"The Coyote Gospel": While driving through the desert, a truck driver for the Ajax Trucking Co. picks up a hitchhiker named Carrie, who is hoping to find stardom in Los Angeles. During their journey through Death Valley, the truck runs over a bipedal coyote-man wandering in the desert who appear
- Have you any kind of idea of the terrible conditions these animals live in before they get dragged down to the slaughterhouse and turned into somebody's 'groceries'?
- -- Buddy Baker
Appearing in "The Coyote Gospel"
- Billy (Single appearance) (Flashback only)
- Carrie (Single appearance)
- Crafty (Single appearance)
- Artist (Cameo)
- Unnamed truck driver (Single appearance)
- The Coyote Gospel
Synopsis for "The Coyote Gospel"
While driving through the desert, a truck driver for the Ajax Trucking Co. picks up a hitchhiker named Carrie, who is hoping to find stardom in Los Angeles. During their journey through Death Valley, the truck runs over a bipedal coyote-man wandering in the desert who appears to come out of nowhere. Horrified by what he has seen, the truck driver refuses to stop, but unknown to the driver or Carrie as they drive away, the badly mangled coyote-man miraculously heals from his wounds.
The story takes up one year later. At the Baker residence, Buddy begins throwing away all of the meat in the refrigerator. Ellen enters the kitchen and Buddy tells her that they should become vegetarians. Ellen is furious at him for making such a decision without even discussing it, leading to an argument and Buddy storming out.
In the desert, the truck driver hunts the coyote-man, having discovered that he is still alive. In the time since their previous encounter, the truck driver has suffered numerous misfortunes, including the deaths of several people close to him, and has snapped upon learning that Carrie has ended up a drug-addicted prostitute who died during a drug bust. The driver has become convinced that the coyote-man is Satan and, blaming him for his recent misfortunes, is determined to 'save the world' from him. Tracking the coyote-man to his current whereabouts, the truck driver sets numerous traps; although the coyote-man is badly injured by each one, to the truck driver's increasing horror he nevertheless heals each time. Their battle culminates in the coyote-man setting off a rigged grenade which, when it explodes, critically injures both; where the coyote-man recovers from his injuries, the truck driver does not.
While soaring through the air, Animal Man notices the explosion and sets down in front of the coyote-man. The coyote-man then gives him a scroll which tells of his exile from another dimension, one similar in nature to Looney Tunes-style cartoons, where he was an anthropomorphic coyote named Crafty. Along with his fellow cartoon characters, Crafty endured an eternity of suffering and violence for the amusement of their artist, presented as a cruel god-figure. One day, however, Crafty snapped and went up to 'Heaven' to challenge the artist; displeased by Crafty's presumption, the artist exiled Crafty to this reality, where he now wanders the Earth trying to find someone to help him return to his reality of origin and end the artist's cruel reign.
Buddy is unable to decipher the alien script that the scroll is written in, however. While he tries to determine what is happening, from a high bluff the wounded truck driver loads a silver shell into his rifle and fires it before slumping into the dirt, presumably dead. The silver bullet strikes Crafty through the heart and kills him, once and for all. As Animal Man comforts the dying coyote-man, the scene pulls back to reveal the artist's paint-brush filling in the red of Crafty's blood as it pools around him.
- This issue is reprinted in Animal Man: Book One.
- Whether or not this storyline is canonical is an issue subject to speculation.
- Crafty is an intentional lampoon of the Warner Bros. character Wile E. Coyote.
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