Friday, November 4, 2011

The Black Diamond

Written by Larry Young
Art by Jon Proctor

The Black Diamond is one bizarre comic. It's clearly a comic book (sorry, a Comicscope) love letter to the weirder car-based drive-in movies of the 1970s.  For reasons that aren't incredibly clear, but have something to do with ridding the United States of crime, an elevated highway has been built running from New York to California, where there are no laws.  It's fully populated by outlaws and gearheads, keeping the rest of the country safe but for the people who are routinely flattened by cars going through the guard-rail high above.

The thing is, now the American army has decided to take the Black Diamond (that's the name of the highway) back again, and as a form of protest, a couple of college kids have kidnapped the daughter of the engineer who designed the road.  This prompts her husband, an orthodontist, to borrow his brother-in-law's 1973 Mercury Cougar and race across the country to save her.  Along the way, he runs across a diner waitress who wants to leave her boyfriend, and is pursued by bikers.

This book is a lot of fun to read, but completely lacks internal logic.  Whole sequences don't make any sense at all, and the plot appears to follow its own whims.  Jon Proctor could be a pseudonym for Tony Harris, their art is so similar on the surface, but he has a hard time handling the storytelling aspects of this story.

Of course, no one has ever gone to a 70s drive-in movie for the intricacies of plot or for smooth directing, so it's not fair to expect much more from this comic.  It does feel like it could have been much better than it was, but what it is is a diverting, enjoyable read.  It's definitely not as strong as Larry Young's excellent Astronauts In Trouble comics, but it's all good.

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