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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, 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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Starred Review. Almost 25 years after he first haunted the streets of the dystopian metropolis known as Radiant City, the mysterious Mister X returns in this beautifully restored collection, showcasing the comic's entire run. The brainchild of Toronto-based graphic designer Motter, the first issue of Mister X appeared in 1984 and introduced readers to the shadowy title character who had returned to Radiant City after a long absence. Purporting to be one of the city's original architects, Mister X is determined to repair the broken metropolis, which has gone mad as a result of his own invention of psychetecture, wherein buildings can alter a person's mood or neuroses. In order to accomplish his task, Mister X must forgo sleep entirely, with the help of a drug known as insomnalin, as well as battle a revolving group of thugs. The landmark series, with its nods to German expressionism and Bauhaus, introduced readers to the early work of several artists who would become influential in alternative comics, including the Hernandez brothers (Love and Rockets) and Seth (Palooka-ville). A treat for longtime fans and new readers alike, this journey through one man's waking nightmare is still an eyeball-popping visit to a stunning retro future. (Nov.)
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Mister X was among the early successes of the nascent independent comics movement of the early 1980s, when the Big Two—DC and Marvel—began losing their stranglehold on the medium. Its toxic setting was Radiant City, a metropolis whose postmodern architecture (an uneasy mélange of art deco, Bauhaus, German expressionism, and film noir) drove inhabitants mad. Mister X, purportedly the city’s architect, had forsaken sleep to work ceaselessly to find a cure. The serial was conceived by designer Motter, who turned over much of the writing and nearly all the drawing to hired hands, most notably Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, just beginning their long run on the landmark Love and Rockets, and future alt-comix luminary Seth, who had yet to perfect his elegantly simple graphic style. No matter who was involved, Motter’s background as a record- and book-cover designer meant that style was always at least as important as the erratic and convoluted story line. Although unmistakably a product of its era, Mister X remains a visual and conceptual treat a quarter-century later. --Gordon Flagg
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