Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Grave Robber's Daughter

Richard Sala

Richard Sala is one of my favorite cartoonists and with this new title from Fantagraphics (which is also Evil Eye #14), we see Sala doing more of what he does best: setting up a creepy atmosphere amid great art and strange characters. There was something very unsettling about this book in particular. I think it had a lot to do with the clowns, which are generally creepy, but are used really effectively as scary antagonists here, grabbing at people and slinging little girls over their shoulders in bags. The noir atmosphere is thick here in an abandoned town where people hide and cower in fear of the clowns coming to take them away, with the exception of a handful of teenagers loitering around the local amusement park. And then there's our protagonist, Judy Grood, whose initial appearance in the book (with the publishing information) is of her saying "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" in her car, as it's broken down. And that's kind of who she is in a nutshell. Sala's great at getting his characters across to the reader in a short time, as is seen with Peculia in other Evil Eye comics. Judy Drood actually first appeared in Mad Night, a graphic novel that I haven't read before, but fully intend to with my first introduction to the short-tempered girl detective. This is a read that's sure to please any fan of Richard Sala's, and could serve as a nice introduction to new readers, although I personally think Peculia is a superior title and a better place to start. A-

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