Alice in Sunderland

    (Dark Horse, 2007)
™ and © Dark Horse Comics, Inc.

Here’s something the likes of which you probably haven’t seen before. Bryan Talbot, creator of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and The Tale of One Bad Rat, presents a tale of magical Sunderland, in Britain. Talbot wears several hats in this production; he is not only writer and artist, he’s narrator (two of them, actually!) and he’s his own audience.

There may be more history of this cradle of culture than some would normally care to see, but Talbot tantalizes. Which one of his stories is a lie? (Wait and see!) Is Sunderland even real or did he make it all up? (Don’t Google it—you’ll spoil the surprise! But you won’t be disappointed.)

Visually, it’s a treat, with a wide variety of art styles, including photography, graciously sharing page space. If Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics married the text and appendices from From Hell, their child might look a lot like Alice in Sunderland.

As the title suggests, Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell play an important role. But make no mistake: Sunderland is the star.

— Jack Abramowitz

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