Bryan Talbot

Alice in Sunderland

I’ve been waiting for Alice in Sunderland for a while now, and it’s finally been released. The latest work from Bryan Talbot, one of the greats of British comics, is a 328 page book is about the history of his home town, the genesis of Alice in Wonderland and comics themselves. This review, done as a comic strip talking head over panels from the comic and other books, has been inspired by Talbot’s own appearance as narrator in his tale.

Other graphic novels by Bryan Talbot-
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
Heart of Empire: The Legacy of Luther Arkwright
The Tale of One Bad Rat

Review found via BoingBoing

The tale of the Sadistic Children's Author

Deep down, was Beatrix Potter just a bit nasty?

I can’t remember ever reading any of Potter’s books, though I’m sure I must have. You can get them all in Beatrix Potter Complete Tales, a hardback featuring her stories in the order they were published and four others published after her death. Better than all the merchandise is The Tale of One Bad Rat, one of the most incredible comics ever published.

I just found my review of One Bad Rat on Amazon-

One Bad Rat is a beautiful comic, entirely unlike anything I have seen before. With no fantasy elements (well, apart from the giant imaginary rat) the story stands on the telling and the art. A young girl escapes her abusive father and unloving mother, running first to London and then the Lake District, where she finds a surrogate family. It all sounds like a TV movie, but is far superior to subject of the week fodder. The story is less melodramatic, the detail better observed, the colour more vivid and (yes) the acting is more believable.

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Towering Flowers

The camera in my phone doesn’t really have the resolution to take this sort of picture, but I quite like the effect.

The Forton services mushroom. This structure was condemned years ago, I don’t think I even ate in it in the 70’s. I was going to find sites full of Forton trivia to link to here, but there’s only this one. In fact, Forton resources are so sparse that an earlier spinneyhead picture is the second result on a search for Forton Services.) One piece of Forton trivia I can pass on- the tower appears in the background of a scene from the excellent The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot.

Any way, I got a better picture, click on the thumbnail to view the full image-

And some pretty flower pictures. As the captions say, I’ll name them if anyone can tell me what they are. I’ll send Mum a message and ask, they are all planted on the grounds of High Trees.

And finally, my one and only picture from the banger racing.

Alice in Sunderland

Bryan Talbot, one of Britain’s finest artists, has completed a 250 page graphic novel about Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and the nature of storytelling. Amazingly, he doesn’t have a publisher for it!
This is the guy who wrote and drew one of the greatest comic stories ever- The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (criminally the full version is unavailable at Amazon, though they do have one of the books Gotterdammerung)- the most borrowed graphic novel from libraries- Tale of One Bad Rat and the gorgeous and intricate Heart of Empire. He’s also contributed to more than his fair share of comics icons.
I highly recommend a potter around and check out the Heart of Empire CD rom, which is rarely more than an arm’s length from the PC and will be heavily referenced for storytelling tips when I sit down to write my Union Jack proposal.
And finally- the man himself is doing a talk at Longsight library in July. I went to see him at Chorlton last February and it was a very informative talk, so I’m up to doing it again.


The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is set to be turned into a film. The only picture I have on my wall at the moment is a print of ‘The Battle of London’ signed by Bryan Talbot, depicting a climactic moment in the story. This is a very important comic, at least as much so as Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns, though it never got the attention it deserved.

With enough care and attention, the movie could work as a dark SF thriller/ action movie with a couple of scenes calling for Matrix style fight sequences and bullet time. Without it it could turn into Bulletproof Monk, fun but inconsequential, or- even worse- a Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle.

Busy day.

I bought the bike. It was practically half price, and still quite expensive. To be honest, it’s probably more bike than my current riding ability deserves, but I guess I’ll just have to improve.

Then this evening, I went to see a talk by Bryan Talbot at Chorlton library. Very interesting, I learnt a lot about page layout, pacing, speech ballon placement and colour. A lot of it is stuff that’s lodged in your subconcious if you’ve read enough comics, but it’s good to hear a master of the art on the subject. You absolutely must buy Tale of One Bad Rat, one of the best graphic novels ever.

I feel a little embarassed to mention Bulletproof Poets after talking about the man. But, hey, here’s page twelve.