Monday, March 12, 2012

On the first series to herald the new changes of comics

The Folks at DC have brought Camelot 3000 back into print, via the new electric-type digital comics format by the folks at Comixology.  It's a solid series that still holds up today, and features a LOT of firsts, both for DC and in comics on the whole.

Camelot 3000 1.jpgIt was DC's first maxi-series. Mini-series were usually four to six issues at the time; this one was a staggering twelve issues, meaning we'd get a full year of story.  In fact, it took a full THREE YEARS to come out, which also made it the first wildly off-schedule project in the new era.  While other series may have broken that record since (Ahemtwelvecough), this one was never placed on hiatus or anything.  So when I hear about You Kids Today complain when a book is delayed a few weeks, I wonder what the internet would do if there was a solid YEAR between issues.

It was also one of DC's first projects solely for the Direct Market.  Back in the day the Direct Market was just starting, and its big advantage over the newsstands was it got the books a good two or three weeks earlier.  But we started seeing books only released to the comic shops, a sign that thigns were changing. After this we started getting series like New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes (once, they were DC's biggest-selling titles, and rightly so), and of course now it's all comic shops.

While he'd done a couple covers and some interior work, it was the first major project for Brian Bolland.  Bolland's art style is unique and precise, lines oh-so-thin, such amazing detail, perfect for the new Baxter paper printing process, so none of that detail was lost.  And with inkers like Dick Giordano and Terry Austin, it was only made better. 

The paper also made color just pop - so much so that quite a bit of learning was needed to get the hang of coloring pages so they didn't come out in neon.

The storyline is somewhat straightforward - 1000-odd years in the future, with aliens invading England, King Arthur is resurrected from his crypt to once again save the day.  Awakening Merlin from beneath Stonehenge, they set out to find the rest of his knights, who have been reincarnated.  The reincarnations don't go well for all.  Percival is found seconds too late - he was in the process of being mutated into a munstrous slave, losing most of his intelligence, and Tristan is reborn as a woman - even more of an issue as his love Isolde is also reborn, still as a woman.  This resulted in a VERY risky and provocative plotline dealing with gender roles and eventually, a REALLY nice full-page spread (no pun intended) in the last issue.  Another first for the industry, I believe, certainly a first for DC.

It was an awesome story when it first came out, it held up perfectly when it was released as a trade some years back, and now you've got the chance to get the whole series on your computering device, something I'm sure Arthur would have been fascinated by.

We don't see as many stand-alone stories like this at the Big Two - one could argue that the market has made it quite clear that they only want super-heroes. But without books like this, it becomes quite a challenge to draw new readers into the market. So kudos to DC and Comixology for choosing a more off-the-beam story back into print.  Who knows, if this sells well, maybe we'll finally see those last few issues of Sonic Disruptors.

1 comment:

  1. This was one of the comics which Jeremiah learned to read with (along with our collected issues of Marvel's POWER PACK).