The Ballad of Halo Jones 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection edition on sale now

The second issue of Hatchette Publishing’s 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection is on sale now in all good newsagents – reprinting of The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson.

First appearing in 1984, Halo Jones was an instant hit for 2000AD, a powerful tale of one young woman’s attempt to escape the monotony of her life on Earth and seek adventure as she journeys across the galaxy.

Planned to run for nine “verses”, it’s been a while since this series was published in book form, and Rebellion’s 2007 collection is up for silly money on right now, so this new edition – which will set you back just £6.99 – is a bargain by comparison!

Halo Jones is an ordinary, idealistic young woman living on The Hoop, a poverty-stricken housing project tethered off the point of Manhattan. Desperate for a better life, she escapes – and finds an extraordinary universe waiting for her as she goes from star-cruiser stewardess to frontline soldier.

The cover of In The Red Theatre Company's 1987 Ballad of Halo Jones stage play programme, designed by John Freeman

The cover of In The Red Theatre Company’s 1987 Ballad of Halo Jones stage play programme, designed by John Freeman

The three “books” span more than ten years of her life, and also serve as a tour of the well-realized futuristic universe which Moore and Gibson created. Originally, Halo Jones was planned to run to nine books, chronicling Halo’s life from adolescence through old age. Sadly, however, the series was discontinued after three books due to a dispute between Moore and Fleetway, the magazine’s publishers, over the intellectual property rights of the characters Moore and Gibson had co-created.

The story has been adapted several times for the stage, as we’ve previously reported.

The story was designed from the outset to avoid the typical 2000AD story elements: “guns, guys and gore.” Moore said that he had “no inclination to unleash yet another ‘Tough Bitch With A Disintegrator And An Extra Y-Chromosome’ upon the world”. The idea to base the strip around an ordinary, unremarkable woman, typical of the society she lived in, was also very different for 2000AD.

Addressing often asked questions about a resumption of the series (which is unlikely given Alan’s retirement declarations), Alan told Mustard magazine back in 2006 that he had got plans to have Halo grow up and eventually end as an old woman

“But I got to the point where I’d said to IPC, ‘Look, you know that you’ve ripped these characters off from us. If you were to give us the rights back, I would gladly write another three books of Halo Jones. Whereas if you don’t I will never write Halo Jones and you won’t get any money from the character. And they thought, ‘Yeah, let’s hang on to the character forever and you never get any rights to it and never write any again.’ So that’s where it is.”

Morag Peacock will play Halo Jones in the latest stage play production of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s brilliant comic story. Photo courtesy Lass O’Gowrie Productions

Morag Peacock played Halo Jones in the a 2012 stage play production of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s brilliant comic story. Photo courtesy Lass O’Gowrie Productions

A report from a 2004 BBC radio interview taping recalls that when asked to tell the audience about Halo Jones, “Moore smiled fondly as if someone had just reminded him of an ex-girlfriend who he’d never meant to split up with.”

In an interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid for 3:AM Magazine (published March 2011), Alan Moore stated “the next adventure would have probably been when she was a female space pirate with Sally Quasa”, “I would have been basically going through all the decades of her life, with her getting older in each one, because I liked the idea, at the time, of having a strip in 2000AD with a seventy or eighty year old woman as the title character.

“It would have ended up with Halo Jones upon some planet that is right at the absolute edge of the universe where,” he hinted, “beyond that, beyond some sort of spectacular lightshow, there is no space, no time, and it would have ended up with Halo Jones – all the rest of the people on this planetoid because, actually, time is not passing; you could stay there forever, potentially – and what would have happened is that Halo Jones, after spending some time with the rest of the immortals, would have tottered across the landing field, got into her spacecraft, and flown into the psychedelic lightshow, to finally get out.”

2000AD: The Ultimate Collection takes you to the multiple future-shocked worlds of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.

Compiling the definitive stories from forty years of the award winning weekly SF anthology comic 2000 AD and written and illustrated by some of the biggest talents in the industry, 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection forms a stunning library that represents the best of this most celebrated of titles.

Buy 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection – The Ballad of Halo Jones from Forbidden Planet (using this link helps support downthetubes)

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2000AD The Ultimate Collection Issue 2 - Sample 1

2000AD The Ultimate Collection Issue 2 - Sample 2

2000AD The Ultimate Collection Issue 2 - Sample 3

2000AD The Ultimate Collection Issue 2 - Sample 4

2000AD The Ultimate Collection Issue 2 - Sample 5

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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