By Leroy Douresseaux
September 26, 2007 - 12:59
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS/COCONINO PRESS
CARTOONIST: Richard Sala
978-1-56097-861-9; 8 1/2” x 11” paperback; saddle-stitched
32 pp., B&W, $7.95
Ignatz is a line of comic books co-published by Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, Washington) and Italy's Coconino Press. With an international roster of cartoonists and creators, each individual Ignatz comic book is printed on heavy paper with cardstock covers in an oversized two-color format. Ignatz titles are part book, part magazine, part comic book (pamphlet), and part serialized graphic novel, and like a book, each edition in the line has a dust jacket. The oversized publishing format makes this look like a magazine, but the contents are all comic book. Delphine #2 by Richard Sala (Evil Eye, The Grave Robber’s Daughter) is the 20th entry in the line.
Delphine is a Sala’s retelling of the fairy tale Snow White from the perspective of the “prince.” In this instance, the prince is a mysterious traveler – a student searching for a fellow student, a girl named Delphine Penny, with whom he has an infatuation. He travels to Delphine’s last address known to him, a rustic village surrounded by an ominous black forest. Delphine #2 opens with the young man a somewhat unwilling guest of a woodsman/woodcarver in his lonely house deep in the forest. After being warned by his host not to enter a gloomy backroom in the house, the young man (of course) does and discovers a mysterious woman residing inside a mirror…
THE LOWDOWN: Richard Sala’s work recalls Edward Gorey and famed New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams with the elegant gloominess of filmmakers Mario Bava and Tim Burton. The larger format of the Ignatz line enhances the loving detail and brooding atmosphere of Sala’s art. The story looks and reads like a fairy tale, and Sala has an amazing knack for constantly adding new elements to his narrative that always enhance the story and engage the reader.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Do you like Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, and/or Barry Sonnefeld? Then, this Ignatz entry is for you.