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The Hidden Hardcover – September 12, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“’Gothic humor’ sounds like an oxymoron. That’s probably why so few comics creators ― Charles Addams, Edward Gorey ― have pulled it off. You can now add Richard Sala to that short list.” (Details)

“...I have to pay homage to Richard Sala’s incredible and overlooked book, The Hidden ... Sala’s kind of a pro himself, turning out at least a book a year (much like another visionary, Gilbert Hernandez), and this twist on Frankenstein reads, not unlike that gothic romance, as an allegory for artistic ambition gone wrong....” (Dan Nadel - The Comics Journal)

“At a time when many alternative comics seem to be impulsively created page by page, Sala’s epic, tightly woven narrative is especially commendable.” (The Onion)

The Hidden feels like a Poe short story, but Richard Sala actually reaches further back into gothic literature for information, filtering Frankenstein through a zombie apocalypse. Just like Poe, the fun here is all in the telling, and Sala’s campfire-ghost-story illustration is blunt enough to be cynically hilarious and cruelly gory, often at the same time. The allegory is the same as from Shelley’s original, but like the best gothic writing, the fun comes from putting the pieces ― all the pieces ― together at the end.” (David Berry - National Post)

The Hidden isn’t just an entertaining riff on well-worn horror concepts. Taking his cues from Mary Shelley, Sala explores human vanity and arrogance as a way of showing how everything can go so wrong so fast.” (Noel Murray - The A.V. Club)

“Sala’s work is like a fusion of Hergé and Charles Addams, yielding a simple, cartoon-like style that makes his moments of gothic horror all the more disturbing. ...[The Hidden] is a beautifully pulpy and incredibly imaginative book that gives a fresh spin on a well-used set-up.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Hidden is ridiculously good, silly fun... and Richard Sala’s absurd humour bleeds through the lot like red ink on a crisp white collar.... It is, to hammer it home with a bloody mallet, an absolute demented joy.” (Hayley Campbell - The Comics Journal)

“In this outing, [Sala] combines motifs of a postapocalyptic landscape, wanderers, some vampiric businessmen, and, ultimately, Dr. Frankenstein. The stew works perfectly... and it is only at story’s end that the opening pages become horrifyingly clear. Sala works with a full palette of beautiful, gemlike hues held in generous panels.” (Francisca Goldsmith - School Library Journal)

“Sala’s new book, The Hidden, does not wholly depart from the campy fascination with the morbid that marks his previous work, but is even darker in tone, despite the vibrant watercolor work. The visual markers of Sala’s humor are present ― the affected font, the twisted faces ― but there is arguably something more serious and disturbing at play here.” (Jenna Brager - Los Angeles Review of Books)

“The world is ending in madness and blood, as a bearded man flees to the countryside. But what does he know about the end and why is it mostly nubile young women who are being killed? Another tale of mayhem, mystery and mad science from Richard Sala.” (Carol Borden - The Cultural Gutter)

“It helps if you can illustrate your fever dreams as well as Sala can… [The Hidden] is beautiful to look at, and as usual, he gives us memorable grotesques and lovely girls in equal measure…. His best since he wrapped up Evil Eye a few years ago.” (Johnny Bacardi - Popdose)

“Graphic novelist Richard Sala cures the zombie apocalypse malaise with a new book that takes the basic set-up of those tales and turns it into an artsy, comical, downright weird exercise in terror that brings together several slices of the horror genre... into something modern and surprising. …The Hidden [is] a modernist horror tale that acts like the zombies it evokes, cannibalizing the genres from which it sprang and spewing out something new from those entrails.” (John Seven - North Adams Transcript)

“Imagine your unease if all the ghouls and ghosts of the Halloweens of your forgotten youth were suddenly made real, ... Oh, and don’t bother running to the neighbor’s because the monsters have stopped there first. That’s what reading The Hidden is like and that’s ... what makes of Sala’s best works period.” (John Mueller - ComicImpact)

“...[P]robably the best pure horror comic I read this year... Sala’s expressionist art style might not be the most obvious choice for telling blood­curdling horror stories, but its innocent cartoony quality somehow makes a perfect (and terrible) fit with the horrible, almost nihilistic story that Sala is telling.” (Tim Reinert - Four Colours & the Truth)

“The art is gruesome and absolutely the best, ...[and] everything lends itself to the gothic and disturbing feel of the book. And the ending!  The ending!!! ...[It] sends an absolute chill down your spine. For fans of creepy stories, Emily Carroll and just weird but awesome art.” (I'm Reading Comeeks)

“Post-apocalyptic stories tend to be grim, but The Hidden is very dark indeed.... The book feels like a modern-day gothic horror. The survivors are metaphors for humanity, with a heroic few battling an onslaught of monsters, human or otherwise.... Sala’s illustration is compelling... 4 stars [out of 5]” (Grovel)

“...[E]asily... one of my favorite horror comics and one of my contenders for my Best of 2011 list.... There is an excellent story of slow-building despair to be found in its pages, with gorgeous depictions and coloring and a horror story that shocks, surprises, and entertains.” (Rob McMonigal - Panel Patter)

“Clever, compelling and staggeringly engaging, this fabulous full-colour hardback is a wonderfully nostalgic escape hatch back to those days when unruly children scared themselves silly under the bedcovers at night…” (Win Wiacek - Now Read This!)

“...[W]hat Sala does well, he does very well indeed. There’s quite a lot to love in The Hidden, with some scenes in particular that will stick with the reader for a long time.” (Greg McElhatton - Read About Comics)

“This is Sala’s second book in colour, rich in red and orange, but it’s the first, I believe, to dispense with all hope and humour ― apart from the man with the Marty Feldman eyes. He’s taken the Edward out of Gorey and the tongue from his cheek, replacing it there with shovels, hatchets and stakes!” (Stephen L. Holland, Page 45)

About the Author

Richard Sala grew up in Chicago and now spends his time in Berkeley, CA. His graphic novels include Mad Night, Peculia, Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires, Maniac Killer Strikes Again!, The Ghastly Ones, The Chuckling Whatsit, Cat Burglar Black, Delphine, and The Hidden.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (September 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993866
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Humphreys on September 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The world is overwhelmed by an unexplained catastrophe, and we follow a small group of shocked survivors as they head for a refuge in the desert. It could be a B movie plot, and is certainly gripping: but the characters are much more engaging and rounded, while the superb full-color illustrations give it a depth and melancholy atmosphere that puts it in a class of its own. And there are still several nasty moments and a twisty ending to keep you guessing.

Most of Richard Sala's works are a surprisingly satisfying blend horror and comedy. Here, the fun is downplayed; instead we have a dark and at times moving exploration of some meaty themes, such as the way the old and powerful in society exploit the young, or humanity's inability to learn from its mistakes. It's thought-provoking, at times uncompromising but ultimately hugely satisfying.
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Format: Hardcover
Most artists are collections of their influences and ideas; only a very few are purely themselves, with no admixture of anyone else. Richard Sala, I'd say, is in that select company. Oh, sure, his creepy graphic novels take place in worlds not unlike those of Edward Gorey or Gahan Wilson, but his characters are entirely different -- and Sala seems to have arrived in that neighborhood by entirely different paths.

THE HIDDEN is right in Sala's usual milleu, an apocalyptic story in which one tough young woman -- this time named Colleen, and darker-skinned and more sensibly-shoed than usual for a Sala heroine -- finds herself in the midst of supernatural horrors, deep secrets, and more than a few up-close-and-nasty deaths. This time, the apocalypse is sudden and all-encompassing: monsters burst forth on the second page, and the explanation (such as it is) doesn't come until nearly the end. But what does it matter why or how the world is ending? The time to worry about that is before it ends, and it's far too late for that in THE HIDDEN.

So Colleen, and her boyfriend Tom -- who wants to be strong, but young men never fare well in Sala's graphic novels -- were lucky enough to be out in the wilderness when the worst happened, and so are still alive and wandering. And they were lucky, or perhaps very unlucky, to run into a wild-looking man who doesn't know his own name. He leads them to a group of other survivors, and Colleen learns the monstrous secrets of their guide -- of the creature he created, long ago, and the race of monsters that creation has patiently made and now released on the world.
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Format: Hardcover
The world is ending and strange ghoulish creatures are killing people and razing buildings to the ground. The few survivors there are regroup in the barren desert and tell their stories to piece together what happened. And then the silent man in the group tells them something. He leads them to a mysterious place in the middle of nowhere where deformed "humans" exist and something terrible lies in a laboratory, something... hidden.

Richard Sala continues to produce excellent horror comic books with his distinctive artistic style that both terrifies and is a joy to look at. His lettering alone is worth reading the book for. Here he riffs on Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" of a creator, also called Victor, who creates something or someone who goes on to change things... except with this creature, he goes further than Frankenstein's Monster ever could.

Sala fans will lap this up but comics fans of the indie and horror sort will find plenty to enjoy here too. I thought this was one of Sala's strongest books and really enjoyed it. Also should note that the hardback is really excellently produced by Fantagraphics. It's not just a great comic book but looks really great on the shelf too. Top notch stuff.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a long time fan of Richard Sala so I bought this as soon as it was released. The book features several different apocalypses and the attempts at survival of a small group of characters. The plot is disjointed and some of the storylines seem to contradict each other. However, this is not a weakness: The weird dream-logic gives the book a compelling sense of disaster and nightmare. The characters in some of Sala's other books don't evoke the empathy they do in this one; I was really hoping things might turn out for some of these people.
Of course the art is great with tons of memorable images. Buy it and read it twice like I did.
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