Finally! At long last, a comics publisher – Dark Horse – has had the good sense to commission and publish a high quality ultimate A4 size hardback edition of the first flagship British graphic novel, Luther Arkwright by Eisner and Harvey Award-winner Bryan Talbot, together with the full colour sequel, Heart of Empire.
An adult science-fiction epic of boundless imagination and audacious vision, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Heart of Empire – most recently collected in two volumes in 2008 (Luther) and 2001 (Legacy) and a character who has also had his own audio adventures from Big Finish – are now brought together for the first time in one essential hardcover volume, with an introduction by Michael Moorcock, an afterword by Warren Ellis and a 10-page Luther Arkwright interview with Steve Bissette.
This new collection also includes a large gallery of Arkwright illustrations and book covers by Bryan and other artists, including Dave Gibbons, Glenn Fabry and Hunt Emerson, and a Heart of Empire back cover gallery.
“Luther Arkwright is probably the single most influential graphic novel to have come out of Britain to date,” says Warren Ellis of the story. “Bryan Talbot’s later The Tale of One Bad Rat is an absolute symphony of the form, showing how to use all the tools correctly to make a work of stunning clarity and emotional power. Luther Arkwright invented the tools. Arkwright informs Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, me, and all the rest of us. It’s probably Anglophone comics’ single most important experimental work.
“Powered by the British ‘New Wave’ sf of the Sixties, it looked for a way to tell its story in a challenging, information-rich and adult manner,” he adds. “And no-one else had done it. Not even the French comics of the Sixties and early Seventies, with their mad glee at bending the form, had provided the equipment.”
“From riveting action scenes to beautiful silent sequences, from studies in hateful obsession to humour both ribald and gentle, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is surely one of the all-time great epics of the medium,” says Garth Ennis, while Alan Moore scribes it as “a work ambitious in both scope and complexity that still stands unique upon the comics landscape . . . stunning,” says Alan Moore.
• Read the Papist Affair – the first ever appearance of Luther Arkwright in print
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.