Cartoonist and Spy Vibe agent, Richard Sala, is well known for his thrilling stories, which often pay homage to the quirks and conventions of early pulp mysteries and serials. His world is filled with eccentric masterminds, gruesome henchmen, exotic locations, dagger-wielding chicks in black jumpsuits, and innocent investigators who brave the labyrinths of spooky mansions and secret lairs. Yes, his books are as awesome as that sounds! Richard also wrote and drew a cartoon for Liquid Television in 1991 called Invisible Hands. After years of fuzzy bootlegs on Youtube, you can now see the six episodes on the official Liquid Television website.
I interviewed Richard for Spy Vibe in 2009 and asked him about his work. We quickly got on to the subject of our first crush and favorite spies- Diana Rigg and The Avengers: "I may have had other crushes as a kid, but she was my first real serious one, that's for sure! I loved (and still do) everything about The Avengers. In the years before VHS or syndication, you saw these shows when they aired ONCE - maybe twice if you were lucky and they reran it. So there were lots of kids like me who would try to remember everything about the episodes they had just seen. I had notebooks where I wrote down plots and titles. Doing that I became aware of how awesomely clever and smart the episodes were -- and I loved writing down the names of the oddball characters. I tried to get cast names, but often wasn't fast enough (no IMDB or episode guides back then!). I took photos off of TV with my little Instamatic camera -- a whole ordeal that's probably worth a separate article. My brother and I would record shows on our reel-to-reel tape-recorder because it was the only way to have a record of the shows we loved. Then we'd listen to them over and over." I also used to make audio tapes of favorite shows and films. As Richard said, it was a way to re-experience those thrilling adventures, much in the manner of radio dramas. Like Richard, I wrote episode guides for The Prisoner and gained an appreciation for the production and storytelling. Little did we know that we would someday be able to own libraries of these programs.
We also spoke about his many influences, including Franju's Judex, and spy icons like James Bond, Flint, and Matt Helm. Read the full interview here at The Adventures of Richard Sala. Below is one of the eccentric characters from his new serialized project Skeleton Key, info at Here Lies Richard Sala. You can find Richard's books and other spy treasures in Spy Vibe's secure Amazon Store.