How about some ghouls, cults and hicks for Christmas? If you like your graphic novels with pop, retro art and mindless fun, you might want this book. Question is though, is it worth the price of admission?
Violenzia and Other Deadly Amusements (Fantagraphics Publishing)
This book is divided between two Violenzia stories, a backup that’s straight out of Edward Gorey’s head and a series of Halloween alphabet alliteration posters.
Why does this comic book matter?
This is an extended edition, running at 144 pages—which is 94 pages longer than the first version released back in 2013 on Comixology. That means you get more Violenzia, more from Richard Sala, and a definitive edition if you’ve already read and loved Violenzia.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
With this book it’s all about the art. If you like it you must buy it even though it seems short on stories. The fact is the alphabet alliteration pages, entitled ‘Malevolent Reveries,’ are gorgeous and Sala stopped at nothing to make every single one a joy to look at. Sala has a way of making his art look flat yet alive which gives it an almost otherworldly feel. Which is good, because the man loves to draw anything from the horror genre. Without a doubt you will close this book unsurprised that Sala’s work has appeared in art galleries and museums.
As far as story, though, this book is light. Violenzia is a tough as nails chick straight out of a 50s movie in her veiled cloak. The pink hair isn’t so 50s though, and while we never really get to know her it’s no big deal. She’s the classic deus ex machina of heroics and she’s wielding guns that can take what seems like anything out. It’s almost comical how easy it is for her which gives book a bit of charm to go with it. The two stories she appears in here feel very much like 1970s horror flicks. The colors pop nicely but there isn’t much to them. They’re a bit low budget—just look at the lack of detail in the surroundings—and the plots are devilishly simple.
Love those masks.
The Edward Gorey style story, cast in black and browns called Forgotten, is about a man who goes for a walk. The walk however takes him through increasingly bizarre landscapes that are filled with characters who call back to classic horror movies and horror iconography. This story feels old, but in a good way; as if we’re encountering a story that was cooked up in another time when stories didn’t have to be so generic and formulaic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Ultimately this is a book about great art first so don’t expect your brain to be pushed very hard while reading it. It’s certainly long though and the variance in types of stories and content makes this feel all very worth a look.
This sums up Violenzia pretty much.
Is It Good?
A delectable feast for the eyes as we traverse the monsters and mayhem concocted in an enjoyable retro style.
Look for this graphic novel on bookshelves December 3rd!
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