Created by Salvador Sanz
SHE IS A LITTLE ROUND-FACED GIRL looking at the stars when we first meet her bundled in her spacesuit with a monkey companion who appears as smart as she is, just challenged with language. They are both out collecting samples or something when a hostile corporation destroys their moon base with a missile that explodes in the background.
As with rural plantations or precious-metal mines worked in remote locations, or modern free‑enterprise zones fenced off in out-of-the-way places well away from prying eyes, big business firms like to find a niche where they can do whatever they want. Approach if you can. The moon is perfect for enterprising giants.
Now the companies have arrived, a few questions arise, like what do they want? And why are they fighting about it? In this case, rather than Redcoats, dragoons, Seals, or superheroes settling disputes, here we see just these two small creatures in an empty gloom, producing more questions, like what training helps her stay so calm? And who is the monkey?
The allure of the scenery and story in Angela Della Morte haunts me. I keep reaching to look again and search the spaces within the small windowed panels for the meanings and feelings and visions just there out of view.
The short four-issue series by Argentine artist Salvador Sanz is definitely a virtuoso performance, much like a violinist playing the devil’s trill for an hour to then abruptly disappear into the night. The story appeared in Spanish in 2005, and only recently in English, starting in October 2019. I wanted more right away. Fortunately it appears the artist returned with a continuation of Angela Della Morte last year, hopefully planned for a quicker English edition.
The artwork is entrancingly colored by Gonzalo Duarte following the creator’s plan, with muted tints especially on the moon, glinting off the penwork. The work was originally published in black and white.
Even when the story moves to jungle scenery on Earth—yes, they survive the moon ordeal, sort of—the colors remain tinted, vivifying the imagery, though barely there. Somehow the story moves in the same design, vivid though barely there, spanning all the angles, spat spat spat with the camera, while events brush through the snapshots at their own slower momentum in clashing rhythms.
The serious part of the story involves a project to extract evil from people and store it somewhere in a black goo, since it cannot be destroyed. Sounds and looks a lot like radioactive waste, leaving the impression this has to be a really dumb idea generated by human hubris, believing endeavor and fortitude can do anything one wants. Seems it can’t end well.
The plan also struck me as a version of the kind of problem-solving demonstrated by our Portland rioters recently, aiming to defund the police, because the opposite of what looks bad must be better. Intolerance eliminates options and management experience when evil pops out again like a mewling infant, and here we stand with no diapers.
Angela stayed calm throughout, because she had a plan, and a backup when virtue failed. Worth noting, though, she only made it through due to her smart monkey pal.