“peculia” by richard sala
peculia is a girl who lives in a gothic world full of looming castles, scary forests and windy streets with ghouls around every corner. she is extremely inquisitive, is fearless and traipses around in a skimpy purple dress. now tell me, what is there not to like about that premise?
as you can imagine this comic is great fun. sala’s world is deliciously gothic and contains many of the elements that us goth lovers will appreciate. as you can imagine there is a whole host of scary and dangerous creatures, just dying to eat, murder, mutilate and take advantage of our dear old protagonist. there are ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches and, well, things that i didn’t know what they were!
peculia also has an arch-nemesis, obscurus, some mystical safari-arabian bloke. obscurus regularly orders justine, his henchwoman, to capture peculia, and as such justine appears as peculia’s main antagonist through the comics. justine is a sad figure – a loser who wears boots, cape and maskand tries very hard to look like a superhero.
what adds a little spice to the story is the way in which sala plays with the justine/obscurus/peculia triangle. as the story wears on justine gets more and more frustrated as obscurus starts impeding justine from her goal and it becomes clear that obscurus doesn’t only have evil intentions with regards to peculia…!
this book is also very funny and its quite a feat that sala manages to make it ghoulishly dark while being funny at the same time. the monsters truly have very bad intentions and sala always satisfies us by giving us some gore, but through it all he somehow manages to keep it all very lighthearted.
“dude! dude! watch the shades!” 😀
this particular comic of peculia is a collection of short strips that first appeared in evil eye comic. as such they’re more like comic strips than comics, in that each story is very short and breezy. this also means that there isn’t too much continuity from story to story (except for the plot development regarding peculia, obscurus and justine). each story is just a new adventure as peculia takes an ill-advised walk through the woods.
because of this i initially didn’t enjoy it quite as much because i kept wanting the story to progress – even though i knew the comic was more of a comic strip collection. so my initial impression was that it was a bit shallow but fun. but it festered in my mind afterwards and upon revisiting it i got into the groove of understanding that there wasn’t meant to be much depth or continuity (i can be so slow sometimes…!!!) and when that finally sunk in i could fully appreciate it for the gothic romp that it is! its definitelty the kind of thing is nice to just pick up and dip into.
as good and as fun as the story is, the star of the show is undoubtably sala’s artwork. its rich and dark and very gothic. one can draw comparisons, but i think its better to let the art speak for itself:
isn’t that art just gorgeous! my only wish is that he’d do some big splash pages!
i had a lot of fun reading peculia and its always nice to have a comic that looks good as well as being a good story. if you have a soft spot for things gothic and also enjoy light-hearted humour then i’d definitely recommend peculia!