A literary commentary: Camelot 3000

serialized by DC Comics from 1982-1985
written by Mike W. Barr
pencil art by Brian Bolland
ink art by Bruce Patterson and Terry Austin

Camelot 3000 is significant in that it was DC Comics’s first foray into direct market-only publishing. In other words, C3000 was never intended for the newsstands and magazine racks. The only place to find it was at the comics/hobby/nerd shop. This allowed for some nudity and violence and other unsavory things but, unfortunately, C3000 uses these sparingly.

The story finds earth being overrun by aliens in the year 3000. Fortunately, King Arthur and his Round Table posse are all either revived or reincarnated to confront the invasion, which happens to be the work of archenemy Morgan Lefay. Some of the nights have been reincarnated as non-whites or, even worse, WOMEN! So we get to see Tristan complain and bitch about being a woman for about 11 issues.

The U.N. has become kind of evil and turns regular people into towering monsters for some reason. Women wear really, really short skirts. Morgan herself prances around in high heels, bikini briefs, a couple of cups stuck magically to her jugs, and some pearls. Bolland draws her and all the sluts very nicely but their characters are pretty wooden, just like the men. The token minorities – the black dude and the Asian dude – spend their time hanging out while the white people pine for each other.

The whole thing is a lot like a soap opera, as most of the characters lust after someone or something or other and are frequently willing to betray everyone else to get it. Arthur is basically a bearded retard who seems largely unimpressed by the changes of the last few thousand years, unless it involves weaponry.

Bolland draws some really funny facial expressions throughout. Arthur often looks like he’s taking a mad dump rather than feeling anguish over his wife’s cheatin’ heart. Bolland is a great artist and these funny expressions are the only fault on his part but his inkers do not do him justice. Bruce Patterson does an okay – sometimes even pretty good – job on the first six issues but Terry Austin is pretty crappy on the last six. He is just not a good match for Bolland and generally makes him look bad. The collected hardcover version contains concept art inked by Bolland and it’s really great stuff, making the poor inks in the actual story that much harder to swallow. If Bolland had inked the book this might be a literary recommendation, rather than a commentary.

I don’t regret having read this interesting footnote in American/British comic book history. However, I can’t really recommend it, either.

2 responses to “A literary commentary: Camelot 3000

  1. Direct Market?

    Complete bollocks!

    I bought my complete first-print run at the newsagent.

  2. The fact that you used the words “bollocks” and “newsagent” leads me to assume you live in the UK? Perhaps the distributors in your neck of the woods placed Camelot on the newsstands but in the United States – the home nation of the publisher, if not the creators – the series was a comic shop exclusive.

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