Comic Review: Road Rage
I picked this up while at the Steel City Convention from a seller who was unloading smaller titles for $2 each. I ended up buying close to one copy of each being sold just to buy them, but this one I picked out first. I have always been a huge fan of Stephen King and Richard Matheson. In my opinion they set a standard in horror and suspense that has never been matched even by other greats. Not only did it have name value to it, but it is also a hardback book. This was a deal I simply couldn’t pass up. It’s actually listed on Amazon.com at $3.99 and even that is a pretty good deal.
Turns out that this is a graphic novel collection of two separate short stories. The first is based on the Novella written by Stephen King and his Son Joe Hill. The Second is based on Duel written by Matheson and adapted into a film by Stephen King.
First we will take a look at Throttle. An outlaw motor club have been duped by someone in a meth deal. They are now after the culprits. While on the way they stop at a diner and chat openly about the situation. The man who stole thousands from them has a sister a few towns over and they are headed in her direction. Once they are back on the road they are attacked by someone driving a tractor trailer. This story was created by Hill and King after watching Spielbergs film Duel. The appreciation of the classic is easily noticeable in this homage. Eventually the Bikers are able to outwit the man and ultimately wreck his vehicle killing him. But not without a number of casualties of their own. As they inspect the wreckage they come to understand that he, like the members of this club was a former soldier who served in Vietnam, and that he was actually the father of the girl they were looking for.
There is some dissension within the group over what to do next and one member named Race, who is the son of the clubs President wants to continue on. The others, including his father disagree. It ends with them separating.
This was a really neat story that I am sure lasts a little longer in its original novella form. I wanted more from the first panel to the last. It’s clearly just a nice homage to the story Duel written by Richard Matheson, but it could be so much more. I want to know what happens next. Does Race find the girl? Dees she have the cash or know who does? What about his father and the remaining members of the club, what do they do next? I am enthralled with this story. It kind of reminded me of Sons of Anarchy which is my favorite show and I just really love the atmosphere that can be created in the realm of an outlaw biker club.
The artwork is good, really good. It finds itself between the levels of realism and yet cartoon. It reminds me of the art from the 30 Days of Night books and it’s panels are not complicated. Throttle has two chapters and both are a fun read that leave you wanting more.
Duel also has two chapters and is written by Matheson himself. It’s neat to see this story, that of a traveling salesman who sends a trucker off of the deep end simply by passing him. The tug of war between the two drivers translate very well into the comic world as it works very well in short form.
I am not a fan of the artwork much at all in this part of the book. It has heavy lines and sharp colors like a collection of sketches that were inked over. Sometimes the art is difficult to see and the panels come together often which necessitated a second look at times.
I will say that this kind of added to the suspense of not being sure what was going on and the chaos in the story came to live while looking at the panels. I am unsure if this is the intent, but in this instance it became my perception. So the art that I would have told you was bad, actually helped bring this particular story to life.
There’s about 105 pages of story between the two titles as well as forwards by Stephen King and Joe Hill. There is also a collection of artwork at the end of the book.
It’s absolutely worth picking up and can be read in a very short amount of time. It’s perfect for traveling or if you’re the type of person into short stories. It was totally worth what I payed, and what’s being asked of on Amazon now. Any fan of Matheson or King would love this collection.