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Welcome to a pH-Webworld Archival Page

- Preserving an oft-revised Web-Publisher's Commentary begun in July 1996 -

Top of Page Search Engine - Phantacea Publications available in print and digitally - Page Highlights - Ordering Lynx

Original page starts here

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Phantacea Publications in Print

- The 'Launch 1980' story cycle - 'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Fantasy Trilogy - The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels - The phantacea Graphic Novels -

The 'Launch 1980' Story Cycle

The War of the Apocalyptics

Front cover of War Pox, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2009

Published in 2009; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Nuclear Dragons

Nuclear Dragons front cover, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

Helios on the Moon

Front cover for Helios on the Moon, artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Published in 2014; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here;

The 'Launch 1980' story cycle comprises three complete, multi-character mosaic novels, "The War of the Apocalyptics", "Nuclear Dragons" and "Helios on the Moon", as well as parts of two others, "Janna Fangfingers" and "Goddess Gambit". Together they represent creator/writer Jim McPherson's long running, but now concluded, project to novelize the Phantacea comic book series.

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'The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories' Epic Fantasy

Feeling Theocidal

Front Cover for Feel Theo, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

Published in 2008; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The 1000 Days of Disbelief

Front cover of The Thousand Days of Disbelief, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published as three mini-novels, 2010/11; main webpage is here; ordering lynx for individual mini-novels are here

Goddess Gambit

Front cover for Goddess Gambit by Verne Andru, 2012

Published in 2012; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Circa the Year of Dome 2000, Anvil the Artificer, a then otherwise unnamed, highborn Lazaremist later called Tvasitar Smithmonger, dedicated the first three devic talismans, or power foci, that he forged out of molten Brainrock to the Trigregos Sisters.

The long lost, possibly even dead, simultaneous mothers of devakind hated their offspring for abandoning them on the far-off planetary Utopia of New Weir. Not surprisingly, their fearsome talismans could be used to kill Master Devas (devils).

For most of twenty-five hundred years, they belonged to the recurring deviant, Chrysaor Attis, time after time proven a devaslayer. On Thrygragon, Mithramas Day 4376 YD, he turned them over to his Great God of a half-father, Thrygragos Varuna Mithras, to use against his two brothers, Unmoving Byron and Little Star Lazareme, in hopes of usurping their adherents and claiming them as his own.

Hundreds of years later, these selfsame thrice-cursed Godly Glories helped turn the devil-worshippers of Sedon's Head against their seemingly immortal, if not necessarily undying gods. Now, five hundred years after the 1000 Days of Disbelief, they've been relocated.

The highest born, surviving devic goddesses want them for themselves; want to thereby become incarnations of the Trigregos Sisters on the Hidden Continent. An Outer Earthling, one who has literally fallen out of the sky after the launching of the Cosmic Express, gets to them first ...

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The '1000 Days' Mini-Novels

The Death's Head Hellion

- Sedonplay -

Front cover for The Death's Head Hellion, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Contagion Collectors

- Sedon Plague -

Front cover for Contagion Collectors, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2010

Published in 2010; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

Janna Fangfingers

- Sedon Purge -

Front cover for Janna Fangfingers, collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2011

Published in 2011; two storylines recounted side-by-side, the titular one narrated by the Legendarian in 5980, the other indirectly leading into the 'Launch 1980' story cycle; main web presence is here; Character Companion starts here; ordering lynx are here;

In the Year of the Dome 4825, Morgan Abyss, the Melusine Master of the Utopian Weirdom of Cabalarkon, seizes control of Primeval Lilith, the ageless, seemingly unkillable Demon Queen of the Night. The eldritch earthborn is the real half-mother of the invariably mortal Sed-sons but, once she has hold of her, aka Lethal Lily, Master Morgan proceeds to trap the Moloch Sedon Himself.

In the midst of the bitter, century-long expansion of the Lathakran Empire, the Hidden Headworld's three tribes of devil-gods are forced to unite in an effort to release their All-Father. Unfortunately for them, they're initially unaware Master Morg, the Death's Head Hellion herself, has also got hold of the Trigregos Talismans, devic power foci that can actually kill devils, and Sedon's thought-father Cabalarkon, the Undying Utopian she'll happily slay if they dare attack her Weirdom.

Utopians from Weir have never given up seeking to wipe devils off not just the face of the Inner Earth, but off the planet itself. Their techno and biomages, under the direction of the Weirdom of Cabalarkon's extremely long-lived High Illuminary, Quoits Tethys, have determined there is only one sure way to do that -- namely, to infect the devils' Inner Earth worshippers with fatal plagues brought in from the Outer Earth.

Come All-Death Day there are more Dead Things Walking than Living Beings Talking. Believe it or not, that's the good news.

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phantacea Graphic Novels

Forever and Forty Days

- The Genesis of Phantacea -

Front cover of Forever and Forty Days; artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Published in 1990; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

The Damnation Brigade

- Phantacea Revisited 1 -

Front cover of The Damnation Brigade, artwork by Ian Bateson, retouching by Chris Chuckry 2012

Published in 2013; main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Cataclysm Catalyst

- Phantacea Revisited 2 -

Front cover for Cataclysm Catalyst, artwork by Verne Andru, 2013

Published in 2014, main webpage is here; ordering lynx are here

Kadmon Heliopolis had one life. It ended in October 1968. The Male Entity has had many lives. In his fifth, he and his female counterpart, often known as Miracle Memory, engendered more so than created the Moloch Sedon. They believe him to be the Devil Incarnate. They've been attempting to kill him ever since. Too bad it's invariably he, Heliosophos (Helios called Sophos the Wise), who gets killed instead.

On the then still Whole Earth circa the Year 4000 BCE, one of their descendants, Xuthros Hor, the tenth patriarch of Golden Age Humanity, puts into action a thought-foolproof, albeit mass murderous, plan to succeed where the Dual Entities have always failed. He unleashes the Genesea. The Devil takes a bath.

Fifty-nine hundred and eighty years later, New Century Enterprises launches the Cosmic Express from Centauri Island. It never reaches Outer Space; not all of it anyhow. As a stunning consequence of its apparent destruction, ten extraordinary supranormals are reunited, bodies, souls and minds, after a quarter century in what they've come to consider Limbo. They name themselves the Damnation Brigade. And so it appears they are -- if perhaps not so much damned as doomed.

At least one person survives the launching of the Cosmic Express. He literally falls out of the sky -- on the Hidden Continent of Sedon's Head. An old lady saves him. Except this old lady lives in a golden pagoda, rides vultures and has a third eye. She also doesn't stay old long. He becomes her willing soldier, acquires the three Sacred Objects and goes on a rampage, against his own people, those that live.

Meanwhile, Centauri Island, the launch site of the Cosmic Express, comes under attack from Hell's Horsemen. Only it's not horses they ride. It's Atomic Firedrakes!

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Animated gif for 25 years of Phantacea, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2002

-- PHANTACEA: Twenty-Five Years Onward --

[Logo reads Web-Publisher's Commentary as prepared on PHOTOSHOP by Jim McPherson, 2002]

July 1996

(As Rewritten in February 2000 & Added onto in the Summer of 2003)

© copyright 2003 Jim McPherson

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PHANTACEA Publications

-- The Comic Book Series --

1. Personal Introduction

I was twenty-six, had a degree, a share in a house (which I still have), and a steady job (which, despite downsizing, I managed to hold onto until the Spring of 2002). I had been reading comic books since I could read and I had been writing stories virtually since I learned how to write my name.

What I wanted to do was make money writing. But I wanted to make most of that money for myself. Wanted to keep all the characters I'd come up with too. So I decided to start writing, and publishing, my own comic books.

Hence PHANTACEA!

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2. 1977-1980 -- PHANTACEA One to Six

The first comic book came out in the Fall of 1977. It was drawn entirely by Dave Sim, a man I'd never met and only barely heard of, -- though no doubt many of you may have heard of him by now. He wrote, drew, and published Cerebus the Aardvaark. Did (does?) quite well by it too, from all accounts.

By the Spring of 1980, when I published the last one (pH-6), PHANTACEA was costing me too much money to keep going. So I let it go away. Intended to come back to it someday, yes. If only to write the occasional short stories featuring the same characters on lazy weekends, also yes.

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3. The Eighties -- PHANTACEA Phase One

[1977 VERSION OF THE COSMIC EXPRESS]

Youthful enthusiasm --not to mention financial wherewithal-- fast-fading, I never thought very seriously about publishing comic books on a regular basis any more. Certainly never gave up my day job. As for writing a Prose PHANTACEA, that remained something for the 'future files'.

[1987 VERSION OF THE COSMIC EXPRESS]Then, sometime around '85/'86, the market for independently-produced comic books suddenly boomed. Got a whole bunch of orders (from companies that actually paid their bills to boot) that helped to liberate my basement of PHANTACEA. Should have stopped there, I suppose, but I bit bigtime. New's always better than old, right?

So I published another comic in 1987 and committed myself financially, to a variety of local Vancouver artists, for many more PHANTACEAs yet to come. While, for a change, Phase One #1:'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' brought in a decent return on my investment, the boom quickly proved a blip. ENDGAME? Big buck potential turned out to be a cash-crunch chimaera; big buck disastrous debt, though, was something I had to deal with for years thereafter.

There were a couple of interesting things about this project. One was that Ian Bateson reworked some of Dave Sim's initial material; the results of which can be compared at the bottom of this webpage. The second was that the backup stories, all of which were drawn by Ian Fry, came to form the basis for both 'Forever And Forty Days' and, eventually, 'Heliodyssey'.

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4. 1990 -- Forever And Forty Days -- The Genesis of PHANTACEA

The illustrated stories that made up this Graphic Novel were initially intended to back up the Phase One Project. I gathered them altogether and hired a single artist, Ian Fry, who had already begun work on supporting stories for Phase One, to do the pencils and finished inks.

Unfortunately, he couldn't do the lettering, -- with the result that it turned out a bit uneven. The best thing about '4-ever & 40' however, other than Ian's artwork and Ian Bateson's cover, was that I included a Wilderwitch short story at the back of it. That got me seriously thinking about all my characters again and a fraction of what I came up with you can now access on the Web.

'Forever And Forty Days' -- The Genesis of PHANTACEA is the only Print Publication still available for ordering. A section-by-section overview of the graphic novel, with lynx to illustrations found in it, is now just a click away.

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PHANTACEA IN THE NINETIES

-- The Web Serials --

5. 1992: The Trigregos Gambit

But for the Wilderwitch short story mentioned above, plus a series of related his- and her- stories that to this day exist only in irretrievably, not to mention terribly-typed format Depiction of Vetala, from the cover of pH-6, art by Verne Andru (yes, there actually was a time when there was a typewriter on my desktop), Gambit is the first of the Prose PHANTACEA tales-told to be published, -- albeit only out here in Cyberia.

In terms of the comics, PREGAME-GAMBIT was not gone into in any great detail but GAME-GAMBIT and ENDGAME-GAMBIT are essentially as they were in the last few issues of PHANTACEA. Which means, chances are, you could skip the Web Wheaties (serials) altogether and simply petition your favourite comicshop for old copies of PHANTACEA. They're probably in the Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated box.

Depiction of Rhadamanthys, from the cover of pH-6, art by Verne Andru

Of course, while I've seen pH-4 in remainder bins locally, there weren't very many copies of pH-5 & pH-6 printed. Nor were either widely distributed. (Even I've got lots less than a Lego-Legion of them left.) So, if you're in any way anxious to learn what happens to Vetala and her soldier, you'll probably have to content yourself with waiting for the Cyberia Cereals to continue/conclude.

Any way anxious to learn what happens to any of Gambit's other characters, dick-dildo. Including that annoying fellow whose name I keep forgetting.

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6. 1992/3: Helios on the Moon

Again in terms of the original comic books, it would be completely pointless to look for the ending of Moon in remainder bins. That's because pH-7 was never published. Depiction of the Mnemosyne 3-Thing in human mode, from  pH-3, art  by Peter Lynde, 1978 Only about 6 pages were drawn and I gave those back to Ian Bateson, the illustrator, years ago.

(And, at least as far as I know, other than its hand-written script, the only part of pH-7 that survives is the black-and-white version of its front cover. It was printed on the inside back cover of pH-6 in 1980 and it's from there that the somewhat imperfect, partial reproductions of it on this page were scanned.)

Even though it has its own beginning and ending, to all intents and purposes Moon also both begins and ends the entire Launching of the Cosmic Express Tetralogy. This was the design of the comics as well. Except, obviously, I had a lot more Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated up my sleeve.

(Still do, just without the Illustrated bit, sooth said.)

Depiction of Heliosophos, from  pH-3, art  by Peter Lynde, 1978

The two central characters of Moon, Trans-Time Trigon's His and Her Stories, have of course appeared before; most visually at the outset of this decade 's PHANTACEA: '4-ever & 40'.

Will be appearing again; be reappearing pH-4-Ever, as it happens. Soon too -- soon as in already -- but even earlier in terms of their own extremely unique existence(s). In the now completed 'Heliodyssey' quintet of novels, as set in 1938, for example.

(Earlier for them anyhow. In Helios' 11th Lifetime, as a matter of PHANTACEA fact!)

Just buy the bye, -- again in terms specific to the Dual Entities, and only 5 others (the Trigon Spartae or Dragon's Teeth of mostly Island fame) --, '4-ever & 40' was set even earlier than 'Heliodyssey'. In Helios' 1st, 5th, and (probably) his 9th lifetimes. By contrast, Moon (apparently) takes place in his 100th.

Probably? Apparently? Don't ask me! Such is the confounding nature of the two Time Tumblers. (Besides, they tend to write themselves. Which is why I keep coming back to them. Saves me the bother of thinking things up.)

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7. 1993: The War of the Apocalyptics

[DEMON LAND VERSUS DEVIL WIND]

A lotus-lox lot of the events related in this sequence of stories will be familar to those of you who have read the comic books. Most of the dialogue remains the same and, but for the lack of visuals, darn near nothing else, plot included, has changed.

[BACKCOVER FOR PHANTACEA 3]

What is new -- in addition to descriptive prose -- is that much of what happens to characters featured in Apocalyptics during the same nearly two week period as events related in Island, below, Gambit, above, and Moon, also above, has never been recounted before.

One warning, -- the fates of some of the characters featured in 'The Moloch Manoeuvres', also below, or 'Helioddity' and their companion pieces, ditto, are revealed in the '1980' sequences.

Some readers might therefore prefer to wait until the 1938 sequences are complete before they vault ahead forty-two years. Mind you, the way things are going that could be a long wait. (Hey, -- it's already been 25-Plus!)

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8. 1994: Centauri Island

'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' began the comic books and also begins the '1980' sequence of stories, -- all four books of them!

Isolation from unpublished pH-7 depicting Hell's Horsemen, artwork by Ian Bateson, 1980

Set at the end of November 1980 and running to the second week of December (when John Lennon was murdered in the real world), it tells the stories of what happened to those on Centauri Island immediately before, during, and for a week or so after the Launch. While some of the initial events were depicted in the comic books, most of it has never been related before now.

Loxus Ryne is eighty years old but still wields considerable influence in terms of worldwide affairs. The Summoning Children, the few left of them, are all approaching their sixtieth birthdays and have had their memories redacted. But for Ringleader in 1960, plus Strife and Steltsar in 1970, there hasn't been an active supranormal since 1955. Even Anthean Witches haven't been very busy in the previous quarter century.

There's still an apparently seven year old female trickster around, however, and as is eventually discovered most of the Cosmicompanions are direct descendents of Summoning Children. Which means they, like their parents before them, may well be reincarnated Master Devas.One of Hell's Horsemen, possibly Crystallion herself, from unpublished pH-7, art by Ian Bateson, 1980

One of the Nuclear Firedrakes ridden by  Hell's Horsemen,  from unpublished pH-7, art by Ian Bateson, 1980More likely though they, like their parents before them may have been, may well be devils repossessing their own. Not that that will matter much to those left behind on Centauri Island. Not if Crystallion, Hell's Horsemen, and their Nuclear Firedrakes have their way.

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9. 1995: The Moloch Manoeuvres

The events related in this novel take place almost entirely in Rome between the evening of January 12 and the morning of January 14, 1938; particularly the night of the full moon on the Thirteenth when a Vampire Maker, a Blood Beast Prime, goes on the prowl looking for certain unnamed but very specific seventeen year old girls. As for why there is a Count Molech and a differently spelled, titular Moloch, the latter's a Fallen Angel (ie, an extraterrestrial -- guess who?) while the former may or may not be a complete charlatan.

Although not even forty-eight hours elapse from its start to finish, it is plenty of time for Summoning Children to start acquiring supranormal abilities; for battlelines to be drawn between Nazi Hermiones and the Alliance of Man. (As well as a band of Etocretan & Gypsy Anarchists and a group of Teutonic Templars who, while they aren't necessarily Nazis yet, are definitely ambitious customers.)

In regard to the lone couple of genuine good guys, a German peacemaker and your basic brute of a bull -- well, they get themselves killed before they have a chance to realize they're the good guys. They're also about the only quote, unquote 'heroes' you're ever likely to find in the PHANTACEA Mythos. (Wouldn't be Anheroic Fantasy otherwise, would it?)

The inspiration for Manoeuvres came from one of my brothers, who greatly admires Wagner's 'Ring of the Nibelung' Operatic Tetralogy. Wagner's Ring Cycle seems to have been based on legends that grew up during the time of Attila the Hun. I've tried to recount those legends relatively faithfully. In that regard, just in case you were wondering, there was an historic 'Second Trojan War'.

It took place in France (Gaul) during the Fourth Century AD and its aftermath, -- the war having been fought between the Western Roman Legions under Aeetes and Attila's forces --, seems to have been the basis for the Volsung Saga and the Eddas as well as the Operatic Ring and, to a lesser degree, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. As for Ragnarok, Armageddon, and the Twilight of the Gods, in PHANTACEA these events took place prior to the Genesea; which is to say during the Golden Age of Humankind.

By the way, the PHANTACEA version of Ragnarok is briefly recounted in 'Forever & Forty Days'. It occurred while Jaro Dan, the sixth Patriarch of Golden Age Humankind, was still alive. Jaro Dan is the Biblical Jared whereas Dan was his equivalent on an even more antique king-list. Combining the two names I came up with Jaro Dan. Drop the 'j-a-r' and boy does that look like Odin.

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10. 1987/2000: The Last of the Supranormals

Four chapters enlarging upon events only touched on in pH-3. What I tend to refer to as Rings '55 because it focuses to a degree on Ringleader (Harry Zeross), then age 12, it recounts the last couple of outings of the King's Own Crimefighters (KOC) prior to the events described therein on Damnation Island in December 1955.

Features a bunch of characters that figure in events described in its followup, 'Aspects of an Amoebaman' or, as I prefer, Rings '60. These include the war-orphans generation of Etocretan Extremists: Kadmon Heliopolis (El Draco), his Dragon's Teeth (the Trigon Spartae) and his half-sister, Europa. We also meet some of the Summoning Children's offspring, a few of whom were on the Cosmic Express a quarter century thereafter.

Dmetri Diomad (Vetala's Soldier in The Trigregos Gambit) is there as a 2-year old. So is Dolph Dulles, from Centauri Island, and Estrella D'Angelo Dark (Gloriel's daughter), from The War of the Apocalyptics. And, yes, there's an apparently seven year old female trickster around as well. As for whether she's the same 7-year old female trickster that was around in the series set in 1938 and 1980, well, it sure does seem so.

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11. 1988/2000: Aspects of an Amoebaman

Six chapters that were intended to make up part of a much longer novel entitled 'Ringleader's Revenge', which I have yet to finish. What I tend to refer to as Rings '60 because it focuses to a large degree on Ringleader (Harry Zeross), by then age 17, and what happens to him the night he marries Belificent D'Angelo. Except for the eventual Damnation Brigade, it features most of the characters who appeared in Rings '55.

The titular aspects of Amoebaman (Leandro D'Angelo) are Trebleman Johann Schmidt, Sean Smythe and Joan Smith. Two out of those three characters were still around for 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' when they were known as, not surprisingly, Doubleman (the Psychic Siblings). Bad things happens in Rings '60. Then again don't bad things always happen at weddings?

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PHANTACEA IN THE NEW MILLENIUM

-- Future Web Serials --

12. 1996/2003: Helioddity

Set mostly on Aegean Trigon and Charan's Ark, as it winds its way from Rome across the Mediterranean to the Suez Canal then, ultimately, to Italian Somaliland, Oddity actually has very little to do with its titular character.

Oh, someone by the name of Ulysses Heliopolis does appear, as does one Miracle Maenad (better make that two or three of them), but mosty we concentrate on the various Summoning Children aboard the Ark. And quite a bunch they are too, -- quite a bunch of whom also appeared in the original comic books and throughout the various Cyberia Cereals already, um, serialized out here on the Web.

Be warned, this sequence of short stories carries on from where 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' left off. As such, because it relies upon events that took place during Manoeuvres, I chose not to run it concurrently. Quite simply, it would have given away far too much far too soon to readers following the first story sequence. All that's changed now so feel free to read away merrily.

Of course it almost goes without saying by now that you can always order 4-ever & 40, from which the Cain series of stories were adapted.

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13. 1997: Coueranna's Curse

This, the third sequence of 1938 stories, is also now available, albeit in first draft form. As of this writing (March 1997) the fourth installment, tentatively entitled 'The Volsung Variations', is still in research stage. Looks promising though.

Don't want to give away too much too soon but there'll be male and female entities and tricksters, faeries and vampires, plenty of witches and warlocks, even more devils and saints, -- with the occasional otherwise 'indescribable' demon and monster thrown in for good measure.

Won't be too much more of everyone's favourite Etocretan Anarchists but the Nazi Hermiones from 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' and the rest of its Teutonic Templars, complete with the Northern Tantalus, are back with us. As are the Clan Dre'Ath.

We will also meet four other Scottish supras whom, you've guessed it, just happen to be Summoning Children. In terms of these so-called Skullians, some of their descendents will come back into play come the return of 'Centauri Island' to PHANTACEA on the Web. (Will? Already have, more like!)

In terms of the comics, Curse presents the origin of the Emperor Mammalian from pH-1 and before it's over just about the entirety of the Damnation Brigade will have appeared. Just about? Where are Raven's Head and the Awesome Akbar -- to name two of the ten? Back in Moloch, above, as it happens. In PHANTACEA fact, Wilderwitch, who's a mighty mite of most all-of-the-above, may or may not be the lone exception to that statement. (Told you I didn't want to give away too much too soon.)

What else? How about, in its own way, the commencement of Consequence: King Conqueror!? Will that do? No? Good! Because there's always more when it comes to PHANTACEA. Sounds like Curse's a must-read, doesn't it?

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14. 1997/8: The Volsung Variations

Let's rephrase that, shall we? Correct it, more like. First of all, as of this writing (November 1998), the third -- not the fourth -- installment of the 'Heliodyssey' sequence of his- and her- stories is no longer tentatively entitled 'The Volsung Variations'. That's what it's called.

Bust of a Helios type with an All-like creature on his head; photo taken by Jim McPherson in the Musee D'Orsay, Paris 2004Second of all, I would prefer to be struck Stone Deaf (right now I'm just pebble hard-of-hearing) than to commence anything so dull-sounding as 'Consequence: King Conqueror'. And, third of all, -- well, I don't even want to get into thirds this minute. You'll just have to read it. (Hint, hint.)

I am however tempted to commence something I might title 'The Vampire Variations'. In all likelihood, Vetala won't be appearing in it but she won't be far away. Which means Barsine Mandam will be one of the featured characters.

So too will Fangfingers (from PREGAME-Gambit, among other places), Sorciere (Solace Sunrise from, most recently, Apocalyptics) and Fisherwoman (who's almost as omnipresent as her younger sister in Hel).

Them and scads of Saints, a detritus of devils, a pox of other witches, warlocks, and such like generally delightful nasties, -- as well as the occasional very much nastier demon and monster. Plus a prepubescent, already love-lusting, yet nonetheless life-loving, Wilderwitch thrown in for extremely-edgy, good, bad, or either way better measure!

Consequently, even if there isn't a 'Heliodyssey' Tetralogy, there already is a 'Helioddity' Trilogy. Be assured further that both 'Curse' and 'Volsung' are all they've been advertised to be and will not disappoint.

... Unless you're looking for continuations of the Emperor Mammalian, Manimalians, Strife/Baphomet, or Granny Garuda (becoming a Phoenix) storylines. Which is why there may yet be a Cyberia Cereal Consequence: Conqueror! sometime before the millennium. (This millennium, that is!)

Fact is, I'm thinking of calling it: 'Wormwood 2000'!!

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15. 1999: The Vampire Variations

Let's rephrase that yet again, shall we? Correct it, more like. As of this writing (February 2000), I am no longer tempted to commence something entitled 'The Vampire Variations'. That's because, first of all, I've already written it and, second of all, that's what's it's called. All of which means, it turns out, there is a 'Heliodyssey' Tetralogy after all. (Quintet if you include 'The Moloch Manoeuvres'.)

Gericault's 'Le Radeau de la Meduse', scanned in from a postcard bought at the Louvre, Paris, 2004; Barsine's birthmother, Olympias Sangati Kinesis, is a Lamia MedusaAlthough I'm quite pleased with how it (eventually) ended and, indeed, with how well it got to an ending that doesn't necessarily beg for a sequel, it clocked in at a massive, for PHANTACEA, 24-chapters, -- that's over 500-pages, typed and single-spaced, worth of weekend writing. (Which makes it the Mother of all Anheroic Fantasy Fictions to date.) Probably has upwards to a hundred characters mentioned by name, if not exactly featured, throughout it and, remarkably, not one of them dies!

Well, one of them does die, early on, and I spend a good percentage of the book finding a way to bring her back to life. Succeeded too, -- auric awesomely, I might add. (And just did!) Oh, and I'm fairly sure at least one character is destroyed but, then again, she was already dead.

Main character's Sorciere (Solace Sunrise) but her bosomy buddies, Fisherwoman (Scylla Nereid) and Batbait (Barsine Mandam), get plenty of space to show their stuff. Provides a much more satisfying finale to the 'Heliodyssey' series of stories I began writing five years ago with 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' and thought I'd ended with 'The Volsung Variations'. (Clearly didn't, it seems. Have now though. I trust!)

Have to tell you that, as in Moloch, the Helioddity of Heliodyssey barely shows up, -- and by that I do mean very barely. Hardly warrants a celebratory snort of Golden Applejack when he does but he's in fine fettle over in Moon, albeit 42-years and, from the sounds of things, 89-lifetimes later. At the same time, same era anyhow, Fish is spouting more than just her usual Fishisms in Gambit. Even a bat-bit about Bat-Bait there as well. In fact, in an odd sort of way, she's one of the main characters in Gambit!

Not sure how much more I should tell you about Vamp, other that it's not only the Mother of all PHANTACEAs to date. Fact is it's got more mothers per square inch than a small town maternity ward nine months after Valentine's Day. There's mothers of mothers of mothers, not to mention daughters of daughters of daughters and more than a few sons of witches.

So, if I tell you that, among the daughters of daughters featured are the mothers of some of the Summoning Children Count Molech was licking his not altogether underdeveloped fangs over in Moloch you'll have a pretty good idea what else Vamp's about, right?

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16. 1991/2003: The Damnation Brigade -- Year One -- After Limbo

Bit of a long title, bit of long book as well. The initial version of Year-1 was written well before I decided to novelize the PHANTACEA Comic Book Series. It picks up where'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' left off in early December 1980; that is to say from where I left the still able-bodied, recovering, and/or not so able-bodied any longer survivors of the Damnation Brigade at the end of the comic books. (Well, Airealist and Sea Goddess don't appear in it. Then again I suppose we don't as yet know they survived their travails in Launch.)

In addition to D-Brig, or what's left of them, there's a plethora of Utopians left over from Gambit, a certain Moon's Angel, and the perhaps surprising return of a few devils who also played pivotal roles in some of the 1938 sequences. We also learn the fate of the seven cosmicompanions aboard another cosmicar. Oh yes, when you go by the monicker of Damnation Brigade surely you've got to anticipate spending at least a little time in Hell. Even if you are an angel, of the non-fallen variety!

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1977 Version of the Cosmic Express

[1977 VERSION OF THE COSMIC EXPRESS]

Artwork by Dave Sim

1987 Version of the Cosmic Express

[1987 VERSION OF THE COSMIC EXPRESS]
Cosmic Express reworked by Ian Bateson
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There may be no cure for aphantasia (defined as 'having a blind or absent mind's eye') but there certainly is for aphantacea ('a'='without', like the 'an' in 'anheroic')

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