cover image Crash Site

Crash Site

Nathan Cowdry. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (130p) ISBN 978-1-68396-432-2

Cowdry debuts with a demented, hilarious, and absurdist comics take on adventure tropes, skewering a variety of cultural beliefs. The tortured body of his protagonist, a talking dog named Denton, is found by a pair of horny newlyweds in the middle of the Amazon. Revived by doctors, Denton recalls being forced to be a drug mule for a young woman named Rosie until their plane crashes in the jungle, leaving Rosie, Denton, and Rosie’s evil, sentient underwear (nicknamed “Pants Dude”) to try to survive in the jungle. All of this silliness is punctuated by frequent but still shocking acts of casual violence. Rosie’s friends nearly kick in a lifeguard’s head at the beach when he demands that they cover up. Pants Dude tries to murder Denton, as well as Rosie’s new lover. Throughout, Cowdry satirizes puritanical attitudes toward sex as well as white guilt and shame (Denton, masturbating to a porn magazine titled Woke Babes: “Oh baby! Expose those racial stereotypes!”). An almost aggressively cute, cartoony style makes the explicit nudity and violence even more startling. Cowdry’s mix of rock-solid gags, horrifying imagery, and surreal satire makes for an unsettling and indelible experience. [em](June) [/em]