Friday, January 01, 2010

Invisible Hands-Richard Sala
A couple months back I stumbled upon Maniac Killer Strikes Again by Richard Sala. There was something oddly familiar about Sala's work, but I couldn't quite place where I'd seen it before. After doing some quick internet research on him I found out where I'd encountered his art. I was surprised to find that I'd seen his stuff on MTV. It may be hard to believe considering the state of the channel now, but MTV used to be one of the only channels on television during the nineties willing to give alternative comic artists and animators a chance to showcase their material. One of the well known shows where they were allowed to do this was Liquid Television. LTV is mostly remembered now for being home to the original Aeon Flux shorts as well as Bevis and Butthead. In a way, the popularity of these two franchises have eclipsed much of the other material that aired on LTV. If we couple this with the fact MTV has let the LTV shorts on DVD become discontinued, its easy to see why the legacy of the other artists who did pieces for the show has languished. LTV was so incredible because it allowed animators unaffiliated with MTV to work independently for the network, submitting material freelance as it was comissioned from them. In this sense the show functioned much more like a comic anthology than anything else, culling the best work from contributors as it was asked of them.

Adapting works from such graphic giants as Charles Burns and Bill Plympton LTV also comissioned a serial from Richard Sala. Sala chose to adapt a strip of his called Thirteen O'Clock for MTV, which eventually morphed into Invisible Hands. Interested primarily in working through the giallo and noir genres, Sala's comics are a blend of hard boiled detective fiction with the essential 'black gloved hands' gialli fans will quickly recognize. Theres always a ton of humour, mystery and nefariousness in Sala's comics. The highest compliment I can pay to his Invisible Hands is that it reads just like his comics. Its only about 12 minutes long, but was memorable enough for me to have recalled seeing it in my childhood. Highly reccomended.