Grandville Force Majeure

Bryan Talbot

Jonathan Cape, £18.99

Loading article content

WRAPPED around the final pages of Bryan Talbot’s new graphic novel there is a black polythene wrapper designed to conceal the book’s climax from overeager eyes.

The Grandville Anti-Spoiler Seal (as it’s grandly titled) is both a cheeky gimmick and a statement. One that tells us that we are not going to let you see what happens because it’s better not to know in advance. In a book with a plot the climax matters. So, no peeking.

In his time Talbot has worked on stories about child abuse (The Tale of One Bad Rat), north-eastern psychogeography (Alice in Sunderland), James Joyce’s daughter (the Costa award-winning Dotter of Her Father’s Eye, created in collaboration with his wife Dr Mary Talbot).

But at heart he is a man who loves a ripping yarn. And if the Grandville books are anything they are that.

The latest and last in the sequence Grandville Force Majeure is an epic of anthropomorphised sex and violence featuring a huge cast of badgers (including our hero Detective Inspector LeBrock), lizards, rats and even a Dalmation.

It’s a heady mix of Holmesian ratiocination and SF steampunk technology straight out of a Jules Verne novel, lashed to a story that takes in gang violence, freemasons and secret identities.

And it’s so slick. Talbot’s great facility as a comic artist gives his narrative extra oomph. The result is fast-moving and hugely entertaining.

Perfect festive reading in other words.

The Unquotable Trump

By R Sikoryak

Drawn & Quarterly, £14.99

HeraldScotland:

R Sikoryak has been a busy boy. Back in March he published Terms & Conditions in which he made a comic out of the iTunes terms and conditions agreement. Now he returns with a new example of refurbished comic imagery in The Unquotable Trump.

In it he recreates classic comic book covers (everything from The Amazing Spider-Man to Richie Rich), with a certain Donald Trump front and centre. The speech balloons use the words The Donald used during last year’s Presidential campaign.

The pleasure of the book is two-fold. On one hand there is the pleasure of recognition. Sikoryak’s impersonations of Wally Wood, Charlie Adlard or Carl Barks are slightly rough-hewn but close enough to enjoy.

And then there is the fact that, quite frankly, Donald Trump is perfect casting as a comic book villain. He is a caricature to start with.

The only downside is reading the stupidity and ugliness of his words you keep thinking how the hell did he ever become President?

HeraldScotland:

Giant Days Holiday Special

John Allison and Jenn St-Onge

Boom! Box, £5.49

If you were to ask Graphic Content what our favourite continuing comic is our answer for the last few years has always been the same: Giant Days.

The latest issue of John Allison’s feisty female sitcomic is a holiday special. It takes our cast of students – Gothy Esther De Groot, unworldly Daisy Wooten and the worldly-wise Susan Ptolemy –  to London for a holiday break. Cue Christmas trees, Oxford Street Christmas lights and visits to Soho sex shops.

Allison’s dialogue is sharp and funny, St Onge’s artwork smooth but characterful. What does that make for? Holiday fun, obviously.

Why hasn’t BBC Three commissioned a Giant Days sitcom yet?

Graphic Novelists This Way

Heads up wannabe cartoonists. Publisher Myriad Editions is currently seeking entries from first-time comic book types for its First Graphic Novel Competition.

The competition calls for 15-30 pages of a graphic work in progress by creators working individually or as a team whose full-length work has not previously been published. The competition is open until 12 noon on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The winner will be announced at an event in May.

Myriad have already published graphic novels by previous winners Gareth Brookes and Jade Sarson, as well as a number of shortlisted creators including Paula Knight and Hannah Eaton. In short, it’s a chance to get published in good company then.

For more details and an entry form visit: http://myriadeditions.com/competitions/first-graphic-novel/

And tell them Graphic Content sent you.