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Luther arkwright cover

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright #2, Valkyrie Press, 1987

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is a pioneering science fiction graphic novel by Bryan Talbot, serialised in a variety of forms from 1978 to 1989.

The character of Luther Arkwright made his first appearance in the mid 1970s in a short strip in Brainstorm Comix called "The Papist Affair". Arkwright, a dimension-hopping agent inspired by Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, teamed up with a group of cigar-chewing biker nuns to recover the sacred relics of St. Adolf of Nuremberg from "a buncha male chauvinist priests".

Talbot then conceived a serious, adult, novel-length story featuring Arkwright. Early episodes of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright appeared in the "ground level" anthologies Near Myths and pssst! between 1978 and 1982. Talbot took a break to draw "Nemesis the Warlock" for 2000 AD, before returning to Arkwright in 1987. The whole story was serialised in nine issues from Valkyrie Press, completed in 1989. A tenth issue, "ARKeology", was published including essays and background material.

It was serialised again, re-lettered and with new covers, by Dark Horse Comics in the USA in 1990-1991, and collected as a graphic novel in 1997. Dark Horse also published the sequel, Heart of Empire, in 1999. Arkwright has also been published in France and the Czech Republic.

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is a formally ambitious, non-linear narrative set on multiple parallel earths. Arkwright is unique - there is only one of him throughout the multiverse, and he can move between parallels at will. He begins the story as a violent, amoral agent of an agency that polices the parallels, before becoming engaged in the struggle between Royalists and Puritans in a parallel England where Cromwell's Commonwealth never fell, dying and resurrecting with greater insight, and ultimately renouncing violence.

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