Re: RARA-AVIS: The Wasteland (was comic book query)

Curt Sampson (
Mon, 26 Jan 1998 17:38:58 -0800 (PST) On Fri, 16 Jan 1998, E J M Duggan wrote:

> On 15 Jan 98, "SJHOLDEN.BSU_DOM" <> wrote:
> > A few years ago (c. 1991) Penguin published a comic-book version of TS Eliot's
> > 'The Wasteland.' A strange enough choice for a comic book, but even stranger
> > was that it had been made into a hard-boiled narrative complete with a PI
> > called Marlow (or Marlowe). Did anyone else on the list ever read this, or is
> > my memory playing extremely unkind tricks on me?
> Must be a consensual hallucination. Actually, it's not Eliot's
> _Wasteland_, but a very witty piss-take of that sort of thing [spits,
> off].
> It's by Martin Rowson and is called _The Waste Land_ (London: Pengugin,
> 1990).

I sat down with a friend of mine and re-read this the other day,
and I'd forgotten how good it is. It helped that late last year
I'd seen both _The Maltese Falcon_ and _The Big Sleep_ again, since
those two films are the primary sources for the HB/noir element in
the comic. It's funniest if you know well both these films, _The
Wasteland_ itself, and something about the making of the poem
(Pound's influence, for example). Being able to read Greek and
Latin helps a bit too. :-)

I wouldn't call it a `piss-take'; I'd even hesitate to call it a
parody; it's more of a tribute than anything else, albeit a very
funny one.

Note that there are two editions. The American edition (sorry, I
forget the publisher, but I can look it up if necessary) is the
unexpurgated one; the British edition, published by Penguin, had
a bunch of changes made to remove direct quotes from _The Wasteland_
because they couldn't get rights to do this outside of the US.

Both editions were around the same price, as I recall, in the
standard trade paperback price range.


Curt Sampson Info at
Internet Portal Services, Inc. Through infinite mist, software reverberates
Vancouver, BC (604) 257-9400 In code possess'd of invisible folly.

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