Sunday’s McPhersonal adds a Sandovalian

Ricardo Sandoval, the covers artist for “Helios on the Moon“, will be joining Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, at this Sunday’s Vancouver comicon,

And, yes, that means a cover decision has finally been made. Rather, two decisions have been made — one for the upcoming print release of the climactic entry in the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle; the other for dot-ditto digital versions of same, unless you’d prefer to refer to them as Hel-Moon PDFs and e-books.

Promo prepared for upcoming release of Helios on the Moon by Jim McPherson, 2014

Double-click to enlarge; the better to read if you do. Artwork is from the two Phantacea Revisited graphic novels.

That graphic isn’t it (them). This is — better make these are.

And, while you’re there, check these out:

8 collages against the back drop of the Louvre's Dual Entities

The Dual Entities are two thousand years old. The ‘Launch 1980’ collages were prepared in 2014.

C>U Sunday at Heritage Hall, (16th and Main in Vancouver).

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No Lunatic Preamble This

At long last moving into publication mode for “Helios on the Moon”. Here’s its Auctorial Preamble, with some lynx and a couple of new graphics:

Helios on the Moon

Ad for the last two novels in the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Black and white version of an ad for the concluding books in the Launch 1980 story cycle from Phantacea Publications

– Auctorial Preamble –

Thus ends Phantacea Phase One.

So I intended to write on the inside front cover of Phantacea Seven in 1981. Except, it never got finished. I next reckoned on writing it about a decade later when Phantacea Phase One #15 came out. Except, this time, that project never got beyond the #1 stage; not in print anyhow.

Phase One #2, along with a number of background stories, were ready for press; as were the scripts and reprint art for a good deal of the rest. While most of these last did make it into one or another of the graphic novels subsequently released by Phantacea Publications, pre-orders didn’t warrant continuing the Phantacea Mythos at that time; especially not in that form. (Artists aren’t just temperamental, they’re costly.)

Let me repeat: ‘Thus ends Phantacea Phase One’. Sounds good, after all these years, but “Helios on the Moon” does much more than that.

It also ends the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle, my personal project to novelize the PHANTACEA comic book series. Plus, for those who felt the ending of the last trilogy, ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’, as presented in “Goddess Gambit”, was not absolutely clear as to whether anyone survived – or anyone not explicitly done away with already didn’t – that will be sorted starting about nine chapters, or ‘moons’, from now.

3 comic book covers incorporated in ad for Phantacea Publications

Covers for pH-2 (Gordon Parker), pH-3 (Richard Sandoval), and 4-Ever&40 (Ian Fry, Ian Bateson), all of which figure in “Helios on the Moon”

Not surprisingly Ninth Moon shares commonality with “The War of the Apocalyptics”, the first book in the Launch trilogy, in that it begins winding down the stirring saga of the Damnation Brigade and their erstwhile companion in supra-doings, Kid Ringo, nowadays Ringleader.

As for the Family Thanatos and their never-remembered guest, the fiendish, always smiling fellow who speaks in bold-italics, they show up three moons prior to D-Brig et al. Of course non-devic characters didn’t just precede non-devic characters literally, in terms of literature, they preceded them chronologically.

Witness “Feeling Theocidal” and “The Thousand Days of Disbelief”, which were set in the Cathonic Dome’s Fifth and mid-Sixth Millennium respectively. Or “Forever & 40 Days”, which featured a series of graphic story snippets set before there was a Dome, let alone a Genesea necessitating one.

The previous book in this trilogy, “Nuclear Dragons”, divided into four parts. ‘Indescribable Defiance’ began it with the launching of the Cosmic Express. We saw what happened to one of its cosmicars in War-Pox, and to the cosmicompanions aboard it in Gambit. We’re about to begin finding out what becomes of one occupant of the control hub, one of the other cosmicars and the seven cosmicompanions occupying it.

Nuke’s aforementioned first part additionally brought our attention to the highly disconcerting matter of a perceived menace on the Moon, something also alluded to during War-Pox, and what governments and top dog corporations were doing about it.

For starters, they set up the United Nations SPACE Council (‘Society for the Prevention of Alien Control of Earth’) and appointed the by now 80-year old Great Man, Loxus Abraham Ryne, to run it.

He thereupon had built, and launched, the United Nations of Earth Spaceship (UNES) Liberty. Not long before Hel-Moon gets (over more so than) underway, it boldly blasted out there in order to deal with said menace, be it alien or otherwise. (Go with the otherwise.)

In terms of the titular pair who provided ‘Indescribable Defiance’ with its sectional sub-heading, did you know the Space Shuttle Columbia took off secretly in December 1980, months prior to its official inaugural flight? Returned safely as well. You do now. You’re also not too many moons away from finding out whom it was transporting towards the Liberty, which is already in lunar-synchronous orbit.

Nuke’s second section, ‘The Strife Virus’, focused our attention on, among others, a pair of (very) long lasting, inveterate nasties, Daemonicus and Strife. Both first appeared, or at least were mentioned, in Feel Theo, the initial book of the ‘Glories’ trilogy. To say the least it seems they’re extremely difficult to deal with permanently.

Until, that is, in terms of her anyhow … well, that would be telling too much for a preamble. That said, while preambles may be no place for telling all that’s to come, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least remind you of All, capitalized.

Nuke readers will recall the Phantom Freighter, whence Crystallion and Hell’s Horsemen, whence also Sharkczar. And what have they got to do with Incain’s She-Sphinx you might ask. Once again I refer you to Feel Theo, as well as “Janna Fangfingers” and Gambit. Ginny the Gynosphinx is no Andy the Androsphinx. She moves. And when she does, be smart. Stay out of her way.

Speaking yet again of Feel Theo, the time-tumbling Dual Entities featured in a number of its story snippets, if perhaps not explicitly so in its underlying narrative, the one-day saga of Thrygragon (Mithramas, Year of the Dome 4376) as told from a number of different viewpoints. As foreshadowed during the course of ‘The Strife Virus’, they do much more than feature in this book; hence its title.

In some respects remarkably, Nuke’s final two subsections, ‘Supra Survival’ and ‘Sinking and Swimming’, did leave a few tales left to tell. One who won’t be telling them is the deviant Legendarian, Jordan ‘Q for Quill’ Tethys. (The legendary 30-Year Man, aka 30-Beers, came as close as anyone in the Phantacea Mythos comes to being a protagonist throughout the ‘Glories’ trilogy.)

Collage and covers indicative of action recounted in "Nuclear Dragons"

Mr No Name collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014; pH-7 cover, incomplete, by Ian Bateson, 1980; pHz1 #1 cover, the Mighty Eye-Mouth in the Sky by Ian Bateson, 1985

Gambit readers may recall that, for a change, Jordy’s latest lifetime did not seem to be in jeopardy once the moment of its moderately cliff-dangling dénouement arrived. Indeed, they probably assumed that either he or the improbably enormous, ever-fishifying Fisherwoman had saved everyone worth saving.

That was certainly one of the impressions left. Another was that the subheading for Gambit’s final third, ‘Endgame-Gambit’, meant endgame everyone. When it comes to the Phantacea Mythos, it’s always dangerous to make assumptions. That’s why it’s Anheroic Fantasy (anheroic = without heroes).

I do feel fairly confident in leaving you with one almost certainly accurate assumption, however: Every ending begets a new beginning. And a correction to my opening statement.

Thus begins the ending to Phantacea Phase One.


Jim McPherson


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Phantacea pHits pHlickr like a … pHill in the _________

copy-pHlickrBanner_1000x300.jpgpHantaJim, blogmeister, has been keeping Ozymandias McPherson, webmeister, busy. pHan-J makes comments and provides lynx then complains bitterly that something here or there on one of the two main sites ( isn’t up to snuff and Oz has to correct them.

Heck of a way to while away a summer morning. At least Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, got a new header and a promo for “Helios on the Moon” out of it.

Promo prepared for upcoming release of Helios on the Moon by Jim McPherson, 2014

Double-click to enlarge; the better to read if you do. Artwork is from the two Phantacea Revisited graphic novels.

– pHan-J’s latest phanta-phlickr web gallery (#4, and counting, with comments) is here.

– recent and particularly Peculiar Perspective essays on the Serendipity Now page are here and here.

– permanent placements for previous presentations on pH-Webworld are here and here.

– still waiting for offers from beta readers:

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McPherson on Vancaf 14

Monday, 26 May 2014

Vancaf Report 2014


Sooth said, as one might expect, it was more about comics than books. Ironically, while I sold copies of pHants two, three and four, (no #1s, unlike SF APE), the big seller was 4-ever & 40 — Noah as Japanese, combined with new Noah movie with Harry Potter girl in it, all growed up, may have hit chords.

Full wraparound cover for pH-40, artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

Full wraparound cover for pH-40, artwork by Ian Fry and Ian Bateson, ca 1990

I did manage to sell copies of Feel Theo (title) and Gambit (which I always recommend when asked for favourite). Pocketed roughly …. Big Whoop! Maybe sheer amount of pHantaProduct overwhelming to walkers-by.

Not Van Expo bucks but then again table not so much either. Wall space as per usual did better that centre aisles.

Judging from the amount of copies I saw folks carrying around, the USNA guys scored scads more shekels-wise. The Nelvana crew next to them (see below) also did well with their books, hard cover and soft. They went for about $20 a pop so folks were spending.

Front and back cover mockups for "Helios on the Moon", prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

Mockup sent to potential cover illustrators for “Helios on the Moon”, the next scheduled Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel

Ricardo Sandoval came by table a couple of times. He’s trying to flog his own comic book / graphic novel so told him about Comixology, Diamond, Ingram etc.

(Comixology, btw, apparently went from association with Apple to being bought by Amazon. Haven’t managed to get either Phantacea Revisited graphic novels on it as yet. Maybe try again upon return.)

Saturday was much better for me personally, think I only sold a couple of 4-evers on Sunday. Rain didn’t keep folks away, though numbers down on non-sun day due to falling skies outside.

Overall, have to say decent attendance both days. Free admission certainly a factor in that. More cons need free entry, especially to dealers’ rooms. Might do it again despite comparatively low yield. Got to get application in by December.

Helios on the Moon - comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Helios on the Moon – comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Array of talent was breathtaking, as was sheer amount of product. Indy comics rule. It’s almost enough to warm the old cockles. Not enough to make me start looking around for an artist or artists to finish the “Helios on the Moon” storyline that was meant for Phantacea Seven, though. (Before the artist hired for it went over to Marvel. And some real money.)

Nevertheless a version of the script’s still in archives. Plus the novelization will come out in late July, early August. So, well … maybe someday.

Surprise, for me, hit was big book collection of Nelvana of the Northern Lights. Evidently she’s one of the world’s first female super heroes, costumed heroes at any rate, predating Wonder Woman. Had a cape, wore a mini-skirt over tights, and a Canadian to boot. Which I gather she does a lot.

Book came together thanks to a Kickstarter campaign I’m told. Wikipedia article is here: I almost bought book myself; early 40s, good era-looking artwork. Its website contains her first adventure. It’s here:

The Vancouver Comic Show is on Sunday 17 Aug on Commercial Drive –; 1-855-881-9991. Sounds like a white box con so will probably pass. VPL’s Word on the Street ( is near end of September but didn’t do very well year I did it.

Vcon is a few weeks later but it’s in Surrey. (Should call it S-con but fans might mistake it for a convention about edible food and pass.)  I inquired about doing a Saturday in its Dealers’ Room but never heard back. They want an ad, though, so might try to trade one for access to a table if amenable. (Its website is here:

The Rose Con in Portland is also in Sept. Heard good things about it at Vancaf, as I did Emerald Con in Seattle but that’s next March. All comics oriented, though. Am considering going to Northwestern con next April, for books, writers, and a table.

End report.

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E5 for Vancaf this weekend

Phantacea Publications only has half a table at Vancaf this weekend (May 24th and 25th at the Roundhouse in Yale Town). Nevertheless, Jim McPherson plans to bring all the Phantacea Mythos novels and mini-novels with him as well as the three graphic novels and a few of the original comic books.

Who knows where he’ll put them all, maybe under the table, though probably not in brown bags. It’s table #E5.

Logo for Vancouver's Roundhouse in Yale Town.

Logo for Vancouver’s Roundhouse in Yale Town. Website is here:

181 Roundhouse Mews 
Davie & Pacific | VIEW MAP
Vancouver V6Z 2W3
Telephone: 604.713.1800 

The Yaletown – Roundhouse Canada Line Station is 200 metres from us.

See here for more

Vancaf — the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival is back for its third year.

From comics to novels, artwork by Ian Bateson and Verne Andru

It’s free to get in so it’ll be packed. And, for the first time ever, Phantacea Publications joins its list of exhibitors.

Phantacea Publications price list specific for this year's Vancouver Fan Expo, 18-20 April 2014

That means Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, will be in attendance. As per usual, he’ll have tales to tell and books to sell — at 2014 Convention Prices to boot.

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Cataclysm Catalyst now available worldwide

PRESS RELEASE                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Full colour,  wraparound cover for Cataclysm Catalyst by Verne Andru, 2014;

Wraparound cover by Verne Andru, 2014; dedicated webpage is here:

The entire Soldier’s Saga compiled at long last

VANCOUVER, BC: Phantacea Publications is delighted to announce the release of its third full-length graphic novel: “Phantacea Revisited 2: Cataclysm Catalyst”.

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of "Cataclysm Catalyst", the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of “Cataclysm Catalyst”, the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

A rip-roaring outburst of creativity featuring Jim McPherson’s taut storytelling and spectacular artwork gleaned from the pages of Phantacea 1-6 (1977-1980), Phantacea Seven (unpublished) and the Phantacea Phase One project (1990), it also carries on the stirring story of what’s left of the doomed but unyielding Damnation Brigade from the first Phantacea Revisited graphic novel.

Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated, with a wraparound cover by Verne Andru and 90 pages of interior artwork in glorious black and white by a variety of exceptional artists often at the very beginning of their careers, the two-part Phantacea Revisited series reveals how Jim McPherson’s ongoing Phantacea Mythos really got underway.

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

In addition to cover artist Verne Andru (creator of ‘420’), who also provided a much of the interior graphics, illustrators include Dave Sim (from just before he began to publish Cerebus the Aardvark), Ian Fry and Phantacea stalwart Ian Bateson, whose artwork intended for Phantacea Seven has never seen print until now.

For more information contact:

Phantacea Publications

(James H McPherson, Publisher)

74689 Kitsilano RPO,

2768 West Broadway,

Vancouver BC, V6K 4P4


Primary website:

Lynx to ordering online:

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Kitty Clsym hits Goodreads

Cataclysm Catalyst (Phantacea Revisited 2)Cataclysm Catalyst by Jim McPherson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Cataclysm Catalyst” collects the entire Soldier’s Saga storyline, which began in Phantacea Two (1978) and concluded in Phantacea Six (1980). Most of the artwork in this sequence was by Verne Andrusiek (later Verne Andru). Last year (2013) Verne redid and completely coloured a black and white drawing of a proposed cover for an issue of Phantacea Phase One specifically for this publication. It’s quite splendid.

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of "Cataclysm Catalyst",  the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of “Cataclysm Catalyst”, the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Much of the Soldier’s Saga formed the basis for Jim McPherson’s “Goddess Gambit“, a full-length Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel released in 2012 that concluded the epic “Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories” fantasy trilogy. The graphic novel also includes parts of the Centauri Island storyline that Jim McPherson novelized for his full-length 2013 Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel entitled “Nuclear Dragons“.

Advertisement appearing the convention brochure for APE - Alternative Press Expo, features b/w versions of front covers for Nuclear Dragons and the Damnation Brigade graphic novel

Advertisement appearing in the convention brochure for APE – Alternative Press Expo in October 2013. It features b/w versions of front covers for Nuclear Dragons and the Damnation Brigade graphic novel. Covers artwork for both publications by Ian Bateson; text by Jim McPherson

Of particular interest to Indy comics collectors in general and Phantacea aficionados in particular are the final six pages of the graphic novel. They were done by Phantacea stalwart Ian Bateson in 1980 for inclusion in Phantacea Seven, which was never published. Digitally re-lettered by Jim McPherson in the past year, this is the first time they have seen print. Also included is a reprint of “Tail Teller”, a short piece drawn by Ian Fry in the mid-1980s for the Phantacea Phase One project.

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Overall this a highly pleasing addition to the ongoing Phantacea Mythos catalogue of novels, mini-novels, comics and graphic novels; highly recommended.

A partial list of excerpts from the graphic novel can be found by clicking here.

View all my reviews

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Lower Prices for Van Expo 2014

Phantacea Publications price list specific for this year's Vancouver Fan Expo, 18-20 April 2014

Phantacea Publications price list specific for this year’s Vancouver Fan Expo, 18-20 April 2014

From comics to novels, artwork by Ian Bateson and Verne Andru

From comics to novels, artwork by Ian Bateson and Verne Andru

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, will be tending the Phantacea Publications table throughout this year’s Vancouver Fan Expo Easter Weekend (18-20 April 2014).

In addition to debuting “Phantacea Revisited 2: Cataclysm Catalyst“, he’ll have with him all the usual suspects for sale, most of them at reduced prices.

See you there.

Black and white rendition of Kitty Clysm cover, art by Verne Andru, 2013

Bad Rhad’s at it again in this black and white rendition of the wraparound cover Black and white preview of cover intended for “Phantacea Revisited 2: Cataclysm Catalyst”

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SFC chimes in on D-Brig

This just in. (Just got permission to print it as is as well):

Covers for Phantacea Revisited 1: The Damnation Brigade

Graphic novel compiles the complete Damnation Brigade story sequence from pH 1-5 as well as pHz1 #s 1 & 2; for more on the Phantacea comics hit here:

Subject: Re: SFCrowsnest ignores the weather when there’s February reviews to announce

Here’s the review we’re running on the website this month.
Actually, the way the new website links in to Facebook and Twitter, I now have to put them in over a longer period, so it actually starts about the middle of the month. If you want to know precisely when, hook into our newsletter which gets triggered every time there is something new on the site.

Many thanks
Geoff Willmetts

covers for Damnation Brigade graphic novel

Front and back covers for the upcoming Damnation Brigade graphic novel; artwork by Ian Bateson, 2012; touch-up by Chris Chuckry, 2012; prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

The Damnation Brigade by Jim McPherson & various artists
(pub: Phantacea Publications. 116 pages graphic novel paperback. Price: $15.00 (US). ISBN: 978-0-98786-834-3)
check out website:
Tired of the same old tights and capes in your comicbooks? Looking to get your teeth into a series that is a bit different? Then ‘The Damnation Brigade’ might be the book for you.
Spanning issues one to five of the ‘Phantacea’ series that were initially published in the late seventies and early eighties, this collection deals with the adventures of the eponymous group. Starting out as an Avengers-type group who fought the Nazis in the Second World War, they were betrayed by the very people they had sworn to protect and decided to exile themselves rather than fight back.
The group is awoken during a battle between the Whirling Dervish Vayu Maelstrom and some of the Deadly Devas. Back in corporeal form after 25 years, the group seeks to do what they do best, fight evil, no matter what form it comes in.
The story is written by Jim McPherson, who created the ‘Phantacea’ universe, blending ‘Eagle’ comic-style pacing and words with some godly notions. There’s quite a bit going on in this book and simply skimming the pages just won’t do. Characters are introduced early on with already determined histories that don’t forgive anyone who isn’t giving it full attention. For anyone willing to give this collection a go, I personally would suggest a couple of reads to take in everything that happens. Although I would question if today’s reader has the patience to do that.
The origin story of the Damnation Brigade group does give the book a nice grounding and the reader finds themselves seeing through the three eyes of Maelstrom as he first meets the group, which certainly helped me enjoy and accept the character more. McPherson works with around eight different artists across the 116 pages of the volume, mostly Ian Bateson, who is a regular contributor to the series. Bateson has some interesting illustration styles that are a little different on every page he works on that challenge more later on, as if he gains in confidence as the book progresses. Other noteworthy artists included in this volume are Verne Andrusiek and Vincent Marchesano who offer up some crisp seventies-style comic art as part of their contribution.
This collection is certainly very different to most graphic novels out there and while the years may not have been kind to it, it’s worth a read to at least try something new.
Aidan Fortune

Tad disappointed Aidan felt need to add this at the end: “the years may not have been kind to it”,

Also wondered about this statement(s): “Although I would question if today’s reader has the patience to … [give this collection a] couple of reads to take in everything that happens.’

Guess he knows something I don’t about today’s readers. I used to read my comics two or three times back in the day.

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Super Fecundity — Make that pHecundity

Helios on the Moon - comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Helios on the Moon – comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Title page for "The Soldier's Trilogy, Part II: Cataclysm Catalyst" taken from Phantacea Four; artwork by Verne Andrusiek, 1979

Title page for “The Soldier’s Trilogy, Part II: Cataclysm Catalyst” taken from Phantacea Four; artwork by Verne Andrusiek, 1979

Jesus Mandam gets mentioned a few times in “Nuclear Dragons” and probably will again in “Helios on the Moon“. His supposed twin Barsine appears in both “Goddess Gambit” and “Cataclysm Catalyst“, albeit not so much so by daddy-given-name.

So does her son Thartarre Holgatson, which should give you a hint as to who she appears as. Hint 2: Who she appears as was around in “Feeling Theocidal“, which is set in (4)376 AD, but Barsine wasn’t born until December 25, 1920.

E-book cover for "Feeling Theocidal", artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

E-book cover for “Feeling Theocidal”, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008;

E-book cover for Goddess Gambit, artwork by Verne Andru

E-book cover for “Goddess Gambit”

Jesse and aka Bar-Stool (or Bat-Bait, in the pH-Webworld serials of a decade past now) didn’t look at all alike. The explanation in the Web Wheaties (serials = cereals, not surreal) is that, as soon as they were born, Witches of Weir deliberately mixed up girls procreated during the Simultaneous Summonings of 19/5920.

But could they have actually come out of the same womb? Apparently it is possible, though not very likely: See super-fecundation and/or hetero-paternal fecundation here:

Oh, and guess who was often called Fecundity in “Feeling Theocidal“?

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