“Another familiar face on the Manchester scene is Ravi Thornton. Recently I read her first graphic novel, The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone, and was thoroughly traumatised by the experience. Reading like the bizarre lovechild of Roald Dahl and George Orwell at the end of their lives, Brin & Bent is an act of transcendental ugliness. To say that I struggled to come to terms with the themes of this book would be an understatement.
I finished reading it, convinced that it was a parable about the liberating possibilities of abuse and the beauty of subservience and sacrifice. I can’t predict what other readers will take away from the experience, but it’s no surprise that the printers demanded Brin & Bent be censored before printing, and I say this as a man whose own comics have been branded as obscene and refused by a printer before.”
I love that P.M. Buchan wrote this! It’s a wonderful review, especially as he went on to say:
“Written by Ravi Thornton with absolute poetic precision and illustrated with equal amounts of grotesquery and beauty by Andy Hixon, this is a graphic novel like no other. The panels very often fill each page, and the narration is sparse and economical, which means you could race through the story in no time, but when appreciated as a seriously disturbing work of art, this is a book that you’ll revisit again and again.”
Thank you Mr Buchan
But it does raise the following question: How different would P.M. Buchan’s experience of the story been had he known the real-life event behind it?
It's a question I’ve thought about a lot in recent months, and will return to in my next post....
In the meantime you can find P.M. Buchan’s full article, about the Manchester comics scene in general, in Starburst Magazine Issue 391, or here on this website.