Abandoned Cars (Paperback)
Abandoned Cars is Tim Lane's first collection of graphic short stories, noirish narratives that are united by their exploration of the great American mythological drama by way of the desperate and haunted characters that populate its pages. Lane's characters exist on the margins of society alienated, floating in the void between hope and despair, confused but introspective.
The writing is straightforward, the stories mainstream but told in a pulpy idiom with an existential edge, often in the first person, reminiscent of David Goodis's or Jim Thompson's prose, or of films like Pick-Up on South Street or Out of the Past. Visually, Lane's drawing is in a realistic mode, reminiscent of Charles Burns, that heightens the tension in stories that veer between naturalism on the one hand and the comical, nightmarish, and hallucinatory on the other. Here, American culture is a thrift store and the characters are thrift store junkies living among the clutter. It's an America depicted as a subdued and haunted Coney Island, made up of lost characters boozing, brawling, haplessly shooting themselves in the face, and hopping freight trains in search of Elvis. Abandoned Cars is an impressive debut of a major young American cartoonist.