Sunderland’s Costa Prize-winning reveals inspiration

Bryan Talbot with a copy  "Grandville Mon Amour", which features a setting inspired by Ryhope Engine Musuem.
Bryan Talbot with a copy "Grandville Mon Amour", which features a setting inspired by Ryhope Engine Musuem.
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BRYAN Talbot is going back to school.

The Costa Award-winning graphic novelist will deliver a public lecture at Northumbria University later this month.

“Grandville and the anthropomorphic tradition” will explore the practice of giving animals human characteristics throughout history.

“People have been telling stories about anthropomorphic animals as long as they have been telling stories,” said Bryan.

“The Egyptians had anthropomorphic gods and the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, has an anthropomorphic serpent.”

Bryan’s work has been particularly inspired by French artist Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, whose pen-name J.J. Grandville, proved the perfect title for his latest series of books which feature the adventures of Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, a badger working for Scotland Yard in a reality in which humans are an inferior species and Britain has spent years as a French colony after losing the Napoleonic War.

Although Bryan had been familiar with Gerard’s work for years, the real fascination began while he was working on his groundbreaking Alice in Sunderland.

“He was a big influence on John Tenniel, who illustrated the Alice books,” said Bryan. “It was when I was finishing Alice that it occurred to me Grandville would be the perfect name for Paris in a reality where Paris was the biggest city in the world and the people had been replaced by animals.”

As well as Alice and Costa-winning Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, written with wife, Mary, Bryan’s work also includes comics such as 2000AD, Judge Dredd, and Batman.

Bryan’s lecture will be held on Monday, January 21 in lecture theatre 001, Business and Law building, City Campus East at 6.30pm. It will be followed by a drinks reception.

Anyone wanting to attend should book a place by emailing or contact Dawn McLean on 227 4480.

Twitter: @sunechobiz