Grandville (comics)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Grandville is a British graphic novel series written and drawn by Bryan Talbot. It is a mixture of the steampunk, alternative history and thriller genres. It is set in a world in which France won the Napoleonic Wars and invaded Britain, and in which the world is populated mostly by anthropomorphic animals. The main character is Detective Inspector Archibald "Archie" LeBrock of Scotland Yard, a British anthropomorphic badger working with the police.

The plot of the first book, entitled Grandville and published on 15 October 2009, sees LeBrock investigating a murder which leads him to visit Paris in order to solve the crime, which itself leads him to uncover a political conspiracy. In the second volume, Grandville Mon Amour, was published on 2 December 2010, LeBrock attempts to track down an escaped serial killer that he previously brought to justice. A further three volumes are planned, the third of which is to be entitled Grandville Bête Noire, and the fourth Grandville: Nöel.


Publication history


Talbot writes in his book that Grandville is inspired by the work of Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, who worked under the name J.J. Grandville, and Albert Robida. He states he is also inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rupert Bear and Quentin Tarantino. References are made to them in the book. For example, there is a building called "Robida Tower" and an early scene set in England takes place in a village called "Nutwood", the setting of the Rupert Bear stories.

Grandville makes several references to modern day political events. There are references to the War on Terror, weapons of mass destruction and the September 11 attacks. There are also references to other works, such as Tintin.

The second book, Grandville Mon Amour is based on the themes of terrorism. Talbot plans for the third book to have a science fiction theme, the fourth on religious conspiracy and the fifth on a gangster theme.



Grandville is set in a steampunk world, featuring steam powered motor vehicles, air transport, robots (known as "automatons"), telephones (known as "voicepipes") and televisions. In this world, Britain lost the Napoleonic War and was invaded by France. The British Royal Family were guillotined. Britain was later given independence from the French Empire following "a prolonged campaign of civil disobedience and anarchist bombings." Following independence, Britain became "The Socialist Republic of Britain". 23 years later, Britain is linked to the French Empire by the Channel railway bridge, and Paris is the biggest city in the world, known by the nickname of "Grandville". In Britain the English language is only spoken in rural communities, with the main language spoken in the country being French.

The vast majority of the population in Grandville are anthropomorphic animals. Humans do exist, however. Having evolved in Angoulême, they are referred to by the French as "doughfaces", have never gained citizens' rights, and are considered menial workers. They are not allowed passports and so have never made it to Britain.

The main characters in the series is Detective Inspector Archibald "Archie" LeBrock, a large, heavily-built badger; and his assistant Detective Roderick Ratzi, a dapper, monocle-wearing rat.


The first book was released in October 2009 as a hardback, published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by Dark Horse Comics. The second book was published in December 2010.

Volume name Release date Plot Book cover
Grandville 15 October 2009 Following the murder of British diplomat Raymond Leigh-Otter, LeBrock and Ratzi travel to Paris in order to find the killer. During their investigation they uncover a political conspiracy to start a new war between Britain and France. 150px
Grandville Mon Amour 2 December 2010 Three weeks after the events of Grandville, LeBrock learns that old adversary, urban guerrilla, terrorist and serial killer Edward "Mad Dog" Mastock has escaped execution from the Tower of London. After being told he is off the case due to his long absence, he quits his job and tries to track him down himself. 150px
Grandville Bête Noire 12 December 2012 Ten weeks prior to the story France experienced a revolution following the death of Emperor Napoleon XII and is now ruled by the Revolutionary Council. A cabal of industrialists and fat cats plot the violent overthrow of the French state by the intervention of horribly beweaponed automaton soldiers, and LeBrock investigates the murder of a Parisian artist, mysteriously stabbed to death in his locked and guarded studio. 150px


Grandville has received positive reviews. Ryan Agee from The Skinny gave Grandville four out of five stars, writing: "Corny puns abound, but this is a stunningly well drawn book with a compelling mystery, and a great detective team at Template:Sic heart. Great stuff." Neel Mukherjee in The Times was also positive saying: "It's a playful, allusive book in which there's a witty touch or deliciously knowing in-joke on almost every page: the French press whipping up Anglophobia; LeBrock's Holmes-like unpacking of apparently innocent signs, which yield vital information, when he makes his first appearance; the drug-addled Milou/Snowy, dreaming of plotlines of Tintin books in his opium-induced stupors. The numerous fight sequences are simply cracking, especially the beautifully rendered sprays of blood and, throughout, the glossy gorgeousness fills your eyes." Rich Johnston from Bleeding Cool wrote that: "I love this comic. It's big, bold, brash, insanely detailed and has badgers torturing frogs. There are steam powered carriages and robots, gratuitous violence, big explosions, lots of kicking, a decent ending and Inspector LeBrock finding himself a long, long way from Wind In the Willows. It can be appreciated on so many levels and with so many potential fanbases basically performing bukkake upon the pages, it should appeal to a lot of people. Even those who have a problem with a talking snobby French fish butler with legs. Also, don't try to work out the evolutionary timelines. It will just mess with your head. But do enjoy."

Joe McCulloch from The Savage Critics was less positive however, writing: "This doesn't automatically lend itself to a tremendous amount of depth, frankly, and the somewhat stale, vengeful nature of Talbot's plot leaves it teetering on the edge of embarrassing-silly instead of fun-silly."

Grandville Mon Amour was reviewed by Michael Moorcock for The Guardian, who said "[a]lthough Talbot's narratives lack the complexity or originality of Alan Moore's, he brings a rare subtlety, even beauty, to his medium. His drawing is first class and his dialogue superb, adding credibility to his characterization while moving the story along at a laconic lick."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Grandville (comics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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