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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

"It was a real learning experience."
Tom Humberstone

"...it's a great time to be a comics fan in London!"
Chris Thompson

"...far and away the best place to find a serious and eclectic showcase of world comics fare."
The First Post

"Featuring some of the most critically-acclaimed international comic book creators..."
Tripwire

"...fascinating..."
Redrawn

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

"Britain's leading comic event..."
The Wall Street Journal

"Gives the comic form the cultural representation the UK doesn't normally see."
David Greene

"I was about to fall off my chair from overstimulation."
Sarah McIntyre

"The ongoing stream of Comica-related events throughout the year spoils us..."
Andrew Salmond