Lazarus Churchyard: The Final Cut, by Warren Ellis and D’Israeli (Books 2008, 14)

Hmmm, once again I try a Warren Ellis, and find that it’s not as good as I expected, or hoped. ‘Good’, that is, in the sense of ‘exciting, dramatic, interesting’. I didn’t dislike it, and the story was OK; but it never really caught fire, you know?

Still, it was his debut, so maybe the thing is to try some of his later work (I should also add that, at the time of publishing, if not the time of reading or writing, I am regularly reading and enjoying “FreakAngels”:http://freakangels.com/).

I should probably mention the artwork, not least since I met the artist at Eastercon. It’s similar, actually, in that, while it’s perfectly fine, I kind of hoped it would be better. I couldn’t say that there’s anything wrong with it: you can always tell what’s going on, for example. I think maybe it’s that the style is a bit too cartoonish for the material.

The eponymous Lazarus is four hundred years old, and as far as he knows, immortal and indestructible, by virtue of some large percentage of his body having been replaced with smart plastics. He’s the only one in this condition, though, and he’s not happy about it. The main driver of the plot is his desire to die; or at least, we are led to understand that this will be the main driver. In fact it’s not, and each episode within the overall work has its own antagonism.

There’s a lot of extreme violence and brutality, some interesting ideas, but it’s sadly unmemorable.

Lazarus Churchyard: The Final Cut, by Warren Ellis and D’Israeli (Books 2008, 14)

Book Notes 20: The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

Another old Moore from the 2000 AD days. I’ve read it before, as three separate volumes, but I totally didn’t remember anything about Book 3, in which Halo joins the army. Well, the Space Marines, or whatever you want to call them.

It’s a great story about an ordinary young woman in a very un-ordinary world. Much better than the last one, and very much more than a curiosity: highly recommended.

Book Notes 20: The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

Book Notes 10: Skizz, by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie

The local library is proving a great source of graphic fiction at the moment. Another early-early Moore, one of which I had heard, but had definitely not read.

It is Moore’s interpretation of a theme that was then very common, the alien lost on Earth. It wears its debt to ET quite openly: one of the characters even referring to the film for inspiration in how to deal with the alien.

That said, it’s entirely possible that Moore developed it without prior knowledge of the film: it wasn’t a new idea when ET used it.

Skizz is a gentle, heartwarming tale of respect between intelligent beings, regardless of difference. A human girl meets the “other”, and finds he is not so “other” at all.

And it has a genuinely nasty and scary baddie, and reconciliation between generations. Highly recommended.

Book Notes 10: Skizz, by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie

Book notes 8: The Complete DR and Quinch, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

I found this in the local library. I thought I hadn’t read it, but I remember reading the ‘Something something, oranges something’ episode (AKA ‘DR and Quinch go to Hollywood’) back when I was at university in the 80s. I expect they were reprinted by one of the American companies (possibly coloured in?) and I got some of them.

This is early-early Alan Moore, and of course is nowhere near the quality of his later-early work such as V for Vendetta or Watchmen, or his more recent work like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it’s quite fun.

As a parent of young kids, though, I now see it as surprisingly violent. Not that I’d censor it, or anything: just that it’s something I’m more aware of. Or aware of in a different way. Back when I was a student I’d probably have celebrated the violence for its wild- and cartoon-ness.

Indeed, I discovered that the book used — presumably coined — the term ‘napalm dispenser’, which I borrowed for a round-robin work that I was involved in back in my university days, and which had hilarious, and nearly calamitous results. I should probably write a blog post about that one day. It involved cucumbers.

Book notes 8: The Complete DR and Quinch, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons