Sunday 7 December 2008

Alice in Sunderland

Alice in Sunderland is an one-of-a-kind, 320-page comic book tracing the unlikely connections between the effete Oxford lecturer and writer Lewis Carroll and Sunderland, the gritty shipbuilding town in north east England. Author and artist Brian Talbot uses a bewildering array of literary techniques, from ranging back and forth across history to frequently swapping narrators, to explore how the art of story-telling is influenced by real life. The creative force behind several acclaimed adult comic-books, Talbot produces polished drawings in an impressive range of styles, supplemented by photo montages depicting the many faces of Sunderland and the surrounding area. With guest appearances by Sid James, the Venerable Bede, the Lambton Worm and George Formby, amongst many others, Alice in Sunderland is entertaining, but meandering. While the craftsmanship and the scholarship are impressive, you need to be seriously interested in either Lewis Carroll or Sunderland to really enjoy this book. 7/10