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posted December 7, 2009


Creator: Josh Simmons
Publishing Information: Self-published, handmade mini-comics the size of a magazine, 26 pages, 2009
Ordering Numbers: (also appeared as story in Sleazy Slice #3)

That's not a cover treated to look like it was assembled with tape and cut-up shopping bags, that 's a cover made up of tape and cut-up shopping bags. Cockbone is Josh Simmons' latest foray to the crossroads of abomination and hilarity, this one a stranger than usual mash-up of Thundarr The Barbarian, The Road and Brother's Keeper. Bonecock is the bald-headed, country-big simpleton of a scary, incestuous hillbilly family. His semen has hallucinogenic properties, so when the family isn't forcing him to do menial tasks or having him act out against his mostly gentle nature, they're waking him up in the middle of the night with stand-in-line dick suckings. As the latter comes with a sort-of tenderness not apparent in the former, Bonecock sees this particular act of exploitation as solicitousness. When he injures his penis and risks the family supply of transcendent experiences, everything breaks down and our hero and his mother seek reparation by witchcraft.

Cockbone diverges slightly with recent Simmons efforts in that it presents an escalating series of horrors rather than a genre seized and ripped down onto the level of penetrated skin and body fluids. Bonecock is basically indestructible, at least in that filleting his penis doesn't mean he bleeds to death and that having his throat ripped out by dogs seems to end the dogs' story rather than his own. Simmons is a funny, fearless cartoonist; there's a lot to like and be disgusted by on most every page. The story ends in a monumental horror moment that is as poignant in its own way as previous works' reversals were shocking because it also cuffs everything that came before it to the floor in a way that suggests a hierarchy of awfulness rather than a before/after relationship. Simmons seems to suggest that while there is a list of awful things in the world, and Bonecock is living about a dozen of them, the horror that links a physical event with the loss of all hope that stabs reality in its complacent heart is maybe the most awful thing of all. Simmons achieves this effect in about four panels. It's the scariest thing he's ever done.