Writer: Ben Meares
Artwork: Jason Muhr
Colors: Marco Lesko
Letters: Fabio Amelia
Ohhhh the phantom toll booth!!!! Pay the toll, drive straight to Hell. Route 66 is a famous highway. It’s famous for a number of things…including death. In this story, we have four young people on their way to California for a Spring Break to be spent on a beach for fun in the sun.
A little rundown on our young travelers. We have Richie, Ginny, Adam and Alexis. Richie and Ginny are both single and Adam is dating Alexis. Richie has a thing for Ginny and Ginny doesn’t seem to mind to much, although she doesn’t overtly return his flirtations. Richie has been enlisted to drive to California with the other three riding with him. Adam is a musclebound neanderthal who drinks too much and is just an ass. Alexis is quiet and subservient to Adam as he tends to push and order her around.
Now, while on this road trip, as with any road trip, they come across weird, strange little shops along the way. Richie has a propensity for the odd and unusual and he enjoys places like “Captain Spaulding’s” with the famous Murder Ride. Adam is not a fan and gets more and more irritated with each place Richie stops at.
They stop to get gas at a place called Stumpy’s (reminds me of Stucky’s). While there, the lovely redhead worker tells them the story of the phantom toll booth to Hell on Route 66. Richie really wants to drive Route 66 but, Adam is aggressively voicing his want to travel the interstate instead, razzing Richie about all the time and energy he’s wasted along the way.
They get back on the road and soon, Adam has had enough alcohol that he is getting mean and physical with his girlfriend, Alexis. After she voices her opinion, Adam slaps her. Richie is NOT ok with this and confronts Adam, warning him that, if he hits Alexis again, Richie will break his thumbs. After getting Alexis’ permission, Adam is allowed to get back in the car and they continue their trip.
Richie concocts a plan to get on Route 66. They have a tire blowout and, because of drunken Adam, they have another confrontation. And Richie breaks Adam’s thumbs, just like he warned he would. The three get back in the car and go on their way, leaving Adam in the desert at night by himself.
Now driving down Route 66, Ginny is starting to really have a thing for Richie and they are beginning to really dig each other, as evident by the depiction of them making out against the back of Richie’s car after beating up Adam.
Do they find the toll booth? What happens on Route 66?? Ohhhh, if only I were going to tell you!!!
This was a great story. I thought they did a great job with the tale and the artwork in this issue. The story moves along so smoothly that you really just breeze right through the whole comic in a matter of minutes. This was truly a suspenseful read and had a great ending. Although, yet again, this is NOT an urban legend I am familiar with, it doesn’t mean the story isn’t out there somewhere. The only toll booth story I know of is one where people throw cadaver parts into the booth instead of money as a prank. I suppose this COULD be a twisted take on that premise…taken way further.
Still, as always, the very talented folks at Zenescope keep the gems coming. If you haven’t gotten ahold of any of these issues, you are truly missing out.