Saturday, December 01, 2018

eighth space opera tale 20 years on...

The second Space Opera comic with "Cliff" in its title. MJ's graphic novelist character 'Nick Muir' writes and draws an interactive electronic novel about a cartoon character named 'Mike Weller' and his obsession with Cliff Richard. Nick Muir uses  the form of a video game designed to be played on nine levels in an arts lab of the mind.

Vinyl LP's Cliff, Cliff Sings and Listen to Cliff! have the most beautiful homoerotic record covers an early years' teenage boy could wish for. Top on birthday and xmas wish lists and worth working a paper round to save up for. All three covers are photographed by surrealist Angus McBean; and all recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios. Cliff was 20th century UK king of pop. Old standards and brand new wired-for-sound commercial innovations. 'Evergreen Tree' an aria on an imagined Space Opera soundtrack.

Cliff had looks and hair to die for. A gay icon. In a forgotten tv documentary on lesbian life in London a woman declares that in her clubbing community it was impossible to believe Cliff was not female.

Cliff Richard represents entertainment media change and continuity over sixty years. In the 20th century it was rock 'n' roll bad boy rebels Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon who got in trouble with the law. In the 21st century it is pop's Jesus-loving 'Bachelor Boy' in the courtroom. And like Lenny Bruce at the end of his career switching his routine from comedy to legals: Cliff's similar destiny has been to switch (albeit against his known performance intentions) from light entertainer to catalyst of debates on privacy laws and freedom of speech issues. In 60 years it seems public service institutions like the police and BBC have slowly absorbed sixties countercultures into a mainstream media left-progressive establishment with the intention of turning conservative millionnaire Cliff into the 'Bad Boy' of an old Brit-schooled national Socialist era Marty Wilde track. Cliff on the edge of a cliff just like Brits' Dis-united kingdom at the end of 2018: and the planet's entire ecosystem at the end of humanity's time on Earth.

Yet Ciiff Richard  has been a non-conforming and unknowing conduit, by chance or weird design, of  unusual themes for pop songs. Themes more associated with genres like death metal or drill. Voodoo in 'Livin' Doll', satanism in 'Devil Woman', prostitution in 'There's A Honky Tonk Angel' and top-of-the-pops explorations of radical transfeminism in 'Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha'.

December 1998's 'tale from wellerverse' is unseasonal. A documented Mike Weller cartoon-poem/video game told on nine levels with two optional endings— 

Goodbye Cliff, Hello Mike—or Hello Mike, Goodbye Cliff—no full stop

note: this post is also testing @HomeBaked's digital blog

Saturday, September 01, 2018

seventh space opera tale 20 years on...

My life has been written.
   Different scripts were submitted to the Divine Producer before I was born.

A return to white stock card for this September 1998 cover and only two pages of explanatory prose at beginning and end of author-illustrator Michael John Weller's picture story 'Island of Dreams'. Mike Weller's alterity is reduced mostly to two cartoon selves for this "tale from wellerverse". Two visual artists with a difference of extremes. One with conspiracy theory paranoia. The other with illusions of transcendental grandeur.

The issue opens with a full page comic strip entitled "Mike Weller's Recurrent Dream Between 1949-50". A divine yet buxom angel arrives in a small child's sleep to take him from his English Raymond Briggs-esque suburb, to sail through the stars on a Wing into the upper nebula, the Empyrean Rose outside Earth's solar system. There in the Celestial City, on a mysterious island, astral Mike is introduced by the angel to seven figures speaking in nullimaginatively shaded cartoon bubbles. Drawn in black and white, illustrator Michael John Weller's silent comic art is only broken by one question the small Mike-child, detached from its sleeping self, anxiously asks: YOU WILL BRING ME BACK?

This one-page comic strip based on a pre-school infant's recurrent dream that acted as inspiration for Mike Weller's Space Opera read through artist and writer characters Graham Cratchett and Eduard Mogilowski's "Cosmic Tales" of made-up legend. Weller's comic strip 'Island of Dreams' was first printed in Oxford Caption's 1997 comic book anthology Superstate Funnies. In the mid-2000s the artwork was greatly enlarged as an exhibition print-on-demand image for sale by the art group.

In one of Mike Weller's alternative fictions included in issue #7—alter-ego cartoonist creation Captain Stelling, commander of spaceship "Island of Dreams" (docked in white horse country), invites Mike aboard to escape 1998's Realists. Cap takes Mike through memories of his early life; returning lost selves from 50ies childhood to 60ies youth, read as a comic book drawn from pop's political youth culture of 70ies anarchy and 80ies MTV. And a close up of all-saints-spiced-up girl-powered late 90ies. Here three contemporary versions of Mike Weller appear together as caricatures in a strip-cartoon. The writer, the artist-illustrator, and author-librettist of his own Space Opera.

A 1972 end-picture by 'Stelling', drawn as fictional creation for equally fictional Eddie Mogul's Record Fun mag, shows a 1950s eggman John Lennon cartoon egging a Blue Meanie on to "kill the Beatles". In this story, 'All You Need is Love' turns into a murderous anthem of hate by New Dreamers starting with Lennon's own assassination as "Just John". New Dreaming "Jihardi Beatles" nurtured and fed from a 1960ies counter-culture gone horribly wrong.

In despair Mike fears he's lost the plot. EVERYBODY LIKES ABBA says Cap as DJ Stelling plays Abba on his spaceship dock. Weller's cartoon changes into serious social realist sketching of telepathic dialogue between Mike and doppleganger Bromley writer-in-residence MJ set in an alternative 1995. Abba's song 'Nina, Pretty Ballerina' is imagined on Space Opera's soundtrack in cartoon-style WOOHAH WOOHAH WOOHAH for the back cover.

Weller is transformed into Edward Mogil story teller.

A hand drawn poetry cartoon closes the tale: JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF MYSELF

As twenty-first cenury title, 'Island of Dreams ' also appears as inspiration for Felix Dennis's poems inspired by Mustique; and Dan Boothby's homage to an inspiration powered by Gavin Maxwell's mysterious Brigadoonish otterworld island in the Scottish Highlands.

For Mike Weller, Dusty's brother Tom Springfield (Dionyius O'Brien)'s beautiful song 'Island of Dreams' is the theme for issue 7 of Space Opera. A Springfields 1961 track imagined as soundtracked aria.

September 1998's island of dreams turning into a hundred million island(s) of dreams 20 years later.  

note: this post is also testing @HomeBaked's digital blog

Friday, June 01, 2018

sixth space opera tale 20 years on...

Fear and Loving in South London—author MJ writes about his Mike Weller character in this June 1998 pamphlet

In Weller's miserable, charmless life, old colleague Nick Muir is ghost writing Weller's fate for the Earth Corporation. An unhappy, paranoid life is planned by Realists for no-hoper Weller [...] But help is on its way in the shape of Weller's own creation from days gone by—Captain Stelling: plus Zoe Zephyr as Visionary Muse, and Jack Echo, as head of the Island of Dreams.

'Ghost Writers in the Sky' was the only Space Opera ‘tale from wellerverse’ pamphlet cover to be printed on cream card because Bob Cobbing’s New River Project ran out of white card stock.

SO #6 opens on page 132 of what appears to be an anonymous graphic novel entitled ‘Space Opera’, seemingly published within pagination of the Space Opera comic series. It depicts Mike Weller's Angel-Woman of Powers drawn visiting Earth as in earlier tales, art pen drawn in the process of writing on the pages of an odd spiral-bound book. A volume of indecipherable lettering floating in panels of abstract lines. Could this be 'Codex Sporious' or even 'Codex Sporangiolum' in the making? The entire page appears in to be incomplete. Somehow caught in the middle.

The tale is almost soundtracked to Halfway to Paradise hallucinated as 'Prefab' pop star Billy Fury singing a Space Opera beat generation ballad as an aria. 'Ghost Writers in the Sky's first comic-book page is followed by more pages of Mike Weller’s fictional autobiography continued from earlier Space Opera instalments typed on a borrowed electronic typewriter. Next is tale-within-tale ‘Sexton-Doyen of Detectives’ originally drawn by MJ’s graphic novelist character Nick Muir depicted by illustrator Mike Weller here as a crudely abridged hand-lettered cartoon story. Things are cracking up and so is Mike Weller.

Weller asserts it is he who has ghost written, not only the tale, but character Nick Muir, blaming Earth Corporation “mind-pickers” for invading his mind and hi-jacking visionary inspiration delivered by spirited "mind-planters" on forgotten unseen pages— one of which is illustrated in strike-thru hand-lettering and graphics. In Mike Weller’s extreme take on poplit, Sexton Blake and Tinker are gender transitioned as nonbinaries She-Bob and Shadow Micheal. Two imagined childhood friends of Weller returning to help him write and draw comics by enabling the creation of comic-book heroine Zoe Zephyr and Earth Corporation supervillain Ergot Subslime for made-up Edward Mogil's publications done as a Nick Muir parody in a crazed attempt to prove Mike Weller is the author of Muir and not his writer-in-residence MJ.

'The Tale of Ergot Subslime' is a second Space Opera tale-within-tale hand-lettered and drawn by Mike Weller's paranoid sci-fi alterity written as a psychotic episode. Believing MJ has deliberately authored fictional gaphic novelist and new age auteur Nick Muir to write and draw Weller as failed employee at Mogul Studios in 1969. Back when Weller was Muir's lettering artist and junior.

Mike Weller gets his own back by going further than 'Sexton-Doyen of Detectives'' satire. He re-writes and re-draws Muir's famous Agent 69 comics featuring Zoe Zephyr in a mad cartoon story where Zoe battles Ergot Subslime. Hallucinatory black and white picures suggest the illustrator is taking a fictional hallucinogen of his own chemical makeup for this tale—agamo.

Following this a written text by author Michael John Weller describing Mike Weller's fragmented history as poet and commercial artist. The story of an individual dividing into three conflicted selves as near future battleground for, and between, Earth Corporation (controllers of New Reality): murderous New Dreamers ('jihadi beatles'), visionary Old Dreamers (new fab four—Wills, Kate, Harry, Meghanexcept by 2020 phoney Harry & Meghanmania bit the royal dust). Weller's text here is author-illustrated.

A closing comic strip illustrates Mike Weller's psychotic breakdown when his old underground comic artist alter-ego Captain Stelling springs to hallucinatory life from the page as superhero cartoon Goliath, only to taunt his creator for squandering a destiny even more notable than his old cartooning colleague Nick Muir. Stelling accuses his cartoonist-creator of turning into a leftwing loony. A committee-led, welfare fed, unpaid underclass tenant at Sinkmoor Penge—cloning into yet another Mike Weller cartoon character. An unemployed so-called "activist" living on state-paid social security. A hideously new caricature of an existing cartoon caricature. A spoilt baby boomer at worst—a human Earth Corporation production destined for voluntary local community work. A human being expressing international solidarity with the wretched of social reality earthtime at best.

These Mike Weller characters have been driven insane by assorted quadrophrenic "mind pickers" and "mind planters" possessing and inspiring him through shaded or obscured black pen drawn ink lines. A psychotic reaction (Count Five's punk aria imagined on Space Opera's soundtrack) to this dark world driven by comic fantasy's Duke of Hell located on an extremely paranoid island of near-future filmic nightmares.

At the end of 'Ghost Writers in the Sky' Mike Weller, responding to his earlier alter ego, cartoonist Stelling, and his later alter ego, author MJ, scribbles and illustrates breakthrough: entry into a more charmed and happy existence ruled by comic fantasy's Agent 69 through psychic ghost-wrting MJ's character Nick Muir as graphic novelist in an off-white card-covered space opera sci-fi comic fanzine entitled "Ghost Writers in the Sky".

note: a shorter version of this post is testing@HomeBaked's digital blog 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

fifth "safe space" opera tale 20 years on...

First of two "tales from wellerverse" with Cliff in title.

'Cliff Sings' is a graphic novel supposedly written and drawn by MJ's graphic novelist character Nick Muir and published in parallel typeset pagination within Space Opera.

At this stage of the tale paranoid Earth Corporation conspiracy theorist, sci-fi comic-book fanatic Mike Weller alterity, is cartooned into a sub-character by writer-in-residence MJ using the author’s made-up graphic novelist Muir. To add insult to injury “Cliff Sings” is designed as an extended comic strip by Muir satirising his sub-character for the first half of SO #5.

The second half is an unpaginated comic strip 'Comics Off Course!' written and drawn by Mike Weller's comic artist alterity, illustrating his own graphic novel aspirations, in an effort to match the comics of MJ's Muir. Joining four other amateur cartoonists (character Weller's own new Cosmic Crusaders characters Elaine Clark, Rebecca Schwaffer, Peter Piggott, Hussain Elmaz ) at a London Art College evening class taught by Weller's older Pop Lab publications' invention, Glenford Gates.

The fabulous four's superhero identities are revealed in a dream through the class's own drawings of their favourite comic book characters. Mike chooses Cliff to draw in his dream, provoked by Peter Piggott's joking comment that character Mike Weller looks like the veteran pop singer.

A "theme for a dream" that dominates later "tales from wellerverse" beyond SO #5 into the 21st century. A time when Cliff Richard is italicised forever after accusations of sexual abuse; when hashtags symbolise the emergent call-out culture; and old-fashioned numerical and typographical insert space signage is suppressed on waking by #MeToo, #Time(no apostrophe)sUp, #FuckOffFrankenstein—

 The new millenium's Cosmic Crusaders are drawn by letterer and illustrator Weller.

The last pages of SO #5 are made up of illustrator Mike Weller's strip-cartoon storytelling and a typed continuation of his autobiography continued from 'The Battle for Heaven Part 1'.

note: this post is also testing @HomeBaked's digital blog