Sunday, December 27, 2009

FEARnet: CAT BURGLAR BLACK is one of the "Top 9 of '09"!

Thank you to FEARnet for listing CAT BURGLAR BLACK as one of the "Top 9 of '09" in their Comics & Graphic Novels division. It's an honor and a (nice) surprise!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Gallery of Christmas Cards

Here is a selection of my Christmas/Seasons Greetings cards from over the years, mostly from the 1990s and early '00s. These were made to be sent to illustration/comics colleagues and clients. One of the earlier ones here, from 1992, was done on a letterpress (shown at the top). Others were simply done at Kinkos and some I did using Cafe Press. A couple were actually assignments -- Christmas cards for other people (like Fantagraphics or The Seattle Rocket) -- that I then revised and used as my own.

I did cards every year from 1992 until just a couple of years ago, but I don't have any left in my files from some years. I especially liked drawing Santa Claus for some reason. The one with the magician and his rabbit is from the year I had a strip featuring those characters running in Nickelodeon Magazine (I loved doing that strip, but it only lasted for about ten 2-page episodes...sigh). Nowadays, of course, anyone can create their own cards on their computers and print them out themselves on really nice paper -- that's still amazing to me. It's pretty cool, actually...


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Thank you to Ng Suat Tong for his thoughtful and insightful 7-page (!) review of the DELPHINE series on the (brand new) website for The Comics Journal:

Top: Blurry snapshot of original cover art for DELPHINE #4 I took for reference before sending them to the publisher...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A (slightly dated) look at PSYCHO SANTA MOVIES (from 2003)

Here is a strip I did for the Seattle weekly, THE STRANGER in December 2003. Yes, there has since been a surge in Christmas time horror movies and many (!) more have made since then. But at the time these films almost seemed to be the product of a by-gone era, believe it or not. And, no, these may not be the most scholarly (or accurate!) descriptions of the films, since I did this strip mostly from memory (not to mention on a deadline - so please consider that when casting a critical eye on the thing!). Even just six years ago, some of these films were hard (for me anyway) to track down to re-watch, so most descriptions are based on the one or two times I saw the films myself, which was years earlier. I say all of this because I know that nowadays anyone who wishes can find out everything they wish about any of these movies online and there may be some who could find much to quibble about (yes, I know the blonde wasn't actually wearing a green top - or anything actually - when she got stuck on the antlers, etc etc), but I ask you, dear readers, to please consider the spirit in which the strip was done -- with a sense of humor rather than as a serious piece of film criticism (!). Plus - on a deadline -- Did I mention that?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The COMIC BOOK BIN concludes its reviews of the DELPHINE series with a look at the final issue...

Sample quote: "The first two issues of Delphine, Richard Sala’s reinvention of Snow White, were sparkling macabre gems. While the third could also be described as such, it was in the third chapter that the story took a turn into darker territory. It was then that the narrative point of view began to ask questions about the traveler’s relationship with Delphine. The readers only see Delphine as she is related to them by the traveler. He is obsessed with Delphine, and that makes everything about his narration suspect, which keeps the readers unbalanced. The bewildering events of this fourth volume race towards a stunning conclusion, one that is quietly horrifying, yet terrifying in its sadness.

The fourth book is a must for those who have read earlier issues, but it will make the uninitiated really want to read Delphine from the beginning.

Grade: A"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Omnivoracious Reviews Cat Burglar Black!

Read full review here:

Some samples:

Richard Sala's Cat Burglar Black is a charming and stylish escapade replete with homages to the Nancy Drew series,The Secret Garden, and even, in my opinion, the set-piece capers in the Tintin adventures...

I must admit to having a soft spot for mysteries set in schools--the principal appeal of the first three Harry Potter novels for me--and Sala's taken the best part of such childhood memories as Bugs Bunny or Abbott & Costello creeping through haunted mansions and wedded it to fond-remembered scenes involving the Thompson Twins (not, dear Misguided Ones, the pop band) and even, dare I say it, Scooby Doo...

The mystery is complex and at times devilish. When you've finished, you remember with fondness nights as a child curled up with a book and a hot cocoa on the couch. The book might be aimed at a younger age group, but adults should get a nostalgic smile out of it...

Thank you, Omnivoracious!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Week - Part 2

Set of Halloween cards, using images of silk-screened art created for a 1994 Halloween art show.

Uncut silkscreen of black cat image, 14" x 18", 1994.

Uncut silkscreen of Jack-O-Lantern image, 14" x 18", 1994

Original Jack-O-Lantern line art. Pen & Ink, 14" x 18", 1994.

Front and back views of the package of "Halloween Hang-ups" made for the 1994 show. We only made around 65 of these packages, containing the hand-cut silkscreens. There were three different designs in each package, each with a stapled photocopied red cardstock header. It was all very "crafty" & low-tech & home-made. They were just intended to add a bit more fun to the show -- affordable souvenirs to be sold during the reception. When I had the opportunity to do a set of Halloween cards several years later, I decided to reuse these designs, since I was always kind of fond of them and was sorry we hadn't done a larger edition (the original group sold out within a week, although I set aside some for myself, most of which have since been sold). Below is the poster for the show:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Halloween Week

Top to bottom:
(1) Halloween illustration for The New York Times from several years ago.
(2) Monster who originally appeared on an Evil Eye letter page.
(3) Art for the poster of my 1994 Halloween Show at a now-defunct gallery in San Francisco.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Half-Minute Horrors Preview

Here is a sneak peak at the two-page comic I wrote and drew for the book mentioned in the previous post -- a new book of short scary stories for kids, perfect for Halloween! The story is called "The Old Man In The Picture."

Note: All proceeds go to a non-profit organization dedicated to giving children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own new books -- so this is one you don't have to feel guilty about buying.

New Book Of Short Scary Stories For Kids Book Description --

How scared can you get in only 30 seconds? Dare to find out with Half-Minute Horrors, a collection of deliciously terrifying short short tales and creepy illustrations by an exceptional selection of writers and illustrators, including Jonathan Lethem, Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, R.L.Stine, Faye Kellerman, Margaret Atwood, Lane Smith, Richard Sala and many more. With royalties benefiting First Book, a not-for-profit organization that brings books to children in need, this is an anthology worth devouring. So grab a flashlight, set the timer, and get ready for instant chills!

Edited by Susan Rich
Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


To kick off my favorite month, here is an illustration I did for the Oct. 1991 issue of (the original) National Lampoon. The mag had seen far better days by then, but some of the good people were still there, although not for much longer...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes on the original art for DELPHINE

The DELPHINE series was always intended to be printed in sepia tones. However, I created the original art using blue washes, which, for some reason I found allowed me to "see" the values - from light to black - more clearly than when I was working with brown washes (yes, there was some early hit and miss experimenting). Working with blue washes seemed easier on the eye and each panel appeared more spacious and atmospheric in shades of blue. As one of my art teachers pointed out many years ago, "blue is the color of infinity". Perhaps it is this quality that made it easier for me to see the range of values as I painted.

When I painted in browns, the darks never seemed dark enough and the light areas seemed too close to the medium range. At worst the brown washes would appear flat and solid -- which I knew wouldn't necessarily be the case in the printed version (especially with the warm cream colored paper). When I realized I was beginning to overwork panels to make them "finished", I went back to blue and did the rest of the art that way. (I realize that this may just be a personal quirk -- but I've learned that "going" with personal quirks when they show up is often a good idea!).

I then scanned all the art myself and adjusted the color from "full-color" blue and black to the duotone of brown and black. In order to fit the art for each page on my scanner, I divided each page into three (with the exception of a few pages that had larger panels) -- each painting representing one of the page's three tiers.
I'm posting a few examples. Many more can be viewed (and are, in fact, for sale) at the Comic Art Collective --

I've recently added new batches of tiers from DELPHINE #1 and #4 there, which haven't been offered for sale before. Each is done in watercolor & ink on 7" x 12" Arches watercolor paper. If you are interested in purchasing any: prices for individual tiers are sixty dollars each and buyers can use Paypal if they wish. You may either click to purchase art on the CAC site or write to me directly at and let me know which pieces you are interested in. That's a faster way to do it sometimes. (The CAC guy - Mr. Jeff Voris -- is truly a saint, and it's less work for him if you write me directly). Any purchased art will be neatly signed, just outside the panel.

I have other art for sale on the site, as well, at a variety of prices. But I decided to keep all the Delphine tiers fairly affordable and set one price instead of deciding if this tier should cost more than that one.

Thank you to those interested in the process for reading all this shop talk -- and my apologies if the notes devolved into something resembling a sales pitch! Just wanted to cover all bases! And I'm a lover of original comic art & illustration art - and all their "imperfections" - myself.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Curt Purcell Reviews Cat Burglar Black

It's always a pleasure to read Curt's smart and insightful reviews -- whether they're about my books or not!

Friday, July 24, 2009

CAT BURGLAR BLACK Preview 3: A Warning!

Coming this Fall from First Second Books!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DELPHINE - The Story Concludes

A gallery of the covers to all four issues of the mini-series DELPHINE. The final issue is in stores this week and all four issues are available for purchase online from Fantagraphic Books (see links).

Monday, July 20, 2009

DELPHINE 4 - Final Sneak Preview!

"Submitted for your approval", as Rod Serling used to say, a selection of random panels from the fourth and final issue of DELPHINE, my mini-series from Fantagraphic Books and Coconino Press. The issue debuts officially this week at the Fantagraphics booth of the San Diego ComicCon. It may also arrive in stores later this week as well, I'm told -- and it is already available to order online directly from Fantagraphics Books (see links), in case you are one of those people who, like me, only steps outside as a last resort!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Desert Night Drive

This is a six-page strip I did for the 2005 book ROADSTRIPS, edited by Pete Friedrich.