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.

Join the Facebook group for Bryan Talbot fans for lots of discussions and special offers announced on Facebook first.


The Bryan Talbot fanpage is also on Twitter - so give us a follow and join in the conversation!

Also see the Bryan Talbot t-shirt shop! - we've got a vast array of Bryan's images on lots of different t-shirts, as well as other items like mugs and fine art prints: - but if there's anything else you'd like just let us know on Twitter or at the Facebook group.

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

So Mote It Be: Bryan's introduction to Strangehaven by Gary Spencer Millidge

Shortly after the publication of the original The Tale of One Bad Rat comic series I received a letter from Gary Spencer Millidge along with a photocopy of the first issue of Strangehaven. Gary was dismayed at the synchronistic similarity to Bad Rat in the comic he was just about to self-publish: two non-genre stories featuring a protagonist arriving in a rural environment via a car crash! He claimed to have nearly given up on the spot.

I’d had no contact with Gary since he’d published the Live Aid inspired benefit comic Food For Thought in the eighties and had no idea that he was also a writer and artist. And such a good one at that.

Gary needn’t have worried. There the story similarity ended. I’ve followed Strangehaven religiously since then, entering its self-contained, fully realised world every issue and enjoying every aspect of this intriguing, entertaining and unique example of the comic medium.

And it is unique. In a medium dominated by male adolescent power fantasies where “innovation” means a slight difference in superpower or costume design, Strangehaven is one of the minority of truly original Anglo-American comicbooks that rejects formula in favour of a personal vision, has real depth of plot and characterisation and carries, encapsuated between it’s covers, a milieu and atmosphere completely its own.

That Strangehaven is a labour of love is obvious. This alone would be meaningless, however, if not for Gary’s remarkable skill as a storyteller. Not one for instant superficial gratification, Gary allows the story to be told in its own time and at its own pace, interweaving threads, dangling mysteries on hooks before us and drawing us in artfully, keeping the level of sophistication necessary to do this carefully hidden beneath the surface of our awareness so that it never intrudes into the flow.

An essential part of his storytelling technique is his use of subtle and realistic body language and facial expression, avoiding the standard melodramatic and exaggerated gestures of comicbook pantomime. This is a much-neglected art in many mainstream comics whose hacks constantly fall back on clichéd stock positions. Naming no names I recently read through a few books by a very well know "fan favourite" and found that his male characters had only two basic expressions - mouth firmly clamped shut or shouting. Gary's characters are believable and realistic: far from these two-dimensional posed dummies. They live and breathe. He cares about his characters and so do we.

As the characters develop and the plot unfolds we find ourselves wanting to be there, wanting to chip into conversations, wanting to be in the company, enjoying hugely both the ambience of the world that Gary’s created and the desire to penetrate its dark secrets and enigmas.

I do find the quintessential Englishness of Strangehaven very attractive - something we are used to in other media but another rare thing in comics - not simply in the English rural setting nor the character types, but also in the presentation of the minutiae of everyday life, from Pan Yan pickle and beer bottles to Basil Fawlty and the cricket commentary on the radio, all wonderfully well observed and integrated seamlessly.

Excepting the best examples, I tend to follow comics for only a few issues before tiring of the formula or situation but there is so much to enjoy in Strangehaven, both in the story and the craft, that I’ll be here for the duration. Gary’s exemplary use of the nine panel grid and the smooth transitions between the scenes alone would keep me interested professionally, the frequent humour and comicbook references and in-jokes would keep me amused (such as the glimpse of the cover of Alan Moore’s Voice of the Fire, the rabbits named after Terry Wiley and Dave McKinnon, the “Gratuitous Bunnies” of Sleaze Castle and, yes, a rat named after myself) but I really couldn’t do without my visits to this at once ordinary and extraordinary English village and its inhabitants.

And there’s so much left to discover.

Glory, glory, glory!

Bryan Talbot
Christchurch, Sunderland
May 2000

Also see: