Curiouser and curioser…
The brilliantly named ‘Gad, Sir! Comics!‘ blog is one that I’ve found to be well worth reading; I hadn’t had a look for a few days so when Richard told me that Steve Flanagan had not only posted a review of Bryan Talbot’s new Alice In Sunderland there but had done so in the style of the book I had to go and look. Steve, that’s brilliant, funny and damned clever and really brightened my Monday, well done – please do go and have a read.
(panel from Steve Flanagan’s review of Bryan Talbot’s Alice In Sunderland on the Gad, sir! Comics! blog)
I just started reading Alice at the weekend and so far it is absolutely engrossing. I’m sure I will be mentioning it here as I progress through it – I’m not rushing it, this demands and deserves decent time to enjoy it – but in one of the many fascinating side-stories Bryan spins off concerning local events and characters there was one early in which seemed suddenly very contemporary again. Jack Crawford, a Royal Navy sailor who, during a pitched battle with the Dutch fleet saw the flagship’s mainmast struck by enemy fire, causing the admiral’s colours to fall. Realising this could lead the rest of the fleet to believe the navy was surrendering he grabs the fallen colours and some nails and rapidly climbs the mast, ignoring a hail of fire, and nails them to the mast for all to see. The battle is renewed and the Royal Navy triumphant; Jack Crawford, an ordinary seaman, is a national hero. A reluctant hero. A hero who avoids his own victory parade (a stand-in is showered with money by the adoring crowds in his place) and refuses all attempts to profit from his deeds, turning down lucrative deals for personal appearances or even commemorative plates (as Bryan notes, it sounds like seomthing from a 50s Boy’s Own comic and he presents it in that sort of style). How odd I should read those pages the same week a huge political row grew out of the same Royal Navy allowing the recently released sailors and marines from Iran to sell their stories to the tabloid press for large sums of money.
(panels from the Jack Crawford strip in Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot, published Jonathan Cape)