Halo Jones Book 3 Annotations

The Ballad of Halo Jones Book 3 cover by Ian Gibson

Below are annotations for The Ballad of Halo Jones, Book 3 – 80 pages, originally published in 2000 AD Progs 451–466 (1986)

Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Ian Gibson, Letterer: Steve Potter (2018 coloring by Barbara Nosenzo)

> Go to Annotations Index

Note: some of this stuff is obvious. If there’s stuff we missed or got wrong, let us know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com General summary: coming soon

Prog 0 “Prologue”

Page 1

panel 1

  • Panels 1-4 form a zoom sequence. Moore uses this technique fairly often, including in the beginning of Book 1.

Page 2

panel 2

Page 3

panel 1

  • “Vescue” is a made-up name, perhaps made to sound like the plant fescue

panel 3

  • Redditor willbrooker notes that trees evolving faces and voices is similar to Moore’s Swamp Thing, a plant who thought it was a human and grew internal vegetable organs.

Page 4

panel 2

  • “A babyfarmer on Skinner’s World” is apparently a reference to psychologist B. F. Skinner, who was falsely accused of harmfully applying his techniques to his own daughter. 
  • Perseus” is a constellation.

Prog 1 “Tarantula Rising”

Page 1

panels 3-5

  • The dream sequence depicts earlier characters that suffered harm: Rodice (panel 3), Brinna and Glyph (panel 4), and Ludy (panel 5).

panels 7-8

  • The panels repeat the body position (and to an extent the bedsheets).

Page 2 – no specific annotations

Page 3 

panel 4

  • “Terhune” is an uncommon last name. (It’s a stretch, but this may refer to dog-breeder/author Albert Terhune, who is referenced in some science fiction). 

panel 6

  • Jones recognizes her former bunkmate Toy Molto who first appeared in Book 2, Prog 1, Page 1, panel 2.

Page 4

Ian Gibson and Alan Moore circa the 1980s – from Forbidden Planet via Alan Moore World

panels 1-2

  • These panels form a fixed camera sequence.
  • On the left are cameos of Halo Jones‘ creators. Tall, bearded Alan Moore (second from left) apparently holds a pencil. Ian Gibson (third from left) apparently holds an inker’s paintbrush, which he drops and picks up.

Page 5 – no specific annotations

Prog 2 “With Your Musket, Fife, and Drum”

Page 1

panel 1

  • Each of the pages of this Prog have a similar format where the first panel involves Jones reading armed forces recruiting propaganda, which contrasts with the actual situations she encounters in the panels below.

panel 2

  • First appearance of soldiers Mona “Lucky” Jukes, Bekti Vassar, and Ditto Wheeler.
    According to Ian Gibson (see interview), Moore “asked me once if there was a name I’d like him to use for one of the main characters. My response was “Mona” – after Mona Ryberg; the beautiful Swedish editor who gave me love and encouragement back in the early part of my career.”

Page 2

panel 2

Page 3

panel 1

  • The theme here echoes an anti-war saying that parody’s military recruiting language like “Join the Navy and see the world.” The 60s-70s era saying,  appeared in both Britain and the U.S., was along the lines of  “Join the Army; travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them.” It appeared on bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc. and now appears in memes.

Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 3 “Occupations”

  • The title plays on two meanings of occupation: a job or a military takeover of a place. 

Page 1

panel 1 

  • “Lobis Loyo” is a fictional planet name. (For what it’s worth, Lobis Loyo is now also the title of an instrumental song from a 2019 The Hoop EP by the band Dylab. The 5-song EP includes all song titles inspired by Halo Jones: Charlemagne, Hispus, Lobis Loyo, PWUC, and Concordia.)

panel 4

Page 2

panel 1

  • “Roltip Dhim” sounds somewhat like place names in Vietnam. (All of Halo book 3 invokes the Vietnam war.)
Luiz Cannibal commission by Ian Gibson (detail) – via Facebook

panel 5

  • First appearance of Life Sentence, who wears a necklace of her victims’ ears.

Page 3 

panel 4

  • First appearance of General Luiz Cannibal
    Gibson described Cannibal as follows:

Luiz took a little designing. But I followed Alan’s directions as far as the tusks went and his height. The rest was up to me. The snakes evolved thanks to my first wife, Jaqui. I’d been playing with his ears. Trying to make them Buddha like (just to make him a more interesting character) and I’d tried suspending rocks in them, when Jaqui wandered past me in my studio and commented that the “stones” looked like snake heads. Et voila! We have snakes in his ears. My intention, as you may see from their movement from frame to frame, was to suggest that they were real. And I based them on one of the most deadly snakes I could find reference for. I thought it gave him a quality of great power and domination. Scary dude!

Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 4 “Petrified Forest”

Page 1

panels 4-5

  • “Suh” sounds like “sir” but is apparently “sniper” as shown on the following page.

Pages 2-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 5 “Armies Of The Night”

Page 1 

panel 1

  • Panels 1-4 form a sort of slow-moving pan. These four framing panels take place around the middle of Page 4 below. 

panels 2-3

  • “Cheeses” is the exclamation “Jesus!”

panel 4

  • The repeating “oww” is Krause wincing from her severely wounded legs.

Page 2

panel 1

  • “Cycle exemption” is apparently when a soldier has her menstrual period.

Page 3 – no specific annotations

Page 4

panel 1

  • “Sweet Matthew, Marx, Luke and Jung” is somewhat similar to the mention of earlier celebrations of Marxmas (see book 2 prologue). It is a parody of the Christian gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – with Karl Marx and Carl Jung.

Page 5 – no specific annotations

Prog 6 “A Soldier’s Things”

Page 2

panel 5

  • Molto is apparently trying to tell Jones she loves her, but Jones doesn’t get it.

Page 3

panel 3

  • The robot dog in the furnace was book 2, Prog 8.

Page 4

panel 1

  • Jones hallucinates Molto’s responses (after Molto dies), hence they are shown in caption boxes instead of speech balloons.

Page 5 – no specific annotations

Prog 7 “Leavetaking”

Page 1 – no specific annotations

Page 2

panel 1

  • Planet “Hispus” is fictional.
  • The panel contains an Alan Moore cameo – riding in the rickshaw.

Page 3

panel 6

  • Catsblood is the liquor Jones was drinking at the start of book 3.

Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 8 “Heavy Duty”

Page 1

panel 1

  • First appearance of Sergeant Juno Myrmidon.

panel 4

  • Moab” is an ancient Middle Eastern kingdom.

Page 2

panel 5

  • This is similar to Watchmen‘s Rorshach prison scene.
Prison scene from Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen

Page 3

panel 4

Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 9 “The Gravity Of The Situation”

Page 1 – no specific annotations

Page 2

panel 1

  • The book is, of course, the bible.

panel 2

  • The story of Lot’s wife turning to a pilar of salt is from the biblical book of Genesis.

panel 3

  • Hoy” is British slang, meaning more or less “hey!”
  • “Cheeses” is again the exclamation “Jesus!”

Page 3

Panel 4

  • The Slabs (Slave Labour Auxiliary Bio-engineered) are based on the actor Sylverster Stalone, presumably playing the Vietnam veteran character Rambo, who first appeared in the 1982 movie First Blood.
  • “Malti[c? d? o?]” on the sign in the background: suggest?? 

Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

Prog 10 “The Crush”

Pages 1-3 – no specific annotations

Page 4

panel 1

Page 5 – no specific annotations 

Prog 11 “Slow Death” – no specific annotations

Prog 12 “The Fast Forward War”

Page 1

panels 1-3

  • This fixed-camera sequence depicts the same scene as time passes and the beard and plant grow. In Cinema Purgatorio 5, Moore explored somewhat similar cinematic depictions of time passage. 

Page 2

panels 6-8

  • These form a fixed-camera sequence. The final panel is Private Exxon dying and becoming a stain on the ground.

Page 3 – no specific annotations

Page 4 

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press (cropped) – via Wikipedia

panels 3-4 

Page 5

panel 2

  • “La da deeda bang bang bang, I’m a missing planet boy… everything tastes of la la la” appears to reference a specific song – suggest??

Prog 13 “When They Sound The Last All Clear”

  • The title references a WWII ballad. The last “all clear” was a siren that sounded at the end of an air-raid, marking the departure of enemy bombers.

Page 1

panel 1

  • The “ooowwww…” sound effect is somewhat similar to the “dududum…” sound effect that opened Prog 1 of Book 3.

Pages 2-3 – no specific annotations

Page 4

panel 1

  • “In the Jane” is a female gender version of “the John” as slang for the bathroom.

panel 2 

Page 5 – no specific annotations

Prog 14 “Breakfast In The Ruins”

Pages 1-4 – no specific annotations 

Page 5

panels 4-6

  • The dream/nightmare is similar to the opening of Book 3, Prog 1. The similar sequences at the beginning and end of Book 3 act as a framing device.

Prog 15 “Tarantula Descending”

Page 1

panels 1, 3, and 5

  • The dream/nightmare is again similar to the opening of Book 3, Prog 1.

Page 2 – no specific annotations

Page 3

panel 4

  • This references the events of HJ Book 2, Prog 4.

 Pages 4-5 – no specific annotations

>Go to Panelwise Annotations Index

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