graphic novels

Grandville review

Bryan Talbot's Grandville is the kind of comic I end up liking despite myself. Based in a weird Steampunk world where animals are in charge, humans are a recent hairless ape mutation, and Napoleon retired undefeated, this crazy graphic novel is full of things I hate, but still I loved it.

Having spent a good deal of time talking to Cutey Bunny creator Josh Quagmire about the "funny animals" genre in the not-too-distant past, I guess my head is always in the gutter when it comes to anthropomorphism. I get a little weirded out by critters acting like people, and it's particularly difficult to snap out of it when they're doing something more than just being cute.

And there's nothing cute about Grandville! The central storyline is a gritty Sherlock-Holmes-meets-Philip-Marlowe detective story featuring the ass-kicking Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock of Scotland Yard, a certified bad-ass badger who looks suspiciously like Robert Irvine, the impossibly buff chef from Dinner Impossible.

In an action-packed thriller of a book, he follows the clues to the upper echelons of the French government, and with his rattish Watson, Roderick, makes a last-ditch effort to prevent an international conflict.

The graphic novel features top-notch art and compelling, exciting storytelling that really creates a genre all of its own. Talbot's genius is in creating a narrative that is completely unpredictable, never relying on animal stereotypes to push forward, and somehow pulling us into a world that at first seems completely preposterous but which eventually feels as normal as anything. One of the coolest books I've read in a while, and I'm really hoping that he creates a sequel.