Long before From Hell, Watchmen, Swamp Thing or even Marvelman, Alan Moore was actually going under the name of Curt Vile and writing and drawing a little strip for weekly music paper Sounds called The Stars My Degradation.
In the early '80's, the music press was still pretty vibrant and we had three weeklies: Melody Maker, New Musical Express ( NME to it's friends ) and the aforementioned Sounds. I think only NME still exists, although in massively truncated form. Anyway, all three papers regularly carried comic strips on their inside back pages, some of which were good, some not so good, and a select few being great.
The Stars My Degradation was one of the great ones, being as nihilistic & blackly humorous as a great British comic strip should be, and enjoyed a surprisingly long run (1980 to '83).
It was all about Dempster Dingbunger's adventures throughout the cosmos, alongside such deathless characters as Three Eyes McGurk and the literally dead Nekriline. There was also a psychotic cyborg named Axel Pressbutton (later, natch, to get his own series in Dez Skinn's brilliant anthology book Warrior, also home of Marvelman & V For Vendetta. See how this all fits together?) Axel, if I remember rightly, had appeared previously in an underground called Dark Star where he died ( or maybe he died in this strip, memory plays tricks as I say ). Anyroadup, it does make him the one character in comics history to actually have his story told backwards.
A select honour I think you'll agree.
As a real pop-culture smorgasboard, TSMD seemed pretty much made up on the spot, in the best way, and took potshots at just about everything during it's run including, obviously, comics.
It's unlikely this strip will ever be reprinted anywhere, but you can read most of it over at www.4colourheroes.com, as written and drawn by Curt alongside co-creator Steve Moore (then known as Pedro Henry). Here they are giving the classic (and then current) Claremont/Byrne X-Men run a sound kicking.
Your favourite 1970s DC hero?
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