The Trigan Empire was the comic strip we were allowed to read at school, and so will always have a special place in the hearts of old British comic fans.
It appeared in Look & Learn, a weekly educational magazine for children that ran from 1962 to 1982, and which teachers loved, and always made sure the magazine cupboard was stocked full of.
Look & Learn was full of articles about science, and history, and geography, and all that boring stuff, as well as full and double page paintings that now I think are beautiful, but as a kid into The Mighty World Of Marvel, thought were the dullest thing ever. It also had comic strips, nice, safe, educational comic strips about cute rabbits and ducklings.
I don't ever remember seeing it sold in shops, though I'm sure well-meaning parents bought it, it was more that we got to rummage through piles of Look & Learn at breaktime at school. And the reason we eagerly, voluntarily, raced to the magazine cupboard to get a copy was solely due to The Trigan Empire.
Writer Mike Butterworth and artist Don Lawrence pulled a classic bait and switch on teachers and parents, by making the strip appear to be a sci-fi retelling of the Rise & Fall Of The Roman Empire. In part it was, sure, but I'm here to tell you I learnt absolutely nothing about the Roman Empire from the story of Trigo, his family and people on the far off planet of Elekton.
I sure learnt a lot about gladiators, spaceships and monsters though. Oh, and I also learned that Don Lawrence was one of the greatest comic strip artists who ever lived.
Here's the first few chapters of this epic saga.
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