Fans of award-winning comic creator Bryan Talbot‘s ground-breaking graphic novel series Luther Arkwright will be delighted to hear that British TV production company Three River Studios (The Great Martian War, Trackers) has optioned the rights to develop, finance and produce a live action, returnable TV series.
(A “returnable” series is one producers hope will prove long running, over multiple seasons, as opposed to a limited mini series).
The first LutherArkwright stories was published back in 1978, an anti-establishment adventure spanning an entire multiverse that now encompasses, with a new story, The Legend of Luther Arkwright, due for release in 2022. The story has previously adapted into an audio drama, starring David Tennant.
In the stories, psychic secret agent Luther Arkwright, aided by fellow agent and telepath Rose Wylde, has the ability to move between parallel worlds, battling the malign influence of the Disruptors, a group who have manipulated humanity throughout history.
Variety reports the series is being produced by Jonathan Drake, CEO and founder of Three River Studios, with Talbot attached as executive producer.
Three River Studios develops, sells and produces primetime television programmes and has a majority stakeholder in production indie Impossible Factual. The company also brokers financing for TV production via co-productions, pre-sales and incentive financing on behalf of its own production companies and for third party producers in both Factual and Drama genres.
Drake has over 20 years experience in media business, the last ten of these being in the independent TV production sector. Formerly Managing Director of Impossible Pictures Ltd , he was responsible for bringing together funding for many blue chip factual shows such as Prehistoric Park (shown on ITV), Perfect Disasters, World War II: The Last Heroes (C4, History Canada, Yesterday), as well as drama series such as ITV’s Primeval and the Sky1 series Sinbad
“Bryan Talbot’s work is everything science fiction should be.,” Drake told Variety. “He stands at the very beginning of a tradition that gave us the likes of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis — his works were then, and remain now, cutting edge.
“… The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is unique for its time in being aimed squarely at adult readers, with a rich and sophisticated visual style that echoes some of the great auteur film makers. It thrills, challenges readers, and makes you think.”
“Luther’s unique status as a traveller between parallel realities and his saviour-like qualities might liken him to Doctor Who – but an R-Rated version, that doesn’t shy away from sex, politics and the grim realities of violence,” he added.
“I’m very excited that Three River Studios is working on a TV adaptation of the Luther Arkwright stories,” says Bryan. “With the digital technology at their disposal and a genuine love of the original, I’m very much looking forward to the series.”
Bryan Talbot‘s works have been published in over twenty countries and he is the winner of many comic awards – including an Eisner award, the Prix SNCF and several Eagle awards – having been working in the medium for over 30 years.
Recognised as one of the most influential British comic artists ever, Bryan has produced underground and alternative comics, notably Brainstorm!, and science fiction and superhero stories such as Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Teknophage, The Nazz and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight.
Bryan has also worked on DC Vertigo titles including Hellblazer, Sandman, The Dreaming and Fables, and has written and drawn the graphic novels for which he is best known, including The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (the first British graphic novel), Heart of Empire, The Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice in Sunderland, Metronome and, working with his wife, Mary, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, which won the Costa Biography Award in 2013, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, and RAIN.
Bryan’s highly-acclaimed Grandville series of steampunk detective thrillers was completed in 2018.
Bryan has been awarded an honorary Doctorate in Arts by Sunderland University and an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Northumbria University, and has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
While it should be noted an option is not a commitment to production, and there are plenty of British comic properties that have been optioned down the years, never to progress further, the concept behind Luther Arkwright plugs right into the current popularity of fantasy and SF dramas enjoying strong followings thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, so fingers crossed, this one will go ahead.