Evil Eye #12

Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2004
By: Amos Simien

Cover of Evil Eye #12 Creator(s): Richard Sala
Publishers: Fantagraphics Books
From: 98115
Price: $3.95 USD/$5.95 CAN

This is it! Kasper and girl detective Judy Drood are running out of time as they fight to escape a burning clock tower full of sadistic killers. If they make it, they'll conclude the 12-part serial Reflection in a Glass Scorpion. In true cliffhanger fashion, every time Kasper or Judy knock one psycho on the ground, another steps forward, and, of course, no really good villain ever stays down.

Richard Sala is an acquired taste, but the fact that his ongoing comic book series from Fantagraphics, Evil Eye, has reached twelve issues shows that some readers have found the Sala section of their taste buds. What's the series like? Well there are a number artists, filmmakers, and their works that are similar to Sala and his oeuvre including filmmakers Tim Burton and Henry Selick (who combined forces for Nightmare Before Christmas), gothic fantasy artist Joseph Vargo, children's book illustrators Gris Grimly, David Catrow, and Edward Gorey, and not to mention the great Charles Addams. However, in the end, Sala is his own man.

His illustrations are similar to wood engravings, and he gilds his simple line work with moderate cross-hatching and also layers on a deluge of black. When you get used to it, Sala's work is really quite beautiful, alluring, inviting even. Much of his art has been published in black and white, which is beautiful enough, but his delightfully vibrant and infrequent color work is simply gorgeous...really. The front and back covers and the inside back cover (backispiece?) are sweet little confections of color that beg to be framed on my wall.

As for the tales, they're whimsical and gothic, with an strong undercurrent of menace and dread. Sala creates the sense that something is always lurking around the corner ready to slip a blade between the ribs. The one unpleasant thing about Evil Eye is that it doesn't come out of hiding often enough, but I'll let that slide. A good moody mystery tale is hard to come by in comics.

In a Word: Kooky.

If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me