Friday, 15 July 2011
Grandville Mon Amour
by Brian Talbot
A kind of crime/political thriller set in a very alternative dystopian world where the main characters take the form of antropomorphised animals and humans take only a very marginal role. Very much a graphic novel for grown ups, violence at least abounds, and sex does not escape mention, check out the sexy badger Billie. A fairly simple crime plot sees the hero Detective Inspector Lebrock in pursuit of an escaped serial killer, some complexity in the plot emerges with political implications emerging, entertaining but not especially complex.
Grandville is very much a fantasy world drawing heavily on steampunk traditions, in this world France won the Napoleonic war and colonised England, guillotining the royal family as a consequence. The characters are all antropomorphised animals but this no Wind in the Willows, this is a curious grown up tale, part Tin Tin, part Watership Down, it really is a grown up comic book, beautifully drawn, a vividly realised universe. In fact the art work is the most remarkable feature and it is truly remarkable, the beautiful complex panels give great depth to what is essentially a fairly predictable plot, proving more evocative and powerful than the text on it's own. The book trailer which I have borrowed from YouTube does some justice to Talbot's work, letting his powerful illustration speak for itself.
This is of course the second Granville graphic novel, and several more are planned, it could have been just plain silly, and yet it works and works beautifully, as much a tribute to the past, and writers and illustrators who have gone before, as much as it is a new and inventive text, spotting the reference is of course half the fun. Just for information and interests sake here is the link to Michael Moorcock's review in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/dec/11/grandville-mon-amour-bryan-talbot-review
This was an interesting reading experience, as it was the first time I attempted to read a book on an ipad, my other half had the book as an e-book on his ipad which is how I came to read it that way and while I am not, so far a fan of the digital book experience, I have to admit that the back lit screen of the ipad gave a vivid quality to the art work, making it feel more like I was watching an animation than reading a graphic novel, reading a text based work on the ipad may be a different experience.