It Came From the NYPL
Written & Illustrated by Bryan Talbot
Published by Dark Horse
Bryan Talbot’s one of my favorite cartoonists. Even if Alice in Sunderland wasn’t one of the five greatest comics of all time, the mind-bending Luther Arkwright books or the hippie-dippie fun of Chester Hackenbush would place Talbot high on my personal favorites list. Grandville, his steampunk, “scientific-romance thriller” from 2009, didn’t really grab my attention, however. I wanted to read it; it’s Talbot after all, but the genre elements didn’t really appeal to me. That steampunk thing just isn’t my bag. So I kept checking the library and finally (and I mean finally, I’ve been checking regularly), the library got it in stock and I borrowed it.
It’s pretty much the perfect library book. Grandville‘s fun, a whole lot of it. Anthropomorphized animals, a stylized steampunk Europe setting, fast action, a few good plot twists and plenty of danger make it a worthwhile thriller. Talbot’s always been a terrific artist, and his expanding mastery of modern coloring only enhances the speed and tension of his line work during the book’s many chase sequences, fistfights and gun battles.
The plot’s not exactly wholly original – and it’s an entirely plot-driven book – but Talbot adds a few wrinkles to keep it interesting. In short, Grandville‘s the perfect library book – a rock-solid adventure by a favorite cartoonist, but one that I probably won’t want to revisit frequently. If steampunk-based, government-murder conspiracy thrillers are your thing, this book’s among the best of its ilk. And even if it’s not, Grandville‘s a really well crafted comic and recommended. If you’re lucky, you can find it in your local library and find out for yourself if it’s a keeper or a borrower – either way, it’s worth the time.