Underrated: Road Rage
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Road Rage
Road Rage, published by IDW is an adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill‘s Throttle and Richard Matheson‘s Duel by writer Chris Ryall and artists Nelson Daniel (on Throttle) and Rafa Garres (on Duel).
Despite the collected edition of Road Rage containing two versions of essentially the same story; King and Hill’s story in this trade is itself an adaptation of Matheson’s original short story, making the two issue comic an adaptation of an adaptation – which is an interesting choice for a collection. But if you’re expecting to read the same story twice, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. King and Hill’s story focuses on a group of bikers who end up running afoul of the deadly truck, where as Matheson’s features a lone salesman desperately trying to avoid a different truck in his car. The two stories are linked by the deadly truck, but are ultimately different enough that you shouldn’t feel short changed should you happen to pick this book up.
When it comes to the quality or faithfulness of the adaptations to the original stories, well that’s not something I can comment on as I have never read the text-only stories. However, I did really enjoy both comic stories as they were presented; Ryall’s comic scripts, presumably, more than does justice to the source material as he’s able to effectively convey the tense horror and suspense of both Throttle and Duel (the latter feels more like a horror story for me than the more action tinged former), though a portion of the credit should also be given to the artists. Garras work on Duel veers between the mundane daily life of a salesman driving to the pants wetting terror and desperation to stay alive. The more afraid the protagonist becomes, the more distorted the art feels – it’s a brilliant and investing touch to the story that effectively builds upon the tensions of the script.
The collection is a great taste of horror tinged comic books, and one that despite the high profile genre names connected to the comics I had never heard of before I spotted it at the used section of my LCS. It’s the subject of today’s column because it was a fantastic read, remarkably tense and quite exhilarating. If you get the chance to read the collection or the four issues collected within, then do so. You’ll find an Underrated gem.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.