Friday, 27 June 2008

Rumble Strip

Rumble Strip is a chilling tale about one of the major causes of preventable death - the motor car. Written and illustrated by Woodrow Phoenix, and published by Brighton-based Myriad Editions, it tells you how to kill someone without necessarily going to prison (you run them over!), why drivers get so angry and competitive behind the wheel, and why when it comes to choosing a car, fastest and biggest is best. It is not anti-car per se (Woodrow drives a red Audi A3) but should be compulsory reading for those idiot Argus correspondents (and people who write into newspapers all over the world, I shouldn't wonder) who carp on about rising fuel prices, lack of parking and how cyclists are the scum of the earth.

For a graphic novel about cars (Spam in a can) and pedestrians (just Spam), it shows no people - or cars. We are in a stark world of empty infrastructure: black roads busy with white arrows telling us where to go, vast creepy carless car parks that look like war cemeteries, but with the briefest tantalising glimpses of landscape now and again. The text is full in your face, not tucked away in a corner of the frame, often irritatingly obscuring a detail, like the vanishing point of a road, or the intricacies of an electricity pylon (of which Woodrow is now a fan). It's a take on car ads that are always located on those mythical open roads.

The look and feel builds on his previous work for Myriad, a contribution to The Brighton Book (2005), which made the reader experience the narrative first hand, Peep Show style.

A rumble strip by the way is that corrugated bit on motorways that jolt you awake should you nod off and venture too near the edges of the road.

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