As a mainstream comic book hero, Devlin Waugh shouldn’t work, and in the U.S. of A I’m not sure that he would (with the major publishing houses,at least).
For starters our hero works as a special freelance investigator for the Vatican, is openly gay and camper than Christmas - making Liberace look understated!
A former star athlete, banned for life due to his predilection for steroids, now the wrong side of fifty, Devlin is terrified of growing old, adding regular endorphin injections in his quest to remain young and beautiful. As writer John Smith describes him: “He is in fact, a hedonist…a languorous upper-class misfit, a fop, an ex-public schoolboy with a neat line in sarcasm. A lounge lizard. Imagine Noel Coward as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger..”!
Through the years and the horrors he has faced, Devlin’s sense of fair play has been eroded, and now he will go to any lengths to achieve his ends. He’s viciously cutting, callous and unsympathetic, essentially he’s a misanthropist..and anyone gravitated toward Devlin seem destined to end as part of the Waugh curse!
To cap it all Devlin gets killed halfway through his first adventure in the Judge Dredd Megazine, sort of..!
In this volume is that first classic, “Swimming In Blood” (Megs2.01-09,2May-22Aug’92) in which the world’s first underwater high-security prison, The Larventz-Steiger Penal Complex - better known as “Aquatraz”, has become overrun by the inmates. Which wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except that it’s most dangerous prisoner, Landis, is a vampire, and he means to turn the rest of his fellow dangerous convicts into immortal, invulnerable killing machines, with the strength of 10 men and, most importantly an ability to breathe underwater..
These are pages 17-20 of The Invisibles #1, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Steve Yeowell. They are also a great example of how changing the physical format of a comic can change the entire meaning.
Most of this comic is drawn in a realistic style, as you can see in pages 17 and 20. The colors are muted, and the characters spend most of their time on dark streets or in drab buildings.
Pages 18 and 19 are completely different, drawn in a psychedelic style reminiscent of a Peter Max poster. This change in style is done for a reason: a character has taken LSD and performed an occult ritual to contact the spirit of John Lennon. This shift in art style reflects not only the character’s experience, but the difference between normal, mundane existence and the shift in consciousness brought about by drugs and magic.
In the original comic, pages 18 and 19 are presented side by side: 18 on the left, 19 on the right. This creates an intentionally jarring effect: you turn the page to 18 and 19, and everything has changed, almost like you’ve entered an entirely different comic. Like the character, you’ve left behind the way things used to look and entered a world that’s suddenly bright and magical. Then you turn the page again, and you’re right back in the world you’d left behind.
In the collected edition, this effect is lost. Page 18 is on the right, and when you turn the page, page 19 is on the left. In each case, you have a real-world page on one side and a trippy page on the other side. The story still works, the plot is unaffected— but the simulated feeling of entering and then exiting an altered state of perception is not preserved.
And when you read this comic in a digital format, you’re likely reading only one page at a time— which means there’s no left or right. This is probably close to the original intention, because you’re seeing the psychedelic pages by themselves, without any real-world pages intruding. But it might feel subtly different, because you lose the experience of turning the page once, changing things, and then turning the page again and changing them back.
Vintage British comic character Robot Archie who first made his debut in boy’s weekly Lion#1(Feb’52),also made a brief cameo in Captain Klep(Prog147,12Jan’80)returns as an Acid House-crazed robotic anarchist to ask Zenith to accompany him back to Alternative 23 and enlist his help in the war against the Lloigor.
Zenith Phase III:War In Heaven Pt.1(Progs626-34,13May-8Jul’89)
"Once upon a time there was a comic strip named Zenith. The creators created, the publishers published, but not a contract was there to be found. 21 years later, Rebellion are going to the printers – but who owns what?
"This then is a collection of the facts – and nothing but the facts – born from my respect and admiration for Grant Morrison, my fondness for 2000 AD, my love of Zenith, and my anxiety around the tricky ethical minefield of creator rights disputes. My biases are, as ever, laid bare for all to see!
"Those involved in legal proceedings around Zenith are not at liberty to comment."