Page 45 Review by Stephen
Isn't the creative process fascinating? I no longer have access to what Fantagraphics actually wrote, but this was my summary of the solicitation in October 2010:
"Eight people stranded by snow at a diner, their phones picking up mere shards of conversation. The static-ridden radio announces some global catastrophe in bursts. The already jittery customers decided it would be a good idea to freak each other out with dreams and anecdotes that don't end well. Oh, and a dangerous inmate has just discharged himself from hospital."
Not a single element survives except the static-ridden radio announcement now heard by Colleen and Tom who are driving down the mountains at night, but it's definitely the end of the world! The first town they found was empty and obliterated, cars abandoned, girders toppled over rubble. There's no food, no working cars, just a guy they've found lost in a cave who somehow feels responsible. As they make their way to the remote desert diner the bearded man is convinced lies but a day away, they're spotted by Sally and Glen who've just finished catering for a millionaire media mogul and his gathering of the rich and famous at a secret party also in the middle of nowhere. They stepped outside for a cigarette at just the right moment. What they heard next was disturbing; what happened next was horrific. What lies in wait for them at the diner? Dinner or disaster?
There be monsters; monsters of man's own making.
This is Sala's second book in colour, rich in red and orange, but it's the first, I believe, to dispense with all hope and humour - apart from the man with the Marty Feldman eyes. He's taken the Edward out of Gorey and the tongue from his cheek, replacing it there with shovels, hatchets and stakes!
By far the finest scenes for me were Glen and Sally's recollection of the media mogul's coterie: bloated, wizened, corporate grotesques in suits and ties, guzzling smugly away on free fine wine which soon sends them barking. It's an orgy of blood, tissue and mass mutilation as they tear each other to pieces, each page coming off as the most savage of satirical, political cartoons. Successfully, I might add.