Space Opera #1: Ultimate LegendSpace Opera #1: Ultimate Legend © Micheal J Weller
Space Opera #2: Vampire Empire
Mike Weller's Space Opera is a strange mixture of comics,
illustrations & prose about some militant Christian superheroes. I found the
prose pieces dull and, in the case of those supposedly written during earlier
decades of the 20th Century, marred by anachronistic turns of phrase. The art,
however, is very good. Curly, squiggly, 70s girl comic, pop art feel, abstract,
in places gorgeous. I very much liked the bit in issue 1's comic strip where the
heroes put their costumes on for the very first time in separate booths to protect
their modesty (one lad has suitably lumpy boxer shorts). At odd moments like this,
I couldn't tell if Mike was a master satirist or a prurient zealot.
Space Opera #11: Fallabove: Space Opera #12: Festival of Lights © Micheal J Weller
Space Opera #12: Festival of Lights
below: Space Opera #11: Fall © Micheal J Weller
have before me two volumes of what is apparently a twelve volume epic called
Space Opera. I have only read these two sections, parts eleven and twelve.
Fortunately included in the package is an A4 sheet outlining the story as it has
unfolded in the previous ten issues. The story tells the legend of forgotten superheroes,
the Cosmic Crusaders as told by Mike Weller from writings and drawings
left him by their creator, Edward Mogil. I don't intend to make any attempt to
summarise the summary. Suffice it to say by the time volume 11 commences God is
arguing with Lucifer before casting him out to the City of Dis. Satan then creates
various characters who "have powers to stupefy, dummify and invisibilize".
At this stage Cap Stelling, aka Mike Weller, draws a sixties recreation of the
Cosmic Crusaders, called the Teenbeat Marvelettes. The story then
continues in the form of a film treatment entitled Abyss of Darkness. In a postscript
the creations of Satan confront Cliff Richard and we move on to volume 12, where,
if anything it all becomes less clear.
This is not just a comic. It includes text and comics and full page illustrations. It actually does make a certain sort of sense when you read it and no doubt anyone who has invested £24 in the whole magnum opus will be prepared to study it carefully to get something coherent out of it. It's apparently partly autobiographical, with Mike Weller not only the creator but several characters within the story (I think). The artistic style is much like the Weller we know and love from The Firm and Cozmic Comics in the seventies and is a sort of cross between Dennis the Menace, Salvador Dali and Alan Aldridge (well this bit is set in the sixties). I'm not sure if it is possible to read meanings into the text - does the devil represent popular capitalism and the City of Dis the modern urban landscape? Maybe not. These volumes were produced in the 1990's and some of the references date them, which just goes to show how difficult it is to create stories out of their time.
"Click. Shut down".