The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Heart of Empire by Bryan Talbot (Books 2020, 16 & 17)

I suppose I could have counted this as four books, since the first part is in three volumes. A reread of a great set of graphic novels about the timestream-jumping psychic adventurer, and (then) his offspring.

Well worth checking out if you haven’t, and if the above description sounds like your sort of thing.


Bizarre Romance by Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell (Books 2018, 9)

The book that I got at the British Library event last week. It’s short stories by Niffenegger, illustrated and/or converted into comics by Campbell. Some of them very good, and the collection as a whole is well worth a look.

Themes include cats, angels, fairies, and more. Worth a look.


The Audrey and Eddie Show

I went to a thing at the British Library. It was an author event with Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell. They’ve made a book together. And, it turns out, they’re married. To each other, that is.

I had no idea that this was the case. Who’s in charge of telling me about things? Cos they’re falling down on the job.

Not that there’s any reason why I should know, of course. They’re both creators whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past, but that’s all.

Anyway, this was the standard sort of author talk/interview thing, led by a guy who didn’t introduce himself, but according to the event page was “international comics expert, and man at the crossroads, Paul Gravett“.1

It was all very good. I bought the book, Bizarre Romance. Looks like it’ll be fun. I didn’t stay for the signing, because I’m not that bothered about autographs. And I couldn’t think of any questions at the Q&A, which is also normal.

Interestingly (and maybe this is already common knowledge too) Niffenegger is writing a sequel to The Time Traveller’s Wife2 to be called The Other Husband.


  1. Oh, OK, he published Escape magazine. I used to get that sometimes. ↩︎

  2. I insist on spelling the title correctly. ↩︎


Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot (Books 2014, 12)

Excellent graphic novel; part Mary’s autobiography, part the biography of Lucia Joyce, who was James Joyce’s daughter. Mary’s father, who was distant and borderline abusive, was a noted Joyce scholar.

Well worth a look if you enjoy comics. The “graphic biography,” if you will, is a little-used form.


Book Notes 20: The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

Another old Moore from the 2000 AD days. I've read it before, as three separate volumes, but I totally didn't remember anything about Book 3, in which Halo joins the army. Well, the Space Marines, or whatever you want to call them.

It’s a great story about an ordinary young woman in a very un-ordinary world. Much better than the last one, and very much more than a curiosity: highly recommended.


Book Notes 12: The Last Temptation, by Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli

The last of my three recent graphic borrowings from the library, and the one I expected to like most. But it's a bit lightweight for Gaiman's work, and for my taste.

It’s based on work that Gaiman did with Alice Cooper for a concept album that the latter released in 1994. I didn’t know that people still made concept albums, but there you go.

Also there is one theme in particular that Gaiman was to revisit in American Gods; namely that of the town where children disappear periodically. In American Gods the periodic disappearance (and murder, let’s face it) of the child acts a kind of spell, which protects a town from the encroachment of the rest of the world and the forces of modernity and ‘development’. In this work, there’s no suggestion that the children’s absorption into the ‘Theater of the Real’ brings advantage to anyone other than the the semi-mythical ‘Showman’. Gaiman was perhaps using this work to develop some of the ideas that he would return to later.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but as I say, the work as a whole seems shallow and perhaps incomplete, compared to, say, The Sandman.


Book Notes 11: The Originals, by Dave Gibbons

More graphical stuff from the library. Quadrophenia with hover-bikes and -scooters. It’s beautifully drawn, and well-enough told, but really, why?

There is literally no other technological change. Oh, there might be differences in the materials of the clothes, of the contents of the pills: but the look is pure 1965 – or 1965-as-remade-in-1979. I really don’t see what the point of this was.