Writers: Mark Von der Heide, Jeff Drake
Artists: Tom Connor, Maggie Harbaugh, Krystal Fleming, Jennyfer Maria
Bob’s Burgers #8 will be released on February 3.
While superhero comics becoming ever-frustrating with delays, crossovers, price increases, and reboots, it seems that readers are looking for a break from the dominant part of the industry. Weirdly, they seem to have forgotten that there’s a vast library of licensed properties out there (besides Star Wars) which nicely supplement existing media properties. Case in point: Bob’s Burgers, Dynamite’s adaption of the FOX animated series.
You should be familiar with Bob’s Burgers at this point: it’s about the Belchers, a lower-middle class family whose head owns a struggling restaurant in New York City. Bob (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) is the perpetual sad-sack who has very small aspirations in advancing his restaurant, where he’s often inadvertently thwarted by his obnoxious wife Linda and his three “not quite right” children Tina, Gene, and Louise. While Bob’s Burgers hasn’t yet reached the “cultural staple” status of The Simpsons or the controversial notoriety of Family Guy, it has managed to work its way into viewers’ hearts after a surprising five seasons. The show seems to have recaptured the zany humor that’s long been missing from The Simpsons while inheriting the “working family man” values of King of the Hill.
This eighth issue of Dynamite’s ongoing is relatively accessible despite the fact that it’s a mix of three separate stories at separate points in multi-part storylines. You read that correctly: the lead story wraps up its third part, the middle story is a starting point, and the last one is a second of two parts. That fact shouldn’t put off the reader: these are cute humor stories that don’t involve the continuity headache of a superhero book.
Case in point: “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction Presents: Tineo & Jimmy Juliet” is a parody of an obvious Shakespeare classic, so one can jump right in because the source material is universally known. Playing off the relationships in the show, this story reflects Tina’s ongoing pre-teen fantasies of her ongoing crush. The art style is a little off from the show’s animation, but it’s not terrible, and it’s amusing to think that we’re reading an actual sample of Tina’s writings.
“Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities Presents: The Why Files” is much more stylistically in line with the show, almost to the point of looking like photos taken directly from an episode. It’s also well-timed, given that it parodies The X-Files in the same week that the show returned to television with Louise playing the Mulder role. Louise is actually a perfect fit for the part given her obsessive tendencies. A funny twist partway through the story accounts for exactly why Louise is looking for aliens in her school at Mr. Frond’s behest.
The weak link in the comic is “Gene’s Rhymey Rhymes That Could One Day Be Songs Presents: Peter Pants,” which puts Gene in the role of Peter Pan. It’s passable and mirrors Gene’s notoriously lowbrow humor, but between the rhymes and the art style, it doesn’t really capture the feel of the show to the extent that the other stories do.
Being a licensed property, of course, the appeal of this book is limited to Bob’s Burgers fans, as non-viewers will have little context for the kids’ antics and Tina’s “erotic” fiction in general. However, fans of the show who also read comics have little excuse to not at least try the book. It captures the show’s general spirit and offers a diversion where strict humor books seem to be lacking.
Rating: Four Beefsquatches out of Five.