“If you want to get away with murder...” asks Woodrow Phoenix’s new book, “Buy a car”. 

It may sound a little over the top, but once you finish reading his 180-page graphic novel, you’ll probably agree. Entitled Rumble Strip, the book tries to pull the wool back off our eyes when looking at life on the streets. 

“It’s not your usual superhero stuff,” Woodrow (who has worked for comic giants DC, Marvel and Dark Horse) says. “Pretty much everyone knows someone whose been injured by a car and I
wanted to look at what we sacrifice for the convenience.” 

At the age of eight, Woodow nearly lost his little three-year-old sister Leticea. When he was
13 he and his family mourned the passing of his other younger sister, 11-year-old Marsha. 

Thanks to a legal system which makes it extremely hard to prove either ‘dangerous’ or ‘careless’ driving, neither of the drivers responsible were given so much as a fine. 

Yet despite the heavy nature of the book, it’s an effortless page turner. Thanks to Woodrow’s unusual choice not to feature any characters, the balance between words and images allows the eye to skim over the pages with the momentum of a road trip. 

Twisting and turning through the author’s humorous commentary, humans are introduced as ‘spam in a can’ who as a result of not owning a car are ‘pedestrian’ or better put, ‘mediore, monotone and monotonous’. 

It’s a light-hearted approach which weilds an almighty sting of reality. With more than 1.2 million
deaths on the road every year and countless more injuries, Rumble Strip and its contemplations are long overdue.
 
Rumble Strip (ISBN: 978-0-9549309-98), by Woodrow Phoenix is available at Gosh Comincs, 39 Great Russell Street. £12.99. Open daily 10am-6pm, Thurs/Fri until 7pm. Call 020 7636 1011. Or online at www.myriadeditions.com

For more comic related events, including talks with Art Spiegelman,
see Comica 2008, which runs at the Institute of Contemporary Art, The
Mall, until November 30. Call 020 7930 3647. See www.ica.org.uk