Friday, September 17, 2010

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - The Comic Book

the cover

I won't be reviewing the story for this comic, as it's pretty much exactly the story of the movie. As you can see, the cover is even a copy of the original movie poster. It was also released as a cross promotion with the video release of the movie, which says to me it was only after the movie was a hit that they decided this was worth doing. It was published by DC Comics in 1989.

The book is 32 pages, which is slightly longer than your average monthly issue that is generally 24 when you don't include ads. Of course this is essentially one giant ad for the movie, so there are no ad pages in the book except for those on the opposite side of the cover, and it's all for Bill & Ted related merchandise. Thirty two pages is really not that long to tell a story, particularly one that took 93 minutes on screen so what we get here are lines and pictures taken directly from the movie but cut for brevity. This has its positives and negatives.

page 2
Click the picture to see a larger version, if you need to.

As you can see, the dialogue is extremely close to the movie. This fun exchange between the two of them is handled very well, though it's an odd choice to remove the word "decent" from Bill's last line in the first panel when you can clearly see him holding a guitar.

That Bill expression in the last panel is particularly spot on

While the likenesses are by no means perfect, I think Angelo Torres did a decent job of making them recognizable, and he definitely shines at showing their expressions. Bill and Ted are very expressive characters, and if they had picked an artist incapable of showing their range of emotions, this comic would have been completely lifeless.

The lack of space means that we lose a couple scenes here and there - Napoleon eating the ice cream and while in medieval times the boys make their way to the princesses immediately without putting on the armor or running into the guard. Not really essential parts of the film, but it's interesting that they also leave out the "clock in San Dimas is always running" angle along with Ted's reminder to wind his watch. Maybe it didn't make any sense to them either. One thing that was not in the movie but included in the comic was this:

Sadly, we don't get to see them crash into the girl's dressing room after this.
It's a cute choice and goes along with their "I am the Earl of Preston/Duke of Ted" names later on.

One of the ways it uses the comic book format most effectively is during the montage scenes, such as their mall antics pictured above. Doing the chores around the house is presented in a similar fashion.

My first impression was that the printing quality of this comic was really cheaply done, but I was forgetting how much comic books have leaped forward in technology over the last 20 years. If you think about it, at this point if you were printing out images from your computer at home, they were probably just ASCII pictures on your dot matrix printer with it's ribbon ink, and you had to tear the punch hole edges off when you were done. Compared to that it looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Gotta love the sound effect.
I think they kind of squandered their chances to improve the look of the circuits of time though.

Overall I think it's a fairly solid adaptation. It's also fairly easy to locate on ebay, usually paired with the Bogus Journey adaptation if you're interested. If you're not an extreme B&T fan or comics collector there's obviously no reason to do so, but I hope you enjoyed this look inside.

Next up: Season 1 of the animated Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures

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