Harlan Ellison’s 7 Against Chaos HC Paul Chadwick 1st print NM


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HARLAN ELLISON’S 7 AGAINST CHAOS HC (DC COMICS) Harlan Ellison, science fiction’s brightest luminary, has joined forces with multi-award-winning artist Paul Chadwick, creator of Concrete, to bring you 7 AGAINST CHAOS, a graphic novel that is singular, powerful and unpredictable. This extraordinary odyssey of mystery and adventure will take you to the rim of reality and beyond. In a distant future, Earth is in grave danger: The fabric of reality itself is unraveling, leading to catastrophic natural disasters, displaced souls appearing from bygone eras, and sudden, shocking cases of spontaneous combustion. The only hope for Earth’s survival is a force of seven warriors, each with his or her special abilities. But can these alien Seven Samurai learn to get along in time to find the source of the gathering chaos and save all of reality? Ferociously intelligent and extremely ambitious, this graphic novel adapts the format of Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven to space opera: a wildly diverse assortment of characters must work together to save vulnerable bystanders. As usual, the saviors are outcasts—a renegade robot, a despised mutant, a brutalized slave, etc., while the potential victims are the bulk of callous humanity. To avert a shift in realities that is causing people to burst into flames or transform into snakes, the crew of misfits must travel far back into prehistory, to the time when mammals and reptiles fought to dominate the young Earth. The art by Chadwick (Concrete) differentiates the many characters, adding clean details and exemplary storytelling. The book really comes to life toward the end when the characters must argue against a lizard-man’s coldly logical plans to obliterate human history. As in much of his work, Ellison’s rage at humanity’s many sins must be balanced by his grim, desperate hope for our potential. A throwback to both classic SF and classic comics, this graphic novel updates both just enough to make it a real treat. [(W) Harlan Ellison (A/CA) Paul Chadwick] Earth has been plagued by a series of disasters: people have spontaneously combusted or transformed into snakes, a harbor changed into a desert, a mountain of ice appeared from nowhere. To save the Earth from crisis, high level computers have directed a robed man to assemble a team from various colonies around the solar system. A slave who is a female version of Edward Scissorhands, a faceless cat burglar, a woman who will can shoot fire from her fingers, a fellow who has been reengineered as an insect, a robot, and a technological whiz with telepathic tendencies join the robed man to “fight for the fabric of reality itself.” Harlan Ellison has given us a time travel story combined with a “humanize the robot” story combined with a some superheroism stories combined with a couple of love stories combined with a quest/adventure story combined with an alien invasion story, all wrapped around a good versus evil story, with evil personified by someone or something named Erisssa. And, of course, it’s all ultimately an homage to Seven Samurai. You can’t fault Ellison for lacking ambition. Writer Harlan Ellison — the author of dozens of fictions, including “A Boy and His Dog”, “Jeffty is Five”, “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore” and all of the tales in DEATHBIRD STORIES, to name a few — and artist Paul Chadwick (“Concrete”) have cobbled up a page-turning graphic novel that makes good use of the space opera genre — plenty of Dumas-style swashbuckling moments, along with a bit of romance, all wrapped up in a very Ellisonesque denouement which many won’t see coming. In the opening panels/scenes, the main protagonist — Gerald Prokosch Roarke — identity hidden by a cloak, is seen rocketing from planet to planet (Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and so on) in the far-future, when man has pushed out past the boundaries of near-Earth space. At each stop, he rescues someone with his or her back to the wall, recruiting each of them for once-in-a-lifetime mission, with the promise of the perfect reward, afterwards. There is Urr, the robot; Ayleen, the phoenix (a woman who will burn up if her skin touches another’s); Hoorn, the faceless burglar (perhaps a second cousin to the protagonist in “Catman”); Mourna, the slave/giantess with metal appendages where he forearms once were; Tantalus, the insectoid man; and Kenrus, the aged, scientific genius. They’ve all been recruited to navigate the inside of a black hole, on the theory that where and when they come out will answer questions: like, Why did a mountain of ice, taller than Olympous Mons, suddenly appear in the middle of Antarctica? Why did a length of transit rail line suddenly disappear, causing a catastrophic accident? Why have various peoples suddenly changed shape and form and species? Since dissecting the plot any further would make for spoilers, suffice it to say that buckles are swashed, sheets are rumpled, space is “folded” and seven not-so-noble entities rise above their stature. As an end note, three observations: In various interviews, Ellison has said that this graphic novel was written in homage to “The Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”, as well as the swashbuckling tales of Dumas. In addition, the observant reader will see other bits of homage: a nod to Asimov (in Urr, obviously), and a tip of the hat to Frank Herbert (in the scene in which Roarke enlists Ayleen), and so on. Even the first and middle names of the leader — Gerald and Prokosch — are nods to two writers whom Ellison esteems: Gerald Kersh and Frederic Prokosch (in fact, just after learning his name, the reader learns of “the battle of Kersh”. And at one point, later in the tale, two lovers lie near each other, separated by a handful of vintage, cloth-covered, books, the titles of which include Prokosch’s seminal work, THE SEVEN WHO FLED, as well as LETTERS FROM EARTH by Mark Twain, THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES, STORIES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION by Edgar Allan Poe, THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF DOROTHY PARKER, THE WANDERING JEW by Eugene Sue and CYRANO De BERGERAC. Quelle d’homage, indeed! Knowledgeable creators include a bit of homage, in honor of those who inspired them, when they can. In addition to Ellison nods, Paul Chadwick seems to have done a few himself, including a nod to Dali (when space becomes fluid and intersects and even Walt Kelly — no kidding. Check it out and decide for yourself. And Ken Steacy — who worked with Ellison on NIGHT AND THE CITY — does a bang-up job on the colors. Either way, with the artistic nods of the head rightly appreciated or left unnoticed, Harlan Ellison’s 7 AGAINST CHAOS is a rip-roarin’ adventure through space and time and an intergalactic homage to Kurosawa and Sturges which will leave heads spinning, hearts properly aching, and heavy thoughts rolling around in brains for days to come.


Includes 11 pages of pin-ups, sketches and page breakdowns by Paul Chadwick. 1st print, near mint condition.