Propaganda – The Ballad Of Halo Jones
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.