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Camelot 3000, Deluxe Edition Hardcover – December 16, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; Deluxe edition (December 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140121942X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401219420
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Camelot 3000 will probably catch your eye for two reasons: It is illustrated by the great Brian Bolland (The Killing Joke), and it involves King Arthur in the Year 3000, when bloodthirsty reptilian aliens invade Earth seeking world domination. Upon fleeing said scaly alien invaders, young protagonist Tom stumbles into a cave and uncovers King Arthur's tomb, which contains a surprisingly spry King Arthur. Understandably bewildered by all that lies before him, Arthur makes short work of a few little green men and teams up with Tom to cleave a path to salvation.

In his introduction, writer Mike W. Barr admits to overwriting the early third or so of this story--every character's motive is plainly spelled out in thought bubbles and hefty dialogue balloons. Yet, therein lies the fun of Camelot 3000: It’s written with all the excitement of a kid conning his babysitter into staying up past his bedtime. Early on, when a television crew catches wind of Arthur, an eager journalist pushes a microphone in front of the Son of Pendragon, and the response is classic midnight movie madness: "Why would I converse with one who sticks a sausage in my face? Away with you!" And then Arthur ceremoniously pulls the sword from the stone.

The twelve-issue series began in the early 1980s, when comics were first sold exclusively through direct trade comic shops rather than convenience store spinners, and as a result, it could skirt the comics code and flirt with adult themes (watch for a transgendered knight, several risqué love scenes, and Morgan LeFay's surprisingly grotesque secret). Eventually, Barr settles down and characters grow less verbose, and Bolland's clean and rich artwork is given greater breathing room. Nowadays, Bolland usually does his own inking as well as pencils, but for Camelot 3000's deadlines, DC brought aboard talented inkers Terry Austin, Dick Giordano, and Bruce Patterson to finesse. There isn’t much subtlety here, but just as Arthur is resurrected, so too are his knights and loves, including Lancelot and Guinevere. Even in the 31st Century, history repeats itself, and Arthur is aware of his eventual betrayal from the start. He also takes down a spaceship with a swipe from Excalibur.

This new "Deluxe Edition" is slightly oversized and contains character designs, sketches, unused covers, and more (especially impressive is the fine packaging underneath the eye-catching dust jacket). Camelot 3000 is a late-night space opera that makes it all too easy to stay up past bedtime. --Alex Carr

Customer Reviews

Worse, the story is just badly written.
Sabu 44
Quality material like this deserves better treatment, but as this edition is the only option currently available, I suppose it's better than nothing.
Babytoxie
I always wondered why Bolland didn't do more interior work.
TheIntruder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Babytoxie on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 2006, I gave the trade edition of Mike Barr & Brian Bolland's CAMELOT 3000 a 3-star review, saying, in short, that the early '80s story hadn't aged well. After a recent rereading of the story, courtesy of the CAMELOT 3000: THE DELUXE EDITION hardcover, I can say that I was the one who hadn't aged well. I now have a higher opinion of the story, both for what it tells and how it tells it. The 2008 publication of the Deluxe Edition ends a 20-year streak of unavailability, and it makes no sense for DC to have not kept this maxi-series in print, simply from a historical perspective. It was DC's first direct-only title, it was a contemporary of mature tales such as Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, and the sci-fi/fantasy combo, especially when involving the Knights of the Round Table, should appeal to many new readers. It's solid storytelling, and it contains so many classic science fiction and fantasy standards that it's hard for me to not love it. In short, this is King Arthur by way of Asimov.

It's true that the story is predictable (and not just for those who know their Arthurian legends), and the adult situations wouldn't cause much of a stir today, but so what? I don't read a classic comic expecting something that fits with modern sensibilities; instead, I prefer to immerse myself in the time in which it was written. Barr kicks things into high-gear from the first page and never lets up. An alien invasion of Earth in the year 3000 leads to the resurrection of King Arthur, who makes good on his promise to return and defend England in its hour of need. Arthur frees his mentor Merlin from imprisonment, and Merlin orchestrates the return of the Knights of the Round Table. These certainly aren't the familiar knights of old, but they eventually prove themselves to be none other.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steven E. Higgins on September 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
It broke new ground. It was one of the first books published on high quality paper and distributed only to the direct market. The first maxiseries in comics history, this book was planned with a beginning, middle and end, much like a prose novel. It also had the freedom to do whatever it wanted with its characters since, despite being published by DC, it was outside of their continuity.
It was published without the Comics Code Authority seal and was advertised as a book for mature readers. Thus this book was able to explore subject matter mainstream comics had shied away from. Two of the central characters in the book are involved in an extramarital affair, for example, and one character is a man trapped in a woman's body.
It had fantastic art. Penciller Brian Bolland today is well known for his beautiful cover art, but in 1982 when this series began, he was largely unknown outside of England. By the time the book finished in 1985 (unfortunately the wait between some chapters was incredibly long, another trend in comics' future that this book foretold), he was widely known throughout mainstream comics for his incredibly detailed and expressive linework.
It was incredibly well-researched. Writer Mike W. Barr utilized a creative consultant for this book, a member of academia who was well-versed in the Arthurian lore Barr was reworking for his own purposes. Barr similarly drew from his own research into the legends of King Arthur and used as inspiration for this story great works of literature, including the masterful poetry of Sir Thomas Mallory.
It mixed genres seamlessly. In this book, these Arthurian legends were reimagined in a completely new setting: a far-flung future Earth in the midst of an alien invasion.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Babytoxie on December 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I don't see why DC wouldn't keep the trade collection of Mike Barr and Brian Bolland's limited series CAMELOT 3000 in print, simply from a historical perspective. While the story may not be a masterpiece, it was DC's first direct-only title and was geared for mature readers. It was a contemporary of such classic tales as Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, so just that little point of timing should ensure continued publication. And the sci-fi/fantasy combo, especially when it involves the Knights of the Round Table, should appeal to many new readers. And then there's the abundance of fine-line art from superstar Bolland: holy cow, this is some absolutely beautiful stuff. I know of no other book that contains so much of his work. It's worth keeping in print for that alone!

But then, of course, there's the story. While I liked it, it really didn't age well, especially compared to some of the other titles that I mentioned. It's very basic, even simple, and while some of the situations contained within may have been adult fare for the `80s, they certainly wouldn't raise an eyebrow today. In short, don't expect a masterpiece on the level of the other stories. The plot itself is fairly straightforward: an alien invasion of Earth in the year 3000 leads to the resurrection of King Arthur, who makes good on his promise to return and defend England in its hour of need. Arthur then frees his mentor Merlin from imprisonment, and Merlin orchestrates the return of the Knights of the Round Table via some unusual methods. Suffice to say that these certainly don't seem to be the knights that we're familiar with, but they eventually prove themselves to be none other.
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