In Review: The Graphic Novel Man – The Comics of Bryan Talbot (and Competition!)

Bryan Talbot: Graphic Novel Man

 

Produced by: Digital Story Engine

Formats: HD DIGITAL DOWNLOAD & DVD
Duration: 142 minutes
Rated: E
Price: £15.99

The DVD: The Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot is a series of documentaries which explores the development of acclaimed Graphic Novelist Bryan Talbot. The documentaries trace not only the career of the great artist/writer [awarded two honorary PhDs for his contribution to the Arts and Literature], but explores how his deep knowledge of the craft of making comics have made Bryan Talbot an international phenomenon at the epicentre of Graphic Novel innovation.


The Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot – Secret Origins
from Digital Story Engine on Vimeo
 

The Review: While the focus of this project might well be comic creator Bryan Talbot, right from the opening of this hugely enjoyable documentary (introduced by SF author Michael Moorcock), there’s an overwhelming feel of enthusiasm for the comic form that pervades the film throughout. That is in no small part down to Bryan Talbot himself who, as contributors point out, is one of the most enthused creators working in the field today. Like them, I’ve found Bryan is never shy about showing off his latest work and seeking an opinion on it – and it’s always a pleasure to get a sneek peek.

The production standards on this documentary are excellent and chart Bryan’s 40-year career in comics with aplomb, right from his early psychedelic Underground comix, which featured the debut of his unforgettable SF opus, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, arguably Britain’s first graphic novel; then into freelancing for 2000AD and DC Comics; his groundbreaking techniques pioneered on the brilliant The Tale of One Bad Rat; through to Heart of Empire, Alice in Sunderland; and onwards to his most recent projects, the Grandville series and the 2013 Costa Award winning, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes co-created with his wife Mary Talbot.

Finding out about Bryan’s career and his approach to his work – an artist always looking to reinvent himself and who modestly describes himself as a “slow learner”– is a delight in itself, and there are plenty of insights into his work to both entertain (such as the number of appearances of a family sideboard in his comics!) and inform.

But learning about Bryan and his craft is only part of the delight of this project. The impressive roll call of other contributors, who include comic creators such as Neil Gaiman, Joe Sacco, Warren Ellis, Gilbert Shelton, Pat Mills, plus comments and insights from leading critics and comic historians such as Paul Gravett, Professor Henry Jenkins and Dr. Mel Gibson are an added bonus to an already impressive release.

Offering great interviews, unprecedented access to previously unseen material, The Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot is the kind of documentary about a comics creator we should see more of. That it is Bryan Talbot who has again offered the opportunity to provide a refreshing, informative approach to comics documentary should come as no surprise given his capacity to innovate in his own field. This documentary will, I think, be thoroughly enjoyed by Bryan’s many fans.

Win a copy of The Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot!

Thanks to Digital Story Engine, we have SIX copies of this brilliant DVD and six HD Digital downloads to give away! All you need to do is answer the three questions below and send the answers to our usual mailing address, including “Graphic Novel Man” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 12 noon UK time on Friday 30th May 2014. Please note, DVDs will only be available to UK entrants.

Bryan himself has devised the following questions:

1) What was the title of Bryan Talbot’s first graphic novel?

2) Which DC Vertigo series did he draw several stories of and for which he designed the character Destruction?

3) What is the name of the badger detective currently starring in his Grandville series of graphic novels?

• To order and find out more about The Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot visit www.digitalstoryengine.com

 • To find out more about the work of Bryan Talbot visit www.bryan-talbot.com

Director’s Commentary: Filming the Comic Creator

Film-makers James Guy and Russell Wall of Digital Story Engine talk about making new documentary on the Forbidden Planet International blog

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.