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Mad Night Paperback – November 9, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (November 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560976810
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560976813
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Coed corpses are piling up at Lone Mountain College, and Kasper Keene wasn't going to get involved. But then the camera his not-girlfriend (darn!) Viola loaned him gets swiped, just after he gets an assignment from a mysterious costume shop across the street from a pirate museum. And a mighty coed-ish "pirate" is the swiper! Looks like a job for fearless, fightin', foul-mouthed Judy Drood, another coed, whom Kasper has been avoiding so she won't drag him on another sleuthing exploit. Too late for that, though, since Judy spots Kasper in time to see the camera boosted. More corpses accumulate, the costume shop and the pirate museum--also the campus clock tower--are all hiding things (and fiends), and, boy-oh-boy, is the science faculty implicated, not to mention mad. Fortunately, mad is good in the world of Sala, whose graphic-novel re/de-construction of 1940s-1960s horror-mystery movies here reaches new heights of gibbering (well . . . chortling, actually) terror. As usual, Sala's brilliantly atmospheric art, full of shadows and spikes, is marvelously spooky. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Combines noir mystery with absurd humor similar to the Lemony Snicket titles, or to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. -- School Library Journal

Sala's parody is so deliciously apt that he doesn't need actual jokes or comedy to be howlingly funny. -- Booklist

To read a Sala comic is to walk into a baroque world of pen and ink. -- Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Richard Sala grew up with a fascination for musty old museums, dusty old libraries, cluttered antique shops, narrow alleyways, hidden truths, double meanings, sinister secrets and spooky old houses. He has written and drawn a number of unusual graphic novels which often combine elements of classic mystery and horror stories and which have been known to cause readers to emit chuckles as well as gasps. Although most of his books are written with teens and older readers in mind, his book, CAT BURGLAR BLACK, can be enjoyed by younger readers as well. He has also collaborated with Lemony Snicket and Art Spiegelman, and his illustrations and artwork have won awards and been published all over the world.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hanson on September 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though I love all Richard Sala's work, this book is a personal favorite of mine. This collected volume brings together the 12 part story originally found in Sala's brilliant Evil Eye comic, under the title "Reflection in a Glass Scorpion". The story coalesces all of Sala's favorite elements: grotesque antagonists, lovely girls, mysterious crimes, old institutions, humor, monsters and blood. Much has been made of Sala's debt to those past masters of horrific humor, Charles Adams and Edward Gorey, but at this point in his career, Sala had long made his own mark on the genre and Mad Night is a perfect culmination of all of his talents. Highly recommended for its beautiful art, wild story, and all around coolness. Richard Sala gives you the right kind of creeps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Borok on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Fans of Sala's work will not be disappointed. Although the ending isn't quite as rewarding or original as that of "The Chuckling Whatsit", the dialogue has gotten stronger and the characters have more depth than in Sala's earlier works. The sexual themes are also more prominent, but, as with the violence (which is a bit gorier this time around), the elegant and highly stylized artwork softens the effect and makes it less offensive for those who are likely to be offended by such things.

Sala has the unique abillity to introduce new characters and mysteries midway through the plot and leave everything unexplained until the very end, all without losing the reader. Here we have a crew of girl "pirates" in thrall to a hand puppet, war criminals, mad scientists, a hooded torturer, owls, conjoined twins, a hard-boiled and slightly insane girl detective, some kind of cult and probably a few other things I've forgotten, and yet somehow the story never seems cluttered.

Unfortunately there are also flaws. As mentioned above, the ending falls apart a bit. The action can be hard to follow due to Sala's tendency to cut to a different scene abruptly and without warning. The main character, Kasper, is annoying in his obtuse refusal to try to understand what's going on even when it becomes a matter of life and death. The main villains are not as compelling as they could be. Still, it's a miracle so many plot threads were resolved as well as they were.

Those who haven't read Sala's work before should start with "The Chuckling Whatsit". For others this book will satisfy almost as much.
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Format: Paperback
When you've got a college campus with lots of gothic structures and a bizarre faculty, is there any surprise when a series of grisly murders happen? Not if you're Judy Drood, super detective! Throw in some pirates, a brainwashing puppet, a creepy curator of a gothic museum, a weirdo who prints owl posters and puts them up around town, and about a dozen other nutcases, and you've got Richard Sala's longest book "Mad Night".

I chose "longest" to describe it because I found it to be quite a tedious read despite the many fantastical elements to it. If you've read Richard Sala then you'll notice a number of similarities between this work and his other novel length book "The Chuckling Whatsit", but if you've read more indie comics writers you'll notice the storyline of a killer on campus is similar to Daniel Clowes' "Art School Confidential" (more the film version than the comics). Judy Drood, the ass kicking, foul mouthed, short skirted heroine of the book is a badass version of Daphne from Scooby-Doo but she never incurs anything more than a scratch and escapes from every situation making her a less interesting character because we know she always survives.

The storyline is that a mad professor has found the secret to eternal youth and it involves taking the blood of young people and injecting it into themselves. The killings go on and on, the search for him goes on and on, and to be honest the writing wasn't all that great. I enjoy Sala's art but it doesn't make up for a lack of surprises or plot and though I usually enjoy this artist's work, I found myself waiting for it to end so I could put the book down. Disappointingly poor from such a talent as Sala's.
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Format: Paperback
The previous reviewer said that Kasper Keene is the main charcter....ummmm did we read the same Richard Sala book here! Judy Drood ,one of Richard Sala's best creations, is the main character here. She's a incredible homage to Bonita Granvilles's Nancy Drew from the Thirties, but with a vicious streak a mile wide. Which is a pretty good thing since she's stuck in a situation made from the plots of a thousand Edgar Wallace krimi films! Suffice it to say that Mad Night is a dark ride on extreme drugs full of evil mysterious masked maniacs, mad scientists, and a thousand other pulp conventions that mesh into a single glorious whole. Buy this and you won't be sorry!
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