Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost Highway

I'm not a big reader of comics and graphic novels, though I've got several friends trying to turn me around on that point, but Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane came out of nowhere last year and knocked me on my ass. What caught my eye first were the gorgeous graphics, romantic renderings of nowhere middle America in all its muddy, Ichabodliness. The stories too, linked only by theme and tone, were alternately tragic and funny, grim only to the height of the low stakes, each exploring the endless nuance of ways to waste a life. And the writing itself was possessed of the remnants of Kerouac, Fante, Bukowski and other such chroniclers of the American dream's morning after. The sense of place was spot on too. Lane is a fellow St. Louisan and, though not integral to the reader's enjoyment of the stories and artwork, I got a kick out of the many references to local color and legend. The story of Stagger Lee, perhaps St. Louis's most famous murder, I'd caught serialized in the Riverfront Times, but blown up to book size, it's power and command of the page are remarkable. If Abandoned Cars creates an appetite for more barfly graphic work, I'd also recommend Rude Awakening, the Dennis McMillan published collaboration between Purnell Christian and Joe Servello, (adapted from Christian's short story collection Modern Physics and Other Tales). Visit Tim Lane at


Gordon Harries said...

I do have to admit that looks intriguing.

have you read 'Scene Of The Crime' by Ed Brubaker? it's kind of a slacker riff on Ross Macdonald from the late nineties. It's pretty great --he said with some reservation-- and also what I'm reviewing today.

heard the new Neko Case single, by the way (on youtube) you're right, it is kinda different. there's a mini-doc up there too, in which she says it's an album of love songs, which is unusual for her as she kind of hates love songs.

jedidiah ayres said...

I've read just a bit of Brubaker and I like it. I'll take just about anything Neko Case wants to release. But as far as love songs go, I thought she was "holding out for that teenage feeling."

Gordon Harries said...

Well, I'm not an uber-fan like you (seem to be) but wasn't she criticized a little for the last record being poptastic?

(been listening to that album a bit of late, incidentilly. there's some fabulously ghostly sounds on the title track.)

jedidiah ayres said...

spookiness abounds.

Neil said...

Neko Case is great "2AM driving on the interstate" music. Esp. the last one and BLACKLISTED.

Alos good for long late night drives? 1984 by VAN HALEN.

jedidiah ayres said...

And nudity. Nothing keeps me awake on long ass drives like stripping naked and rolling down the window. Keeps me frosty and gives me an incentive not to get pulled over.

Does lose me friends though.

Cullen Gallagher said...

I've never read any graphic novels before, but this sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for suggesting it!

Also, thanks for introducing yourself on CrimeSpace. I'm enjoying going through your blog. I didn't realize Johnnie To was remaking THE RED CIRCLE...I liked EXILED, but not sure how you can do the original any better.

I made sure to put a link to your blog on mine and will check back soon for updates.