Why news of the Adventures of The Three Musketeers collection is – hopefully – great news for classic British comic fans

The Complete Adventures of The Three Musketeers - Cover

The Book Palace is to publish a limited edition of Adventures of The Three Musketeers, collecting the work of the brilliant Chilean comic artist Arturo Del Castillo, first published in Film Fun and Lion in the 1960s.

Collected in a single volume for the first time, priced at just £20 on Book Palace, this classic of comic strip adaptation brings to life all the action and poignancy of Alexandre Dumas‘ novel and its sequel, the enthralling mystery surrounding the Man in the Iron Mask.

The Three Musketeers - art by Arturo Del Castillo

The Three Musketeers -The Man in the Iron Mask art by Arturo Del Castillo

Arturo Del Castillo, who retired in 1989 and died in 1992,  was one of the greatest masters of Chilean comic strip, his most famous work the Hector Oesterheld-scripted “Randall: the Killer” series, the story of western avenger that launched in the Argentinian magazine Hora Cero in 1957.

Castillo’s westerns work is also legendary, also drawing stories in British titles such as Top Spot (“Ringo”) and Ranger (“Dan Dakota – Lone Gun”) and also for the Cowboy Picture Library. “Ringo” was one of his longest running serials, also created in cooperation with Oesterheld between 1968 and 1974.

His western stories also appeared in France in the pocket-sized comic books published by Arédit and Sagédition, and in Holland in the comic magazine Sjors. In 1974, he created “El Cobra” with writer Ray Collins (an updating of the character they first worked with on in “Garrett” in the early 1960s), also co-created “Loco Saxton” in the 1970s with Hector Oesterheld.

His artistic skill is recognised internationally. He received an award for his work as part of the International Biennial of Córdoba in 1979, was awarded the Yellow Kid in 1980, one of the highest recognitions for a creator’s work in the world of comics.

Castillo’s work on The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The King’s Musketeers (all included in this collection, first published between 1963 and 1964 and reprinted in several countries) is regarded as some of the finest pen and ink work ever created for comic strips.

The Three Musketeers - art by Arturo Del Castillo

Limited to just 500 copies worldwide, a publishing project over eight years in the planning, this is the first time the three strips have ever been reprinted in this complete form.

“The quality of his penmanship is simply stunning on these strips,” say the publishers, views echoed by many artist friends who have long hoped to see this strip collected.

The Three Musketeers - art by Arturo Del Castillo

Detail from The Three Musketeers – art by Arturo Del Castillo

The Three Musketeers - art by Arturo Del Castillo

An original art board for The Three Musketeers - art by Arturo Del Castillo

An original art board for The Three Musketeers – art by Arturo Del Castillo

Also included in the collection are 14 pages of rare reproductions of original del Castillo artwork. (The Illustration Art Gallery, sister company to the Book Palace, has original art on sale here).

The Three Musketeers are amongst the handful of literary characters who are known to virtually every person on the planet. Unlike most literary characters, the Musketeers are fashioned out of history: there really was a d’Artagnan and historical counterparts for each of his companions, although the romance woven around the characters came from author Alexandre Dumas’s imagination.

It’s great to see this classic material in print, not least because of the quality of the art. But also, especially, this is the first time in years we’ve seen any collection of material of Fleetway Editions strips owned by what was its original publisher IPC, which was consumed by Time Inc.

While characters and strips created after January 1970 are now owned by Rebellion, under a special agreement between IPC and Egmont agreed some years ago, with some notable exceptions, most comics material first published by Fleetway Editions before then remained the property of IPC. The company’s owners – Time Inc., and now, private equity company Epris, have acquired those rights as part of their purchase.

Sadly, while there are reports Time UK sought to sell off its entire comic library to interested parties, including at least two British publishers, this has meant several attempts to revive or reprint IPC-owned strips have foundered, largely due to the high cost of licensing.

Arturo Del Castillo

Arturo Del Castillo

That the Book Palace is publishing The Three Musketeers at a reasonable cover price (taking into account the cost of restoration work that must have been involved) hopefully bodes well for future collections of other classic British comics characters.

As a fan of “Phantom Patrol”, “The Spider”, “Dollman”, “The Steel Claw” and “Spellbinder”, to name but a few of them, certainly hope so.

The Three Musketeers
Author: Alexandre Dumas; edited by Steve Holland
Artist: Arturo del Castillo
Publisher: Book Palace Books, due 30th April 2018
Number of pages: 112
Format: Flexi Cover; Black & White illustrations
Size: 9″ x 11″ (216mm x 280mm)
ISBN: 9780955159688

• The Book Palace are taking advance orders for this limited edition title which is due 30th April 2018. Follow the buying links here to reserve your copy direct from Book Palace

Book Palace books – a list of releases

Arturo Del Castillo” Lambiek Profile 

• There’s a Facebook page dedicated to the work of Arturo Del Castillo here

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Collections, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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