The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
By Bryan Talbot
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With the power to move between parallel relaties by sheer force of will - Luther Arkwright is a hero that doesn't mess around. First seen in 1978 in an underground British comic called 'Near Myths' and then moving forward from there to 'pssst! magazine' and then into his own book in 1987 this is a powerful comic acclaimed from everyone from Michael Moorcock ("something far more original and idiosyncratic than anyone has attempted before") to Alan Moore ("A work ambitious in both scope and complexity that still stands unique upon the comics landscape") to Garth Ennis ("surely one of the all-time great epics of the medium"). Throwing new readers into the deep end right from the very first page with a story that operates in several worlds at once and is already unravelling before you've even begun. I got halfway to the middle before I decided to stop and start again - which helped a lot. If all of this is making it sound like somekind of evil tease that cares only about being dense and confusing - it's not. At it's heart the story is a simple tale of good versus evil and a brave hero taking on the forces of destruction - in fact in some senses - it's every story ever told about good versus evil combined into one ultra-story that stands above and beyond them all (that might make more sense once you've read it). With detailed black and white artwork with that uniquely British feel and a willingness to do whatever crazy shit springs into it's mind - Bryan Talbot knows how to entertain and push the sides of what a comic book can be and what it can do, he knows how to tell a story that will pull you in and refuse to let you go - and the guy sure knows how to draw too. Which is nice. So yeah: worth checking out. Plus: it has a sequel: Heart of Empire or the Legacy of Luther Arkwright which is every bit as good.
Links: Warren Ellis Review on Art Bomb, I Am Not The Beastmaster Review, Brilliant Depravities: A personal view of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Harry Payne, A Trout in the Milk Article.
Further reading: Heart of Empire or the Legacy of Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat, The Filth, Grandville, From Hell, Aetheric Mechanics, The One, Alice In Sunderland, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, A.B.C. Warriors: The Black Hole, Sebastian O.
Profiles: Bryan Talbot.
All comments welcome.