Grandville Force Majeure original art now on sale

Page 54 of Grandville Force Majeure by Bryan Talbot

Grandville Force Majeure original artwork is now available to buy.



Buy the Heart of Empire Directors Cut

This labour of love from Bryan and myself contains every single page of Heart of Empire in pencil, ink and final full colour format - as well as over 60,000 words of annotation, commentary and explanation from Bryan... - as well as the whole of the Adventures of Luther Arkwright!

Or see the Heart of Empire Directors Cut page for more details.


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This is the only place you can buy original Bryan Talbot artwork - except from Bryan in person at a convention.


This is the new version of the Bryan Talbot fanpage
But the whole of the original Bryan Talbot fanpage is still online


Name of the Rose


I must admit that I've never really liked it. Even though I use it to describe the books that I write and draw, the term "graphic novel" is inadequate and misleading. "Graphic", with its connotations of both commercial art and explicit pornographic or violent images, is followed by "novel", suggesting that it's a bastard offspring of another art form, that of text fiction, which it patently isn't. The comic medium has its own distinct history, traditions and grammar and predates the novel form. "Novel" also indicates a length that many graphic novels don't have; most graphic novels are actually novellas or short stories, such as Alan Moore's The Killing Joke

Moore simply calls his books "big comics", partly to deflate any claims of pretension but chiefly to irritate proponents of the "graphic novel" label. But this is also problematic. For one thing, "comics" describes the entire medium, from the three-panel gag strip to Moore's and Eddie Campbell's scholarly epic From Hell , so a "big comic" could just as easily mean a sequential mural. Secondly, the word "comic" itself is a misnomer, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century's "comic (meaning funny) papers" and "comic companions" to newspapers and, as we know, graphic novels often deal with tragedy. Like "comics", "sequential art" is unspecific and also a bit of a mouthful, as is "pictorial narrative". So it looks as if we're stuck with the phrase "graphic novels", or its equally unsatisfactory and even less descriptive abbreviation, "GNs". What's needed is a word that simply means GNs the way that "novel", originally indicating a new form of literature, now means a substantial piece of prose fiction.

It's needed because we are now living in a golden age of GNs and it's time that they had an identity entirely their own. There are now more and better graphic novels being produced in an incredibly wide gamut of genres and styles than ever before. From Joe Sacco's reportage to Jeff Smith's comedy adventure, from Frank Miller's macho noir to Marjane Satrapi's poignancy, from the realism of Harvey Pekar to the fantasy of Neil Gaiman.

Much to the awe of creators who knew the insular boys' locker-room world of comics prior to the revolution. public libraries and mainstream bookstores now have graphic novel sections and, according to the marketing director of Barnes and Noble, the GN is the fastest growing area of book sales in the last hundred years. Which makes Steven Withrow's Character Design for Graphic Novels a very timely volume indeed. The key to the survival and growth of the graphic novel is quality and, with more writers and artists entering the field, the need for expert advice couldn't be greater.

In the mid 1980s the first boom of GNs, spearheaded by Art Spiegelman's Maus, Moore and Gibbon's Watchmen and Miller's Dark Knight Returns, seemed like the dawn of a new age. Respectable newspapers and grown-up magazines ran features on them. Comics were cool. But it didn't last. There simply wasn't the quantity and range of quality books to build on the nascent public interest. Instead, capitalising on the growing demand, opportunistic comic book publishers compiled monthly production-line titles and released them as "graphic novels". Duped readers expecting another Watchmen were predictably disappointed and these books confirmed their old prejudices about comics.

Slapping together half a dozen issues of Superdork doesn't a quality graphic novel make. As with prose fiction, movies and plays, graphic novels must be created as such – and created as a whole: quality writing and artwork coming together to create something unique, a novel in both substance and structure.
Character Design for Graphic Novels is not just about character design but an in-depth examination of the creative process behind the graphic novel.

Now, if only Steven Withrow would come up with a different name for it…

Bryan Talbot
Sunderland
7th November 2006