Writer/Artist: Sarah Graley
Colors: Mildred Lewis
Well, this one just didn’t work. Taking a licensed property–particularly an animated licensed property–and converting it to comics can be tricky work. Animation is a distinct art style where the creators have to make specific use of motion, space, and voices to create the end product. This may sound elementary, but comics really are distinctly different from animation in that they need to convey the same concepts without actually using them. Dialogue has to compensate for a lack of actual voices. Sound effects and art need to replace actual sounds. In other words, a comic adaption of an animated work needs to basically reinvent itself for a different medium while still maintaining the spirit of the original.
Which is pretty much what didn’t happen with Rick and Morty: Li’ Poopy Superstar. A spinoff of the main Rick and Morty comic, Lil’ Poopy Superstar is an opportunity to give Rick’s granddaughter Summer some time to shine in her own adventure. Summer has to team up with Mister Poopybutthole, whom the show’s regular viewers will remember as a one-off joke from Season 2’s “Total Rickall.” It’s an opportunity to spotlight Morty’s older sister who, at least on the show, has depth, albeit not quite enough as she plays second fiddle to her younger brother. (It’s not Rick and Morty and Summer, after all.)
Lil’ Poopy Superstar doesn’t really capture the spirit of the show at all. The art style is off, neither replicating the show’s distinct style nor making its own unique take on the characters. It’s OK if a licensed comic deviates from the style guide of a show–the Simpsons and Adventure Time comics have used radically distinct styles to great effect–but Sarah Graley’s style just seems like an ineffective copy of the show. Much the same could be said for the story: this doesn’t really feel like Summer (and Rick and Morty are even weaker imitations of their show counterparts). She certainly whines about being excluded, but beyond that, there’s no probing of the depths of her character. It may be that Graley is going for a hyperbolic take on the characters–which could account for Rick in particular being much sillier than usual–but without the show’s ironic wit, this just isn’t working.
Maybe Lil’ Poopy Superstar will get better as the story progresses, but the first issue doesn’t inspire confidence that it will substitute for the show’s summer hiatus.
Rating: Two wubba lubbas out of Five.