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They Found The Car
posted April 20, 2006
Fantagraphics Books, Ignatz Format, 32 pages, $7.95
Fuck "Snakes on a Plane."
As I've written in the main blog, "They Found the Car" has to be the best title ever, and as far as I can tell, completely unused until now. You somehow know the second you hear it that this is something said during a late night phone call, and a trigger for someone's past to come crashing down right on their head.
In this fine installment in the Ignatz line, those are indeed words that come over the phone in the middle of the night, launching our protagonist into three forced reunions, all of which end badly for one person involved. Gipi's crime short never makes clear what finding the car means, just that it's been seven years and the consequences are dire. There are a couple of obvious plot twists, but the main element of tension rests not with the situation itself as much as from knowing, as the protagonist seems fully aware, that cleaning up after the mess created as a result will likely end with his own death. The story's finest work comes in that what little we learn about the lead in our moments with him fuels our concern whether he'll be able to react promptly and dramatically in order to save himself when the time comes. Not only does he adhere to some level of religious belief, he's slightly disassociated from what's going on right in front of him. He even describes other people in generalities, such as his menacing, temporary ally The Calm Man, and is happy to see him when he's in a ditch as a disembodied head. How many of us answer the phone really prepared with anything that might come out of the earpiece? They Found the Car
is as good a crime short as one is likely to read in comics in a long while: evocative and soaked with meaning on one reading, blunt and to the point on the next.