Some contextualization, from a blog at http://www.geegaw.com/archives/0007.shtml#000346:
July 7, 2000
blah blah handful of dust
Re-read Martin Rowson's The Waste Land, which is Eliot's magnum opus done up as a hard-boiled Raymond Chandler detective story in comic book form. I love it!
"The purpose of the exercise as far as I was concerned was to mercilessly take the piss out of this gruesome, pretentious and incomprehensible behemoth of Modern Literature. The chief method of achieving this was to turn so precious and respected a work of art into something as low-brow and tacky as a comic book. (This worked - Eliot's widow was as mad as hell about what I did to her dead husband's masterwork).
"Anyway, I sold the idea to Penguin, and, as a perk, was invited to a Penguin piss-up held to launch one of their new series. There I was introduced to a fat publisher in a suit. Standing next to the Cajun Band (we're talking dead trendy here), he asked me what I was doing. I said I was working on a comic book version of T.S. Eliot's The WasteLand, 'What?" he shouted. I repeated my reply, and this exchange carried on for several minutes until understanding finally struck him. "Oh!" he cried, "a GRAPHIC NOVEL!" And as the pound signs lit up in his eyes, he continued. 'Christ! I'm so fucking cross! We just missed buying the VIZ annual! Jesus! That's going to make MILLIONS!'"