Styx Taxi: Pastrami for the Dead

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Styx Taxi: Pastrami for the Dead Writer(s): Steven Goldman
Artist(s): Jeremy Arambulo
Publishers: FWD Comics (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $ 2.50 (US)

Even in death there are decisions to be made. The Styx Taxi drivers help the dead get to where they want to go in their last hour on earth. They can do anything, but their decisions set them on their course in the afterlife. Some want revenge, some want to say their goodbyes, and some just want one last special meal...

I wish I'd had the idea for this. The angels of God as cranky taxi drivers having to cope with New York traffic. It's a brilliant set up, and Steven and Jeremy don't drop the ball as they gradually let the readers into what is going on. Each of the drivers that we meet has their own tale to tell, 'cause not everyone gets to pull a 12-hour shift for the big displacer in the sky.

Jeremy's work in this book reminded me of the art of Jason Lutes. There's the same attention to detail and an even-handed approach to the whole panel. Some of the more adventurous layouts lost me; just where are you supposed to start and end with a circle of panels around a centre image? The illustrations carry the emotions of the characters in both subtle and direct ways with a tear, a puff on a cigarette. Every panel has something to add to the story, and none of them detract from it.

You might think the seeing dead people thing is a bit overdone, but Steven and Jeremy are doing something inventive with this book. There's anger, sadness and regret all at work here in a subtle mix sure to intrigue. Dead people hanging around a funeral parlour are pretty obvious really, but dead people driving the dead around in taxis, now that's original.

I'm told this comic is listed in the current PREVIEWS. How about you all go and order it so we can get a quality small press comic in their top 20 sales chart. I sit here every week telling you about the good and bad of small press, but do any of you pay attention? Well Do you? I don't want e-mails saying Gosh your reviews sure are good Darren, I don't want faxes, and I sure as heck don't want you to read this review and then forget all about it. If you want me to respect you as a reader you must go out and buy this great comic. I'll be looking at the sales charts in the coming months, and I'll know if you did your bit or not.

In a Word: Poignant.

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