Today marked the release of Akrhaven Comics’ 2nd outing, the first issue of the adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s classic, Right Ho, Jeeves. I’m a reader who’s coming in not having read the book in which it’s been adapted from, so I can’t comment on how faithful it is to the original, and I come at this purely from a standpoint of “is this a good comic book?”
What’s interesting is by the nature of this story is there’s a lot of potential for talking heads. When I mention this in comics, it usually means a lot of “telling” or having people talk back and forth which doesn’t communicate a story well in a visual manner. Dialogue drives this book. It’s a humorous book based on wit and character alone, and it’s actually very daring as an adaptation as a second outing because of that.
I’m pleased to say that Dixon and Kwapisz managed to change the sceneries, the characters, and have them DO things to keep the story driving and flowing. It’s a cut above most comic books I see when it comes to heavy dialogue,and it’s a testament to the skill of the artist and writer how well they pulled this off.
Dixon introduces all of the characters in the story on the first page, giving a pertinent description along with a visual. The visual is where this really takes off as the characters are so well defined and cartoon-ish looking, just like they should be for a comedy like this. They nailed the classic cartoonist feel to a tee, and it instantly prepared the reader fo what was ahead.
As the scenes ensue, there’s a couple of plots going on — one in which Bertram (the main character and narrator) is forced to get a job, and another in which Augustus Fink-Nottle, a silly looking man, dresses as the devil to try to impress a woman at a party, and of course it goes disastrously wrong.
What’s amazing to me is how adept Dixon is at giving the characters different voices in the dialogue, while simultaneously ensuring that the reader has to read this in their minds with a British accent. Coming off reading a vastly different book by Dixon in Robyn Hood #1, in which he captures a modern girl playing superhero in her young 20s in America, the pure depth of voice and breadth Dixon can reach is really astounding.
Likewise the art by Kwapisz is amazing. There’s some extremely detailed panels, keeping with the cartoonish styles, but he even shifts the tone of his art for flashbacks depending on the vantage point. There’s one scene in particular in which Fink-Nottle sees himself a a hero and the art switches to his vision of the world and it’s very nice to look at. Bonus points to Kwapisz as he drew horses in the same cartoony manner and pulled those off — as any comic artist will tell you, horses are extremely hard to draw, let alone give distinct character like in this book.
This isnt’ an action-adventure comic. And it would be foolish to read it as such. This is a literary work turned into a literary comic with humor and cartoonishness playing a large part of the theme and aesthetic. And by Jove, Dixon/Kwapisz nailed it. If Arkhaven keeps up this kind of quality, they’ll be competing with the big companies in no time.