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It was one of the best comics you never read last year. Available only in Robin Bougie’s extreme-smut anthology Sleazy Slice #3 (link is NSFW) or as a minicomic with a wrinkled and grease-stained brown paper bag for a cover and the title hand-scrawled on it in pencil, cartoonist Josh Simmons’s horror opus Cockbone nevertheless came in at #53 on Comic Book Resources’ list of the best comics of 2009. Many critics –Tom Spurgeon, Joe “Jog the Blog” McCulloch, Tucker Stone, yours truly — ranked it even higher. Once read, this story of a simple-minded oaf, the grotesque family that exploits him, and the horrifying fate that awaits them all was simply impossible to shake.
And now — for our sins — Simmons has posted Cockbone online in its entirety. Please note: This is perhaps the most disturbing comic I have ever read, and it’s way, way beyond NOT SAFE FOR WORK. I’m serious — this nightmarish cocktail of sexual violence and depravity will upset you. Badly. But if you think you can take it, you’ll find that it takes the themes and imagery Simmons has been developing in his more accessible horror work — his stories in Mome and Kramers Ergot, his graphic novels House and Jessica Farm — and takes them to a masterful, unforgettable extreme. Just remember: You’ve been warned.