Incredible! – Big Numbers issue 3 sees the light of day!

I have a short mental list of things I’d like to see, hear or experience before I die, and today another one of them stepped closer to reality. This list includes things like the KLF‘s ‘Black Room’ album, Richard Williams‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ film and used to include Brian Wilson‘s ‘Smile’ LP until he miraculously finished it a few years back.

Most of these projects will never see fruition as the time has passed and the creators have moved on leaving a few tantalising snippets of material promising much but revealing little. One such entry on this list is Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz‘s ‘Big Numbers’ comic from the great comic / graphic novel boom in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This comic promised so much being as Moore was riding a creative high from Watchmen and From Hell.

Sienkiewicz had done Elektra, Daredevil and Stray Toasters and was, Dave McKean aside, one of the most daring artists working in comics at the time. The run was supposed to be twelve issues starting in black and white, and tones and colour would be gradually added over the course of the story which revolved around mathematics and chaos theory according to Moore.

Frustratingly the comic was halted after issue 2 by the company going bust and Sienkiewicz’s assistant, an unknown Al Columbia, taking over at issue 3 and then having a breakdown and refusing to release the art. The project stopped, people moved on and it was consigned to the pile of unfinished projects that were never to be.

I never thought I’d ever see this but someone has posted photocopies of the whole of issue 3 here. They are reportedly the real thing and Alan Moore has given his permission to have them made public. Also, Sienkiewicz gives and long and fascinating account of what happened to the comic here. Now, if only Moore, Sienkiewicz and Columbia could be persuaded to finish this potential masterpiece…

PS: to see the quality of these pages (2nd or 3rd generation photocopies apparently) against what could have been, 10 of the fully toned pages can be seen on the web as they were printed, sans speech bubbles, in a fanzine sometime in the 90s.

Big Numbers-03

 

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