Sunday, September 01, 2019

eleventh space opera tale 20 years on...

September 1999's 'tale from wellerverse' entitled 'Fall' opens with a cartoon image of a blanked-eyed angel and a mind-picking thought balloon with DRAW ME written. "Fall" pictures Lucifer's cosmic battle with God in the spirit of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy.  Mike Weller hand-letters words [...] I am here for ever so you who enter, leave all hope behind [full stop] below Lucifer's image.

Meeting godlike literary author and surgeon-general MJ in fighting his Alteration by Kid Doctor Clinics; Mike Weller is handed the mind of Michael John Weller and a head for literature and music. Music returns to Space Opera's imagined soundtrack in this issue but its mode has altered dramatically as the walls of Dis city shake and fall. Gone are comic books, sci-fi, zines, rock, reggae, dub, rap, raga and pop's one-thouand-and-one musical derivatives on display in the Earth Corporation's planned 21st century streamed Glory Glory Temple.

MJ is a literary musical snob who only reads classic texts and listens exclusively to classical music and high opera. Brecht & Weill are immediately rejected with Lennon & McCartney. Also dismissed with a wave of the hand and a snort of contempt are Mercer & de Paul, Fain & Webster, Arlen & Harburg, Freed & Herb Brown. Even Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and the Gershwins are sniffed at, as is Rodgers & Hart and Hammerstein's musical theatre. Lerner and Loewe's work is not good enough either for Michael John Weller. Mike is telepathically clone-transported by MJ to the compositional work of Richard Wagner. So Mike begins channelling Wagner, first as conductor of Beethoven's subversive ninth symphony in his late twenties as Kubrick's Clockwork Orange movie interpretation of Anthony Burgess' novel is released. Mike then considers Wagner's revolutionary musical arrangements for the Nibelungen sagas.

Mike learns everything about MJ's tastes, the author's love of dramatic song, and sees a parallel between the mix of music and drama and mix of words and pictures, going way beyond comics or graphic novels as young middle class readers called the market for illustrated perfect bound paperbacks in the 1980s. With  living conduit of Wagner in MJ's mind, Weller could write and draw a Space Opera of words and pictures, disregarding his first simple plan to make a small press comic zine series for alt-comic fans. 'Fall' is the penultimate issue in the saga.

In SO#11's opening picture story the comedy's divine producer welcomes Lucifer into God's space laboratory. This angel is God's finest creation. God spends more time drawing Lucifer's wings than all the other Archangels put together. Pen & inked/black & white drawn Lucifer is pretty boy hungry yet oversexed beastie with absolute contempt for his artist creator. A male angel bursting with omnipotent desire for flesh, extremely jealous of his producer's supreme power of creation. God may believe he is producer of all creation but Lucifer believes he is cartooned architect engineer for a new godless universe of his own making. A universe in which Lucifer is king and make-believe FAT GODHEAD GODOT is benign old man in the sky. BIG NOBODADDY. An enraged divine producer throws his favorite angel out of the sky naming it Satan ARCHANGEL OF INSECTS. Mike hand-letters the producer's dialogue comic bubble text in mind-plant shading. HOW DARE THE NOBODADDY REDUCE ME TO THIS says a nullimaginatively pictured satanic eagle.

The start of Wagner's  Der Ring des Nibelungen is imagined as soundtrack to Space Opera's previous issues SO #9 The Man Who Drew Too Much and SO #10 Alteration after popular music died a 20th century death in SO #8's Listen to Cliff. In a postscript to SO #11 Satan drives to the entertainer's grand mansion in Surrey with Götterdämmerung played as soundtrack to the tale 'When Harry met Satan'.
Satan's presence as protagonist character Duke of Hell in the battle for the 1960s is told through character Mike Weller's autobiographical text, illustrated Abyss of Darkness story written on his borrowed electronic typewriter: and a banned sex comic by Mike's underground cartoonist alter-ego Stelling.