Voodoo rituals, the last automobile on earth, and utopia make for a bizarre graphic novel with evocative art.
Acclaimed illustrator Dame Darcy has been quietly gaining a cult following for some time now, thanks to her Illustrated Jane Eyre and her Meatcake comic series. With Gasoline, the dame tries her hand at a graphic novel, and the result is a compellingly bizarre, postapocalyptic fairy tale. The story takes place in a world in which civilization and most of the general population have been obliterated due to rampant pollution. Among the few survivors are an orphaned family of Wiccans known as the Armbusters, who have gained power and notoriety in their community due to their voodoo rituals and possession of the last automobile on Earth. When they drive out of their utopian community in search of gasoline, nightmarish and surreal adventures follow the family—including run-ins with zombies and treasure-chest-protecting sailors; celebrations with debauched, cave-dwelling hedonists; and being kidnapped by a group of feral, homicidal survivors known as the Nihilists. Darcy, a staunch environmentalist, was inspired to write the book during our recent gas-crisis woes. Her drawings are evocative, and her colorful, childlike, and doe-eyed style lights up the page. Readers, however, may find themselves more enticed by the fanciful artwork than the story itself, as the plotline is more style than substance.