Sunday, June 15, 2008

Asylum in Sunderland

Just finished reading Bryan Talbot's magisterial Alice in Sunderland. It makes the case that Lewis Carroll's work was largely inspired by the scenery and history of Wearside and Sunderland. It also discusses the history of comics and the history of Sunderland - a city that gave the world the electric light-bulb and the stars and stripes.

Some bits work wonderfully - actually all bits are brilliantly done - the exception being the overlong discursive meander with a community crime writer and artist. But, hey, the book tries so much and everything can't work. Talbot is willing to wander and connect various themes. A final documentary section, graphics on lined paper, uses English, and Sunderland, history to support asylum seekers against prejudice (both the whipped up and innate sorts).

It's a massively inspired and wondrous work. They don't mackem like this anymore.

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