The Passing Of Angels

Angel Passage: A CD Review

This is the fourth in a series of linked Alan Moore CDs, recorded pieces of performance art by Moore and his crew, this time classical musician, Tim Perkins. This is a sub brand of an earlier performance, The Grand Egyptian Moon And Serpent Theatre Of Marvels, this production is known as Angel Passage.

It tells of a story of a young boy growing up in London and how his experiences of “filthy splendour” shape him. “He redrew the city with his eyes and collaged angels in among the harvesting”. A boy who could see angels in his world. And the boy grows up in a magical and disturbing world, tied down to street names or areas of the city – “London inhaled him”. And then he begins to live. Unnamed, it bears comparison to an early chapter of From Hell where the world is seen by the William Gull, only identified at the end by name in darkness. And so it is here, although enough biographical details are included for those who do know the man and his works to latch on towards the beginning. For those who don’t, the performance creates an astounding picture of the subject’s cathartic moments, his hallucinations and inspirations in seeing angels, prophets, spirits and demons around him, including that of his dead brother, inspiring not just his art but also practical solutions to printing it. Named or unnamed, the effect would have been the same. But without the naming, there is initial (or constant) uncertainty as the listener second guesses the author. Again, Moore places strong emphasis on location. Individual street names provide a grounding for a fantastical tale, from Soho to Lambeth to Felpham, each is painted in it’s glory and repugnance by Moore’s description. Angel Passage is a very tangible affair.

As with the previous three released CDs, Angel Passage is constructed with a rich variety of musical styles and instruments. It starts with a big band track which turns into a twisted melody and continues through the album taking on the feel of a bad themed rock album – especially when the classic synthesiser sounds come out. Eric Clapton licks from Edge Of Darkness merge with those familiar stings from eighties Doctor Who. It works, it disturbs and bounces off Moore’s words, hideous and formidable, less wordplay than previous albums, more inventive phrases “he plays his business cards close to his chest”, “he takes the decade personally”. There are reprises from previous albums within, both musical passages, notes to Moore’s interest in the death of Princess Diana, and the comparison with what was with what is, with a viewer from the past being confronted with the present.

Overall, this is a more disturbing performance art than others but one than ends on an uplifting high note. While works like Birth Caul, Grand Egyptian and, to a lesser degree, Highbury Working were of more bittersweet nature. There were gags. There’s far fewer here. Yet neither is there depression, more a forceful feeling of ‘this is what was, this is what is’.

Best enjoyed solo, with the lights turned down, a bottle of red wine and a good smoke. And maybe a not-too-old episode of Doctor Who playing on UK Gold in the corner. And if you don’t know the subject of the piece of his works, the end of the piece is probably the beginning of discovery.

Angel Passage can be bought from http://www.stevenseverin.com and will most likely be made available at www.amazon.com eventually.

You can read a previous review of Highbury Working here.

Now on with the usual mixture of news, rumour, gossip, plugs and looks behind the curtain of the comics industry.


Idol Hands

While everyone’s been fussing about Warren Ellis’ exclusive contract to DC, the real Ellis fans have been pointing with big hands, wearing colourful costumes, standing on their ties and shouting “Look! Look!” in the direction of http://www.artbomb.net – a website dedicated to reviewing the best graphic novels and presenting new original graphic work online from the same creators. Up now is Colleen Doran and Warren Ellis’ Superidol. Go to http://www.artbomb.net now.

And by the way, what is this project Ellis has lined up for Oni?

This Has An Instruction Value Of 9 Out Of 10


X-Changes

Apart from the X-Factor visual that’s been doing the rounds, looks like there’s plenty of other upheavals to come for the Xbooks. I hear that X-Force, Cable, and Deadpool are being cancelled, only to be relaunched under new names and new numbers. Probably all #1 though..

X-Force becomes X-Statics, Deadpool becomes Agent X, and Cable becomes Soldier X. And Marvel’s sales get another quick shot in the arm.

As a result, Marvel will get more books with X in the title, new issue ones all round… and may have to stop paying that pesky royalty to Louise Simonson, Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld for creating the books or titular characters.

When asked about the rumoured changes, Marvel were bloody evasive.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out of 10


Tempe Fired!

More news from McFarlane Toys – and more firings. I hear three have gone from the Tempe offices and the McFarlane Toys President in New Jersey has also been given the heave ho.

More to come?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 7 Out of 10


Impulse Decision

It’s back…. One of those rumours that never goes away is back with a vengeance. And this time it’s from a decent source. DC are preparing to cancel Impulse. Impulse fans, if you want to do something about it, now’s the time.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out of 10


Chucking Scripts

We see that Steven Grant is to write a fill in for Birds Of Prey. Considering that the incredibly prolific Chuck Dixon has left DC with a veritable battalion of scripts before he announced he was moving to DC, one wonders why this is? Could it be that old DC vs CrossGen rumour rearing its ugly head again?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 6 Out of 10


Missing in Action

Mike Grell, one of the more admired Green Arrow creators has, apparently completed and been paid for a Connor Hawke/Shado mini-series. The arrival of Kevin Smith on the Green Arrow series meant that it was shelved. There are no plans to publish it now, as DC don’t believe the demand is there.

Other recent projects languishing in DC’s limbo include the Authority Widescreen special, a completed Lobo special by Alan Grant and Frank Quitely, Warren Ellis’ last Hellblazer issue, and the contents of the Elseworlds Eighty Page Giant, save for the Superbaby story. Finished, paid for, and only available to be read by a select few.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out of 10


Contracts In Disguise

So what are the details of the Pat Lee Dreamwave Transformers comics line? Here’s what I’ve heard:

  • Dreamwave had to pay $100,000 for the Transformers licence.
  • They also have do give percentage points on revenue, coupled with strict production deadlines.
  • They have to provide promotional artwork (including the content of the free comic packaged with the new toy) for no cost.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 3 Out of 10


Moment Of Embarrassment

So just how different were the scripts for the Nuff Said issues published by Marvel to the final product? One change widely noted occurred in Uncanny X-Men #401.

Joe Casey wrote Page 11- Panel 2: “In the middle of the bed, completely laid out on his back, spread eagle like a sexual slave, is Rudolph Giuliani (since this is the silent issue, we can get away with this if we’re smart about it… not naming him by name, try to get his likeness as close as possible. Those in the know should absolutely get the joke… the one or two X-Men readers who might be at all politically aware…).”

Readers will note that the artist changed this to Bill Clinton… was this script written before the 11th of September perhaps?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out of 10


Say Uncle

This week, Mark Millar is in Bulgaria. It’s a little known fact but Bulgarian law allows the shooting of any Scottish comics creators by muskets. Happy hunting, boys?

This Has A Rumour Value Of 1 Out Of 10. You know if he does get shot out there, i’ll feel really guilty.


Paul Levitz Has No Balls

In previous columns and postings I may have referred to Paul Levitz’s giant elastic band ball. I now understand that the ball in fact is owned not by Paul, but by his assistant, Linda.

In fact she has two large balls. Paul, I repeat, has none.

All The Rage thanks two DC employees for pointing out this error.

This Has A Rumour Value Of 8 Out of 10


Stories That Never Were About World That Never Were

Earlier this week, John Byrne revealed two plotlines from previous stories that never happened, with a similar theme..

First was that the Spider-Man creative team’s proposed revamping of Spider-Man’s world in a Bobby Ewing style. First, the creative team would have put Peter Parker through the worst of it, until he considers ending it all. At that point, he’d find himself on the bridge where Gwen Stacy died, offering his soul if the clock could have been turned back to simpler times. At which point the Shaper Of Worlds does just that, remaking Spider-Man’s world to when he was back in High School, but with the current book’s supporting cast, taking place in the modern day. Eventually confronting the Shaper, he discovers nothing can be changed, and his memories of the old world slowly fade away. The team decided though that this kind of event would be too “cosmic” for Spider-Man, who has a “street level” tone.

Read John’s full message here.

John also revealed his much-speculated original ending for his West Coast Avengers run, one that had been built up and planned for before being nixed by then Marvel Editor In Chief, Tom DeFalco.

John says that Immortus had been travelling through dimensions, finding the moment where that reality split from the Marvel Universe and cutting it off, so that there would be only one timeline left. WCA readers say these sequences happening as fascinating but then-unexplained snippets within the main plots of the book.

Immortus was to use the Scarlet Witch’s power to change probabilities by altering events retroactively to do this and create a final reality where the first battle between Avengers and Kang (another version of Immortus) resulted in Kang winning.

Time has been changed and the world is a nasty one, ruled by Kang. But this reality caught up to a previous event, where Thor had saved the Black Knight by placing him in a dimensional pocket outside of time and space (and unaffected now by Immortus’ meddlings). He pops out with full memory of the way the world should be and starts putting a team together to make things right.

You can read John’s original post here.

This Has A Blast From The Past Value Of 9 Out of 10


Colleen Dorant

Colleen Doran is on Dave Sim’s mailing list. And while this once epitome of womanhood according to Sim doesn’t read Cerebus anymore, she did check out the inside front cover after a tipoff. She wrote on the Warren Ellis Delphi Forum:

    “I don’t know if I’m the only one who got a shock from this, but has anyone out there read the inside front cover of the latest Cerebus? I was shocked by it and not in a women-and-strap-ons-Cerebus kind of way.

Dave got samples in 1993 from a guy named Nicholas Zivkovic (anyone heard of him?). Though Dave did not think much of the fellow’s art, he liked the writing enough to file it away for future reference.

He liked it so much (by Dave’s own admission WITHOUT PERMISSION of Mr. Zivkovic), Dave lifted some of the writing from Zivkovic’s comic samples and used portions of it in the latest Cerebus. I kid you not.

Dave is holding a $100 check for payment and some sketches so if this guy ever comes forward, he will give Zivkovic the money for the unauthorized use of the writing.

I cannot wrap my brain wround this. He did not get this guy’s permission to use his work. It’s amazing to me. If Marvel or DC had done it, there’d be a lawsuit.

I would really like to know what other people think of this. I am floored. I can’t believe a pro would do something so bizarre. It is just going to make it harder on every other pro when fans start claming “So-and-so used my work and didn’t get permission!” because here is a pro who has done it and doesn’t care. This shows an utter lack of regard for the primacy of the author.”

The comic in question was distributed later in the week, and a rereading discovers the letter is dated October, which means the author in question could have replied and granted permission. Or indeed it could also be a complete fake. But if nothing else the writing style does imply hypocrisy based on Dave Sim’s previous stance on creator’s rights and especially a certain Bill he once signed…

So does this count as work for hire, Dave?

This Has A Rabble Rousing Value Of 8 Out Of 10


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