by Richard Sala
Fantagraphics, 2013
51 pages / $4.99 Buy from ComiXology
Rating: 10.0








Pacific Rim was my favorite film of 2013 because of its heavy use of science fiction tropes. Guillermo del Toro borrows everything from Neon Genesis Evangelion and G Gundam to Power Rangers and Godzilla. He breathes life into these tropes with innovative concepts like drift compatibility and Lovecraftian aliens from beneath the Pacific. Add in del Toro’s choices to eschew motion capture effects and to cast Charlie Day as the charming and tatted Newt and this film earns a huge place in my heart.

Richard Sala’s Violenzia, his latest digital comic book, operates on a similar level. Sala takes the conventions of Golden Age comics like Dick Tracy and The Shadow and updates them for the digital era. He strips away any true exposition or plot in favor of a taught, fifty-page sequence of action as Violenzia—a hooded vigilante with a shock of magenta hair, twin pistols, and a miniskirt—dispatches members of a moon cult, hillbillies dealing Krokodil, and a ghoulish business exec. duel-wielding a sword and legalese all to get revenge on a nefarious mastermind, and the result is breathtaking.

The book never takes the time to explain who Violenzia is or why she wants to kill the crime boss, but it doesn’t matter. Instead, Violenzia evokes the joy of action comics with lush colors and retro pencilings. READ MORE >

1 Comment
January 2nd, 2014 / 2:23 pm

DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!! (A Holiday recommendation)

My first college roommate had a bookshelf filled with those big-format subculture guidebooks: The Trouser Press Record Guide, The Psychotronic Video Guide to Film, High Weirdness by Mail, the RE/SEARCH publications. I had been a normal kid in junior high, and began going weird in high school when my family moved to a small town. I had had to connect to all my weirdness through a couple of old issues of Thrasher, a couple of issues of MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, and a single copy of Flipside that I bought from the local record store. (I think they had ordered it in by mistake. It looked out of place next to Hit Parader and Kerrang!) Needful to say, probably, when I was a teenager, we plugged our home computer into the wall and into a printer, but couldn’t even conceive of plugging it into a phone jack. READ MORE >

Contests / 14 Comments
December 23rd, 2010 / 3:34 pm

Fantagraphics to the Rescue

Stephen Dixon, in a new interview with Sean P. Carroll at Bookslut, says:

Fantagraphics became involved because Melville House, the publisher of three of my novels, didn’t want to bring out the three collections in one book. They thought it would be too expensive and a losing proposition. I thought the collections would generate no interest if published one at a time. That publishing 62 stories, never in book form and all rewritten, except for the unfinished ones still in manuscript form, which I finished for the collection, would be interesting and unusual if not unique as a body of work.

This is not the first time the people at Fantagraphics have proved themselves to be heroes of literature. Their catalog includes Joe Sacco’s Palestine, the Hernandez Brothers’ Complete Love and Rockets Library, Daniel Clowes’s Ghost World, R. Crumb’s The Book of Mr. Natural, and Chris Ware’s ACME Novelty Library. New releases in 2011 include Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, Dave Cooper’s Bent (with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro), and David B.’s The Littlest Pirate King. You can find out more about all this goodness at

Random / 4 Comments
December 21st, 2010 / 5:09 pm