There was a short introduction by Bryan's editor at Jonathan Cape (his publisher) and then a few words by one of Bryan's first publishers, Lee Harris, who produced Brainstorm Comix in the 1970s. Bryan then said a sentence (literally!) and we all got on with the mingling and book signing.
Besides being one of the UK's most important comic creators, Bryan is one of my long-time heroes, and when he offered to write a quote for the back of The Rainbow Orchid I was chuffed beyond belief. I'd been devoted to Bryan's portrayal of Nemesis the Warlock in 2000AD and was a subscriber to the Valkyrie Press Luther Arkwright series. And now we have Grandville, an utterly superb piece of work that looks as though it will spawn a series of albums featuring the main character - Detective-Inspector Lebrock of Scotland Yard (who happens to be a badger).
You can trace Bryan's career so far to see a kind of logical culmination in this book. He's always been a master of the intelligent action-adventure (Luther Arkwright and Heart of Empire), and the animals come, perhaps, from his studies into Beatrix Potter for The Tale of One Bad Rat. Mix in some history that resonates with a veracity that only comes through genuine research (Alice in Sunderland) and wobble it somewhat with a dose of the fantastical (Nemesis, Luther etc.) and you have Grandville (and note the lovely little nods to Spirou (the hotel porter character) and Tintin (Snowy appears as a washed-up drug-addict) that add a cheeky wink to the story). This is a stunning book and Bryan's work just gets better and better.