Thursday, 18 June 2015

Road Rage Review (Stephen King, Joe Hill)


Stephen King and Joe Hill wrote Throttle, a short story homage to Duel by Richard Matheson, for He Is Legend, a collection celebrating Matheson’s career. Chris Ryall adapts both Throttle and Duel into comics for this book, Road Rage.

Throttle is about some bikers who’re pissed over a drug deal gone wrong. People are dead, money’s missing and they’re headed off to cause more mayhem. But on the road they’re met with a faceless trucker who decides to run them all down. Who will win – bikers or murderous trucker? It’s Duel: the Sons of Anarchy version!

King should be barred from venturing into comics. The first volume of American Vampire showed his corny stories are totally out of place in today’s environment and his totally uninteresting imitation of Duel is even more boring to read. The bikers are stereotypical bikers: meth-making lunatics on hogs – there’s nothing else to them! And the trucker is the same trucker from Duel without any changes. Originality? He don’t need no stinkin’ originality, he’s Stephen King! Joe Hill, King’s son, is also enormously overrated as a comics writer and the stale story, flat dialogue and simplistic characterisations of Throttle underlines that.

The second and final story, Duel, is slightly better if only because Richard Matheson was a far better writer whose original story was brilliant. But the comics adaptation waters down the impact of the story by taking away a lot of Matheson’s tense writing and letting the murky art try, and fail, to fill in for it. My takeaway from the comics adaptation of Duel is that it made me want to re-read the Matheson prose story – the adaptation is no substitute and really isn’t worth bothering with.

In a perfect world I’d have a truck to run over my copy of this tedious pap but instead I’ll just recommend everyone read Richard Matheson’s superb short stories instead!

Road Rage

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