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8 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful tale, 15 Jan 2001
This review is from: The Tale of One Bad Rat (Paperback)
One Bad Rat is a beautiful comic, entirely unlike anything I have seen before. With no fantasy elements (well, apart from the giant imaginary rat) the story stands on the telling and the art. A young girl escapes her abusive father and unloving mother, running first to London and then the Lake District, where she finds a surrogate family. It all sounds like a TV movie, but is far superior to subject of the week fodder. The story is less melodramatic, the detail better observed, the colour more vivid and (yes) the acting is more believable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ratus Graphicus, 8 Aug 2008
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This is a very nicely produced hardback edition collecting together the whole story.

I ordered it based on the reputation of the book from blogs and the like and I was not disappointed. In fact, I sat up late to read all the way to the end.

First published in 1995, the plot is now perhaps a little less surprising and shocking than it was back then, but it remains a very moving story, with characters that feel real and that you care about.

Like a good thriller you find yourself hoping the story will go in a certain direction while simultaneously fearing the opposite. It is highly effective and moving stuff.

By mistake I ordered two copies, but in fact that has turned out to be a good thing because it is one of those books you will want to pass on to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic. Beautifully written and drawn, but never shying away from the task in hand., 11 Jan 2012
Bryan Talbot's name is most associated with 200AD comic, as he provided strips for Blaine, Nemesis The Warolck and Judge Dredd. But after several years of superheroes and the supernatural, he wrote and drew The Tale Of One Bad Rat, a beautifully scripted and rendered voyage of a young girl doing battle with the spectre of sexual abuse.

The story starts with Helen homeless on the platform of Tottenham Court Road tube station, begging for change and being harangued by an over-zealous Christian crusader. After encounters with a trio of prostitutes and an amorous and sleazy MP, she falls in with some well-meaning but occasionally volatile squatters. Events take a sudden turn for the worse, and she hitches out of London when her recent past starts catching up with her. From this point it's a visual and personal tour-de-force, as Helen begins to work on the source of her demons against the stunning backdrop of the Lake District.

As Alice In Sunderland (one of Bryan Talbot's later books) focused on the links between Sunderland and Lewis Carroll, One Bad Rat ties itself with the life, works and movements of Beatrix Potter. The title and cover both pay homage to the range of books penned by Potter, and Helen has a long-standing obsession them. Furthermore, a series of enounters and locations in the Lake District echo her life and movements through that part of the country, which is where she drew a lot of her inspiration.

The Tale Of One Bad Rat is still in print, and is a comic I can't recommend enough. It's wonderfully written, with a good deal of research into and, more importantly, sensitivity to the obviously charged subject matter. The characterisation is strong and Bryan Talbot made a point of drawing from life models, which adds the grit and emotion necessary to the proceedings.

Visually it hits the right notes all the way, from the gaudy neon-dappled drizzle of East End London to the epic vistas of the Lakes. Comic books are by nature static in their presentation, but The Tale of One Bad Rat feels very much like a moving road trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tale of one brave girl, 2 Oct 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
A 16 year old girl called Helen Potter leaves home, running from an abusive father and a mother who doesn't care. She finds herself begging on the streets of London and, along with her pet rat and a bag full of Beatrix Potter books, she begins a journey similar to Potter's out of her horrible situation into a place where she is safe and happy both in mind and body.

Bryan Talbot does a fantastic job depicting the horrors of street life in London. The sprawl, the crazies who are out there preying on the young and vulnerable, and those who would help them, namely those in similar circumstances albeit somewhat older. Talbot also deals with the issue of abuse delicately and yet brutally as well. We see the circumstances in which it happened and how it affected Helen. The psychological damage it does to a young mind is written clearly and honestly so those who haven't been abused (eg. me) could follow and begin to understand the victim's feelings.

Talbot also throws out facts about rats and their history, as well as the life story of Beatrix Potter. Helen's journey takes her to the Lake District which was Potter's home for many years and he draws absolutely stunning landscapes of the area. He also puts together a Beatrix Potter-esque story at the end of the book "written" by Helen. The artwork throughout is brilliant with Talbot opting for the first time to use human models to draw from to add an extra dimension of reality to the story.

Why this is labelled "Young Adult" is insulting as anyone should be able to read this without being put off that it might be "childish". It's a searingly honest look at a taboo issue in our society and deserves a wider audience than simply "young adults".

A brilliant and moving comic book from one of the masters of the medium, Bryan Talbot's "The Tale of One Bad Rat" is an utterly engrossing and wonderful read. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Queen Rat, 19 Aug 2008
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This is a very nicely produced hardback edition collecting together the whole story.

I ordered it based on the reputation of the book from blogs and the like and I was not disappointed. In fact, I sat up late to read all the way to the end.

First published in 1995, the plot is now perhaps a little less surprising and shocking than it was back then, but it remains a very moving story, with characters that feel real and that you care about.

Like a good thriller you find yourself hoping the story will go in a certain direction while simultaneously fearing the opposite. It is highly effective and moving stuff.

By mistake I ordered two copies, but in fact that has turned out to be a good thing because it is one of those books you will want to pass on to others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars special, 29 Mar 2013
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This is a special book, just discovered Bryan talbots work
and started to collect all of it hes such a great artist,and teller of a tale!
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5.0 out of 5 stars If Beatrix Potter was a graphic novelist...., 6 Jan 2013
Bryan Talbot wanted to shift from Sci-Fi graphic novels. He might have written a graphic documentary of the Lake District. He might have reworked Beatrix Potter, and indeed this book ends with a `new' Beatrix Potter story about a brave female rat. After all, Beatrix Potter might be seen as a precursor of the graphic novelist.

But one thing led to another in the creative process. `I'd worked on the basic premise: a homeless girl with a synchronistic link with Beatrix Potter follows Potter's escape into her new life in the Lakes.' She is fleeing sexual abuse at the hands of her father. And then the story itself took over, and what had begun as a plot device became the centre of the story. This book is now used as a resource in child abuse survivor centres. And the rat is central, almost a guide. The real pet rat, that she identified with so much, is killed, and instead a rat god watches over her. The Hindu incarnation of god as rat is the vanquisher of obstacles. So we have a giant rat beside Helen as she sits drawing in the restorative calm of the Lake District.

Sleeping rough, there are people you can trust and people you can't. Helen has to learn to trust again. Salvation comes from unlikely sources. A group of opportunistic muggers save her from a drunk (an MP on the Embankment) who is molesting her. Hitchhiking north, an Indian driver tells her about the Hindu Rat God, who comes alive in her mind. Art is a kind of redemption - speaking it out.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Huggable Rat, 9 May 2008
Boyish-looking Helen runs away from an abusive home to live as a beggar on the streets of London. The only creature she trusts in the whole world is a pet rat she freed from her school's laboratory - a friend who also reminds her of the stories of Beatrix Potter, which she loved as a child and that now serve as a sort of escape route whenever reality gets too rough.

Bryan Talbot's graphic novel is unusual in that it's about child abuse (at a glance, it can even seem like a TV drama transported onto comics) but also the bad reputation that rats have carried for the past centuries. I didn't know, for example, that rats are highly intelligent, and that they can be quite clean since they groom themselves. Almost makes me want to get a pet rat!
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The Tale of One Bad Rat
The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot (Paperback - 19 Jan 1996)
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