There are so many versions of this story that one more, I thought, seemed a bit superfluous, but I was wrong! And before we gone on, in case you need this, this article contains spoilers!
The artwork, which first appeared weekly in the UK’s children’s comic Film Fun and Lion, is of exceptional quality. The publisher has done a fantastic job considering the bleed through that occurred in children’s comics of the late 50s early 60s. The scans are great but the highlight of this paperback is the reproduction of Castillo’s original art. 14 pages of extraordinary beauty! Steve Holland provides a ‘stripography’ of Castillo’s work and an introduction to the lore of the Three or four Musketeers! A book that is very unlikely to be reprinted and well worth obtaining.
The three stories first appeared in
- Film Fun: 7 Jan 1961 – 27 May 1961 as “Three Musketeers”
- Lion: 28 Sept 1963 – 2 Nov 1963 as “The King’s Musketeers”
- Lion: 9 Nov 1963 – 22 Feb 1964 as “The Man in the Iron mask”
Steve Holland’s introduction of 5 two-columned pages covers the history of Dumas’ work and the Musketeers in particular. I love Steve’s work as he is a fan and writes for fans, knowing just how much to put in the introduction.
The first story has headers of photographs from the two films that appeared in 1935 (with Walter Abel as D’Artagnan) and 1948 with Gene Kelly. I thought that Errol Flynn appeared as D’Artagnan, but I’m wrong! He did star in “The Adventures of Robin Hood” in 1938 where he performed some brilliant fencing, so I expect I’ve mixed that up in my mind! The story tells of how D’Artagnan travels to Paris to join the Musketeers and how a gift to the Queen from the Duke of Buckingham might cause a war!
The second story has a tragic event which is very touching and we learn of the Queen’s twin sons and how Richelieu must separate them before they cause division in France.
The third story carries on from the birth and separation of the two Dauphins and tells the story of “the Man in the Iron Mask”
Steve Holland writes a two page biography of Arturo del Castillo and gives us a ‘stripography’ of his work in the UK. The book is rounded off with such a highlight – 14 pages of fantastic original artwork reproduced as they are today.
I can’t recommend this book enough and for all this you pay £20!
Author: Alexandre Dumas; edited by Steve Holland
Artist: Arturo del Castillo
Publisher: Book Palace Books, 30 April 2018
Number of pages: 112
Format: Flexi Cover; Black & White illustrations
Size: 9″ x 11″ (216mm x 280mm)