Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book 1-12

This post is going to be long and picture heavy. I'm the type that thinks that's awesome, but I have learned that some people on the internet think that length is a bad thing. I suppose some poor souls may still be using dial up as well, so please consider this your warning.

This comic book series ran for 12 issues, one issue a month, and picks up directly where the Bogus Journey comic book adaptation left off. As such all the differences I pointed out in that adaptation apply here. It's a very silly book and in my opinion very fitting for the Bill & Ted mythos. I have no idea how much Chris & Ed were involved in this series, but seeing as how all writing credit goes to Evan Dorkin, I'm guessing not very much. However, I still think it does a good job of staying true to the characters and is over all a very enjoyable read.

These were at least partially collected into trade paperbacks by Slave Labor Graphics recently, but it looks like the quantities of these are extremely limited and may not contain the whole series. So jump below the cut and I will take you through the series.


Issue 1


The first issue starts with them throwing a wedding bash using their Battle of the Bands prize money since no one saw their original wedding. Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers make cameos performing. Two medieval guys approximately their age sneak into the wedding to kill Bill & Ted and marry the princesses themselves. We find out that the horrible old men the girls mentioned in Excellent Adventure that they were supposed to be married off to were actually killed by these two young guys. Since their dad didn't realize they were murderers, he arranged for the girls to be married to these guys instead. The girls still didn't like them more than Bill & Ted of course. The medieval guys challenge Bill & Ted to a duel, and the medieval guys end up accidentally electrocuting themselves when they stab the good robot B&T instead. This pisses Death off royally because it's his day off and he doesn't want to do any reaping, so he takes off with the phone booth.

The highlight of the issue for me is all the historical figures guest appearances.

Poor Joan of Arc.

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Evan Dorkin is a master at small details, and it's always important to check the backgrounds of panels or you'll miss some jokes and fun drawings.

Why am I not surprised that Death has a thing for Goth chicks?

Bill & Ted are still their same hopelessly clueless selves.

Click the image to be able to read it..

Issue 2


We pick up where the last issue left off with Death. He's jumping through time and telling people how and when they're going to die, as well as viewing various disasters like the Hindenburg explosion, Mt. Vesuvius erupting, and the meteor attack that killed the dinosaurs. While he's off doing all this, the dead can't make it to the underworld so they show up at Bill & Ted's new home looking for Death and they won't leave.


I bet Evan Dorkin enjoyed the Hatchet movies...

So Bill & Ted catchup with Death while he's viewing the meteor shower and beg him to come back.


Great faces, no?

The game he specifically wants to play is Monopoly by the way. For all "best of seven." I can't even finish ONE Monopoly game. Bill & Ted are good guys though and they agree.

Issue 3


We find out that the guys have blown through all their prize money.


Some of the many "necessities" they blew their money on.


You know you want that ginormous Battleship set.

Luckily they won a record deal as part of the prize too.


Your typical record company hallway.

The record company execs have some problems with the way they are doing things and send B&T packing until they can improve themselves.


They decide to go it alone, with less than stellar results.

It's possible that because I'm dating a musician I enjoy this issue at least 50x more than the average reader. But I still think this stuff is pretty funny and worth you reading.

They ask Death to be their manager but he just books them at a funeral, which you can imagine does not go over well. So they decide to go ahead and hold tryouts for both a bassist and a manager.



I somehow can't help but think that this was a move on the part of someone to make this comic more ethnic.

They do eventually find a manager and surprise surprise, he screws them royally out of money and doesn't help them out at all. He decides to tape one of their shows then send the robots out to play for them. The place he tries that at sues Bill & Ted, and they in turn sue the manager for lying to them. The truth is revealed so that Bill & Ted are off the hook, and the record company is thrilled that the media circus surrounding the trial has gotten them extra popularity and sign them.

Issue 4


We get another glimpse at Little Bill & Ted Land, which was all designed by Station. It includes a roller coaster that allows them to travel through both time and into other dimensions. The princesses and babies disappear and B&T look to Station for help. Too bad he's sick and every time he sneezes he splits into smaller dudes, getting stupider and more mischievous in the process. Phil figures out that shoving all the mini-Stations in the closet will force them to rejoin. It turns out people from the Utter Boredom dimension took the babes and babies hoping to get Wyld Stallyns to do a concert there. They saw the transmission from the Battle of the Bands during Bogus Journey and thought this would bring some excitement into their lives.


One of the dimensions they travel through while looking for the princesses and babies. If anyone knows if that's supposed to be a particular comic book writer, please let me know.


Just a little one off joke I found too funny to ignore.

Issue 5


In the previous issues there were a couple one off scenes where a guy who was literally a giant thumb on a wheel kept trying to get in touch with Bill & Ted but kept missing them. We finally find out that this is because the time rulers are upset about the way Bill & Ted have been messing with time, specifically displacing the princesses and supposedly causing their future to happen (rather than Rufus' suggestion that it's how things are supposed to turn out). They are going to put Bill, Ted, and Rufus on trial for their crimes.

Before that though, Bill and Ted show us their first music video. It mostly involves them bragging about how great they are.

I always hated that style of rap and I'm very disappointed to see them doing that, especially since they're a metal band.

We also find out that Station is allergic to Earth air (hence all the sneezing previous issue) and Bill & Ted send him back to Mars (until they need him again). This always bugged me because they picked up Station from heaven, meaning if anything he should be returning back there. But I guess Bill & Ted just beat Death at something one or two more times in order to keep him around.


You can tell Evan Dorkin was having a lot of fun with this.


Issue 6


DeNomolos is tired of living in hell with Evil Robot B&T and the medieval dudes, so he cheats Death at multiple games to get them all to come back to life and get his revenge on B&T.

He adds a few more henchmen for good measure.

At the trial, we find out that the time judges are so old they have become senile and rather than judging B&T fairly just decide to erase all of time. DeNomolos shows up in the middle of the trial to try to kill Bill & Ted.

Issue 7


The only note I wrote down for this issue was "Everything jumps back to normal for no good reason other than to move on." As you can probably tell, this time trial story arc isn't very strong, and doesn't really make any sense if you accept the concept of the movies that Bill & Ted are destined to be the two great ones.


Basically, the princesses bring some people to help rescue them in the roller coaster and stop DeNomolos.


I don't even remember what this is about.

Since DeNomolos cheated all the bad guys get sent back to hell. The time lords literally get distracted and therefore change their minds about erasing all of time. Like I said, everything jumps back to normal for no good reason other than to move on.

Issue 8


This one was written by a different writer and penciller. Bob from 2692 (he's in the box at the top left of the cover) shows up and needs Bill & Ted's help to pass his own history report. He also picks up George Washington, Isaac Newton and Mark Twain. They go to the mall in the future and Bill & Ted are mobbed by fans. For some strange reason DeNomolos created a huge terminator robot but left him in the mall waiting for Bill & Ted to show up just in case, rather than sending him to do the killing in Bogus Journey. Of course he's easily defeated so I guess it's just as well.


I never considered Mark Twain to be this grumpy.. just snarky.

Basically the whole issue is just a send up to Excellent Adventure, except that Bob is actually a famous villain in his future.

If by "the end" Rufus means the 88th century...

Issue 9


Death has been fired and now works at Pretzels N Cheese. Even stranger is the fact that Bill & Ted still enjoy eating there after having worked their previously. Anyway, Death is replaced in his reaping duties by Morty.



Morty loves to laugh at people who die in stupid ways and particularly enjoys sending people to hell. Admit it, you'd do the same thing. Apparently, even though Death has been whiny and kind of mean to most of the characters in the comic up to this point, he actually acts very sweetly and professionally when reaping souls.

Death gets fired from Pretzels N Cheese when his scythe tears through the cheese pump and he attempts to work other jobs with humorous results.





Since none of it is working out and he's not happy with the way Morty is doing things, he petitions for his old job back.


War, Nature, Fate, and Time all show up to judge.

Naturally, Death wins his old job back.

Issue 10


Wyld Stallyns are on their way to play the concert in Utter Boredom when the booth screws up and brings them to Hyper World, a place where everyone is a superhero or villain, everyone frequently changes sides, and dying is only a temporary thing. This is a great issue to read for anyone who read a lot of comics in the early 90s as it's basically just one big parody of superhero conventions.




They're forced into blending in with the superheroes because one of the villains stole their booth.






This is their grand solution to get out of there. It's nice to see them depending on song lyrics again.

Issue 11


I don't have this issue, but the description in Issue 10 says Bill & Ted suddenly realize that Lincoln was assassinated, so they go back in time to try to stop it. He appears in issue 12 so I'm not sure if that means they succeeded or not.

It's so frustrating not having this one. I was able to find issue 10 by itself, but issue 11 only seems to be sold in sets on ebay. I'll keep looking.

Issue 12


This issue features an anniversary party for their wedding. Bill's dad has apparently not left the house since Missy left him, but they convince him to come to the party.


Coloring error!

Part of the celebration involves stuffing students into the phone booth and of course things go wrong and they disappear. Soon after various alternate reality Bill & Teds show up.



A full scale fight breaks out between all the various versions. Rufus brings a grown up little Bill & Ted from the future and reveals that they have been fixing all of the original Bill & Ted's many mistakes in the timeline. They also rescued the students. The reason there are so many B&Ts is because they've been spreading their message all through the universe/dimensions. Bill & Ted are very proud of their little dudes. They decide to bring DeNomolos and all the others in hell some cake, but the hell residents are not interested in taking it. We find out Morty is now a janitor in hell. Basically it's all an excuse to revisit every single character of the series and say goodbye. They obviously knew the series would not be renewed. To make it a complete happy ending, Bill's dad ends up in love with Mother Nature.



There's no denying that this series is pretty insane. It adds a lot of new characters, as well as the new dimension hopping abilities (seriously, why does every interpretation feel like traveling through time isn't enough?) but for what it's worth I think it still works. There are times when they come off overly hippy and others where they are a little too stupid (would they really not know what insane means? It's not exactly a big word) but otherwise they are still Bill & Ted. The babies are not overused and the princesses get to talk a bit more. It makes a good effort to move the story forward rather than just keeping them in limbo like the TV series, and for the most part stays true to the storyline. If you don't mind the sacrifice of logic for the sake of comedy, you will probably enjoy them tremendously.

Letters Pages
Do they still have letters to the editor in comics? In this internet age I bet they don't. Anyway, for those of you who missed out on this era, the editors used to welcome us fans to write in with our comments and questions directly to them since we couldn't complain loudly on the internet yet. It was common for them to sometimes have characters of the books supposedly answer the letters, and this comic was no exception. There are letters pages that were answered by Death, Missy, DeNomolos, Sigmund Freud, and Colonel Oats. One issue was answered by the editors themselves and seemed to have a theme of people suggesting storyline ideas or what they would like to see in the comic. After seeing one I knew I had to share it with you guys.



I don't think this needs a comment.

Tomorrow I'm going to wrap this marathon up with my final thoughts.

4 comments:

  1. i have issue Ocotber 1992 with Lincoln on front for sale - richard78@comcast.net

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  2. The comic book writer in issue 4 is supposed to be Grant Morrison, whose Doom Patrol at the time featured a villain named the Candlemaker, who wore a crown of candles. Morrison had also recently written a Batman graphic novel called Arkham Asylum which was monstrously successful but critically derided as being too obscure and symbolic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, that makes perfect sense. Thanks for so much for letting me know! :)

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