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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 9

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today is the first of surely a bunch of Grant Morrison-penned moments on the list, this time from his first Zenith storyline!

Enjoy!

The first Zenith storyline by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell involved the fight against the “Many-Angled Ones,” demons who were trying to find host bodies on our world.

The main host body was the Nazi super-villain, Masterman, who became a host body at the end of the war. After confronting Masterman, Peter St. John (a former superhero from the 60s who quit superheroing to become a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party – when he was a superhero he was known as Mandala, and had the ability to manipulate people’s minds with his telepathy – often through planting suggestions in their heads) roped Zenith into fighting Masterman.

Zenith was a young media darling superhero who was not really much of a, well, you know, superhero.

St. John was a friend to Zenith’s parents, who also were superheroes during the 1960s. The storyline began in 1987′s 2000 A.D. #535, but by 2000 A.D. #549, things weren’t looking good for Zenith and Peter St. John

The two were trapped in the bad guy’s dimension, where his actual body exists. In this dimension, Zenith and St. John did not have access to their powers, so the bad guy was spending his time taunting them before he would kill them.

But WERE they powerless?

After which, the bad guy blows up!

Very cool.

20 Comments

Are there any readily-available Zenith collections floating around? I’ve been looking to get into it for a while.

Brian! I love you!

There are Zenith collections around, but haven’t been in print ofr a LOOOONG time… You can find them on Amazon and eBay, but expect to pay through the nose for each Phase…

Last time I looked, they were going for £50-80 per volume… The good news for American readers, is that three months ago that would have been $100-160, now it’s closer to $80-120… (not exact, don’t get picky!)

Scarily, you might be better off trying to buy the individual progs on eBay if you just want a good read.

Great to see that this feature isn’t going to be Marvel/DC centric. An excellent choice, which is almost matched by the scene with Siadwell Rhys and Masterman earlier in that first series.

As Blackjak says, it’ll probably be a lot cheaper to try and get hold of the original issues rather than the ridiculously overpriced collections. You can frequently get big lots on eBay for a few pounds, plus you’ll get a load of other great stories into the bargain. If you really do want to go down that route, here’s what you’ll need to get (Phase 4 and the 2 single issues marked * have never been collected):

Phase 1: Tygers 16 episodes (Progs 535 to 550)
Interlude 1 1 episode (Prog 558)
Interlude 2 1 episode (Prog 559)
Phase 2: The Hollow Land 18 episodes (Progs 589 to 606)
*Maximan (2000AD Winter Special 1988)
Phase 3: War in Heaven Part 1 9 episodes (Progs 626 to 634)
Phase 3: War in Heaven Part 2 17 episodes (Progs 650 to 670)
*Mandala: Shadows & Reflections (2000AD Annual 1990)
Phase 4 Prologue 1 episode (Prog 791)
Phase 4 15 episodes (Progs 792 to 806)

Great to see that this feature isn’t going to be Marvel/DC centric.

Well, it WILL be Marvel/DC centric – it will just also have a bunch of non-Marvel and DC moments, too!

FANTASTIC!

Chuffed that you have featured a moment from Zenith. My favourite 2000ad strip. 2000ad being my favourite comic and form my perspective the single most important comic to the industry ever.

Hope there are a few more to come. I appreciate that this will be American centric and for good reason, this is an American site, so hats off to you for this. Have to say I do think you could do the entire year with 2000ad moments. The thing is with 2000ad, because its an anthology and therefore each episode of any story is normally only 4-7 pages long in any story there is a need to have many cool cliff hanger moments. So for your money you get 4 times as many cool moments (ok ok so the logic is very very stretched there and well wrong BUT hopefully the basic principal carries!).

Really if you want to read Zenith forget a collection and pick up the individual progs. You’ll get some other great stuff as well. I can’t emphasize how worth it it would be. While Phase 1 (from which this comes) isn’t the best Zenith story; Phase 3 is exceptional, Morrison’s first take on doing a DC Crisis, it is from my personal 2000ad golden age issues 500-600. Many people will argue, with very valid points for other periods, anywhere between 200-700 really will get a mention. This for me is the era to start with.

Having said all that I’m not sure I’d have picked this moment. From this story the moment just before when Zenith sees off Masterman with some style have an epic battle only to have the Many Angled One revealed is a stunner and there are more from other Phases BUT I’m just happy that this fantastic story, from a truely great comic gets a mention.

Now then lets have some more 2000ad huh, Nemesis, Judge Dredd, Bad Company amongst the many from the comic. Oh and some more from other European comics. My personal favourites being Asterix, Blueberry, Tex but there’s a continent of truely great stuff out there.

Little chuffed about this as you can see! Cheers Brian.

To The Cosh: Thank you for the list of Progs. I have the five Titan collections. The fifth ends with Phase III 24 “World’s End” and Epilogue: “After the Crash”. Where does this epilogue fit in the list of published episodes? There is no list of Progs that are collected.

There are cool comic book moments all over the globe. This feature propably has to limit the Morrison moments.

that epilogue is just the ending of phase three

theres actually another story after phase four a one off called http://WWW.zzzzzenith.com which appeared in prog 2001 (the second of 2000ads annual year end progs)

You could have a month of this feature just featuring stuff from zenith (I’ll try to be vague enough so its not spoilers) theres Masterman vs the red dragon, zenith beating masterman, the fate of the beanoesque world from phase 3 Zeniths sacrifice in phase 3 the truth about the evil lloigor from phase 4 anything involving acid archie and the end of phase 4

Minor correction to the Cosh’s list: the second chunk of “War in Heaven” appears in issues 650-662 and 667-670.

And yes, it’s very good to see material outside the American superhero mainstream spotlighted here. Please continue!

Zenith was an alright series. I think it would’ve had a bigger impact on me had I grown up reading Brit comics.

Phase IV was pretty cool, though.

Random, I just bought a whole run of Quality Comics “2000AD Showcase” which reprinted Zenith in colour for the American market.

Random, I just bought a whole run of Quality Comics “2000AD Showcase” which reprinted Zenith in colour for the American market.

See, here you’re playing to a bunch of different parts of me…

One part says, “cool, another alternative cheap source of Zenith” B-D

Another says, ” Bastards! the original was Black and White, why colour it? are you that pathetic?” >:-(

And yet another goes, “heh! Wish I’d thought of that… Just like the Crayon-Butchery Variant to that issue of Nextwave! Let’s all go and dig out our old 2000AD’s and colour them in and post them to Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell!
“No prizes involved, but it might be fun to see the looks on their faces!” :-D

I’m veering to wards the third voice, how about the rest of you?

Some from the first and some of the 2nd

Quality also reprinted Alan Moore’s Ballad of Halo Jones, Although the quality (lolz pun) of the reprints is terrible since the original stories where printed in magazine format and reprinted in standard comic format so they basically shrunk the original pages down and coloured them.

Methinks we should petition Rebellion to produce a proper sized hardcover collection… Their equivalent of an Absolute.
“Zenith: The Pinnacle Edition?” “The Apocryphal Edition”?

For me Steve Yeowell’s work is so much stronger in black and white. Colouring his work, particularly the stuff in Phases 2 and 3 is criminal! I don’t think his work, even this more recent black and white stuff in 2000ad has quite recovered from him working in colour for various projects.

I agree with you on that one, Colin, particularly something like The Red Seas

Methinks we should petition Rebellion to produce a proper sized hardcover collection… Their equivalent of an Absolute.

It’d be great, but there are rights issues. It’s one or both of:
1 – The stories (certainly phaze III, but possibly others) featured characters which Fleetway thought they owned at the time and it turned out they didn’t.
2 – IIRC there’s also some hiccup in the contract grant Morrison signed with 2000AD that makes it hard to reprint stuff. Presumably this is why his other 2000AD stuff like Big Dave and Judge Dredd: Inferno haven’t been reprinted. (though The Book of Death has so I’m not really sure of the details)

If anybody is interested there more about why Zenith hasn’t been reprinted here.

http://hipsterdad.livejournal.com/213753.html

I’ve lifted this from the 2000ad Forum by the way.

In Australia during the 70s and 80s it was actually easier to get hold of the weekly 2000AD than it was the monthly titles from both Marvel and DC
As a result, most of my early comic reading years were spent with Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper and my personal favourite at the time, Sam Slade Robo-Hunter

Zenith was an amazing story in an era where virtually every story in 2000AD was great
Thanks for including it Brian !

My personal favourite moment of Phase One is the “one punch” from Zenith that SHATTERS the evil Nazi Masterman

In David Bishop’s Thrill Power Overload (a must read) Grant Morrison is quoted as saying “Fleetway have no paperwork to confirm their ownership of Zenith so I’m currently involved in legal proceedings to clear things up.. I’m not really interested in making the details public.” (page 216) Which is about as definitive a statement as you are likely to get until it is resolved.

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