You know, memory is a funny thing. While I was fact checking for yesterday’s story about James Herbert’s Rat Trilogy, I came across reference to a fourth book in the series. The City is a graphic novel, released in 1994, written by Herbert and illustrated by Ian Miller. The odd thing here is that I OWN this book and was completely surprised when it was cited as a continuation of the Rat Trilogy. So, off I went to my dusty bookshelf and pulled it out.
The City takes place in a future long after Domain where The Black Rats have taken over and now rule over the surviving humans. A lone traveller, encased in a full suit of armour and accompanied by two mechanical guard dogs, crosses into the City’s borders. He fights wave after wave of giant rats, moving toward an unknown goal. I went through it again – it’s a pretty light read, sixty or so pages with little dialogue – and the connection is pretty obvious as you can see below.
I remember picking it up ages ago during one of my first trips into that hulking metropolis that is Toronto. I wouldn’t put The City in that top group of graphic novels that I’ve read, but it’s definitely a cool and easy read. The colours and jagged textures of the art certainly make it visually interesting. There really isn’t much to the story though. You can absorb it very quickly which makes for a very light popcorn experience. Which is fine, of course, but I guess I now expect a little more substance from the medium with juggernauts like Alan Moore and Frank Miller out there.
Regardless, the mystery of completely forgetting about it still remains. Or maybe I never read it in the first place. Is it possible that I got it home and just stuck it on my shelf? We all know printed material is not my first choice of media, so maybe enough time passed that I just assumed I’d already read it. Has this ever happened to you? That’s the only explanation I can think of because I would’ve been completely retarded not to see the connection otherwise. Strange.