Understandably, The City, published in 1994, is often thought to be the fourth instalment in the rats saga. Once commenting that he would like to write the novel of The City, James Herbert later stated: "I don't think I will write another one. I have so many ideas."
With James Herbert's untimely passing, it is Domain that remains the true conclusion – a trilogy and no further. So, The City stands apart from other James Herbert titles as a unique offer in the master chiller writer's portfolio.
As a graphic novel following a survivor's journey through a post apocalyptic world it is long out of print, making it a collectable that some might consider an oddity and, because of its rarity and 'comic book' appearance, is mostly overlooked or missed when new devotees target the James Herbert back catalogue. This is a shame because it retains much of the darkness and peril appreciated by readers of the previous bestselling rat-themed stories.
Storyboarded by the author, also an accomplished designer and talented artist, The City has sixty-four colour pages plus an embossed, glossy cover, and features the illustration work of Ian Miller. His dynamic, detailed style draws an uncomfortable landscape and brilliantly captures the imagined harshness of an environment stricken by death and destruction, and prowled by a vermin menace.
Now increasingly sought after to complete collections, fine condition signed copies of The City have been seen for sale at online market sites such as Amazon and ebay for several hundred pounds. Average copies can be picked up for a lot less, but mostly fetch upwards of twice the original cover price of £8.99. For readers of James Herbert's works, it is worth reviewing an edition of The City before the ravages of time, and the inevitable tears, make them even scarcer!
Main image: Base artwork for page 21 from The City. Centre image: Ian Miller's distinctive style in detail, both kindly supplied by Ian miller.
Final inset photo: Front and reverse of The City's cover (1994).
Ian Miller's distinctive style has enhanced myriad projects since the Seventies. His rendition in The City captures the relentless decay, darkness and peril The Rats trilogy has become synonymous with. Well observed and evocative, for fans of the books it is difficult to imagine The City in any other illustrative style.
Ian Miller studied his craft at Northwich School of Art between 1963 and 1967 and secured a place in the Sculpture Department at London's St Martinís School of Art. He switched to the Painting Faculty in 1968 and graduated with honours in 1970.
His career includes working for Ralph Bakshi on his feature animation 'Wizards' and the movie 'Coolworld'. Ian has also contributed to pre production work on several other films including 'Shrek'.
His first collection of work was published in 1979 by Dragon's Dream under the heading: The Green Dog Trumpet. This was followed shortly afterwards by a second volume entitled: Secret Art. In the late Eighties he participated in a joint volume entitled 'Ratspike' with fellow artist John Blanche. This was published by GW books.
His portfolio also includes imagery for a number of graphic novels. One with the writer M. John Harrison, entitled: 'Luck in the Head' and, famously, with James Herbert, entitled: 'The City'. Ian is currently working on a number of new projects.
View more of Ian Miller's work at his official website.