Thursday, November 19, 2020

Comics Commentary: Bill & Ted Are Doomed #3


Unscripted, unedited. Just a guy talking about comics.

Audio only.

Transcript below...

Today's comic book is a fun comic book. I mean, they're all fun, but this is Bill & Ted Are Doomed #3 published by Dark Horse. It’s a notable comic because of its creative team: Evan Dorkin writing and providing the cover, and wonderful, wonderful comedic comics artist Roger Langridge doing the interior art. It's not Evan Dorkin art, which we'll talk about in a moment, but it is excellent, excellent art. If you're not familiar with Roger Langridge, his comics Fred the Clown, Zoot, and Zoot Suite are all wonderful. This is not the first Bill & Ted comic. This comic is a prequel to the new movie, Bill & Ted Face the Music, which, if you haven't seen, I highly recommend during these trying times. The stories are somewhat connected, and it fits in between Bogus Journey and the current movie. It was written by Dorkin, who wrote and drew a comic book for Marvel back in 1991-1992 called Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book. It was a 12-issue series. He wrote and drew all but one issue, #8, which had a totally different creative team. #8 did have inks by Marie Severin, which I think probably saved it, but I'm not quite sure why the creative team was swapped out for that issue. (Evan, if you're listening, feel free to let us know why you didn't do #8!) That series has been collected twice. It was collected by Slave Labor, a long-time fan of Evan Dorkin's work, involved in his previous comics Hectic Planet, Pirate Corps, and maybe even Milk and Cheese. Dorkin worked in retail at Jim Hanley's Universe back in the day. I used to go to Jim Hanley's shop in Manhattan. I don't think I was ever there when Evan was working, but I was aware of that and always thought that was cool back in the Milk and Cheese and independent comics days. This is a very fun comic with a bit of a comic's history—not just a movie history. The comic is a prequel to the movie and basically focuses on Bill and Ted trying to infiltrate—with the Wyld Stallyns, and Death, I believe, as their bassist—a heavy metal festival, particularly—apparently—a death and black metal festival. They don't fit in well, as you might imagine. They are too cheery, a little too dim, too friendly and kind. The people at the festival don't seem to like them much at all—even Death, oddly. A friend of theirs commandeers a bus to save them from a fight at the festival. The death metallers cry havoc and let loose the snowmobiles of war, an image I believe that Roger already tweeted, and it goes from there. It's very funny. It goes back to San Dimas and Bill and Ted's daughters, younger in the comic than they are in the new movie, are apparently hanging out with some aliens called Stations, perhaps because of their rocket ship being called Station. They've made robots representing Bill, Ted, their wives, and their children. They're going to try to save things. This sequence is kind of a neat parallel. In a couple of comics recently, there were some conversation images. There was that Judge Dredd and zombie immigration intake conversation series of panels, and then in another comic I read recently, there was a series of panels—maybe nine to a page—of either a conversation or someone's face. This—pp. 12-13—while not a conversation, is reminiscent of that. It's interesting how reuse of art or gentle reuse of art with funny writing can maintain a gag for a full spread. That scene in which Bill, Ted, and Death are rolling down the hill in a snowball is quite a bit of fun despite the repeated panels. Then they end up in the future Empire of Evil Metal, “population 666 and growing.” If you like metal—death, black, and other extreme forms of metal—you might get a kick out of this. Brian Posehn, if you haven't read this comic book, please do so. At the end, they adopt makeup and garb to try to fit into the town of death metallers—and again aren't able to pull it off. They're too happy, too friendly, too kind, and they end up encountering some people who appear to lead the death metallers. A fun comic. Fun if you like heavy metal. Fun if you like Bill & Ted. Fun if you like Evan Dorkin. Fun if you like Roger Langridge. Just a fun, fun comic. Check it out, and definitely check out the Bill & Ted original series from ’91-’92. Evan's work on that was awesome and was actually nominated for an Eisner. It has been reprinted twice, as I said: Slave Labor and then Boom. The Slave Labor doesn't include the eighth issue. I think the Boom does, as well as letter columns. Be sure to check that out: Bill & Ted Are Doomed #3.

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