This gritty, violent, and gory graphic novel collects the limited series “Throttle,” originally inspired by Richard Matheson’s classic tale of suspense “Duel,” and co-authored by the dynamic father-son duo, Stephen King and Joe Hill. This first collaboration between the two authors is accompanied by an updated adaption of “Duel.” “Throttle,” in its original short story format, first appeared in a limited-edition anthology honoring Matheson and both ‘Throttle” and “Duel” were subsequently released as an audio book entitled Road Rage prior to the comic book versions, powerfully adapted by Chris Ryall. Ryall is the editor of Hill’s comic series Locke & Key and is also IDW’s Chief Creative Officer.
Richard Matheson was often mentioned in the critical literature as a major writing influence on all three writers and the 1971 film version of “Duel” was credited as a bonding experience between father and son as they “enacted” the terrifying chase scene. Their story, “Throttle,” features a mostly nonredeemable motorcycle gang, The Tribe, who are pursued by an enraged and destructive big rig driver. The twisted ending of the tale is not unexpected to anyone familiar with either man’s writing. The art work by Nelson Daniel is full of tension, motion, action, colour, and fury; he is extremely successful at delineating and illustrating the distinct personalities of the various members of the motorcycle gang. The bikes and murderous rig are also given weight and individuality through Daniel’s illustrations. This is a fast and furious journey of destruction and blood for both the gang members and the reader. It would be difficult to declare it an enjoyable ride, but safe to say it is a gratifying one, as long as one is not too squeamish.
The second story, the graphic adaptation of Matheson’s “Duel,” effectively illustrated by Rafa Garres, continues the gritty, menacing, and violent aura of the first tale. The colours are more muted, in keeping with the period feeling of the story being told. The original story of the two drivers and their mechanical and macabre duel retains its original power, offering a visual comparison between the two renditions of the tale, both satisfying on their own but victorious together.
Completing the visual package are end papers featuring the iconic members of The Tribe, two brief essays, an introduction to “Throttle” by Stephen King, and a transition between the two tales, “The Truck” by Joe Hill, as well as twelve pages of full colour plates in the Art Gallery. The gallery features illustrators Phil Noto, several illustrations featuring King and Hill riding their own bikes and participating in their own duel drawn Tony Harris, and additional art by Nelson Daniel and Rafa Garres.