So I was trying to think how best to describe Bryan Talbot’s Grandville; hummed and hawed about steampunk, alternative history, anthropomorphic animals, played about with a few sentences but couldn’t get it quite right.

And then I thought “wonder what it say on the back of the book?” And that sort of solved my problem for me, cos what the blurb says is:

Inspired by the work of the nineteenth-century French illustrator Gerard, who worked under the nom-de-plume JJ Grandville, and the seminal science fiction illustrator Robida – not to mention Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rupert the Bear and Quentin Tarantino – Grandville is a steampunk masterpiece in which Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard stalks a gang of ruthless killers through the streets of belle époque Paris.

And you know it would be very difficult to improve on that as a description; the only thing I can add is how wonderful the artwork is, how convincing the animals as characters are, what an interesting perspective it takes on terrorism, and that it’really is quite enjoyably violent in places. There’s a reference to a “hairless breed of chimpanzee that evolved in the town of Angouleme,” menial workers known as “doughfaces” , obviously humans, which adds a little bit of depth to the world Talbt has invented.

I absolutely loved this, devoured it in a sitting as you do, and can recommend it to anyone interested in Bryan Talbot’s work.

This is my first read for the Graphic Novel Challenge 2010.

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