Read Black River by Josh Simmons Online


Josh Simmons returns with his first full-length graphic novel since 2007's acclaimed House. A group of women, one man, and two dogs are making their way through a post-apocalyptic world in search of a city that supposedly still has electricity and some sort of civilization. Along the way, they go to a comedy club, take a drug called Gumdrop, and encounter gangs of men whoJosh Simmons returns with his first full-length graphic novel since 2007's acclaimed House. A group of women, one man, and two dogs are making their way through a post-apocalyptic world in search of a city that supposedly still has electricity and some sort of civilization. Along the way, they go to a comedy club, take a drug called Gumdrop, and encounter gangs of men who are fools, lunatics, or murderous sadists. In other words, all manner of terrors.Josh Simmons is one of the field's most distinctive voices in the genre of horror (The Furry Trap, House),and this full-length graphic novel is his best work yet, echoing director John Carpenter's perfect tick-tock pacing, as well as Shirley Jackson's ability to transcend genre and turn it into literature....

Title : Black River
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781606998335
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 109 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Black River Reviews

  • Jan Philipzig
    2019-05-13 08:21

    Now here’s an apocalypse for ya that will never be adapted into a Disney movie. It's far too bleak, grim, manic, ugly, desperate, disgusting, cynical, crass, bonkers, brutal, ruthless, sadistic, pointless - and there aren’t even any zombies around to turn the whole mess into a marketable spectacle. Where’s the fun in that, you ask? Well, I guess that’s the point: the so-called apocalypse probably won’t be a very entertaining, satisfying, crowd-pleasing affair. In fact, it may look quite a bit like the boring old world we already live in today... minus that pacifying, apathy-inducing bubble of promotional culture. Come to think of it, the apocalypse may already have started. And it isn’t fun at all.PS: Glancing over all those negative reviews, I get the impression that for many, the story hits too close to home for comfort. We are all used to the apocalypse as entertaining spectacle to the point that most of us aren't all that shocked by zombies etc. anymore, but I don't think we have a realistic notion of what the breakdown of whatever's left of civilization would actually mean for us. It is a disturbing thought, and Black River dares think this disturbing thought... instead of providing yet another post-apocalyptic zombie spectacle. Make no mistake, this book hits you in the gut, and that isn't fun at all. Still, I feel that this punch to the gut makes for an effective antidote to the old "Apocalypse, Inc." that has been clouding our minds for decades.PPS: The pitch-blackness of the appropriately titled Black River reminds me of that in the movie Killing Them Softly, one of my all-time favorites... and, not surprisingly, the LEAST commercially successful movie in Brad Pitt's career (not that he will mind much).PPPS: Check out Robert's excellent interview with author Josh Simmons in the Comics Journal:

  • Sam Quixote
    2019-05-18 03:44

    Erk – you know a comic’s grim when it makes Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead look family-friendly!So it’s another post-apocalyptic-set story and things are miserable as usual! Civilisation is decimated, most of humanity is dead, and roving gangs of people struggle to survive amidst rapist biker gangs bombing about in Mad Max parody. Our protagonists are one such group of mostly females. They rove. They fight. They look for a fabled city that still has all the luxuries of the pre-apocalyptic world. And everything remains dark and miserable!Josh Simmons’ Black River is a gratuitously nihilistic comic about human suffering. I don’t mind dark stories; I can read very gory, horrific tales of bleakness and enjoy them – but they have to have a point. They can’t just be horrible things for the sake of it. But that’s what Black River is.For example (and spoilers from here on out): the group go to a wrecked comedy club and there’s an old guy on stage talking – not telling jokes, just mumbling nonsense. Some crazy hunters wander in, take a seat, and listen to the old man’s gibberish. The head crazy hunter goes on stage and machetes the old man in half. Then he turns around and screams while everyone shoots him dead.What was the point of that scene? Was it supposed to be funny? Tragic? Horrific? What was Simmons hoping the reader’s reaction to be? It was slightly interesting for its randomness but came out of nowhere and meant absolutely nothing. Was it intended to show us how far civilisation has fallen (as if we didn’t already know that given the rest of the book)?The women are raped (which we’re thankfully spared the visuals of - gosh, there’s a lot of rape in comics these days!) and one loses her mind. Cuts her hair, cuts her face, gets stoned out of her skull and eventually commits suicide. Realistic reactions to immense trauma – but what was Simmons going for? All this abundant misery and for what? To tell a story about how the post-apocalypse is not a nice place to live in? That, stripped of civilisation, humanity devolves into base appetites? I just don’t see any originality or anything meaningful in all of this to make the comic worthwhile.I can’t fault the storytelling – if nothing else, Simmons knows how to tell a story well in comics form – and, despite its subject matter, I did find the black and white art interesting. But the story itself is simply unpleasant without any redeeming qualities. Maybe if you’re a fan of Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows’ Crossed you’ll like this but at least that comic had a virus that caused the extreme behaviour – Black River is just shitty people being shitty to one another. Yuck.

  • Crystal Starr Light
    2019-04-27 04:17

    Bullet Review:It's the end of the world, and golly gee is it a sh!tstorm of catastrophe! Murder, graphic violence, drugs, and let's not forget the time-honored favorite of rape, rape, and even MOAR rape!Anyone excited to dig into this bleak, depressing world at the end of the world? No?

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-05-14 11:28

    Josh Simmons: The Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) of the Apocalypse. Meh. So you will either love the shock and disgust of this or not. For me, not. I kept thinking Simmons looks at the relatively hopeful post-apocalytic visions of Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth and Cormac McCarthy's The Road and gags at all the hopeful human possibilities, the embrace against all odds of the human spirit. BS, Simmons says; I'l one up that Road horror porn aspect and go all out, with worse drawing than Lemire (gotcha, Jeff, you comics sell-out!) and adding blackest of black humor and drugs and grotesque gratuitous sexual and other violence just for yuks. And psychotic trauma-induced delirium! Cool! Hehehe. Some of you love this, I know. Crosses the line for me. Feels angry, which could be politically useful, I suppose, but Simmons isn't political, he's just in it for the shock, and again, if that's what yr into it, feel free, have at it.The basic idea is that we have a group of women, two dogs and a guy (for the graphic, gross-out sex, duh!) in extreme circumstances, the apocalypse, as you have become familiar with. No food, water, etc. and they are captured and terrible things happen that will disturb your dreams. Did mine, anyway. Okay, the art is borderline surrealist and better than his previous work, maybe. Maybe it's a successful horror/sci fi comic, in some sense that I don't fully appreciate. Or about the limits of "art." There. I said something nice, just for balance.

  • Lanen Costner
    2019-05-10 03:32

    It's not often that I regret reading something, but I regret reading this. I'm not squeamish about violence or dark, brutal stories, but this ... I don't get this. The violence and especially the rape feel very gratuitous and there is no story to support it. It also feels especially gross when male authors use sexual violence against women for absolutely no purpose other than that they can.

  • Robert
    2019-05-01 08:22

    My interview with author Josh Simmons is now online at the Comics Journal:

  • Lindsay
    2019-05-15 03:17

    I kept hearing that this book makes The Road and The Walking Dead look like child's play, but it really wasn't any bleaker...and certainly, those two items contain more plot development, back story, and character development. Turn to Beautiful Darkness for depravity and social commentary.

  • Joel
    2019-05-13 10:30

    Neither the art nor the writing can support the story this book wants to tell.

  • Raina
    2019-05-10 03:32

    Do not be deceived by the purple flowerly flowy cover on this baby. This is a GRIM story. Or do. It'll be more shocking that way.We find ourselves plopped down in the middle of the post-apocalypse. No context, just a band of survivors making their way across a snowy wilderness. Basically, Mad Max: Fury Road, but cold. And less styled. This particular band of travelers happens to be made up mostly of female-presenting individuals. Badass ladies, as it were. This is a gritty, violent, graphic, sexually explicit story. All told in Simmons partly gorgeous, partly abrasive illustrations. Our characters run into some nasty post-civilizations -- and I would never call our protagonists heroes, themselves. Read this withThe Road,The Eleventh Plague, and myriad other postapocalypic tales you've been meaning to get to.

  • Joaquín Guirao
    2019-05-10 04:28

    The bleakest, most desolate comic I've ever read. The art and the storytelling is the best Josh Simmons has archived, but I don't think I'll re-read it in quite some time. Definitely NOT for weak stomachs, and strong stomachs should take some precautions before reading this one. It's not as graphic as Furry Trap, but there is some stuff in here that it's more fucked up on a visceral, lizard brain level.

  • Erin
    2019-04-28 04:18

    Black River is as bleak as you can possibly imagine. With a group of women as the main cast of characters the graphic novel is set on post apocalyptic earth. Inked in black and white the illustrations mirror the starkness and darkness of the storyline perfectly.

  • Sooraya Evans
    2019-05-17 11:24

    An empty post-apocalyptic horror show.Artwork rather lame compared to 'House'

  • Lance Coleman
    2019-05-26 04:34

    Okay I'm not gonna sugar coat it for you, this book is FUCKED UP. As with most of Josh Simmons work- if not all of it- this book is not for the faint of heart. Scratch that it's not for the NORMAL of heart. It's a black hearted graphic novel with very little optimism in site and therein lies its brilliance.Most "dark" comics that the average person is accustomed to are things like "dark knight returns" or "the flash runs into TROUBLE" or any other number of audience pleasing fodder where the protagonists have a song in their heart and an overwhelming feeling that it'll all work out fine. And if that's your thing DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.In Black River, Simmons has decided to do that which is lacking from most "end of the world" stories. HE ENDS THE DAMN WORLD! Any one who is accustomed to his work would expect no less from the man who brought you "Bonecock" and he doesn't disappoint here.Simmons makes a bold choice by making the protagonists females. For in showing the horrors that women would most likely face at the end of the world he shows very blatantly the horrors that they face every day. But these females are no pushovers. They are very capable and prove again and again that the lack of hope doesn't make you entirely hopeless.There is some fun to the affair overall as he toys with genre staples (DICKPUSSY) and allows a juicy revenge scene in the fashion of a feminist Wild Bunch. Sure not a lot of people will understand or even be able to handle this book. But if you can take your punishment this book has an embarrassment of riches waiting for you and responds well to repeated readings.Josh Simmons is at the top of his game here and proves once again that he is one of the great hidden treasures of the medium.

  • L.R. Diaz
    2019-05-25 03:20

    It's weird or sad, but I've slowly gotten used to some of these "nihilistic comics" that come out from time to time from Fantagraphics or similar publishers. A suppose I'm getting little desensitize by them though that is not to say I'm liking them any better or seeing them more than what they are. I didn't dislike "Black River" It reminded me of the works by Johnny Ryan (Prison Pitt) in the kind of drawing action/humor. The detached horror. I'm not a big fan of this sort of style of storytelling. It removes itself from any kind of honesty or responsibility to the audience. Like a haunted house. Guys like John Simmons and Johny Ryan just want to create "shit" to "fuck with us." Similar to the movies by Lars von Trier. They have no regard for the feelings of the audience or in some cases they try to spit or stab at our feelings in the pursuit of trying to desensitize us. In a kind of way it's very modern art, but in other way it feels less honest and a lot of times comes of juvenile. Either way I didn't hate it. The storytelling wasn't bad and the story itself wasn't bad either, but I think it just takes a lot more effort to try to get in the heads and hearts of these people instead of merely tagging along for the grotesque and sad ride. That being said I can't say I hated it, but it didn't move me one way or another.

  • Elizabeth A
    2019-05-26 07:30

    Book blurb: A group of women, one man, and two dogs are making their way through a post-apocalyptic world in search of a city that supposedly still has electricity and some sort of civilization. This graphic novel did not work for me on any level. I've often said that the scary thing about any apocalypse scenario is not the zombies, or vampires, or what-have-you, but people. People can be the scariest thing on the planet. This story happens to agree with me, and there are horrible things that happen in this one, but ultimately, I did not think that it added anything new to the genre, and I did not like the sketchy art either. Not for me.

  • Kirsten
    2019-05-02 06:37

    Horrible things happen in a horrible post-apocalyptic wasteland.I dunno, usually when I don't like a comic or a book, I can say something like, "Well, it was more violent than I usually like, but I see what the author was going for." In this case, I'm not sure exactly what the author was going for. Was Simmons' intent simply to horrify? Does he have a deeper message? It feels like the story touches on some deeper messages, but those glimpses are fleeting and in the end I don't know that I gained anything by reading this.

  • Shannon
    2019-05-20 11:26

    Here's the thing: if you want to make a post-apocalyptic graphic novel, full of violence and death and such subjects, I have no problem with that. But, in order for it to not suck, the reader should probably care about the characters. Maybe have like, even a tiny bit of character development, before everyone starts violently dying. Because, without that, who cares? Also, the illustrations were weak-sauce, and could not support a story as heavy as this was trying to be. Faiiil.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-26 11:21

    This is a post apocalyptic story about a group of women and one man who are trying to survive.I found a lot of things problematic with this. It's overly violent, graphically sexual, the art is a little intense, and the lettering is strange and jarring. One character for some reason can only say the word "dickpussy" which I didn't really find funny or understand why she only said that. This just made me uncomfortable than anything.

  • Derek Royal
    2019-05-20 11:36

    I reread this book in preparation for my interview with Josh for The Comics Alternative: I first read it a year ago when we discussed it for our regular review show,, but with the release of the second volume of Jessica Farm, I went back to look at this again within that context.

  • Michael Tanner
    2019-05-25 08:35

    It's brutal and sad and leaves you pretty empty but as an artistic endeavor it's fascinating and was well-worth the time I spent with it. Rating it is difficult. Two stars doesn't seem right but three stars is that I "liked" it. You don't LIKE Black survive it. I'm going to settle on three stars just for the sake of the overall rating.

  • Nate D
    2019-05-05 04:20

    I still haven't actually gotten around to reading Simmons earlier House, but I have a feeling I might go for that more. This has its moments, but feels kind incomplete or unformed. Then again, roaming the detritus of civilization in a post-apocalyptic depression has got to feel kind of like something's missing.

  • Krystal
    2019-04-30 11:24

    The art wasn't the best but the story is what drew me in. I just want to state that it's probably a bad idea to participate in recreational drugs and bad comedy in a post-apocalyptic world. It really will get you shot. DP4L.

  • Golnaz
    2019-05-06 04:40

    meh, didn't care in the least

  • Nomad nimrod
    2019-04-29 08:34

    Dickpussy , thats all i can think of when i finished this.

  • Sonic
    2019-05-05 11:39

    Super dark and depraved, and downright visceral, just like life in a post apocalyptic world might be, ...this book is very well done, and kind of haunting.

  • Ian Hrabe
    2019-05-19 09:37

    Josh Simmons is a great illustrator but his post-apocalypse is rote. It's bleak and gross and devoid of meaning, which yeah, alright I guess that might be the point but there's nothing that really distinguishes this from all the other end-of-the-world stories that are oh so hot right now.

  • Simon
    2019-05-14 03:25

    Josh Simmons is a madman. But he's a creative madman with great art.This has some really depraved stuff and it's grim as hell, but that's honestly what I look for in a post-apocalyptic book, so it hit all the right spots.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-25 03:37

    Pretty grim

  • Erin
    2019-05-18 05:31

    usually I don't mind graphic books, but this one was awful. The language, the plot (was there a plot?), the graphics themselves weren't all that great either. ugh. not recommended

  • Ellie Kissel
    2019-05-01 11:34

    This was a very weird read- not entirely what it was actually about.