Alice in Sunderland

Alice in Sunderland

3.0 2
by Bryan Talbot
     
 

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Sunderland! Thirteen hundred years ago it was the greatest center of learning in the whole of Christendom and the very cradle of English consciousness. In the time of Lewis Carroll it was the greatest shipbuilding port in the world. To this city that gave the world the electric light bulb, the stars and stripes, the millennium, the Liberty Ships and the greatest

Overview

Sunderland! Thirteen hundred years ago it was the greatest center of learning in the whole of Christendom and the very cradle of English consciousness. In the time of Lewis Carroll it was the greatest shipbuilding port in the world. To this city that gave the world the electric light bulb, the stars and stripes, the millennium, the Liberty Ships and the greatest British dragon legend came Carroll in the years preceding his most famous book, Alice in Wonderland, and here are buried the roots of his surreal masterpiece. Enter the famous Edwardian palace of varieties, The Sunderland Empire, for a unique experience: an entertaining and epic meditation on myth, history and storytelling and decide for yourself — does Sunderland really exist?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Talbot's freewheeling, metafictional magnum opus is a map of the curious and delightful territory of its cartoonist's mind, starring himself in multiple roles. The starting point is the history of his hometown, the northeast English city of Sunderland, along with his lifelong fascination with the myths and realities behind Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland-potentially dry material, but Talbot pulls out all the stops to keep it entertaining. He veers off on one fascinating tangent after another. The book encompasses dead-on parodies of EC horror comics, British boys' comics and Hergé's Tintin, walk-ons by local heroes like Sidney James, extensive analysis of a couple of William Hogarth prints, a cameo appearance by "the Venerable Scott McComics-Expert" and even a song-and-dance number, drawing a three-dimensional web of coincidences and connections between all. It's also a showcase for the explosive verve of Talbot's protean illustrative style, with digital collages of multiple media on almost every page: pen-and-ink drawings in a striking variety of styles, photographs, painting, computer modeling, and all manner of "found" images. The book's only real weakness is its scattered focus, but Talbot is a remarkable raconteur, even if what he's presenting is more a variety show than a story. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Rebecca C. Moore
When a theatergoer finds himself the show's only audience member, he, like Alice, is plunged into a strange experience. His "Wonderland," however, is the Northeastern British borough of Sunderland, and his experience consists of two narrators delivering a rambling, chronologically random history of the area, loosely linked by connections with Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. The stunning, full-color background collages display artistically melded images and documents related to the current tale, echoing the collage-like organization of the stories. Although entangling itself in many themes (from dream logic to comics history), the narrative's overarching theme is the interconnectedness of all history and all people, particularly in such a long-historied place as Sunderland. This dense, ambitious doorstop of a graphic "novel," a product of three years of intense research and artwork, was clearly a labor of love for Talbot, author of The Tale of One Bad Rat (VIZ, 1995/Graphically Speaking, VOYA February 1998), which has become a graphic novel classic. It is a paean to its subjects as well as a personal soapbox. Unfortunately several factors will limit its audience: The cover is deceptive. Readers expecting a fantasy will be disappointed. Second, the lecture style of the narration, combined with the book's extreme length, will lose casual readers. Third, the Sunderland focus will limit a non-local audience, not just because local history might not appeal to them, but because they may be frustrated at not knowing which stories are true (all are, despite hints to the contrary). American readers may also be bewildered by the Britishisms. Buy only for readers fascinated with the philosophy ofhistory, Sunderland, Lewis Carroll, or Talbot's 5Q artwork.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593076733
Publisher:
Dark Horse Comics
Publication date:
04/11/2007
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
17 - 18 Years

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Alice in Sunderland 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To call this heavy tome a graphic novel may be stretching it. This biography on Lewis Carroll, the 19th-century author of i Alice's Adventures In Wonderland /i , and its sequel i Through The Looking Glass /i , is so packed with information that it seems more like an encyclopedia. Fortunately, it does not read like one. Talbot painstakingly explores the connection between Carroll and Sunderland, a city west of London, where Carroll spent much time visiting his nieces. The narrative becomes part-travel guide, part-screenplay, part-fairytale, all fun. Where fact and fiction blur, Talbot works in Carrollian experts to give their take on the truth. He does not shy away from controversial subjects either, such as allegations of Carroll's paedophilia. Non-fans may find the book a bit intimidating, though, as even literature scholars will likely have to re-read the story a few times to take everything in. Comic lovers will enjoy spotting the different and distinct artwork inspired by different artists. From Herge's Tintin-like cartoons to Alex Ross' photo-realistic paintwork, every style is a marker for different scenes. My only complaint - tipping the scales at almost 4kg, the book is literally a hefty read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago