Dog Moon

June 2, 2008

In spite of its thorough immersion in the supernatural, the ghoulish, and the macabre, Dog Moon is not a dark tale at all. It is one sick beautiful love story in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe which taps into the fantasy of every daimono-, thanato-, and necrophiliac (none of which I am). It is a lyrical short story, a long narrative poem, and a crazed experiment in writing completely in single syllables.

Robert Hunter — yes, that one of The Grateful Dead and the “transitive nightfall of diamonds” — tells a tale here of yet another hypnotic transitive nightfall. 2 men, with a bewitching dead female passenger, travel in an old black truck along the Beach of Bones collecting the stranded souls of those who died recently. It is an unhealthy occupation in so many ways, but that doesn’t bother our nameless narrator, whose sight is split more between the voluptuous woman next to him and the slobbering lecher next to her. 

The tragedy of this unique adventure is that it should never have been a comic. As one, it might work with a handful of artists whose style and idiom could match Hunter’s vividly grotesque imagination, Kelley Jones being a prime example. Timothy Truman’s painting simply defers to the text and cannot inspire enough horror with its limited range of mildly formed images. When the art is the problem, the writing can only do that much. Dog Moon in prose may rank among the best modern supernatural tales I have read of late, but, with pictures, it belongs in the bargain bin with all of yesteryear’s painfully clumsy collaborations.

Gweek gives this narrative 4 howls of despair.



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