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The Official Bryan Talbot fanpage / The Adventures of Luther Arkwright homepage
 

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright

 

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, by Bryan Talbot is a story that can be said to encompass the entire multiverse, and yet is also about one man's fight to come to terms with what and who he is.

It is extremely well drawn and written and is quite obviously a labour of love. There are no thought balloons or sound effects: no one stands with their feet a meter apart and pontificates: and most striking to anyone raised on a diet of Marvel style never ending sagas, there is a distinct beginning middle and end, with a coherent plot and story culminating in an ending that is plausible in the context of the story and also profoundly satisfying.

In fact the story is one of the best that I have encountered in any medium at all, let alone in comics, which is why I describe Bryan as an author as well as an artist. It is rich in flashback and detail, and I felt as if I really knew Luther by the end of the books. The whole thing is so finely textured that even now after many years and innumerable re-reads, I can still get something fresh from them each time I read them. The story as a whole is one of the best I have ever read, regardless of the format: the fact that the format only enhances the story is due to the skill of the storyteller.

If anyone is curious, then the ISBN numbers for the graphic novels are: Book One (Rat Trap) 0 907865 02 X, Book Two (Transfiguration) 1 870923 00 6 and Book Three (Gotterdammerung) 0 907865 03 8, - and I am sorry but I will NEVER part with a single one of mine! (these books are available from Amazon if you want to go and get them now!)

The concept starts as a fairly simple one of cross - dimensional conflict between the good guys (from parallel Earth designated Zero Zero) and the bad guys (the Disruptors): however, by the end it has become far more. The central character of Luther Arkwright undertakes profound change in terms of both his abilities and far more importantly his character. He develops throughout the book, and the flashbacks are so artfully inserted into the plotline that they seem totally natural.

The art effortlessly adds to the story, and vice-versa; the plot sweeps you along relentlessly... and yet there is a richness of detail that repays second, third and more readings. It must be said that you feel that this comic simply could not have been created in the committee production lines that they call comic creation at Marvel ANC. The fact that there is only nine issues means that there is a coherent plot, with a beginning middle and end. You are also utterly sure after reading this that this is a labour of love and that it took a storyteller at the height of his powers and an artist at the peak of his creativity in the same body to to bring it off.

All I can say to any serious comics fan is to read this comic now: you will not know how you've called yourself a comics without being aware of this comic!


Also, the Adventures of Luther Arkwright is now available to read as a webcomic from this very website!

Stop press; A fellow fan has secured permission to create official reproductions of Arkwright's vibro-beamer! - check them out; they're gorgeous!

Warren Ellis has also written a review of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright: originally published at Artbomb's excellent site: check it out - we'll still be here when you get back! I have reprinted the review here, and also Warren's review of Heart of Empire.Also check out what Warren said about Bryan's work on the quotes page.

There is a lot of material on this site about Luther and his adventures: check out the galleries of artwork to see many pictures of him and the covers of the comics that he starred in; also stop by the articles page for many text based discussions and reviews, and specifically the review of the comic done by TheComicStore.com, and last but not least, check out the quotes page to see the praise heaped on Bryan's work by other artists and authors.

And to see a far more detailed analysis of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright then check out Rob Cave's thesis on the subject, and there is also more information on Luther's multiverse and his enemies, the Disruptors. There is also the Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore introductions to the Arkwright graphic novels.

For a not entirely unbiased view of Luther Arkwright then read the review of it, reprinted from the Popimage orginal. And if you have ever wanted to know how to break into the comics medium then check out Bryan's advice to new comics creators. And for a very comprehensive review, check out Treasures of the Old School: "Luther Arkwright: The Equilibrium of Parallel Worlds" by John R Fulltz, over at the Comicon site.

See also my personal account of what it was like to meet my hero for the first time - and why I am a fan of Bryan's work.

Bryan and myself have just completed the Second Edition of the Heart of Empire CD-Rom which contains the whole of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright in normal resolution and also in very high resolution; you can buy it right now from our online shop at Cafe Press. Alternatively you can buy the The Adventures of Luther Arkwright in traditional printed graphic novel format from Amazon.

 

 

 
   
The design and content of this page and this entire website is copyright 1999, 2006 by James Robertson: all images are copyright 1999, 2006 by Bryan Talbot