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