REVIEW

The Curious Case of Leonardo’s Bicycle


Brick examines Leonardo's sketch in The Curious Case of Leonardo's Bicycle

Leonardo Da Vinci is renowned for his inventive mind. His notebooks were crammed with doodles and drawings, which in some cases appear to predate the invention of more modern technology, including the parachute and rudimentary flying machines. However, this book is entirely devoted to the bicycle.

A sketch of something that might have been a two-wheeled personal transportation device came to light in one of his sketch books during a period of archiving and restoration. This was later pushed hard as an undiscovered invention by a Leonardo “expert” looking to hit the news headlines and sell copies of his latest book. The point of this graphic documentary, which has been self-published by its creator as a limited edition monograph, is to debunk this idea.

The presentation of the book is deeply reminiscent of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, as Brick appears as himself throughout the comic, narrating the book in situ. He goes back in time (usually in costume), tours the regions where the action takes place, summons the ghosts of key scholars and presents the whole case in an engaging and enthusiastic manner.

Karl Drais takes his two-wheeled invention to the streets of Karlsruhe, Germany

The book is nearly 260 pages, clearly contains years of original research and has been written and illustrated by Brick himself. It’s lengthy because no corner has been left unturned, no shadowy secret unexposed. It’s an expertly executed, thoroughly convincing defence of the bicycle’s more modern inventor, Karl Drais, picking apart the Da Vinci argument piece by piece.

Your enjoyment of this book will naturally be enhanced if you have a love of bikes, invention, Leonardo (remember, this isn’t anti-Leo, it’s just trying to set the record straight) and our modern fascination with this epitome of the Renaissance. For the rest of us, Brick’s style and presentation will certainly carry you along on this fascinating journey.

The book has a limited print run and each copy is signed and numbered. Order direct from Brick’s shop.

Story: 4 Art: 3 Overall: 4

Written by: Brick
Art by: Brick
Publisher: Self published
First published: 2019