The brand new Graphic Novel from Bryan Talbot…
Bryan Talbot has done more for UK comics as far as being an ambassador through his constant introductions of one creator to another than anyone I have ever known. Bryan has always been seen at conventions, speaking one minute to one person and in another introducing them to someone else before slipping off to do it all over again. Long before MySpace and FaceBook the UK comic scene had Bryan, without the dot com after his name.
Bryan’s love of comics and the art of sequential storytelling is self-evident through his talks at conventions, his general conversations as a friend and colleague and in his enthusiasm about his work and that of others too.
Bryan’s taste in comics, like his taste in fine wines and fine art, like my own is quite eclectic. I have always said that comics are comics, be they anthropomorphic characters, ultra realistic, violent, pre-school, graphic novels, the list is, as it should be, only as small as the imagination.
This sentiment is quite literally seen in Bryan’s body of work, from his epic, Luther Arkright, through Nemesis the Warlock, The Sandman, Phage – Shadowdeath, with more well known characters such as, Batman, his wonderully empathetic One Bad Rat, and Alice in Sunderland, to name but a few.
Now the list above, is only a small smattering of the total body for his work, but it shows just what Bryan’s stories work, with their many faceted, complex at times, but always intriguing, illustrated tales.
In his latest masterpiece, "Grandville", Bryan regales us with yet another steampunk scenario, which was initially inspired by the work of the nineteenth-century French illustrator Gerard, who worked under the pseudonym of “Grandville” (from where the title of the book originates) and was known for drawing anthropomorphic animal characters.
Bryan relates the story of one Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard, a badger, as he stalks a gang of murderers through the heart of Belle Epoque Paris, although not the Paris you may have visited.
In the alternate world, which we visit in Grandville, France is the major world power. We see steam-driven hansom cabs, steam-driven automatons and steam-driven flying machines. Bryan’s work with first his Luther Arkright and subsequent, similarly, steampunk driven work through to this, his latest, have always reminded me with their undertones of the work of Michael Moorcock, especially the Bastable and Jerry Cornelius storylines..
Here, in this different steampunk version of Paris and the world at large, the characters are, in the main animals and similar to his work on Phage - Shadowdeath, we see an underclass of a certain section of the population.
In this case we see an underclass of humans, whom Bryan refers to in his script as 'dough faces'. Echoing the “clear-line” characters of Herge's "Tintin" books and many similarly drawn European comics, "Grandville" looks to be both a visual feast and a successful juxtaposition of the anthropomorphic and steampunk genres, although I have now come to expect nothing less from Bryan.
I had the good fortune of inking Phage – Shadowdeath over David Pugh’s marvellous pencils and Bryan’s wonderful script, back in the mid-nineties. It was at Bryan’s request to Ed Polgardy, at the time editor-in-chief of Tekno comics in the USA, to hire me as the inker, after seeing my latest work at the time, on Dark Crusade. I consider that to be one of the highlights of my career to have Bryan think so highly of my work that he wanted me to work on his book, I also consider it a great privilege too.
Over the years I have come to think of Bryan more as a friend than just another colleague, or indeed a great storyteller, so it gives me great pleasure to introduce you all to a book I know I, for one, will enjoy immensely.
The book is published in October 2009 by Jonathan Cape worldwide and Dark Horse in the USA.
For more information about the book visit: Grandville.
Until next time have fun!
March 17th 2009
8 hours ago