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Inspired by Dulle Griet (aka “Mad Meg”), Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 16th-century painting of a “strong, intense woman striding determinedly across a violent landscape,” Dull Margaret is the first graphic novel by Academy Award winning actor Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and artist Dix (perhaps best known for his Roll Up! Roll Up! comics in the Guardian newspaper).
The Dulle Griet painting shows a breastplated woman with a sword in one hand in front of the mouth of hell, and Broadbent uses that single, vivid image as a launching point to explore what the rest of Dull Margaret’s bleak existence may have been like. As he puts it, “I come from Lincolnshire and have long been fixated on the at coastal marshes. The story began to unfold from there, incorporating images from more of my favorite artists: Goya’s witches, Daumier’s pictures of travelling players, Rembrandt’s flat, low country landscapes. About the time I was writing, I fell for Dix’s strip in the Guardian. I felt we shared a particular sort of dark humour.” The resulting collaboration is one of the most unexpected and original graphic novels of 2018.