ADVENTURES OF LUTHER ARKWRIGHT
By Bryan Talbot
Publisher: Dark Horse
Introduction by Alan Moore
VERY GOOD+/-FINE CONDITION, with the usual softness, some cover dinge, surface wear & slight rubbing to covers from age & book being handled, read and stored.
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Bryan Talbot (born 24 February 1952) is a British comic book artist and writer, best known as the creator of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its sequel Heart of Empire, as well as the Grandville series of books. He collaborated with his wife, Mary M. Talbot to produce Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, which won the 2012 Costa biography award.
Talbot began his comics work in the underground comix scene of the late 1960s. In 1969 his first work appeared as illustrations in Mallorn, the British Tolkien Society magazine, followed in 1972 by a weekly strip in his college newspaper. He continued in the scene after leaving college, producing Brainstorm Comix, the first three of which formed The Chester P. Hackenbush Trilogy, a character reworked by Alan Moore as Chester Williams for Swamp Thing.
Talbot started The Adventures of Luther Arkwright in 1978. It was originally published in Near Myths and continued on over the years in other publications. It was eventually collected into one volume by Dark Horse Comics. Along with When the Wind Blows it is one of the first British graphic novels. In the early to mid-eighties he provide art for some of 2000 AD's flagship serials, producing three series of Nemesis the Warlock, as well as occasional strips for Judge Dredd. His The Tale of One Bad Rat deals with recovery from childhood sexual abuse.
Talbot moved to the American market in the 1990s, principally for DC Comics, on titles such as Hellblazer, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, and Dead Boy Detectives. Talbot collaborated with Neil Gaiman on The Sandman and provided art for the "Fables & Reflections", "A Game of You", and "Worlds' End" story arcs. He drew The Nazz limited series which was written by Tom Veitch and worked with Tom's brother Rick Veitch on Teknophage, one of a number of mini-series he drew for Tekno Comix. Talbot has illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. He has illustrated Bill Willingham's Fables, as well as returning to the Luther Arkwright universe with Heart of Empire.
Luther Arkwright made his first appearance in the mid-1970s in "The Papist Affair", a short strip for Brainstorm Comix where Arkwright teamed up with a group of cigar-chewing biker nuns to recover the sacred relics of St. Adolf of Nuremberg from "a buncha male chauvinist priests".
The first parts of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright followed as a serial in the British underground comic Near Myths in 1978, were later continued in pssst! magazine, then interrupted in 1982, less than half complete. Between 1987 and 1989 Bryan Talbot completed the story, which was published as a series of nine standard comic books by Valkyrie Press, followed, at readers' request, by a tenth issue containing articles about the history and production of the comic and some extended back story and character information. It was subsequently published in the United States by Dark Horse Comics.
The story is adult in tone, with many mythological, historical and political references, and a little explicit sex. Its genesis owes something to the influence of Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius stories, though Moorcock and Talbot agree that the similarities between the characters are limited. Warren Ellis calls Arkwright "probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date... probably Anglophone comics' single most important experimental work."
Luther Arkwright is a work of apocalyptic science fiction set in parallel universes. The eponymous hero has the unique talent of being able to move between parallels purely by force of will, and is aided by Rose Wylde, a telepath whose many incarnations across the parallels are able to communicate with one another. Luther and Rose are agents of a parallel known as "zero-zero", whose stable position in the multiverse has allowed the development of a world at peace with itself and sufficiently high technology to monitor the parallels for signs of the malign influence of the "Disruptors".
Most of the action in the story is set in a parallel world where the English Civil War has been indefinitely prolonged by the actions of the Disruptors, who are also responsible for unleashing "Firefrost", a legendary artifact which is destabilising the multiverse. Arkwright intervenes on the Royalist side in order to draw out the Disruptors and locate and destroy Firefrost. Along the way his unit is ambushed, and he is killed, only to return to life with his powers enhanced.
The storytelling of the early episodes is complex, with flashbacks to Arkwright's upbringing by the Disruptors, escape to the parallel of his birth and early missions for zero-zero intermingling with the course of his mission in neo-Cromwellian England, with story-telling techniques and art styles shifting to match. The scenes of Arkwright's death and rebirth are particularly abstract and full of religious and mythological symbolism. The comic is unusual in being one of the few adventure stories where the readers and the protagonist both know from the beginning that he's going to die, only the event itself is not known.
The later parts of the story have a more straightforward, linear form. At the end Arkwright, having completed his mission, renounces violence.[wiki]
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