Friday, March 5, 2010

Bryan Talbot and #Octobriana

As far as I know Bryan Talbot was the first to relaunch Octobriana on the comic scene in the 80s - after the first publication of "Octobriana and the Russian underground" in the 70s (1971) by Petr Sadecky ... John A. Short was the second one with his limited series of Revolution comics back in the 90s and many others followed (Larry Weltz, Karel Jerie ...)  until the recent comic in preparation by Steve Orlando.

Therefor in my quest of gathering Octobriana comics ; I had to have a look. But Bryan Talbot being a very productive author - the challenge for me was to find Octobriana in all his books with his main character Luther Arkwright.
I didn't want to purchase books where she wouldn't appeared (not that I have anything against Luther of course, but ... my main focus is Octobriana).
Now there was some "out-of-stock" publication that had Octobriana on the cover with "Firefrost" in the title, and that's where I contacted James Robertson and asked simply where could I be sure to get all the books where Octobriana appeared in the Adventures of Luther Arkwright.

His answer was simple and smart - I quote "check out the Heart of Empire CD-Rom: it has ALL of Arkwright on it, as well as the sequel Heart of Empire for only 12GBP! - the info for it is here: http://www.bryan-talbot.com/onlineshop/heart-of-empire-cd.php "

The payment process is made through Paypal and a couple of days later I had the cd.

Here's what you get in the package :




Now, I was a bit puzzled browsing through the cd - and couldn't easily find Octobriana there - since it's a collection of html (1724 files) and jpg (1487 files)  ; at first I wished it would be organized as a wiki (allowing search on multiple pages) and the comics would be in pdf format (would be then possible to have 2 pages on screen and easier to browse) ... but after a while I figured how it was organized and got fine, I think the format chosen by James made sense for compatibility purposes.

Anyway long story short - there is the first page, where you'll find Octobriana on the cd :

That's "cd/arkwright/two/colour37.html"

Now the funny style of the cd - (it has many surprises) - intrigued me and the story depicted by Bryan is quite dark and wicked (also for mature audience) - making his hero Luther an interesting character who fights against disruptors and can navigate through parallel universes - (no wonder that Octobriana fell for this guy).

The 30 pages magazine provided with the cd contains the 7 pages of the first adventure of Luther (from 1976) "The papist affair" and get you in the tone immediately since it has semi-naked nuns fighting along with Luther against a crazy bishop which started to disrupt this particular universe - a few other articles follow and even a role playing game scenario is there.

Underground comics as it finest hour.

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