Sunday, March 25, 2012


by Bryan Talbot

Bryan Talbot is one of those people I feel I should be reading more of.  His The Tale of One Bad Rat is a brilliant comic, but I've never dipped in to his other works, like Alice In Sunderland or The Adventures Of Luther Arkwright.  After reading Grandville, I feel like it may be time to put more effort in to tracking down the rest of his output.

Grandville is easily described as an anthropomorphized steam-punk detective alternate history thriller.  If Sherlock Holmes were a badger serving with Scotland Yard in an England that lost the Napoleonic Wars, he would quite likely have been Detective Inspector LeBrock. 

This is a more or less straight-forward detective comic.  When LeBrock discovers that a British cultural attaché has been found dead in his cottage of an apparent suicide, he quickly realizes that something else has happened.  His suspicions take him Grandville, which is Paris, and his investigations soon bring all sorts of trouble his way, as he uncovers a plot that goes all the way to the top of the French Empire to plunge England into war with France once again. 

Visually, the book is fascinating.  It's an homage to the nineteenth century artist whose pen-name was Grandville.  Talbot has filled the book with all sorts of talking, walking animals, and has even included a few dough-faces (in other words, humans).  He's also made good use of the steampunk aesthetic, creating steam-powered vehicles and automatons. 

The mystery moves at a very good pace, and the characters are witty and interesting.  The size of the book, modeled after French graphic novels, is very inviting.  Great stuff.

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