Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Tale of One Bad Rat: A quick review, with emphasis on paneling

I just read Bryan Talbot's The Tale of One Bad Rat the other day, and it kind of blew me away with how good it is. I'm kind of late getting to this one, but I'm glad I did. It definitely has me salivating to read Alice in Sunderland.

For those who don't know, it's about a homeless teen runaway who is obsessed with Beatrix Potter. She left home due to sexual abuse by her father, which resulted in some apparent mental illness and a distrust of anyone who offers help. Talbot describes how he researched the psychological effects of sexual abuse, and it really shows, as he gets into Helen(the runaway)'s head in a very realistic manner. Well, as realistic as you can get when she's seeing visions of giant rats.

The art is absolutely beautiful, with well-defined characters and meticulously detailed landscapes, especially in the final chapter when Helen makes her way to Beatrix Potter's hometown and explores the countryside where many of Potter's tales took place. When she confronts her demons, we get this amazing scene of her previous world shattering:

That's the panel I was talking about yesterday; it blows away any other contenders for my current favorite panel. Wow.

So for anyone who hasn't read this, I urge you to check it out. I got it from the local library, but it's definitely worth the purchase. Enjoy!

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