Comic Book: Camelot 3000

Camelot 3000 is an American twelve-issue comic book series written by Mike W. Barr and penciled by Brian Bolland. It was published by DC Comics from 1982 to 1985 as one of its first direct market projects, and as its first maxi-series.

The plot of the series follows the adventures of King Arthur, Merlin and the reincarnated Knights of the Round Table as they reemerge in an overpopulated future world of 3000 A.D. to fight off an alien invasion masterminded by Arthur's old nemesis, Morgan Le Fay. Arthur is awakened accidentally from his resting place beneath Glastonbury Tor by a young archeology student, Tom Prentice.


Tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: as in so sharp you can split atoms with it. Note that in an earlier scene, Arthur uses its edge to coherently split a laser in half. Not just atoms, streams of photons, boys and girls!
  • Actually That's My Assistant: Tom interrupts a wedding to awaken the memories of the reborn Sir Tristan. He assumes, and insists, that the knight is the burly and belligerent groom, but it turns out the sweet bride is the real Tristan (who stops being feminine right away after being awakened).
  • Americans Are Cowboys: The American president dresses like a cowboy and packs a pair of six-shooters.
  • And the Adventure Continues
  • Artistic License Nuclear Physics: splitting a single atom of carbon/iron/whatever, even with Excalibur, is probably not going to cause a chain reaction leading to a thermonuclear explosion.
  • Bee People: The aliens have a mother-queen, although they're not insect-like anatomically.
  • BFS: Excalibur.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Merlin has been betrayed by one of the reincarnated Round Table knights. King Arthur orders the suspects to hold Excalibur and attest to their innocence, claiming his sword will magically strike down anyone who lies while holding it. The guilty party panics and confesses, after which Arthur admits that Excalibur has no such power.
  • The Bronze Age
  • Butterface: Ninive is a hot woman clad in a semi-transparent gown and a porcelain mask. What's behind that mask isn't very pretty.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion
  • The Eighties: Despite being set in the year 3000, this series wallows in the fashion and culture of the 1980s.
  • '80s Hair: Tristan, in both incarnations.
  • Enigmatic Empowering Entity: The Lady of the Lake.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Morgan le Fay
  • Excalibur: Arthur must retrieve his fabled sword from the Lady of the Lake. The lake, however, is now the cooling pond for a nuclear powers station.
  • Exty Years from Now
  • First Law Of Genderbending: Tristan never does figure out a way to become a man again, and eventually comes to terms with being a woman and still loving Isolde.
  • Gender Bender/Gender Flip: The chauvinistic Sir Tristan is reincarnated as a woman. This subplot, and Lady Tristan's relationship with the still-female reincarnation of Isolde, drew a lot of attention at the time.
  • Genghis Gambit: The newly resurrected knights are not dealing well with each other, so Kay, who was always the least liked of the knights, chooses to remain in the role by acting like an asshole towards the other knights. Thus he gives the other knights someone common to look down and get along with each other.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: One of the leaders of the four biggest power blocks in the world is the Premier of the Soviet Union, which apparently still exists in the year 3000.
  • Heroic Sacrifice — several.
  • Hive Caste System: The alien invaders.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers
  • Incompatible Orientation: Tom never had a chance... But he did seem to come very close.
  • King Arthur
  • King in the Mountain
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sir Tristan's reincarnation as a woman which may be seen as punishment for the rape he committed as a male.
  • Moral Dissonance: King Arthur drowning babies to secure his kingship.
  • Multinational Team: due to being reincarnated into bodies across the planet, the Knights of the Round Table are essentially this: Tom, King Arthur, and (presumably) Merlin are English, Lancelot is French, Guinevere and Kay are American, Percival is Australian, Galahad is Japanese, Gawain is South African, and Tristan is Canadian.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: The reincarnation of Mordred experiences a flashback in which King Arthur attempts to drown him as an infant, apparently having learned that his bastard child will one day destroy Camelot. This naturally pisses off his new incarnation enough to instantly turn him from a Corrupt Corporate Executive-type to the Big ad's new Dragon. Possibly a subversion, as the flashback is induced by Morgan le Fay, who has her own reasons to manipulate him and might've faked the vision to inflame his hatred.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Morgan le Fay causes Mordred's reincarnation to remember his previous incarnation's having almost been drowned by King Arthur as an infant.
  • Race Lift: In-Verse examples: Gawain's reincarnation is African, and Galahad's is Japanese.
  • Redemption Equals Death Kay, Galahad, and Arthur himself.
  • Red Right Hand: Morgan finds that Power Gives You Seriously Nasty Pustules.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Morgan's pet ape-thing. Also Was Once a Man.
  • Rock Beats Laser
  • Schedule Slip (it was a 12 issue monthly series from 1982 to 1985. You do the math.)
    • the introduction to the Deluxe Edition by Mike Barr has him explain how he tried to convince DC to avert this by having it come out every two months, but they didn't go for it.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Camelot 3000 is all about the Sealed Good of King Arthur being revived from a millennia-long hibernation to battle alien invaders.
  • Second Coming: Fulfilling an ancient prophecy that he would return when England needs him most.
  • Shout-Out: Camelot 3000 isn't part of The DCU. However, the 2011 comic DC Universe: Legacies #7 featured a Time Travel trip to the DCU's version of Camelot in the Middle Ages, and Arthur, Merlin, and Morgaine's appearances were based on how they looked in Camelot 3000. The issue's artist was Brian Bolland.
  • Show Some Leg: King Arthur has Sir Tristan, who'd been reincarnated as female, pull this stunt on some enemy guards. As Arthur knew Tristan hated being stuck in a woman's body, this was as much a loyalty-test for Tristan as a means of neutralizing the guards.
  • Significant Haircut: Tristan cuts his hair short to indicate that he is not Amber any more.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Isolde.
  • Starfish Language
  • Super Soldier: Dissidents and criminals are involuntarily converted to Neo-Men by oppressive governments: oversized, voiceless, unquestioning brutes used to suppress riots and political unrest. Sir Percival's reincarnation undergoes this transformation within moments of having his past life's recollections restored, but retains his own mind due to the memory-restoration magic's effects.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Tom.
  • Trope 2000
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: Subverted. Morgan la Fay tempts Tristan to betray Merlin in exchange for being transformed from a female reincarnation to male. Tristan never gets the chance because Kay betrays Merlin first; in any case, s/he had been planning to kill Morgan as soon as the transformation-spell was applied.