I have no idea what shelves to put this on. It's so weird. The art is good, but also grotesque and bizarre, so it's hard to say it's "fantastic" or evI have no idea what shelves to put this on. It's so weird. The art is good, but also grotesque and bizarre, so it's hard to say it's "fantastic" or even that I liked it. It's... nicely done. Charles Burns is talented.
This comes after X'ed Out but I read this one first; my mistake. I went back and re-read them in order, to try to understand them a bit better. There's a lot going on here, and it's more than I feel like unpacking in a review. Suffice to say, this is the depth of "comics as literature" that we need to see more of....more
Read this online - I would not recommend buying the printed version. The book is glued, and there is no inner margin, which makes it hard to open, toRead this online - I would not recommend buying the printed version. The book is glued, and there is no inner margin, which makes it hard to open, to keep open while reading, and to see the full picture while reading. It's a bit disappointing really because the story is cute and the artwork is rather nice, even if it has that "My mediocre drawing talent has been greatly enhanced by my use of illustrator/photoshop/other software/the internet" feeling. It looks kind of auto-colored but the pallet is nice. I like the idea of a choose your own adventure but, again, it probably plays out better online.
The story also starts out great, then seems to be going nowhere, then takes random leaps and stops making sense. I am thinking that's because of the way the plot was developed, which again, is unique, but again... maybe read the online version. As a printed story, I think this serves as a nice record of a unique digital event but it's not a true graphic novel.
**spoiler alert** This appears to be tangentially related to the last book I read by Sala, Cat Burglar Black, which I thought was so promising but far**spoiler alert** This appears to be tangentially related to the last book I read by Sala, Cat Burglar Black, which I thought was so promising but far too short and didn't explore anything with enough depth. If I had any hope that maybe Sala was trying to release like 2-4 graphic novels a year to form a longer work, I would be more into this. But a lot of the exposition was already "dumped" in Cat Burglar Black so, I doubt a long-form work is what he's going for, even if there are connections with this story and with Cat Burglar Black.
I liked this one better - there's more humor, for one. A couple one-line zingers and sight jokes really sung for me, like when the Former Inspector gathering evidence on Super-Enigmatix says to his young charge "Do you hear that, George? Love is only for the very strong." and immediately in the next panel, there's a little heart above his head as he looks at the female detective helping them with the case. Or, when the masked characters assumed to be the local superheroes are meeting to discuss what to do about Super-Enigmatix and one wearing a very Batmanesque cat cowl (there are whiskers, or else it WOULD be Batman's cowl) says "I prefer not to think of myself as a vigilante, more like - " another mask interjects "Judge, jury, and executioner?" and he replies, "No. Like - a hero." Response: "Whatever."
There's another huge info-dump of exposition in this one, in the middle this time (and in context a bit less noticeable for what it is). It's also somewhat of a mini political commentary on the 60's from the Vietnam war to the state of the world now, interestingly enough. Pretty on the nose but, seemingly out of nowhere. I sort of love that everything goes off the rails though and that Super-Enigmatix is really just bringing about total chaos, havoc, and destruction because the status quo cannot be saved or brought back to anything close to normal, or OK.
That actually feels pretty realistic.
At least it ends with another great zinger: "...I admit he was beginning to make some sense, blast him." "Yeah, I didn't know it was going to get all political."
Neither did I, Natalie, neither did I.
There are two separate interlude comics at the end, that are more classic panel comics a la Sala.
Overall, the book is worth a read. But, if you haven't ever read anything by Sala before, just read The Chuckling Whatsit because that is his best. ...more
**spoiler alert** I like pretty much everything Richard Sala does. I like his art and love his themes, and this doesn't disappoint in either of those**spoiler alert** I like pretty much everything Richard Sala does. I like his art and love his themes, and this doesn't disappoint in either of those respects. It's not as grotesque or horrific as some of his other works, and I think it was far too short.
The first issue/chapter was a huge info dump of exposition. If this were a longer series or graphic novel, I think that could have been done much better. It has the setup of "young orphan arrives at mysterious new boarding school" but then instead of exploring her way through the exposition it's just kind of dumped on us all at once.
After that, things get better. There's a clear narrative plan set up with finding the paintings in each house to solve the puzzle that will lead to the treasure, but each eccentric homeowner is about 2 seconds of background - no exploration of them either. And it's a little disingenuous how easily with each disappearance, friends of the girl are willing to think "oh, she ran away" and think nothing of it. That was just unrealistic, and a real missed opportunity in my opinion to ratchet tension. It's strongly hinted, I think, that none of the three girls survived but... I suppose since we didn't see their deaths they could pop back in at the end.
The resolution was a bit pat, and somewhat out of nowhere. It almost left things open for a sequel - if the other girls are indeed still alive, and K can find them. I really wish Sala would sort of re-do this into a longer work. Usually, I love that Sala doesn't give us everything, that there is a lot left unanswered. But usually, that's because things are much, much weirder. This almost just seemed like the outline of a longer, more awesome series. I want to know more about the Obtainers, about K's parents, about Mrs. Claude, about her time in the orphanage, about Zel and Morrow and that other girl whose name I can't even remember. I want to know about each of the homeowners, and how they ended up with a painting, and why one of them was apparently a serial killer who thought voices from the moon were telling him to kill. I want to know it all!