Cover image for Maniac killer strikes again! : delirious, mysterious stories
Maniac killer strikes again! : delirious, mysterious stories
Sala, Richard.
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Publication Information:
Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; London : Turnaround, [2003]

Physical Description:
176 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 21 cm
Format :


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FICTION Graphic Novel Central Library

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A collection of long out of print stories from the late '80s to the early90s'. Maniac killer is full of deformed monsters and secret societies, of amirderous clan of cat-masked villians and simple mad scientists.
In themulti-chapter " Thirteen O'Clock" a serial killer bearing a corkscrew strikesrepeatedly while a glowing , disembodied skull talks to the victims. But theenigmatic detective Mr.Murmur solves the crime and shares the motive, tooriduculous to be explained here. It combines noir mystery with absurd humor. Thenative artwork is reminiscent of Lynda Berry and its simplicity helps to conveythe tone of spooky delight.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Sala's expressionistic horror comics have been likened to the work of those deans of morbid humorous art, Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. Gahan Wilson should have been cited, too; Sala's that funny. Unlike Addams and Wilson, and like Gorey, he's a storyteller. His distinctiveness lies in his mining of the conventions of cheap 1930s and '40s horror-crime movies, such as The Invisible Ray 0 and The Black Cat0 , whicharloff, Lugosi, and other monster-movie stars did in between resurrections of Dracula and Frankenstein. Murderous mad doctors, strange secret societies, dangerous dames, shady characters, elusive serial killers dubbed with corny monikers like the Wheezer, and odd, shambling creatures abound. Unlike those flickers, Sala's stories aren't boring, and their mystery-like, sleuthing plots conclude ironically rather than happily. Sala's black-and-white drawings place scratchy, deliberately ugly, George Grosz-like figures in the high-contrast, geometrical settings of the quintessential German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari0 . Sala's parody is so deliciously apt that he doesn't need actual jokes or comedy to be howlingly funny. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sala holds a unique place in the comics world. His work is neither fish nor fowl, not too spooky, not too silly and not so far out as to be unreachable. He creates noir stories, some serious, some funny, most both, in a unique visual style. His closest antecedent may be Edward Gorey, but Sala's work is all his own. This collection of short stories from hither and yon goes back nearly two decades. In Sala's world, thieves steal faces, skulls glow, madmen run free, plants eat people and it's always Thirteen O'Clock. The first story (named "Thirteen O'Clock," incidentally) occupies the first 42 pages of the book and brings together many of Sala's preoccupations: strange scientists, detectives, funny names ("Mr. Murmer"), femme fatales, non-humans and so on. But Sala harnesses the weirdness to tell a briskly paced thriller. Once readers get past the subject matter, the storytelling is fairly straightforward. 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, an experience both jarring and fun. Good for a rainy day or a stormy night, this volume will give old Sala fans a good fix and will thrill (or at least tickle) new ones. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These unique tales, collected from three out-of-print volumes by Eisner and Harvey Award nominee Sala, are horror with a sense of humor in the tradition of Edward Gorey. Two stories feature the masked Mr. Murmur (a detective in the mold of Will Eisner's Spirit), first struggling against the mysterious Wheezer, the corkscrew killer, and then battling underworld surgeon Dr. Q, master of a guitar-strumming zombie. "The End of the Street" involves "that wily phantom, the Twinge," and the shrunken heads of art critics, while "The Keepsake" should serve as a warning to all male librarians who find themselves attracted to pale, sad-eyed girls returning books. Sala's cartoony black-and-white art is distinctive, shadowy, and effective, and his dialog and narration are overly declarative and melodramatic ("No doubt about it-a fiend is on the prowl!"), with tongue firmly in cheek. His one-thing-after-another story openings almost sound as if they were plotted by Snoopy, but everything is always deftly pulled together. In short, this book is a hoot. Recommended for adults-and teens, too, provided pictures of severed heads won't scare their parents. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A collection of long-out-of-print stories from the late '80s and early '90s. Sala's world is full of deformed monsters and secret societies, of a murderous clan of cat-masked villains and simple mad scientists. If there were such a genre as "gothic absurd," these would be representative examples. In the multi-chapter "Thirteen O'Clock," a serial killer bearing a corkscrew strikes repeatedly while a glowing, disembodied skull talks to the victims. But the enigmatic detective Mr. Murmur solves the crime and shares the motive, too ridiculous to be explained here. In each tale, Sala combines noir mystery with absurd humor similar to the Lemony Snicket titles (HarperCollins), or to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey before him. The naive artwork is reminiscent of Lynda Barry and its simplicity helps to convey the tone of spooky delight.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.