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A COMICA REVIEW BY:

MATTHEW REES


Matthew Rees attended Comica '09 and below is his review of a talk given by Bryan Talbot on 7 November 2009.

I’ve been reading comics for the best part of fifty years and been a serious collector for over thirty but I still learnt a great deal about the art from a talk at ComICA by Bryan Talbot.

ComICA is a festival celebrating the best of comics today and it is to my shame that I have not managed to get to one of their events before.

ComICA is organised by Paul Gravett who probably knows more about comics than anybody else around today. His knowledge and enthusiasm drive the festival.

In his excellent talk, Bryan explained some of the approach to and influences in his latest book, Grandville, a detective story with animals!

Without the talk I would have got the cultural references in Grandville to Rupert the Bear and Mucha etc. but Bryan explained so much more about the history of anthropomorphism in the graphic media and the other subtle references he has made to famous paintings and drawings.

Almost as a bonus, Bryan also explained the way that he crafts a page through layouts, the use of colours and action lines that guide the flow between panels.

Bryan demonstrated his storytelling skills in the way that he told the story behind Grandville, he even managed to make PowerPoint look interesting!

The presentation showed us pictures that helped to shape Grandville while Bryan narrated the story.

His knowledge of, well everything, was phenomenal and even reached as far as Racey Helps’ Happy Families playing cards - I am sure we used to have a set of these.

I went in to the talk thinking that I knew quite a bit about comics but I learned a great deal in the hour or so and was thoroughly entertained in the process too.

I’ll definitely be going to more ComICA events.

Many thanks to Bryan for the talk, to Paul Gravett for arranging it all and to Bryan (again) for patiently autographing every copy of Grandville with a drawing as well as a signature. Why did I agree to have my copy as a Christmas present?!

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Reviews

"This event showcased some of the great variety of manga art styles and artists working across languages, continents and cultures in the world today."
Karl Pell

"...packed out..."
Tony Venezia

"...the viewer's efforts were amply rewarded by the superb quality of nearly every comic in the exhibit."
Alison Frank

"...a comprehensive, varied and exciting season that demonstrated the reach and diversity of the art form."
The Comics Journal

"PHEW! I just met Matt Groening!"
Jim Medway

"The Comica Festival's uniqueness resides in its selection of international comic artists [and] its presentation of cutting-edge themes..."
Dominique Le Duc

"It was a real learning experience."
Tom Humberstone

"With Comica, the ICA is doing what it does best: reaching out to culture's fringe."
Kulture Flash

"Yet another fabulous evening."
Martin Eden

"...he's a natural storyteller. He can't seem to stop."
Paul Tierney