Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cat Burglar Black

Richard Sala
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Cat Burglar Black is the first graphic novel by Richard Sala published through First Second Books and, to my knowledge, is the first published by the author in full color. Sala's stuff looks amazing in black and white, but I have to say, his use of color in this comic is pretty damn amazing. I love many of his color choices, especially when it comes to his protagonist K. and the other teenage delinquents attending Bellsong Academy For Girls: great outfits (especially the striking red-riding hood in one of the initial scenes where K. meets her classmates and first steps foot on the school grounds), great contrasting hair and styles, and the fun, odd designs of the few adults who appear within the tale. Basically, Cat Burglar Black is a mystery that involves K.'s family. Raised as a master thief by a horrible matron at her orphanage, K. is recruited to help three other girls break into several nearby homes to steal three paintings, each a piece to the puzzle of where hidden treasure is buried on the school premises (which belongs to her family). But there are plenty of other mysteries brewing as well, such as the statue that talks to K., the woman who claims to be her aunt, and the disappearances of the girls one at a time. This is just a really great young adult story with plenty of action and just dripping with Gothic atmosphere. It's quirky and strange, like Sala's other works, and very reminiscent of my personal favorite work of his, Peculia, though I still favor that classic title to this book. Things are set up swimmingly and executed fluidly, with enough left dangling for a sequel, and leaving readers craving one.

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