on Richard Sala’s The Hidden.
The Hidden, page 14 © Richard Sala
Fantagraphics Books, September 2011. 120 pp.
The artist Richard Sala’s work first debuted in Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly’s comics anthology, Raw (the “comics magazine for damned intellectuals”), and he has since drawn for publications ranging from The New York Times to Playboy to Nickelodeon Magazine. He has made his mark on the genre of horror comics, particularly the Evil Eye series, with its heroines Peculia, the mysterious black-haired waif, and Judy Drood, girl detective. Well-known for his love of pulp fiction and the macabre — dark alleys and archetypal villains, exotic locales and lurid plots — Sala’s work is often compared to that of Edward Gorey and Charles Addams, both for its investment in dark humor and its mastery of translating the more bizarre vagaries of the human (and humanoid) form.
Sala’s new book, The Hidden, does not wholly depart from the campy fascination with the morbid that marks his previous work, but is even darker in tone, despite the vibrant watercolor work. The visual markers of Sala’s humor are present — the affected font, the twisted faces — but there is arguably something more serious and disturbing at play here.
For Halloween, a review of The Hidden by Richard Sala.