Alice in Sunderland is a graphic novel like no other.
Bryan Talbot takes the city of Sunderland and the story of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell (the 'real' Alice) as the spine of his story and around them spins a spectacularly diverse range of different stories.
He explores Carroll's links with Sunderland and shows how the city inspired his masterpieces.
He delves into the city's history, from the Venerable Bede to George Formby, from its heyday as the greatest shipbuilding port in the world to its present multicultural mix.
Talbot's artwork is a spectacular mixture of different styles: black and white ink line and pencil drawing, watercolour, collage and digitally manipulated photographic artwork.
His stories are told from the stage of the Sunderland Empire theatre, an Edwardian music hall, and the book is a genuine variety performance.
Alice in Sunderland's tribute to storytelling and history sets it apart as a landmark graphic novel.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 328 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/04/2007
- Category: Comics and Graphic Novels
- ISBN: 9780224080767
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by lecari
I didn't actually know what this was about before I bought it - my own fault, I guess. I was expecting a story involving Alice, and maybe information on how the book relates to Sunderland. I had a quick flick through and it seemed OK. However, taking it home and reading it - I was definitely disappointed. I only got halfway before I got fed up and gave up. I didn't like the author's disjointed way of writing - he switches between topics constantly. I also found the endless local history of Sunderland very dull - as someone who has never been to Sunderland, and has no plans to go, it just didn't interest me at all. At times it did feel like a travel guide. It's a good idea, and I'm sure (judging by all these positive reviews) that if you have been there/are going there/live there, it is a great, entertaining read as you can engage with the material. As it was, I just got bored and didn't care. My own fault for not doing research before buying, but it was an impulsive buy - I saw it in a shop and it intriuged me. I regret that now!
Review by clfisha
This is a joyous mix of myths and history, stories and meta-fiction. It is deceptively about the history of Sunderland, UK and the creation of Alice in Wonderland but really its a joyous mix of history and myth across the ages and geography; Sunderland as microcosm of the world. So from the constant invasions of Britain to the first comics, from popular culture to life altering social changes. It may connect with Sunderland but really its fascinating to all. Alongside this we dip into Alice's and other storytelling creations, from ancient myth to modern rumour. It sounds chaotic but it hangs together so well mainly through the myriad artistic styles, so photo realism for the geographic locations, pastiches of famous comics, murals and of course Talbot's own luscious style. It really is an artistic tour de force, storytelling styles through the ages to match its eclectic topics.I heartedly recommended this to all comics fans, as much to lovers of all odd historic titbits.
Review by LauraBrook
One of my top reads for the year. It's truly kismet that I picked this book up at all. This wrist-buster (324 oversized pages) isn't just a graphic novel about [Alice in Wonderland] and [[Lewis Carroll]] - it's also a history of Sunderland, in the NE of England, and it links seemingly random parts of British and world history in the most surprising ways. Mr. Talbot deserves many accolades for the story, and certainly for the amazing artwork. He combines watercolor-ish photographs, with illustrations, with mixed-media collages, and uses not just "traditional" comics-style drawings, but copies medieval-style lettering and graphics, some 90's Japanese comics, Fantasy-style - it's truly a work of art. Do yourself a favor and put a pillow in your lap and grab a bright light to read by when you pick it up - it's detailed and beautiful and you won't want to miss a thing.