human, but even so, this book is worth it just for the great second half.

Richard Bruton is a lifelong comics fan and former Comic Book Store Guy; you can read more of his thoughts on comics and life on his blog Fictions.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

One Response to Propaganda – The Ballad Of Halo Jones

  1. DAJB says:

    Ooooh, I’m going to have to disagree with you about the first half of this book! “Simple space opera”? Nothing of the kind! There IS a definite shift in tone between the two halves of the book, but the first half is a very sharp satire on 1980s Thatcherite Britain – AND it’s done in a way that’s so much more entertaining than the po-faced “V for Vendetta”!

    “The Ballad of Halo Jones” is one of my favourite Alan Moore books. It has all his early wit with none of the self-indulgence that plagues so much of, say, “Promethea”. Now … go read that first half again!
    😉