Mad night Mad night
For those who always thought the animated introductions to PBS's Mystery! series were cooler than the actual shows themselves, Richard Sala's marvelously dark and stormy novel-length thrillers are just the ticket. In Mad Night, his follow-up to The Chuckling Whatsit, Sala follows ace detective Judy Drood and her reluctant companion Kasper Keene as they try to unravel a string of mysterious occurrences and heinous murders in the usually tranquil Lone Mountain College. What is the sinister secret of Professor Massimo Ibex? How is the (literal) puppet mistress Aunt Azalea and her bevy of beauteous pirate girls involved? Where does the lithping, er, lisping, corrupt cop Pinch fit in? And what exactly is the significance of the Glass Scorpion? Sala's superbly elegant, shadowy draftsmanship and wittily spooky storytelling make Mad Night a wonderful romp for fans of gothic horror — part Dario Argento (stabbings! eye-gougings! decapitations!), part Edward Gorey (eerie creatures of the night! sinister alleyways!), but all fun from the first page to the last.
"Sala's comics work so well because of the artist's distinctive line work. The characters and places he describes could exist nowhere but in his pages, and so to read a Sala comic is to walk into a baroque world of pen and ink." – Publishers Weekly
"Sala combines noir mystery with absurd humor similar to the Lemony Snicket titles, or to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey before him." – School Library Journal
"Sala's black-and-white drawings place scratchy, deliberately ugly, George Grosz-like figures in the extreme chiaroscuro, geometrical settings of the quintissential Geman expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Sala's parody is so delicously apt that he doesn't need actual jokes or comedy to be howlingly funny." – Booklist