Elvis Road by Elvis Studio [$24.95]

by Michael Barrett

27 November 2007

 

This graphic novel unfolds into one 24-foot page, a black-and-white cartoon vision of modern life as a superhighway to heck complete with shopping malls (the Superporno Drive-In, for example) and an infinity of roadside distractions on the way to the Cuteland amusement park where ordinary animals are cute-ified and, as it says in a Magnetic Fields song, unhappiness is treason. It’s appropriate that Gary Panter and Julie Doucet have blurbed this baby, because the Swiss duo of Helge Reumann and Xavier Robel adopt a style similar to their detailed primitivism crossed with one of Kim Deitch’s faux-Disney nightmares. The PR says “Hieronymous Bosch meets Richard Scary” but we’d throw in Buddhist handscrolls, “Where’s Waldo,” the childlike yet bilious grotesqueries of American outsider Henry Darger, and that endless highway tracking shot in “Weekend”. We’re told there are 8,433 characters in these marching and driving armies of the world, including Nazis, tree-huggers and participants at a Gay Pride Parade.  It’s a long, meandering snapshot of our busy, chattering existence.

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