Hey everyone! Once again, the plucky underdog that is Pulp has vanquished its foes (in this case, a lack of free time) and is ready to knock your socks off with yet another choice comic book. This week, I’ve veered off the tried-and-tested road of Image Comics-branded sci-fi and superhero shenanigans and onto the slightly weird dirt track of TV show adaption comics. This time around, I’ve picked up volume 1 of Dynamite’s Bob’s Burgers comic series. If you’ve ever seen the TV show, you know that the Belcher family has a penchant for ridiculous scenarios and hilarious misadventures, and the wackiness of the show carries across into the comic book realm remarkably well.
While most comics have an ongoing story of some kind, the Bob’s Burgers comic is more of a collection of vignettes inspired by the show. There are a number of recurring styles of story; there are multiple instances of Gene’s musical-inspired stories, Louise’s mysteries and several iterations of Tina’s infamous Erotic Friend Fiction stories. The more fleshed-out stories are broken up by splash pages detailing Bob’s Burger of the Day brainstorming sessions (think strained burger-related puns) and Linda’s attempts to offer corporations some free motherly advice.
As far as entertainment value, I found the comic to be pretty darn entertaining, despite the lack of a continuous plot. The comic is written by writers from the actual show, so the dialogue is pretty much perfect; in one panel in issue 1, I found myself hearing the characters’ voices in my head as I was reading the dialogue, which is a rarity unless the character is Professor Farnsworth from Futurama (Good news, everyone!). The pacing and dialogue choices have been perfectly adapted for comics, and I doubt that anyone apart from the writing crew of the show could pull it off.
As for the actual issues themselves, I found myself gravitating more towards the Tina-centric stories; they trend more towards hilariously-bad fanfiction territory, which is always good for a chuckle. I got less enjoyment out of Gene’s musical numbers, but that could just be my lack of interest in musical theatre preventing me from getting the jokes – I can’t say I’ve ever been a particularly avid fan of musicals. The cartoon style has made adapting the art really easy as well – while certain sections have been stylised – usually for dramatic effect, or emphasis – the majority of panels look like they’re still frames from the show. One of my gripes about comic adaptions of cartoons (i.e. Simpsons and/or Futurama comics) back in the day was that the artwork could sometimes be bad going on terrible, and it ruined the stories somewhat. In this case, it’s not an issue.
All things considered, Bob’s Burgers makes a pretty good comic. It’s not perfect – not that I expected it to be – and it has a very definitive target audience, but considering that it’s an adaptation, it’s a bloody good one. It’s a pitch-perfect transition from TV screen to comic panel, and if you’re a fan of the show, you’re going to love it. If you’re not familiar with the Belcher family, you should absolutely check out the show – it’s weird, irreverent and utterly charming, and the comic adaption is much the same.
Written by Alastair McGibbon