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Elvis Road
posted April 5, 2007
 

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Creators: Elvis Studio
Publishing Information: Buenaventura Press, hardcover, 23 pages unfolding to 25 feet, May 2007, $24.95
Ordering Numbers: 0976684837 (ISBN), 978097668431 (ISBN13)

I don't know that I can manage a proper review of Helge Reumann and Xavier Robel's Elvis Road, at least not for a few more months. That's about the time at which I'll stop reading and re-reading this amazing comics art object. A 24-foot long cartoon illustration jammed with figures, events, buildings, cars, superheroes, strip mall, degradations and at least one "super dildo," imagine those two-page spreads that used to hold your attention in MAD Magazine expanded to a mind-boggling degree. I mean, holy crap, even the quotes collected for the publication are wonderful; the book caused Gary Panter to use the phrase "mute nostril agony," which is better than any 300,000 words I've ever written about anything.

There are, of course, narratives and themes within the work. It's hard not to see it as an indictment of overstuffed, car-centric and cruel western culture. In fact, if you're used to driving down some of America's more dysfunctional throughways, folding paper doll-like strings of lookalike businesses and garish, ugly buildings, plastic franchises and body shops and Chinese buffets that are so disconnected from one another they might as well put up barbed wire at their borders, a lot of this will look familiar. For right now, it's more important to note that this is the nicest comics-related thing I've seen all year, and if you have the slightest interest in the Elvis Studio approach to art, avant garde takes on traditional comics narrative, or comics as an art object, you need to own one.