The Ballad of Halo Jones – the iconic SF comic story first published in 2000AD, created by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson, is being brought to life as a new full-cast audiobook adaptation, along with other tales from the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.
A galaxy-spanning space opera, The Ballad of Halo Jones was Alan Moore’s first true “epic”, although, sadly, just three full stories were published in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic before Moore and Tharg went their separate ways.
Bored and frustrated with her life in 50th-century leisure-ghetto housing estate ‘The Hoop’, 18-year-old everywoman Halo Jones yearns for the infinite sights and sounds of the universe. Pledging to escape on a fantastic voyage, she sets in motion events unimaginable; a spell on a luxury space-liner, a brush with an interstellar war – Halo Jones faces hardship and adventure in the name of freedom in the limitless cosmos.
Halo Jones made her debut in 2000AD back in mid 1984, introduced as a young working-class woman in the far future who would eventually become one of the most important figures in all human history.
The character was a rarity at the time: a female title character, conceived as an attempt to introduce a realistically observed and realised female character into the alpha-male dominated line up of 2000AD.
“We wanted to do something with a female element in it that wasn’t purely for prurient purposes,” Alan Moore said in an interview with Mustard. “At the time all the girls’ comics like Bunty had been cancelled. 2000AD was one of the only comics that had a strong female minority to its readership so we did a story about an ordinary girl in an abnormal situation in the distant future.”
The three published “books” span more than ten years of her life, and also serve as a tour of the well-realised futuristic universe which Moore and Gibson created. Originally, The Ballad of Halo Jones was planned to run to nine books, chronicling Halo’s life from adolescence through old age. A dispute over intellectual property rights between Moore and then publisher Fleetway meant the series was discontinued, although the published stories have been adapted for the stage several times, first directed by Clare Walters, then Eric Jarvis.
More recently, 2000AD has published colour collections of the stories, coloured by Barbara Nosenzo, and there have been reports of interest from Alex Garland in bringing the character to film, but there seems little chance at this stage that any new adventures are likely.
Back in 2011, in an interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid for 3:AM Magazine, Alan Moore teased that “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,” he continued, “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, 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.”
The Ballad of Halo Jones audio adaptation aims to appeal to both existing fans of Halo and newcomers alike will be transported to The Hoop and beyond, offering an immersive listening experience.
Featuring an exciting and accomplished cast, to be announced, and due for release next March, it’s one in a new series of audio adaptations from Penguin Audio that already includes the recently-released The Fall of Deadworld, and Judge Fear’s Big Day Out and Other Stories.