Overview

Monster Truck: Automobiles, Monsters, and Mayhem

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Monster Truck: Automobiles, Monsters, and Mayhem

Credits

  • Words: Shaky Kane
  • Art: Shaky Kane
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Jan 28, 2012

A lone monster truck roams the countryside, confusing everyone who sees it.

There are two movies that are relevant to Monster Truck: Automobiles, Monsters, and Mayhem. The first one, Rubber, is an independent French film about a tire that rolls about the countryside, killing people. It begins with a character asking "Why?". Not "why is there a tire killing people", but to the audience, pointedly, "why does this exist?" The narrative gives no explanation, and that's the point. There's "no reason" to what is on screen.

The second is The Day the Clown Cried. An unfinished Jerry Lewis film about a circus clown that is forced by Nazis to help Jewish children to the gas chamber. The plot or the actual content of the film has no bearing on this book, but the responses the film garnered can basically be applied to this work. It's a project that exists, and the intent is clear, but you're left with no response.

The plot is maddeningly simple; a monster truck roams the wasteland, filled with monsters, superheroes, race tracks, kaiju, and flying eyeballs, amongst other oddities. That's it. There's no rising arc, no denouement, no climax, no motivation, nothing. That's what makes it so maddening; once you think you've figured the book out (when you see a child playing with a Hot Wheels-modeled race track that dwarfs the titular "character," you assume that the whole narrative is a kid playing with toys… but then, where do you explain the flying eyeballs?).

This is not even a plot; it's a series of sideshow attractions. Here's one thing, here's another. "That thing looks like Doctor Mid-Nite, but he's wearing a business suit, and we couldn't actually make it Doctor Mid-Nite or else DC would sue."

Is there dialogue? Yes. The book has about one or two lines on each page, namely the character commenting on what he's seeing.

Is there art? Yes. Disappointingly one-note in color, while these designs might be great for an Adult Swim show or a CD album cover, in still life for 52 pages, it gets repetitive and weak.

Is this supposed to be some form of a horrific children's book? At first glance, it appears to be such, given the page format we're presented with in our digital review copy. Upon a second look, it appears to be one continuous image, with each page directly connected to the next. Is this the best wallpaper ever for people with 52 monitors (ignoring DC with their former 52 Monitors)? By default, yes.

On another note, this is listed as a recolored and remastered "deluxe" second printing of the Wishbone Studio "classic." Without having read the original, we can't comment on how this recoloring goes, but we can definitely wonder what makes it a "classic."

Is this a thing? It is a thing. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? We're still trying to figure out what we just read.

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Comments

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jan 3, 2012 at 12:26pm

    Sorry you didn't care for MONSTER TRUCK Chad. I have a very different opinion, finding it a magnificent tour of the fertile imagination of one of the most under-rated creators of the UK comics scene in the last twenty or so years. I have the original version (signed by the great Shaky Kane himself!) and love this surreal smorgasboard of bizarre visuals and juxtaposition of disparate imagery.

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Jan 3, 2012 at 2:21pm

    I think if I read this I will be like when I was watching "Lost In translation"... I can see the artsyfartsy of it all but still want my money and time back!

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Jan 5, 2012 at 9:35am

    I think you're approaching this all wrong, Chad. It is not a straightforward action adventure tale (with or without underwear outside their pants) but a surreal trip into the headspace of Kane, a non-sequitur of visuals Beatnik style. Being published by Image Comics, it probably is automically fitted into a specific mode of storytelling but this is more art object than anything else and should be treated as such.

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