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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 81

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at Barry Windsor-Smith’s Archer and Armstrong #8/Eternal Warrior #8..
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Enjoy!

Archer and Armstrong #8/Eternal Warrior #8 was a rarity in comics – a gimmick that was actually cool and did not affect your enjoyment of a comic book series if you were not interested in the gimmick.

You see, for the 8th issue of both Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong, Valiant COMBINED the books for one extra-long issue that served as the 8th issue for both titles.

Written and drawn by the great Barry Windsor-Smith, the issue told an untold tale of Armstrong and his brother, Gilad, the Eternal Warrior.

You see, up to this point, we just knew that Armstrong (real name Aram) and the Eternal Warrior were brothers and that they had both lived for a really long time. Recently, Armstrong had struck up a partnership with a young, slightly naive (but exceptionally skilled in the art of war) man named Obadiah Archer.

So in this issue, we get a story set in the past with Armstrong and the Eternal Warrior, as Windsor-Smith tells the story of The Three Musketeers only with Gilad, Aram and their to this point unseen third brother, Ivan.

D’Artagnan is basically Archer in the story.

There is also a Geomancer – these are mystics who pass down the title from generation to generation. They are in touch with the Earth and they generally help to do the will of the Earth. They often need assistance from others – Gilad is especially willing to follow their lead, which includes putting together this ruse to unseat the current King of France with his brother, the Man in the Iron Mask!

As you can see, there’s something a bit…off about the third brother, Ivar, and we find out what it is at the end of the story.

The story gets quite a bit messy as Gilad and the Geomancer’s plan does not go as intended, and it’s great to see the interaction and reactions of the brothers to each other as things go poorly. Particularly Aram – the “happy go lucky” member of the trio.

Windsor-Smith’s artwork is sensational as always, but his writing is on fine display here, as well, as he tells a compelling story with a lot of details all in one issue.

The book also features a series of pin-ups by various notable artists from the time (at least those with Valiant connections) showing the three brothers (and Archer) in various points in American history (Civil War, 1930s Chicago, etc.).

When every other comic at this time was giving us foil covers or hologram covers, it was quite a nice thing to see a gimmick be this GOOD!

Anyone know if this one made it into the recent Archer and Armstrong hardcover?

3 Comments

An interesting pick, Brian. Purely on the basis of the art, I am sorely tempted to pick it up.A few random observations:

1. Anachronism: On the 5th panel of the first excerpted page, reference is made to the Guillotine. Louis 14th died in 1715. Dr. Guillotine was not born until 1738.

2. Hair: Why is D’artagnan bald? All of the drawings that I have seen of the historical D’artagnan show him with hair.

Art vs. writing: The art is exquisite, but I find the writing to be merely serviceable. I think that we will have to agree to disagree on the merits of BWS’s writing skills.

“and their to this point unseen third brother, Ivan.”

Ivar, not Ivan :P heh

@trajan23

To answer your second question, the artwork in the story reflects Archer’s idea of what Aram describes to him, so D’Artagnan looks the way Archer imagined him to look.

On the last page of the comic Aram shows Archer a Polaroid picture of the three brothers with D’Artagnan in which D’Artagnan has hair.

The gist of the story is that the events Aram describes is the way it really happened, while Dumas’ novel is the fictional account, and Dumas changed the names of the Musketeers so that the brothers would not sue him, keeping only D’Artagnan’s name because they had a royalty agreement.

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