|Review by Erin Maxwell|
The hash-slinging family of Fox’s Animation Domination make their funny pages debut in the spin-off comic of Bob’s Burgers: The Comic Book.
Created by Bento Box Entertainment, the four-year-old primetime series follows the oddball adventures of Bob and Linda Belcher, proprietors of a greasy spoon, and their three malcontent children, Tina, Louise and Gene.
During the course of the show, burgers are cooks, puns are made, trouble unfolds and hijinks ensue.
But clever writing and the true originality of the characters keep the show interesting and fun to watch.
The TV format show breaks up into two unfolding stories, usually one featuring the adults and one with their demon spawn.
In the comic, which is written and created by writers and artists of the show, each Belcher kid gets a spotlight story, broken up with little notes, memos and foldout from other characters of the show.
“Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction Presents: My So-Called Life as a Horse” spotlights the Belcher’s eldest derriere-obsessed tween Tina as she moves through life as a horse. When asked to join her heroes of the filly fighting force The Equestranauts, Tina heads out on pony adventures with pony friends to defeat pony-hating villains and hopefully find pony love.
The story expands on Tina’s highly-amusing obsession with horsies and her feelings of isolation from her family and schoolmates. It also scores bonus points for exploring the her hormone-driven hobby of writing fan fiction, which usually features herself, her classmates, horses, zombies, and butts.
“Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities: Picture Day” places the bunny-eared Belcher in conflict with the school photographer, who she believes is converting all of her classmates into mindless automatons with the flash of his camera.
As with the TV show, the best stories are the ones that place the smallest Belcher in conflict with another character, be it a bully, a teacher or a possible photo-taking alien in a button-up shirt.
“Gene Belcher Presents: The Boy in the Burger – The Musical ” is perhaps the weakest of the three tales as the only Y-chromosome Belcher child becomes fused with his burger costume.
The story falls flat not just because plotline is weaker than the other two tales, but because Gene’s off-the-wall remarks and quick repartee from the show are not fully realized on paper. Well, at least not this time.
To be fair, it is hard to pull of a musical on the printed page. Kudos for trying.
Additional details such as a Jimmy Jr. centerfold, Linda’s love letter to a bottle of wine and Bob’s scratch book of failed burger puns are amusing one-shots that help maintain the spirit of the primetime toon.
Fans of the show will find that while the book manages to capture the charm of the Belchers, the show’s comic timing and small nuances that give the toon characters their individual flair are slightly MIA. While the comic does well to expand the “Bob” universe, one can’t help but miss Gene’s rapid-fire off-the-cuff remarks, Tina’s groans and Louise’s eardrum-shattering shrieks of frustration mixed with sarcasm.
While entertaining, the book also lacks the chemistry the three young Belchers project when out and about on wacky adventures. The nuanced comedy that derives from the combination of the three wonderfully strange personalities is played down when each character is given his/her own tale.
Graphics and layout of the book match the tone of the show, at times perfectly capturing the small beats that makes the show endearing.
For fans of the toon, Bob’s Burgers: The Comic Book has a lot to live up to. But perhaps with continued pressings, the funny book version of the animated fare will eventually find its groove.