“Hanging Out With Halo Jones”

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Halo Jones first appeared in July 1984 in pages of the weekly British comic 2000 AD which is best known for its character Judge DreddJones was created by Alan Moore (writer of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V is for Vendetta, and many other classic titles) to be a break from the typical “guns, guys and gore” of comic books. Halo Jones is an ordinary, unremarkable woman of the 50th century who goes on to achieve legendary status. She is a refreshing break from pretty much all comic book tropes, and as a result is a very engaging character . . . engaging enough to inspire British 80’s alternative rock band Transvision Vamp to record the song “Hanging Out With Halo Jones”.

The-Ballad-of-Halo-Jones

The legendary Halo Jones

Halo Jones is a highly sympathetic 50th-century everywoman, and the tone of the strip runs from the comic to the poignant. The three “books” span more than ten years of her life, and also serve as a tour of the well-realized futuristic universe which writer Alan Moore and artist Ian Gibson created. Originally, Halo Jones was planned to run to nine books, chronicling Halo’s life from adolescence through old age. 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.

Transvision Vamp Pop ArtTransvision Vamp were formed in 1986 by Nick Christian Sayer and Wendy James the band enjoyed chart success in the late 1980s with their pop/punk sound. James, the lead singer and focal-point of the group, attracted media attention with her sexually charged and rebellious image. 1988 saw a shaky start to the band’s success with their first album Pop Art, but the following year they seemed firmly established in British music charts and Australia with the album Velveteen, however their third album Little Magnets Versus the Bubble of Babble in 1991 spelt the end of the band when their record label MCA actually refused to release it in the UK after the band replaced their punk sound for something more mellow. From their debut album Pop Art, “Hanging Out With Halo Jones” is the most “mellow” track on the album.

The song was never released as a single and therefore there is no official video for the song, however Cathode Ray Choob has compiled a series of images and book covers from The Ballad of Halo Jones for this fan video that gives the viewer an insight to the world of Halo Jones.

The song is sung from the perspective of someone who knew Halo Jones, no specific character from the books, so much of the lyrical content is supposed to be a reflection of our narrator rather than Halo herself. Jones is described as a “nuromancer,” “Well, she looks like a dream and she moves like a panther,” and . . . 

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Wendy James . . . far more overtly sexual than Halo Jones.

Halo, Halo Jones
Is a girl of ice and fire
She got everything
That all the boys desire
But if you’re asking, then the answer’s no
Got things to do and places to go
We’re heading out for independence so
I’m hanging out with Halo Jones.

The reference to independence is an accurate portrayal of Halo Jones as the three books follow her growth from a directionless to teen to a strong and fiercely independent woman, but the over sexualizing of the character is more a reflection of singer Wendy James’s style rather than Halo. Overall the song actually fails to capture the complexity of Halo Jones’s character and universe which was skillfully built by Moore and Gibson. While there are moments in the books when Jones’s sexuality is explored, it is far from being her defining characteristic, and when it is touched upon there is more of an awkward vulnerability of a young woman discovering herself.

Despite its faults, the song is clearly meant to celebrate the character of Halo Jones and, aside from stage plays, remains pretty much the only media adaptation of one of 2000 AD‘s best characters. Amid all the cliched comic book characters Jones is unique, perhaps too unique to be made into a film . . . and it is unlikely that creator Alan Moore will let just anyone take the woman with whom he is rumored to have fallen in love . . . “Where did she go? Out. What did she do? Everything” (Alan Moore).

Listen to more Outer Space Music HERE and see what happens when you get stuck between rock and a dork place.


 

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