The final collection from Sala (Phantoms in the Attic), published posthumously after his 2020 death, is a fitting capstone to the prolific, idiosyncratic artist’s career: a collection of graphic novellas and illustrated stories showcasing his passion for feverish pulp fiction, self-aware dark humor, and cryptic visual symbolism.
First up in Poison Flowers is “House of the Blue Dwarf,” a 125-page thriller featuring master criminal the Bloody Cardinal, who leaves a wake of mayhem and madness everywhere he goes. “Monsters Illustrated” is a fun, 64-page monster movie riff that showcases Sala’s visual imagination. A young woman in a dusty bookstore reads a strange bestiary — the “book within a book” showcases a series of Sala’s gorgeous watercolor and ink drawings. But when she gets to the end, she finds the bookseller drives a hard bargain. “Cave Girls Of The Lost World” is a campy, 60-page romp about a team of young women whose plane crashes in a land forgotten by time and rife with dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and apemen — but these intelligent, brave, and resourceful women are ready to rumble! Rounding out the book is “The Amazing Adventures of Fantomina Fantomella,” a 45-page graphic novella of violence and non-stop action. Priest and his mob thought Fantomina was dead. So how is it that she’s come back with a vengeance? Poison Flowers & Pandemonium is a perfect showcase of Sala’s gorgeous watercolor artwork and his love of B-movie horror, silent film-era archetypes, and femmes fatale.