Wednesday, April 30, 2014

THE TOWER KING

THE TOWER KING (Hibernia, 2014;Periodical)
Collects The Tower King stories from The Eagle Nos. 1-24 (cover dates March 27- September 4, 1982)
Writer: Alan Hebden
Artist: Jose Ortiz

The solar power satellite converted solar energy into microwaves which were recoverted into electricity and powered the Earth in the future of the late 1980s. The microwaves disrupted the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the planet being thrust into the stone age after a nuclear meltdown occurred. No electricity, no radio waves, only steam power remained as society rapidly collapsed. It was in this chaos that Mick Tempest rallied the remnants of civilization (or civilisation at the British spelled it in this book) in The Tower of London and became The Tower King.
While the whole post-apocalyptic scenario has been done to death and was fresh on everyone's mind at the time of original publication, it would be even more disastrous if something like this occurred today. The future is now and we live in a technology based society, for better and sometimes worse.
 I enjoyed the Tube Rats, the somewhat mutated humans who live in the London Underground subway system and come to the surface to forage for food. There are lots of cool societies, like the Wreckers and the worshipers of the Electric Temple, among others. A meteor ends up destroying the satellite and the power returns. The series is wrapped up rather hastily, like editorial gave them the heave ho, time to pull the plug. I am grateful that we at least have a resolution this saga.
British comics were dialogue heavy and used caption boxes sparingly, which is now par for the course for all comic books. If you compare this to US comics of 1982 then it is totally different in tone and presentation. Being a weekly serial means that the pacing is tight and fast, with little to no time to catch your breath. The violence is of course more over the top than American comics of the time as well since the Dan Dare Corporation was not beholden to the Comics Code Authority.
  Every time that I stumble upon things like this or Heros The Spartan, the more fascinated I become by British comics. These are often only available as incredibly expensive imports, and their barrier to entry only seems to fuel my fascination. If it is obscure and expensive it must be good, right? If it were cheap and readily available then nobody would want it. Someday some pharmaceutical company will create a medication to treat my OCD. Until then, the search for the obscure and the joy of discovery will continue.
If you hurry you may be able to grab one of the last remaining copies here.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is not a trade paperback or collected edition in the traditional sense of the word. It is a saddle-stitched (read: stapled) quasi-periodical roughly the same size as Marvel oversized hardcover or a DC Deluxe Edition hardcover. If this is ever re-released as a proper hardcover with sewn binding I would gladly double dip. The material is certainly worthy of such deluxe presentation.
The cover is a thicker paper stock than the interior. The book has all of the features and layouts of a regular collected edition. My guess is that this was done in this format due to costs. Hibernia is essentially a fan made labor of love with tiny print runs. I ordered two of these hand numbered books (one for my friend and one for myself so that we could carpool shipping costs), my copy being #174 of 200. It cost $30.04 for two copies shipped from Ireland, which is not bad, I just wish that it was a true collected edition.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None. The issue covers are not even included.
Linework/ restoration rating: 5 out of 5. These are obviously cleaned up scans of the original issues. Everything looks great. I suspect that the handful of pages that look a little dark or murky were originally printed that way.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. Decent weight uncoated stock.
Binding rating: 2 out of 5. Saddle-stitched (read: STAPLED) periodical. No spine so it cannot be proudly displayed on your bookshelf.

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