Rick and Morty carries on from the popular animated television show of the same name were the deranged scientist grandad Rick takes his oft reluctant grandson Morty, on all sorts of hijinks across spacetime. Written prodomently by Zac Gorman, with pencils again mostly by CJ Cannon and lettering by Crank!, Rick and Morty first foray into the comic world is actually a good read. Published by Oni Press.
If you are like me and are always late to the next big thing of television, film or other media then I can not stress how much you should watch the first two seasons of the show Rick and Morty. Leave this blog and watch them now. This blog will still be here.
The story of a young boy trying to come of age, his alcohol fuelled abusive genius grandfather and the assorted family members that make up the house in which they all live is cleverly written, funny and imaginative.
The comic takes place at the end of season 2 of the TV show and finds our hapless duo in the middle of universal stock market manipulation that leads quickly to their trial.
This sums up the humour in the book and the dynamic that Rick and Morty have. It is very much a story of family and how people cope with the quirks everyone has. True, those quirks can cause the death of parallel dimensions but still, just quirks.
The first 12 issues have two or three story arcs which is nice to see continuity within the comic rather than an episodic approach to the series. Most of the stories have back up stories at the end which further develop secondary characters or explore absurdity of the world in which these characters inhabit.
Whilst Gorman has not been involved with the series whilst it was on TV, he has really captured the eccentricities, dialogue and pace of the show even down to the belching of Rick and the stuttering of Morty. It even has self referencing, pop cultures idioms and even breaks the forth wall for situational gags.
The series ends on a rather bleak note and whilst I don’t want to spoil it for the reader, I would encourage you to pick the series up just so you can get to the end and see the cliff hanger yourself.
The art feels like it’s straight out of the TV series and CJ Cannon has done a good job at maintaining the style established. There are times were the art seems to come second to the dialogue but I suppose that’s part of the problem of taking a moving visual medium and translating it into fixed points within panels.
Fair play to Cannon because he does manage to consider the limitations he has with the art and unlike other big name writers like Brian Michael Bendis who can have too many panels (see this post), Gorman has given the story space to breath and this lets the art pop out more to the reader.
I’ve never heard of Crank! before I read this series but a quick google search helped me learn more about this talented letter. As mentioned in last weeks Monday Review post, the more I’ve started lettering my own work the more I’m aware of how good, average and bad lettering can effect the story and whilst I am by no means an expert on the topic I know enough to say this.
Crank! had his work cut for him with this project and he ran with it successfully!
A big feature of Rick and Morty as a TV show was the meandering lunacy that would often comes from Rick’s mouth and the stuttering pleads from Morty’s. With limited space due to art, Crank! often pushes the dialogue right against the panel walls but you would need to in such tight spaces.
A successfully letterer will make it seems like your not even aware of how important their job is and in this respect, Crank! did an amazing job.
I loved this translation to comics and found it a breeze to read all 12 issues in a couple of days. There was time’s were it dragged for me, specially issue #6. I won’t spoil it for you but unless you’ve watched the TV series you’ll feel short changed by that issue.
Overall it’s a great series and I recommend you pick it up though if you wait till December there is a hardcover edition coming out with a sound chip in it which looks annoying but wonderful at the same time (click here to see what I mean). Though there was a big downside for me with this series in that it has made me really impatient for the follow up volume or a new TV series to be out already!
Join me next Monday for our next comic review.
N. S. Paul