Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Milkman Murders

Written by Joe Casey
Art by Steve Parkhouse

When opening up a comic by Joe Casey, the informed reader expects a certain amount of excess - usually some ultraviolence in the vein of a Tarantino movie, or some satire of the comics industry.  I wasn't really prepared for the degree to which The Milkman Murders disturbed me.

Casey has set his story in a nameless American suburb, where Barbara Vale lives with her husband and two teenage children.  Her husband is abusive and takes drugs with his friends.  Her daughter is sleeping with her gym teacher, and has quite a history with this sort of thing.  Her son likes to shoot neighbourhood animals and skin them in the cellar.  None of these people show her any kindness, and so she retreats into watching "Leave it to Mother", a TV show based on Leave it to Beaver.

One day, rather randomly, a slob driving a milk truck shows up at the door and rapes Barbara viciously.  After this terrifying event, she decides she has to take matters into her own hands to fix her family.  And that's where things get really violent and disturbing.

I've followed Steve Parkhouse's North American comics for years, most recently in the excellent Resident Alien, but I've never seen his work so loose.  His characters are caricatures of typical Americans, although that makes this book look less American than almost anything else on the stands.

Casey and Parkhouse's comments on American society are just left on the surface for us to see, and there is no hidden depth to this book, but so far as straight-up horror comics go, this is one of the creepiest ones I've ever read.

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