The Excavation Of Michael Zulli And Stephen Murphy's Puma Blues


It is quite possible we are about to become Dover Books biggest fans. We've called them the excavators of the eighties, after their plans to remaster and reprint A Sailor's Story and The Bozz Chronicles, both with new unseen material to create a better, more complete, reading experience.

Now we have the details of their third project. The Puma Blues by Michael Zulli and Stephen Murphy.


Originally published by Dave Sim's Aardvark One International (then Mirage), this environmentally themed sci-fi/experimental barrative comic introduced the comic reading public to Michael Zulli's art, even as it was an early example of Diamond Comic Distributors bully-boy tactics, Diamond refusing to distribute the comic as revenge for Dave Sim choosing not to initially sell the Cerebus phonebook collections through distributors.


The creative team has artistic differences and fell out before the book could be concluded. Well, they have reunited to finish the final pages of the book, with Dave Sim writing an introduction.

Sim tells Moment Of Cerebus,

I've spoken to their editor a couple of times on the phone and had a nice half-hour chat with Stephen the other day, so we're all "on the same page" as to what it is that I'll be doing.

Realizing that they would be going through the same restoration headaches (actually more — I don't know if you remember that Michael was using duo-shade artboard on MANY of the pages: so even if they can find the original art — which has been scattered hither and yon — that duo-shade tends to die over the period of time since publication) that we're going through, I referred their editor to ANYTHING SEAN ROBINSON HAS POSTED AND WILL POST TO A MOMENT OF CEREBUS.  I also said that I was sure that Tim W would be more than amenable to let AMOC be used to promote the project as it goes along.


I also told their editor that I still have a stack of 17×22 PUMA BLUES posters that we did back in the late 1980s that's basically just a photo of Michael and Stephen on a mostly black field — there must be at least 300 of them — and he was more than welcome to them if he was willing to have Packaging Too build a RELAY BOX and a SHIPPING BOX for them (the idea being I would ship them to Stephen and Stephen would sign them and then ship them to Michael and Michael would sign them).  He was pretty sure the "higher ups" would be fine with that and that it would make a good retailer incentive when they get to the actual solicitation process (next year? Mid-next year? Late next year?)

Anyway, they're paying me a VERY generous fee for the introduction (which they've also agreed to make the introduction RECIPROCALLY OWNED by Michael and Stephen — that is, EITHER Michael or Stephen can use it whatever way they want if they go their separate ways at some point — as opposed to JOINTLY OWNED.  I'm hoping that Michael and Stephen would see THE PUMA BLUES the same way, but that's up to them) so it should be a number of pages long — it will be nice to read the Entire Book in one sitting and to be one of the first to do so!



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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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