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The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire
Tales From the Trigan Empire.jpg
Tales From the Trigan Empire, 1989
Created by Mike Butterworth
Don Lawrence
Publication information
Publisher
  • UK Fleetway
    Rebellion Developments
  • NL Big Balloon
    Uitgeverij Oberon
Formats Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) Ranger and Look and Learn.
Original language English
Genre Science fiction
Publication date September 1965 – April 1982
Creative team
Writer(s) Mike Butterworth
Ken Roscoe
Artist(s) Don Lawrence
Oliver Frey
Gerry Wood
Philip Corke
Ramon Sola
Ron Embleton
Miguel Quesada
Reprints
Collected editions
The Look and Learn Book of the Trigan Empire (1973) ISBN: 0-85037-104-X
The Trigan Empire (1978) ISBN: 0-600-38788-7
Tales from the Trigan Empire (1989) ISBN: 0-948248-95-5
The Trigan Empire (The Don Lawrence Collection) (2004-2008) (12 vols) ISBN: 90-73508-54-1
The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire (2020- ) ISBN: 978-1-78108-755-8

The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire, later called simply The Trigan Empire, is a science fiction comic series written mainly by Mike Butterworth with artwork (initially watercolours, later gouache) by Don Lawrence, among others. It told the story of an alien culture in which futuristic technology, such as antigravity vehicles and energy ray weapons, was blended with architecture, dress, and customs reminiscent of ancient civilizations, the most obvious being those of Ancient Greece and Rome. The stories revolved around a strong and heroic leader who defended his empire from constants threats from both without and within. The comic remains notable for the unique artwork by Don Lawrence which combines a painterly photo-realistic style with caricaturistic renderings that remain anatomically convincing.

Background

The series initially ran from 1965 to 1982, dealing with the long-past events of an empire on the distant planet of Elekton. Heavily influenced by mythological tales, a number of the societies seemed to be based on ancient cultures that had existed in history. Chief among these was the Trigan Empire, apparently modelled on Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. This similarity even extended to Trigan City, the capital being built on five hills, in a similar fashion to the seven hills of Rome. The Trigans flew atmosphere craft. The Trigans' clothing was similar to that of the Romans, with many of the populace dressed in toga-like garments, or in the case of the soldiery, in Greek or Roman-style armour. A similar likeness could be drawn with Hericon, the chief rival in power to the Trigans, whose appearance seemed to mirror that of elements of the Byzantine Empire, and the Persian Empire.

According to Butterworth, "The original Impetus was from that veritable genius Leonard Matthews, then my senior group editor when I was editing Sun and Comet. He threw the first introductory script at me and told me to take it from there. He had no idea where to further it but he knew where to look for a guy who did...."

The first strip told of a spaceship crashing into a swamp on Earth, the crew frozen to death, with many written volumes inside in an unknown language. Studies of the crew reveal them to be humanoid, but around 12 feet tall. After many years, the spaceship is turned into the central attraction of an amusement park. Eventually, at a very advanced age, a scientist—Peter Richard Haddon—who has studied the books from the spaceship as a young man manages to translate the volumes, and begins to relate the tales.

The Trigans began as a nomadic tribe called the Vorgs, with no technology, initially under the leadership of three brothers, Trigo, Brag and Klud. Trigo persuades his more conservative brothers that in the face of changing events, namely the ambitions of the Lokan Empire, they must settle. The fledgling Trigan nation is established via a merger of the nomadic Vorgs and the technically advanced people of Tharv (who arrived as refugees to the Plains of Vorg after they were defeated by the Lokans) under the leadership of Trigo, with the trappings of a Romanesque civilization with swords, lances and Roman-style clothing, but with high-tech ray guns, aircraft and a high-tech navy. In a later story, the Trigans create a rocketship in months to fly to one of Elekton's moons. Several of the other civilizations show a similar blend of low and high tech.

Main characters

Writers

  • Mike Butterworth
  • Ken Roscoe

Artists

  • Don Lawrence (1965-1973, 1975-1976)
  • Ron Embleton (1969, 1968/1975)
  • Miguel Quesada (1972, 1974), for long wrongly credited to Ramon Sola
  • Philip Corke (1974-1975)
  • Oliver Frey (1976-1977)
  • Gerry Wood (1977-1982)
  • Henry Winter

Tales

Although there were no official titles for most of the stories, these are the commonly used names.

  • Tales written by Mike Butterworth (1965-77)
    • “Victory for the Trigans” (1965-66)
    • “Crash in the Jungle” (1966)
    • “Elekton in Danger”, also known as “The Falling Moon” (1966)
    • “The Invaders from Gallas” (1966)
    • “The Land of No Return”, also known as “The Legend of Hellas” (1966)
    • “The Lokan Conspiracy”, also known as “The Revolt of the Lokans” (1966)
    • “War with Hericon”, also known as “Truce with Hericon” (1966-67)
    • “Revolution in Zabriz” (1967)
    • “The Lokan Invasion”, also known as “Vannu's Poison” (1967)
    • “The Revenge of Darak” (1967)
    • “The Three Aliens”, also known as “The Alien Invasion” (1967)
    • “The Reign of Thara”, also known as “Battle for Trigan City” (1967-68)
    • “Voyage to the Moon Bolus”, also known as “The Invasion of Bolus” (1968)
    • “The Three Princes” (1968)
    • “Poison from Outer Space”, also known as “The Alien Dust” (1968-69)
    • “The Lost City” (1969)
    • “The Terror of Mount Spyx” (1969)
    • “The Invisibility Ray”, also known as “False Accusation” (1969)
    • “The Deadly Formula”, also known as “The Ultimate Weapon” (1969)
    • “The Tyrant” (1969)
    • “The Red Death” (1970)
    • “The Puppet Emperor” (1970)
    • “Trigo's Five Tasks”, also known as “The Five Labours of Trigo” (1970)
    • “The Menace From The Sea”, also known as “Menace from the Deep” (1970-71)
    • “The Giant Rallus”, also known as “The Rallu Invasion” (1971)
    • “The City of Jewels” (1971)
    • “The Imposter”, also known as “The Unscrupulous Servant” (1971)
    • “The Duplication Machine”, also known as “The Duplicator” (1971)
    • “The Masked Raiders”, also known as “Revenge of a Friend” (1971)
    • “The Prisoner of Zerss” (1971-72)
    • “The Miniature Killers of Zelph”, also known as “The Black Duke” (1972)
    • “The Hypnotist”, also known as “Doran the Hypnotist” (1972)
    • “The Wish Fulfiller”, also known as “The Black Box” (1972)
    • “The Fiendish Experiment”, also known as “The Hydro Man” (1972)
    • “The Curse of King Yutta” (1972)
    • “The Lost Years” (1972-73)
    • “Journey to Orcadia”, also known as “Atomic Disaster!” (1973)
    • “The Secret of Castle Doum” (1973)
    • “The House of the Five Moons” (1973)
    • “A National Emergency”, also known as “The Outlaw Planet” (1973)
    • “The Palace of Peril”, also known as “The Glass Palace” (1973)
    • “Evil from Outer Space”, also known as “Terror from Tarron” (1973)
    • “The Curse of the Sun Worshippers”, also known as “The Sun Worshippers” (1973-74)
    • “The Zootha Vorgs”, also known as “The Rogue Planet” (1974)
    • “The Sea Creatures” (1974)
    • "The Youth Serum" (1974)
    • "The Assassin" (1974)
    • “The Deadly Seeds” (1974)
    • “Emperor Z” (1974-75)
    • “The Brief Reign of Sennos the First” (1968/1975)
    • “The Heat Controller” (1975)
    • “The Time Traveller”, also known as “The Man from the Future” (1975)
    • “The Rocketeer”, also known as “The Mission of Lukaz Rann” (1975)
    • “The Convicts”, also known as “Torga's Mind Controller” (1975)
    • “The Gambler”, also known as “Nastor, the Faith Healer” (1975)
    • “The Ultimate Collection”, also known as “The Millionaire” (1975-76)
    • “The Dryaks”, also known as “The Green Smog” (1976)
    • “The Nobes”, also known as “The Lost Valley” (1976)
    • “Atomic Fallout”, also known as “The Fallout Menace” (1976)
    • “Vengeance!” (1976)
    • “The Zallus” (1976)
    • “The Street Sweeper” (1976)
    • “The Time Machine” (1976-77)
    • “The Frozen People” (1977)
    • “Abdication” (1977)
    • “Dr. Mazaratto's Elixir” (1977)
    • “The Digger” (1977)
    • “The Stolen Plans” (1977)
    • “The Curse of Zonn” (1977)
  • Tales written by Ken Roscoe (1978-82)
    • “The Killer” (1978)
    • “The Rival” (1978)
    • “The Trigonium Thieves” (1978)
    • “Chase For a Traitor” (1978)
    • “The Voyage of the Perici” (1978)
    • “The Flowers of Forgetfulness” (1978-1979)
    • “Rebellion in Daveli” (1979)
    • “A Tragic Misunderstanding” (1979)
    • “The Zabriz Conspiracy” (1980)
    • “Trigan's Deadly Peril” (1980)
    • “The Skorpiads” (1980)
    • “The Zolt Exodus” (1981)
    • “Terror of the Skorpiads” (1981)
    • “Search Mission” (1981)
    • “Alien Mission” (1981-1982)
    • “Mercy Mission” (1982)
  • Other tales
    • “The Wise Man of Vorg”
    • “They Came From out of the Night”, also known as “The Underworld of Vuldar” (text story, 1976)
    • “Battle for Survival” (1977)

Collected editions

The stories have been collected into volumes a number of times:

  • The Look and Learn Book of the Trigan Empire (70 pages, IPC/Fleetway, 1973, )
  • The Trigan Empire (192 pages, Hamlyn, October 1978, )
  • Tales from the Trigan Empire (160 pages, Hawk Books, 1989, )
  • The Trigan Empire (The Don Lawrence Collection, hardcover):
    • The Invaders from Gallas (August 2008, )
    • Revolution in Zabriz (122 pages, March 2007, )
    • The Reign of Thara (98 pages, November 2006, )
    • The Three Princes (98 pages, March 2006, )
    • The Red Death (114 pages, April 2008, )
    • The Puppet Emperor (114 pages, December 2007, )
    • The Rallu Invasion (96 pages, August 2006, )
    • The Prisoner of Zerss (98 pages, March 2004, )
    • The Curse of King Yutta (98 pages, October 2005, )
    • The House of the Five Moons (94 pages, March 2005, )
    • The Sun Worshippers (106 pages, October 2004, )
    • The Green Smog (November 2008, )
  • The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire (Rebellion)
    • Volume I (304 pages, March 2020, )
    • Volume II (288 pages, December 2020, )

Adaptations

Two radio plays were produced in Dutch, "The Mysterious Meteorite" and "Lumbwabwa the Usurper".

Movie rights for a feature film based on the strip were optioned in 2009. In December 2011 it was revealed that a script existed and that the film's producers were holding meetings in England to find a director.

Time Inc had a TV series in development in 2017 with 10 episodes written but production halted when Rebellion acquired the rights.

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