Every new Josh Simmons book is a cause for immediate celebration, purchase, and queasiness. I know of no other horror comics maker whose work I find so viscerally upsetting and exciting. Even with all of the great horror artists working in comics today, people who I count among my most favorite artistsâ€”Emily Carroll, Junji Itoâ€”Simmons is in a class all his own.
Go read stories of his like “In a Land of Magic”, or “Demonwood”, or “Cockbone” and youâ€™ll see what I mean. Thereâ€™s no vision of horror quite like Simmonsâ€™.
Black River, a tale of a group of women trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, is just as bleak and dark as youâ€™d expect from Simmons. All of the sticky violence, transgressive sexuality, and roughness of the world youâ€™d imagine Simmons wallowing inÂ is here.
Despite that, I didnâ€™t warm to Black River as quickly as I have with other comics by Simmons. Maybe my opinion will change over time. Maybe the subject is too sombre for enthusiasm. But I didnâ€™t find this as affecting as House or much of The Furry Trap, or even Jessica Farm. Still, donâ€™t get me wrong: Itâ€™s Josh Simmons; itâ€™s worth every cent and every reading.