Violenzia and Other Deadly Amusements delivers deadly and creepy but witty fun.
Violenzia and Other Deadly Amusements is a highly creative, original and imaginative Graphic Novel that contains three different stories. Two stories about Violenzia, 26 Alphabetical fun stand-alone drawings that each tell a whole little story of their own and The Forgotten.
It’s a graphic novel full of absurd, witty fun, violent new mythology, and philosophical themes. It has monsters, weird creatures, villains, a nosy-boy in destress and a badass heroine. Each story has a unique voice and has an acquired taste that will speak to a particular audience. But when it does, you’ll soon be addicted to Sala’s wonderful smart stories.
The Graphic Novel starts with the story of Violenzia. A cult, with very big cheeses amongst their members sacrifices girls for their Master. But when Violenzia is set loose she lets her guns speak to put an end to this madness. Violenzia is quick, the silent type and ruthless and a very elusive figure. Who is she? Where does she come from? And what is her main goal?
The Forgotten is the second story about a man who walks through a small but sinister village contemplating life and himself.
Then you can enjoy 26 drawings, each having very fun titels that alliterate and each one tells a whole little story in Malevolent Reveries: An Alphabetical Exhibition.
The third story is called Violenzia Returns and continues Violenzia’s quest to destroy evil. We find out a little bit more, about who was behind all this evil madness, and it reveals a big twist for the nerdy guy wo was saved by Violenzia that awaits him at the end of his search for his savior.
Why you should read it
Both stories of Violenzia are exceptionally wonderful. It’s full of villains, creatures, mystical beings, and a badass heroine. Although the story itself remains a little bit vague, you can certainly grasp what it is all about. It’s like a sketch, an idea that gives us a glimpse of a whole bigger story, that hides a huge universe of mythology, villains and an epic fight.
It’s elusive and comical, especially portraying the evil villains as original stereotypical figures. The interesting part is that the story is told through the villains and not by the heroine. We see the story evolve and unravel through the perspective of the bad guys, and that is highly exceptional, for Violenzia doesn’t utter a word, nor do we come to know anything about her. And the fun part is that the bad evil guys are even the worst for it, becoming all the more evil.
But this story hides something witty and philosophical too. The existentialistic view of humanity and psychotic existence is addressed in a comical way, but still serves as food for thought.
“Many years ago, before the narrative of history was rewritten, there was stability and balance. There was co-operation and benevolence. Then came the bloody coup. People were tricked. Now money, religion and politics control people with fear.”
The stories about Violenzia are very colorful, in wording and in drawings. Bright colors pop off the pages, as does Violenzia herself. With just enough text, that complements the story, the mystery unravels just enough to be fully appreciated.
The Forgotten is an even more philosophical story. Walking through a small town, surrounded by horrible sinister creatures, the protagonist contemplates life. It’s an existentialistic journey questioning our state of enlightenment. Are we really that more enlightened and grown than our primitive ancestors? Or are we still as primitive, trading old gods for new ones?
“So many things long lost and forgotten. We have to delude and distract ourselves constantly to not be aware of the weight of history crushing down on us, mocking our brief flickers of life. Every person thinks their time is special and unique, that they have solved every mystery – then it’s over.”
The story is dark, with a brooding atmosphere enhanced by the dark sinister creatures that invade the pages. The sepia coloring adds to this dark fairytale-like vibe and increases the terror and dread that weighs on the protagonist. It has a gothic vibe that is very tangible.
Every page comprises of one drawing with his contemplations and each page his thoughts deepen and are getting more dark as do the creatures. Each page has a lot to offer for the reader, soaking all of this dark madness up. With a big surprising twist at the end, the protagonist maybe somewhat the wiser, but as for the philosophical mystery, it never gives a direct answer.
My favorite part
I really liked The Forgotten. Although it’s a graphic novel, the text is very poetic and not your average lines in graphic novels. It sometimes does even feel more like a poem, with the drawings supporting the text. The drawings are so detailed, that you can stare at each page for a while, enjoying the dark gothic images, while the text lingers in your mind. It has a unique style and atmosphere and though its briefness adds to the elusiveness, I often wished these stories were much longer.
The Alphabetical Exhibitions are great and little posters you would want to hang on your wall. They address all kinds of monsters and creatures and you can make up your own story by looking at them. They’re mostly based on gothic monsters like a werewolf, a mummy, vampires, a creature from the black lagoon, zombies and much more. Also the titels are great. For example The Horrible Head of Hickory Hollow and Zombie Hour on Zombie Island. The humor is in the details, giving each story more allure.
Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Violenzia and Other Deadly Amusements is written and drawn by Richard Sala and first published by Fantagraphics Books in 2015. It consists of 144 pages.