In 1982, DC released Camelot 3000, a 12-issue series mixing Arthurian legend with futurist Sci-Fi. It was written by Mike Barr and illustrated by one of our favorites, Brian Bolland.
What made this comic book series unique is two-fold: it was a direct-to-market comic and it was a maxi-series (i.e., it was published in more than 4-6 issues). The direct-to-market experiment changed the comic book market significantly. Up until the end of the 1970s, most comic books were purchased through retail outlets like newsstands and convenience stores. But with the entry of more mature story-telling and the surge of independents, stand-alone comic book stores began to spring up to cater to the serious reader and collector. DC took advantage of this phenomenon to widen its readership opportunities and did a pretty slick job reclaiming market share over the 1980s (after having suffered serious declines in the 1960s and 1970s). Some of our favorite comic books came from this period.
The plot of Camelot 3000 is based on the resurrection of King Arthur and the reincarnation of his knights of old in a future world where an alien invasion threatens the planet. Merlin has been ensnared for centuries but is freed to combat the sorcery of Morgan La Fey and the fiendish scheming of a future version of Mordred.
The series is rife with fantasy elements from the legends but with plenty of science fiction fantasy as well as just normal everyday relationships. There is duplicity, thrills, and sexy babes like Morgan, Isolde, and … Tristan?! Yep, the reincarnation of Tristan is a woman and this element plays an important role in the story. So, if you’re feeling all messed up because you’re attracted to Tristan, you may not actually be gay … or straight. But, there is no doubt that you are interested in transvestism or transgenderism or both.
Incidentally, Sir Tristan (as a man) sports a mustache, trendy clothes, and gelled up hair in this story. That can only mean one thing. 1980s Porno Knight!
The story is well-written, exciting, and long enough to feel like you got your money’s worth. Four issue limited series just don’t cut it for us. Mike W. Barr was a DC power-house back in the day and wrote a bunch of Batman stuff including Batman and the Outsiders, Batman: Year Two, and Batman: Son of the Demon. He apparently has a fetish for men trapped in women’s bodies. Besides the Sir/Lady Tristan thing in Camelot 3000, he penned the stories for Mantra, a Malibu Comics title that featured a … woman in a man’s body. We have to imagine that Mantra pleased the pants off of bisexual comic book readers the world over. Mike, good eye, sniper.
Merlin is apparently the Son of the Devil. We did not know that. So, that would make him the older brother of Daimon Hellstrom over in the Marvel Universe. We have a copy of Marvel Spotlight #12. It’s the origin of the dude also known as “Hellstorm.” We don’t recall there being any reference to Merlin in it. Oversight or jealousy? Merlin is also the half-brother of Kirk Cameron, another spawn of His Horrible Wretchedness. No, that’s not really nice is it? Kirk is just a distant cousin. Sheesh. Our blogging really is irresponsible!
Anyway, on to the …
Camelot 3000 Comic Book Cover Gallery
And finally, here’s one for the road. In 2008, DC released a Deluxe Edition hardback compilation of the entire series.