Hypnotic Tales

Hypnotic Tales

by Richard Sala

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Editorial Reviews

Gordon Flagg
Mining much the same vein as Charles Burns (see "Skin Deep" ), Sala puts a satiric and surreal spin on elements (e.g., first-person narration, nocturnal and urban settings) derived from noir novels and films to create an outlandish, nightmarish, but somehow credible cartoon universe. The two artists' visual approaches, however, differ radically. While Burns' hard-edged style conveys a near-neurotic sense of control, the jumbled, freewheeling elements in Sala's stories threaten to fly out of the panel, even off the page. In Sala's slapstick fever dreams, a masked detective solves cryptic cases, a man makes a solemn vow to track down the person who--literally--stole his face, and the "mysterious, demented supercrook" known as the Twinge turns out to be driven by hopeless love. But while much of the effectiveness of classic noir books and movies arises from their earnestness, the noir cartoonists have tongue planted firmly in cheek--which still doesn't keep them from evoking genuine creepiness. (Incidentally, MTV viewers may recognize Sala's distinctive look from "Liquid Television," which has featured an animated adaptation of his "Invisible Hands." Kitchen Sink has issued Sala's book simultaneously with new installments in several of its series reprinting classic comic strips. "Li'l Abner Meets the Shmoo" (paper, $18.95, 0-87816-116-3) arrives at one of the strip's high points, the introduction of the cute, cuddly Shmoos that set off a massive merchandising boom in 1948. "War Games" (paper, $13.95, 0-87816-066-3), newest in the Steve Canyon series, includes two adventures from 1957-58. Finally, and unlike other, black-and-white series, a gorgeous science fiction strip reappears in full color: "Flash Gordon, Volume Four: "The Fall of Ming"" (paper, $21.95, 0-87816-168-6) collects Sunday installments from 1939-41.

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Kitchen Sink Press, Inc.
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