Monday, December 02, 2019

Early Review: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE TRIGAN EMPIRE Vol.1

I've never met anyone who bought Look and Learn just for the articles. Yes, those features were superbly illustrated, and they certainly taught us a few things about everything from geology to Medieval life, from the nocturnal habits of bats to the story of space flight, but they were but a bonus to the main attraction. Everyone I've met who read Look and Learn bought it for The Trigan Empire

The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire (to give it its full title) actually started out in Ranger in 1965, a companion magazine to Look and Learn but one that had more comic strips. Then, as kids' publications often did, the two titles merged, bringing The Trigan Empire to Look and Learn in 1966. The strip was created by Mike Butterworth and artist Don Lawrence and told the story of a distant planet called Elekton and its strange culture that seemed like a mash up of Ancient Rome, futuristic technology and a good dollop of fantasy thrown in for good measure. 

The stories were intriguing but it was Don Lawrence's photo-realistic artwork and stunning use of colour that made it compelling. Most kids' publications of the 1960s were printed on newsprint, which meant basic flat colours with few variations. Ranger, and Look and Learn, were of the few that had the luxury of Photogravure printing, and Don Lawrence certainly made the best of it. 

The Trigan Empire ran in Look and Learn until its final issue in 1982. By that time other artists had replaced Lawrence, who had left the strip in 1976. Now, Rebellion are to publish a huge chunky 300 page volume reprinting the series from the start in what is hoped will be an ongoing series of books. The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire Vol.1 will be published in March 2020 and having seen a preview of the whole book I think it'll be a winner.

I can only show a few pages from the start of the book so here's the first four pages of the saga...


Yes, the early Trigan Empire stories have been reprinted before, but it was many years ago or in an expensive format. The new collection will be affordable and superb value for money. Another bonus is that, like the deluxe expensive editions of several years ago, Rebellion's version replaces the dull typeface dialogue of the originals with a comic book style font that's easier on the eye. This is, quite frankly, the best Trigan Empire collection there's been. 

CREATIVE TEAM: Mike Butterworth (w) Don Lawrence (a)
RELEASE DATE: 17 March 2020 (US) 19 March 2020 (UK)
PAPERBACK, 304 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK) $24.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781087558
DIAMOND: TBC

Under the leadership of Trigo the Vorg tribesmen band together to resist the Lokan Empire, forming an empire of their own: The Trigan Empire. And this is the story of its rise and fall. Originally published in the educational Ranger magazine in 1965, and continuing in the similarly themed Look and Learn. The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire uses elements of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece to tell a fascinating sci-fi story. The first in a series of books collecting all the stories beautifully painted by Don Lawrence in their originally published order.
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and UK comic book stores.

Available in digital from: Treasury of British Comics webshop & apps for iPadAndroid and Windows 10

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