Camelot 3000

camelot 3000 deluxe edition cover trade paperback
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Solid art, interesting modernization

The story could be pushed much farther today

Comic Info

Comic Name: Camelot 3000

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Mike W. Barr

Artist: Brian Bolland

# of Issues: 12

Release Date: 2008

camelot 3000 #10 cover review

Camelot 3000 #10

Reprints Camelot 3000 #1-12 (December 1982-April 1985).  It is the year 3000, and Earth has been besieged by an alien race.  Earth needs a hero, and as in the past, Arthur Pendragon heeds the call.  When the grave of Arthur is discovered by a young man named Thomas, Arthur learns that his Knights of the Round Table have been reborn on Earth but inhabit new bodies.  Assembling the Round Table is the first step, but Arthur soon finds that the old problems that plagued his reign still exist, and even if the aliens can be defeated, another threat lurks in the shadows of Earth.

Written by Mike W. Barr, Camelot 3000 is DC Comics science-fiction Arthurian comic book series.  Released in prestige print with art by co-creator Brian Bolland, the series initially faced deadline issues but gained a following over the years.  A collection was originally released in 1998, but a remastered Deluxe Edition came out in 2008 with extra features.

I had a few issues of the original Camelot 3000 (which was printed on Baxter paper), then I got a used copy of the first trade paperback version.  I read it, thought it was ok, and forgot about it.  I picked up a cheap copy of the Deluxe Edition, and in a second reading, I have a little more respect for the series.

The basic set-up for the series is a mash-up of the legend of King Arthur.  Many of the plotlines in the comic echo the original stories of Arthur such as the relationship between Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, Arthur’s relationship with Morgan Le Fay (toned down a bit by making Modred her bastard nephew), and even things like the quest for the Holy Grail.  By sticking to the original story, there is the idea that people cannot escape their destiny and that they are doomed to repeat history…which is a bit morbid considering all the horrible things that happened in the original Arthurian story.

camelot 3000 #12 cover review

Camelot 3000 #12

The classic story is juxtaposed with an alien invasion.  The small scale defense of England is extended to the world and the characters face new world problems like the United Nations and divisions among countries.  While many of these problems can draw parallels to the older problems, some like Tristan being trapped in the form of a woman and being torn by his changing sexuality, do feel modern (especially for 1982 when the series began publication).  In some ways, it is a shame that the series wasn’t made closer to today where these ideas could have been pushed farther.

The series does have some great art by Bolland.  The character designs but also the page layouts are often above the art of its contemporary titles.  Bolland’s meticulous style is part of what led to the delays, but reading as a chunk instead of waiting for individual issues gives it a flow that it probably didn’t have during its original release.

Camelot 3000 does some interesting things and some things that were ahead of its time.  Due to the timeless nature of the story, in some ways it has aged well, but in other ways, it feels derivative simply because of works that came after it (and honestly did similar stories better).  Despite this, Camelot 3000 is worth seeking out, but it might not be the Holy Grail you are looking or hoping for.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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