This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 45.
This short book, published by Car Busters Press, mostly comprises cartoon drawings with pointed text that makes for very enjoyable reading. You may have already seen some of Andy Singer’s work, as much of it can be used freely for the purposes of fighting cars and highways. CAR toons is packed with useful facts and many historical quotations. These concern the perceptions and misperceptions of the automobile age and how, for many, the car has proved to be the bane of our lives. With visual humour the author has captured the essence of needless high dependency on cars as well as many of the brutal side effects, including drive-by shootings, urban sprawl, the myth of technology bringing utopia and ecological damage.
Although some comic strips shown are, perhaps, more appropriate for North America, the message of universal mobility is still the same. This point is pressed home with chapter headings such as carnage, incarcerated and cartels. The book ends, nevertheless, on a positive note, attempting to address issues of land use, energy consumption and the lure of both mass transit and personal mobility (by walking or cycling). There is a good summary on what has been achieved to date in the so-called ‘car wars’ as well as an excellent resource directory for obtaining more information on being an activist in the movement for sustainable transport. If you enjoyed the text in this short book, or want something a bit more elaborate, then I also recommend Asphalt Nation (by Jane Holtz Kay) which gives a thorough overview of the car and its various effects.
CAR toons by Andy Singer, 98 pages, £4.00 from www.carbusters.org was reviewed by James Warren, a Lecturer in Technology at the Open University.