Monday, August 25, 2008

Alice as you have never seen her (and a graphic novel must read even if you hate Wonderland)

If you haven't seen Bryan Talbott's Alice in Sunderland, you are missing the graphic novel experience of a lifetime. To say it is gorgeous is an understatement and the art is only part of it anyway. This historical look at where Lewis Carroll was from and how the story of Alice in Wonderland came together and ten thousand other things that seem to have nothing to do with it but are really all interconnected is just flat out stupendous. I wrote about it earlier this year at my site. Here's a bit:

When I first saw it, I thought Alice in Sunderland was a variation on the traditional Alice story; not an adaption or retelling but some kind of visual twist on the classic. Okay I was wrong - I was really really wrong. I have never read anything like this book and I can't imagine the kind of creative mind that put it together. It's a history of England, focusing on one specific section (Sunderland - in the northeast section of the country) and then folding into that the story of Charles Dodgson and the Liddell family and how they converged resulting the Alice in Wonderland. But none of that explains how sumptuous this novel is. The visuals are stunning - STUNNING - and the way author Bryan Talbot moves between drawing styles and back and forth from illustration to photography to collage is so inspiring.

He makes you want to create beautiful and interesting things.


Little Willow said...

Colleen, you know how much I adore all things Alice, and how many spinoffs and sequels and related things I've read and watched - but this item, I didn't pursue. I perused, put it back, looked at it again, requested it, then finally checked it out only to return it the next day because it didn't capture me at all. It (the fact that that happened) was weird. It just didn't grab me.

However, Golden and Moore have Bloodstained Wonderland on the horizon, and I've got to get that. :)

Colleen said...

I'm surprised - but then again maybe because this is less about Alice then so many other things. In other words, it's kinda the anti-Alice book or the Alice book for folks who don't particularly like Alice?

I liked it mostly as a historian and also a big graphic novel buff. (You have to admit the visuals are amazing.) I do look forward to Golden and Moore however - Golden never disappoints me either!

gonovice said...

I didn't see it as a novel. Yes, there was a fictional framework -- a guy goes in a theater and sees the story of Sunderland, Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell... But mostly, I read it as history, done in graphic format. I probably would not have read it if Colleen hadn't raved so. There was a point, I don't know, 75-80% through the book, when I was getting tired of so many tangential tidbits of so-and-so, and "did you know?" But I'm glad I stuck with it. Carroll and Alice deserve this scholarship and tribute.