Well, there's been a change in the status quo over the recent months. In fact since the last column I have been on an emotional rolercoaster, I hit an overwhelming low when Azrael's sales dropped twenty places in the space of a couple of months. Then some low selling titles were cancelled and I began to fear for the future of the book. Things improved when I finally got hold of pictures of the Azrael figure, and then within a few days I was leaping around with joy (no kidding) when the folks at DC at least made an attempt to boost Azrael's popularity by renaming it and making it important to No Man's Land. The name change to Azrael : Agent of the Bat was cool because it was bound to make it clear to casual readers that there was a Batman link and that they should check it out, but what made it that extra bit cool to me was that I finally had a subtitle.
After racking my brains for a suitable title, tentatively adopting the nom de facto of Azrael : Angel in Training, and considering others such as Angel of Justice, maybe Angel of the Bat, I was handed my title in the form of a DC press release. So what if the title isn't actually that catchy, it was very applicable, it was descriptive, it wasn't taken. I would kill to be able to get Sword of Azrael (IMHO one of the coolest titles ever) given my URL (angelfire.com [Azrael is a firey angel] /az [Azrael's abbreviation] /SwordofAzrael) was so appropriate, ah well that's what I get for turning up late.
The next high I got was from actually getting the last of the rants done (brain deadening job that), and going public with the site, then very quickly responding to concerns I popped up a frames site in two days adding a few graphics and a voting system to force Angelfire to give me the award I damn well deserve. For the record I started this as a one page job on april 22 1998 and finised the frames section on august 24 1998, four months two days after starting and produced 212 text heavy pages in all. Seeing regulars at the site gives me a bit of satisfaction in that it tells me I'm producing something that is at least keeping people happy, so it's time for extra thanks again to Steve Caldwell, get well soon, okay? Scott Goodison for finding a topic that got people to notice Azrael on other message boards, Dennis Khoo has been quiet recently and so too has Teddy (, I appreciate every thing you've done for the site, and you really picked a great topic to post on the mailing list, thanks).
Right now it's up to the visitors here to inspire me to create new sections, suggestions are welcome, I'm waiting till I have a few. One idea I want to play with is an AZ-track section listing all AZ-tracks and recommend new ones. Yes Teddy, Rage against the Machine will have a strong representation. That's pretty much all I have to say for now except that last month established a new status quo in the Azrael comic, with a break from the past and a new look coming up. Hopefully O'Neil has some solid stories waiting for us at least one is looking at Azrael on the run, a setup that can lead to very cool stories I want to see one where JP is stuck without Azrael for more than a couple of issues and has to survive on what he learned from Batman. I was also glad that we'll just be seeing Brian and JP for a while, and hopefully seeing Lilhy as a villain, because that threesome was a bit cumbersome in storytelling terms.
Gordon Hope-Murray 04/09/1998