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Mister X Archives (Archive Editions

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When Mister X hit the shelves twenty-five years ago, no one had ever seen anything like it - a fusion of film noir, Art Deco, and German Expressionism channeled through the talents of the greatest up-and-coming artists of the day. The story of a utopian city with architecture that drove its inhabitants mad and the never-sleeping architect who quested tirelessly for a cure, When Mister X hit the shelves twenty-five years ago, no one had ever seen anything like it - a fusion of film noir, Art Deco, and German Expressionism channeled through the talents of the greatest up-and-coming artists of the day. The story of a utopian city with architecture that drove its inhabitants mad and the never-sleeping architect who quested tirelessly for a cure, Mister X captivated a generation of comics fans and creators, transforming the landscape of their chosen medium forever. Still as inspiring and compelling as the first time it saw print, the entire run of Mister X written by Dean Motter gets the deluxe treatment in this volume, every page of its groundbreaking artwork painstakingly restored.


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When Mister X hit the shelves twenty-five years ago, no one had ever seen anything like it - a fusion of film noir, Art Deco, and German Expressionism channeled through the talents of the greatest up-and-coming artists of the day. The story of a utopian city with architecture that drove its inhabitants mad and the never-sleeping architect who quested tirelessly for a cure, When Mister X hit the shelves twenty-five years ago, no one had ever seen anything like it - a fusion of film noir, Art Deco, and German Expressionism channeled through the talents of the greatest up-and-coming artists of the day. The story of a utopian city with architecture that drove its inhabitants mad and the never-sleeping architect who quested tirelessly for a cure, Mister X captivated a generation of comics fans and creators, transforming the landscape of their chosen medium forever. Still as inspiring and compelling as the first time it saw print, the entire run of Mister X written by Dean Motter gets the deluxe treatment in this volume, every page of its groundbreaking artwork painstakingly restored.

30 review for Mister X Archives (Archive Editions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    I really really really wanted to like this book. I mean, come on. The basic premise is that one of the architects of a Metropolis-style city has returned to find it's driving its inhabitants mad. And that architect is mostly mad himself, reduced to taking drugs to never sleep and constantly saying, "So much work to do...so little time to do it..." How do you fuck that up? Well, you fuck it up by devoting something like two or three panels on a single page in an almost 350 page book to that archite I really really really wanted to like this book. I mean, come on. The basic premise is that one of the architects of a Metropolis-style city has returned to find it's driving its inhabitants mad. And that architect is mostly mad himself, reduced to taking drugs to never sleep and constantly saying, "So much work to do...so little time to do it..." How do you fuck that up? Well, you fuck it up by devoting something like two or three panels on a single page in an almost 350 page book to that architect actually attacking the problem, but you spend the bulk of the time having people run around trying to solve one boring mystery after another, including whether the architect, known as Mr. X, is really Santos, or Walter, or Eichmann, or... yeah, don't care. So, the writing, while having the odd flash of brilliance, was mostly banal. And then there's the art. It started off extremely strong with the talented Hernandez brothers, then got progressively worse until it hit rock bottom with artist Seth. There was a constant thought going through my head as I struggled through two-thirds of the book before the apathy came to stay. And that thought was... Mister X. Misdirects. I think that's the more accurate title. Don't call it Mister X. Call the the phonetically similar Misdirects. Because that's all this book seemed to do. It misdirected you from the main story of what Mr. X could have done to save the people of Radiant City, and instead involved you in the small, boring stories of some of the city's most boring leaders. Not worth the time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Great artwork with a sometimes incomprehensible story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John

    Mister X is a bit similar to Grendel, in that's ambitious and extremely flawed. It's a comic that was extremely influential and a watershed book. It's a pure vision. With plenty of buzzwords thrown in...German Expressionism, Art Deco, Noir and Retro-futurist. It's graphic design made universe building. Its an Ayn Randian hero--an architect who built the perfect city, basses on psychogeometry only to realize it had all gone horribly wrong due to lesser visionaries diluting his vision. He now lives Mister X is a bit similar to Grendel, in that's ambitious and extremely flawed. It's a comic that was extremely influential and a watershed book. It's a pure vision. With plenty of buzzwords thrown in...German Expressionism, Art Deco, Noir and Retro-futurist. It's graphic design made universe building. Its an Ayn Randian hero--an architect who built the perfect city, basses on psychogeometry only to realize it had all gone horribly wrong due to lesser visionaries diluting his vision. He now lives a sisyphean life trying to fix a city decayin into itself. With a stacked team of Motter, the Hernandez Brothers, Seth, and Dave McKean your think the story would be immoral... Ultimately though this results in a lackluster story with plenty of mystery for the sake of mystery, macguffins and nonsensical plot twists. As someone else pointed out, the comic is called "Mister X" which phoenetically can sound like "Misdirects". SIGH Truly an example of style over substance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liv

    This one started out strong and then seemed to unravel about midway through. It's weird and heavy on the noir, so it's possible it was intended to have an eventually incoherent plot to send a message about sleep disorders, work culture and futility.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    “This room…is the worst…the very shape of it. It’s all wrong…all wrong for people…it crushes…this city was not meant for people…” This has not one, not two, but three forewords/introductions in it. So already we see too many people involved and we haven’t even started the main body of the book yet. One of the first things that becomes apparent about the art work is that it has a strange clash of retro with dated futurism to create quite an unsettling dystopia, which sets up the tone nicely. There “This room…is the worst…the very shape of it. It’s all wrong…all wrong for people…it crushes…this city was not meant for people…” This has not one, not two, but three forewords/introductions in it. So already we see too many people involved and we haven’t even started the main body of the book yet. One of the first things that becomes apparent about the art work is that it has a strange clash of retro with dated futurism to create quite an unsettling dystopia, which sets up the tone nicely. There are no shortages of these graphic fiction/comic book reduxes out there on the market. The publishers are well aware of their audience, and often by adding all of these quirky and colourful extras it can be an effective way of distracting from often mediocre work elsewhere. In many ways this seems to straddle the era of the old generation, Eisner, Kirby, Lee et al, and the new, revived and more complex experiments that really started to come to prominence throughout the 80s, Moore, Miller, Gaiman et al. In one sense it possesses a dated almost 50/60s vibe about it and yet the issues it concerns is one that is timeless, and relatable to most readers. It’s a bit ironic that this is the story of someone embarking on a grand project with impressive visions, but it got taken out of their hands, someone else took over and it became something else entirely, and yet this is pretty much what happened with this book and the original writers of this project. The art work is strong, and at times really impressive, but I also found it far too inconsistent due to the changing cast of artists. “Metropolis” is obviously a big influence throughout, but many other influences come and go, at the start the panels fall somewhere pleasantly between “The Jetsons” and “Blade Runner” it then shifts at various points into Surrealism, Art Deco and Soviet Era imagery and towards the end it almost starts to resemble elements of “SpongeBob SquarePants”. "Mister X" starts so well, with a really clever and thrilling premise and some compelling characters, but as it goes on, it just seems to lose all focus, shape and inspiration, and just runs out of steam, and by the end it’s all over the place. The original artists gave up on the project before finishing it, apparently over money issues, but either way the loss of interest is almost tangible in the latter instalments. This was a staggered and intermittent franchise with a changing cast of artists (rarely if ever a good idea, especially in terms of consistency) and it really tells in this book, it’s like listening to a band’s compilation album with various different members on different songs working on unfinished demos and covers, which is then patched together and released with a glossy façade and fanfare, but with very little substance beneath it all.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Damon

    Mr. X was one of my first comics obsessions, in the 80s. I remember trying (and eventually succeeding) to track all of these issues down, along with the later Vortex series. The series had a big impact on me - it was one of the first comics I read that put a lot of effort into overall design and thematic tone, and it also was using a sort of noir/art deco/retro future style that was really appealing. The story was a bit baffling at the time, and after re-reading it in this (really very excellent Mr. X was one of my first comics obsessions, in the 80s. I remember trying (and eventually succeeding) to track all of these issues down, along with the later Vortex series. The series had a big impact on me - it was one of the first comics I read that put a lot of effort into overall design and thematic tone, and it also was using a sort of noir/art deco/retro future style that was really appealing. The story was a bit baffling at the time, and after re-reading it in this (really very excellent hardback) collection, it still is - but it's still pretty interesting, and a lot of it still looks really great, and overall it's a lot of fun to read. After having read 20 years of comics since this originally came out, you can see where it's influence has popped up in other people's work throughout that time, and I would imagine a lot of current creators who are around my age felt like I did when they first saw it back then. Also cool is that there's work in here by 3 Hernandez brothers, and probably the first work by Seth, as well as an unfinished piece by Sienkiewicz and that one by Gaiman and McKean that turns up all over the place. The book also includes Dean Motter's reworked "finale" to the series (which - although Mr. X went on to have in at least 2 other series for different publishers, if not more - he apparently considers to be the only "canonical" Mr. X series). I got this book for 1/2 off as a "nick and dent" copy, and thought it was well worth it, and wound up enjoying it (again) a lot more than I expected.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Vaguely intriguing plot, but more mystery for mystery's sake. I picked this up because of the focus on cities and city design. The architectural elements are ubiquitous throughout, but they become more superficial as the narrative goes on. Ultimately, the story doesn't really hold up. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to read and the Archive Edition includes a lot of fantastic art and additional commentary that provides a lot of insight into Motter's vision.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dragan Nanic

    Anyone loving Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be in love with Mister X. It is an amazing crossbreed with Rick Kirby, 40's noir, psychobabble, art references and unique 80's visual style. It is an offspring of Ballard's Vermilion Sands grown out of any proportion, filled with ladies and robots, wealthy crime bosses and impossible drugs. And through it all, above and below, through walls and secret passages, goes Mister X - the mysterious figure who can be one of the inventors of Radiant city, transf Anyone loving Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be in love with Mister X. It is an amazing crossbreed with Rick Kirby, 40's noir, psychobabble, art references and unique 80's visual style. It is an offspring of Ballard's Vermilion Sands grown out of any proportion, filled with ladies and robots, wealthy crime bosses and impossible drugs. And through it all, above and below, through walls and secret passages, goes Mister X - the mysterious figure who can be one of the inventors of Radiant city, transformed in a similar manner. Doomed saviour, always running against time, recruiting help from various damsels along the way, trying to reverse the current state of Somnopolis. Yet none of the above gets even close to describing the unique experience of following Mister X through the hidden walkways of that impossible city.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    This is the complete collection of the early 1990s series "Mister X" with a few extras. I've read the latter part of the series collected in "The Modern Age" which I did like much more than this early work but this is still great stuff. It's a futuristic look at a utopian city which turned out to be a nightmare. The story involves the architects, a myriad of new-fangled pharmaceuticals and identity switching more complicated than any Shakespeare play. The art is outstanding! Most of it done by t This is the complete collection of the early 1990s series "Mister X" with a few extras. I've read the latter part of the series collected in "The Modern Age" which I did like much more than this early work but this is still great stuff. It's a futuristic look at a utopian city which turned out to be a nightmare. The story involves the architects, a myriad of new-fangled pharmaceuticals and identity switching more complicated than any Shakespeare play. The art is outstanding! Most of it done by the brilliant Seth. The numerous architecture is depicted in a cross of stunning art nouveau and brutalism. Seth's art itself is a combination of art nouveau, Soviet-era poster art and Dali. A complex story with splendid art.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    In terms of design, themes and tone, this is a freaking masterpiece. Even the initial storytelling is wonderfully done, but as it goes along, the narrative threads start to rip apart at the seams and by the end it's an incomprehensible mess, so I understand why this classic has been overlooked compared to other important classics from the 80s. That said, anyone with a passing interest in experimental comic art should definitely check this one out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Really interesting art and some really neat concepts. The storylines were way convoluted, maybe not even cogent through the end. Maybe that's not the point. I liked reading it but I'm not sure it'll stick with me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dominic

    Not as good as Motter's later Mister X works. Especially when he's drawing too. The story line was so confusing that at the end you have no idea who is who. It was bad enough that he had to write an epilogue to explain his way out of it. Seth's art never quite got Mercedes and Santos right.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Squeasel

    If it was all like the few Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean pages, I'd have probably really liked it. alas. potentially interesting premise, but after about three "who is Mr. X _REALLY?!_ identity twists, I srsly couldn't manage to care.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    Very cool art. The whole concept is original and fun. After the first 3 or 4 issues plot twist happen. Then the twist those twists until by the end nothing makes much sense. Read a couple, flip through all the art and move on before you go INSANE!!!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gregg

    It's very interesting & fun when you read a story and say to yourself, "this reminds me a lot of ____". Then you realize that this is the influence for much of what you've already read. Fun art & story, leaving you with as many questions as answers. It's very interesting & fun when you read a story and say to yourself, "this reminds me a lot of ____". Then you realize that this is the influence for much of what you've already read. Fun art & story, leaving you with as many questions as answers.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kara O'Rourke

    Gorgeous, page-turning, and intricate, but also hard to follow and to keep characters straight. I'm glad I read it, but at not necessarily a book I'd recommend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dlotempio

    Stylish, ambitious and inherently flawed. The first few chapters are nicely focused but the remaining 3/4 of the volume replaces inchoate, vapid plotting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tetsuo

    Leitura confusa em certas partes e um final bem ruim. As ideias apresentadas no começo não são bem trabalhadas.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Shaw

    One of the original independent comics to come out of the beginning of the non Marvel / DC publishers. A brilliantly realized series. Full of beautiful art.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doyle

    Let's start with the high points. Dean Motter has created a genuinely unique atmosphere for the setting of this story. Radiant City, aka Somnopolis, is an accomplishment in art deco. In addition, Motter created some of my all-time favorite covers for this series. _ Throw in some covers by A-list creators like Howard Chaykin, Michael Kaluta, and Dave McKean, and you've got great packaging for the issues of this series. _ Lastly, the first 4 issues feature stellar art and dialogue from Los Bros. H Let's start with the high points. Dean Motter has created a genuinely unique atmosphere for the setting of this story. Radiant City, aka Somnopolis, is an accomplishment in art deco. In addition, Motter created some of my all-time favorite covers for this series. _ Throw in some covers by A-list creators like Howard Chaykin, Michael Kaluta, and Dave McKean, and you've got great packaging for the issues of this series. _ Lastly, the first 4 issues feature stellar art and dialogue from Los Bros. Hernández (Jaime, Gilbert, and Mario) of Love and Rockets fame. Sounds like an amazing package so far, right? Too bad the story is a awful. The premise is that Somnopolis is a haunted place that slowly drives its inhabitants insane. I know this because it was spelled out for me in the prologue text, which is only confusing because I never got this impression at all while reading the story. The Hernandez issues focus on characterisation, spending little attention on plot or conflict. Motter took over the writing chores with issue 5 and continued doing a lackluster job. From what I can tell, this story is just about a group of people struggling to survive in a brave new world, peppering in a few gangsterland murders. The title character is very mysterious, which I got the feeling was done so because his origin story had not been established before beginning this adventure and was instead made up on the fly. Oh, and those awesome covers I showed you? I read this story as run of single issues I managed to collect over the past several years. I'm not even certain the covers are included in this edition of the book I'm reviewing, so... good luck?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Mister X tells the story of a mysterious character, bald, wearing dark glasses and a trench coat, haunting the streets and secret passageways of Radiant City. The city, a futuristic metropolis in the vein of, well, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and other 30s and 40s vintage visions of the future, somehow seems to be driving its citizens mad. Mister X claims it is his job to fix things. But why him? Who is Mister X? This becomes one of the central mysteries of the book, and while the question seems to Mister X tells the story of a mysterious character, bald, wearing dark glasses and a trench coat, haunting the streets and secret passageways of Radiant City. The city, a futuristic metropolis in the vein of, well, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and other 30s and 40s vintage visions of the future, somehow seems to be driving its citizens mad. Mister X claims it is his job to fix things. But why him? Who is Mister X? This becomes one of the central mysteries of the book, and while the question seems to be finally answered in the new conclusion found here, I think I need to reread it in order to fully process it. It’s all so screwy and twisty that when the answers finally come, they aren’t straightforward or easy. Which is fine; anything less wouldn’t have been satisfying. When I was a kid, the comic didn’t really come out on anything resembling a regular schedule, so this is the first time I’ve been able to read the whole story at once. It’s every bit as enjoyable now as it was then. It’s weird, seeing the early work by the Hernandez’s here, as well as early work by Seth, who has grown so much between then and the work he’s doing in Palookaville these days. Mister X is regarded as a seminal work, and I think it’s as much responsible for the way science fiction setting are done in comics as Blade Runner is for the movies. Certainly for me, Mister X was my introduction to sci fi noir (if not noir altogether). It’s tough for me to think of another story that blended imagery from the past with a complicated, contemporary story in quite the same way before this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Wilson

    ok...i havent really read the whole thing yet cause I have somehow lost issue 4, and I cant go on until I find it, but wow, this is a definitive work of early comics let me tell you. And the artists involved...i was shocked, I had no idea frankly...Seth, the hernandez brothers, Dave McKean, Bill Sienkiewicz...all highly respected artist just getting their start. I really have to find that #4 too because they just brought Mister X back for a 4 part series that I have purchased but cant read yet!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dominick

    This collects this mid-eighties Canadian comic in its full initial run (with redone final issue and some bonus pieces). It's visually innovative (very deco/expressionist) and features early work by alternative greats such as The Hernandez brothers and Seth, but the story is literally incomprehensible. Nice to look at, interesting idea (Radiant city was designed according to the principles of psychetecture, so it affects the mental well-being of its inhabitants, and since things have gone askew, This collects this mid-eighties Canadian comic in its full initial run (with redone final issue and some bonus pieces). It's visually innovative (very deco/expressionist) and features early work by alternative greats such as The Hernandez brothers and Seth, but the story is literally incomprehensible. Nice to look at, interesting idea (Radiant city was designed according to the principles of psychetecture, so it affects the mental well-being of its inhabitants, and since things have gone askew, it's driving them mad), but overall a failure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julian

    As I read this, even before I read this but read the forward by Warren Ellis I realised that this work was a major inspiration for Transmetropolitan and Spider Jerusalem. This was an interesting work that suffers slightly at the end, as the author Dean Motter himself says, because contributors bailed. Motter saved the thread of the work and finished it satisfactorily, IMO. I enjoyed it and would read Condemned.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Torben Henning, sf magazin

    "Das Ding des Bekloppten" Dean Motter nennt es in seinem "Mister X" Psychotektur, und die Stadt Radiant City. Architekt Le Corbusier wollte einfach nur Bedürfnisse in den Mittelpunkt stellen, mit seiner Cité radieuse. >>> Besprechung ... "Das Ding des Bekloppten" Dean Motter nennt es in seinem "Mister X" Psychotektur, und die Stadt Radiant City. Architekt Le Corbusier wollte einfach nur Bedürfnisse in den Mittelpunkt stellen, mit seiner Cité radieuse. >>> Besprechung ...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erik Wirfs-Brock

    A nice package overall, and some very good artwork from the Hernandez starts out the series, but overall the story is kind of boring/underwritten for such a cool premise, and the early artwork from Seth is nothing to write home about. I checked this out from the library and struggled to finish, there are many better examples out there of 80's creator owned genre comics

  27. 4 out of 5

    Doc

    Not as good as I remembered it. I still enjoyed the Hernandez Bros and Seth's work but the story never came together in a cohesive manner.

  28. 5 out of 5

    j_ay

    Quirky 80s stuff, but sadly the series starts to slide downhill fast after the first 8 (or so) issues...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A brilliant beginning but I was completely lost during the last 1/4 of the collection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Frederik

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