One book that caught a lot of people’s attention over the Lakes International Comic Art Festival weekend was Bryan and Mary M. Talbot’s new project, due out next year: The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. Festival goers got an early sneak peek at some of the pages from the new book, which will be published by Jonathan Cape in May, and were soon spreading the word about how good it looks.
Set against the background of violence and state repression in a turbulent period of French history, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia chronicles the incredible and outrageous life of Louise Michel, the revolutionary feminist dubbed “The Red Virgin of Montmartre”. Louise was an extraordinary woman, but little known in the Anglophone world, although studies of her life have been published, including The Red Virgin: Memoirs of Louise Michel by the University of Alabama Press in 1981.
A utopian dreamer, notorious anarchist, teacher, orator and poet, Michel was decades ahead of her time. Always a radical, she fought on the barricades defending the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871 against the reactionary regime that massacres thousands of French citizens after the Commune’s defeat. Deported to a penal colony on the other side of the Earth, she took up the cause of the indigenous population against French colonial oppression.
Celebrating the utopian urge in 19th century literature and politics and the origins of science fiction, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia – to be published by Jonathan Cape on 6th May 2016 – is the third collaboration of best-selling academic and graphic novel writer Mary M Talbot with her husband, the graphic novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Their first book together, Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, won the 2012 Costa Biography Award.
While we’re talking Talbots, a quick reminder that the giant-sized Arkwright Integral is still available – 556 pages of time-jumping Luther Arkwright adventures, featuring all of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Heart of Empire in one volume. Published by Dark Horse last year, the Arkwright pages were digitally remastered from the original artwork and are the best quality versions of this art you will ever see.
Bryan is also working on the fifth and final volume in his Grandville series of anthropomorphic detective thrillers, Grandville: Force Majuere, the script of which was written three years ago and is planned for an October 2017 release.