Crash Course: If You Want to Get Away with Murder Buy a Car

Woodrow Phoenix. Street Noise, $16.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-951491-01-7
This urgent treatise by Phoenix (Rumble Strip) decries the mortal threat posed by errant drivers and a dysfunctional automobile-centric society. The graphic essay is composed of declarations (“the causal link between action and consequence is unhooked in a way that would be considered psychotic in any other area of our lives”) spooled over empty street scenes and repetitive sequences of white roadway arrows painted on highways. Phoenix rails against the arrogance of consumers, carmakers, and government leaders who protect drivers over pedestrians; the dangers of self-driving cars; and the inequity in risk to drivers, themselves, exposed in the deadly police shootings of African-Americans during traffic stops. Accusations are punctuated by alarming statistics, such as a rise in bike fatalities in New York City, despite recent changes in urban planning to make the city more foot- and bike-friendly. The reliance on blacktop visuals can become as monotonous as a long drive, though rarer spreads—such as of a pedestrian fatality depicted with stick figures—or a sobering rendering of a makeshift memorial on a curbside where a cyclist was killed, lend emotional impact. The psychoanalysis of narcissistic drivers sometimes loses sight of larger societal forces and counter arguments (did urban sprawl outpace mass transit expansion, for example). This is a resolute protest against vehicular deaths as a silent epidemic, though its impact is ironically buckled-in by static visuals. Agent: Louise Pritchard Assoc. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 03/19/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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