After having to find a new home at BOOM! Studios, writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker may have needed one of the strongest debut issues possible. Needless to say, they met — and exceeded — any and all expectations with The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1.
Featuring the return of ghost whisperers Frank and Sadie Doyle, this issue covers many of the things needed for a comic to be a great. First and foremost, the comedic pacing throughout the book is great. I found myself laughing out loud more than once at the hijinks the Doyles and company found themselves in.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1 also went places that I haven’t really seen in comics before. Although comedic dialogue was at the forefront through the entire issue, the book was narrated by an old-school noir-style reporter.
Acker and Blacker adapted their wildly popular stage show — which has been performed by Hollywood greats like Paget Brewers, Busy Phillips, Neil Patrick Harris, and Patton Oswalt — and seamlessly transformed it into serialized storytelling.
On the surface, some might think this book is all too similar to an episode of Scooby-Doo. To me, it dug much deeper than that, creating a handful of intriguing characters in just a few short pages. The Doyles steal the show in each of the panels they’re in. Ghost-fighting socialites that are roped into ghost hunting after consuming one or 10 too many cocktails made for more than one humorous scenario.
Comedy and characterization aside, The Thrilling Adventure Hour seems to be plenty self-aware, stopping short of too self-aware a la Deadpool. In one panel in particular, the Doyles arrive at a haunted house and only their vignettes are visible, spoofing the movie poster of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.
M.J. Erickson’s line art combined with colors by Brittany Peer create an end-result that’s more than pleasing. With thick lines and watercolor-like colors throughout, the artwork is just “cartoony” enough to set the comedic tone without getting too childish.
Most of my personal criticisms of the book are likely to be resolved as the series progresses — or at least, I hope. For example, there’s a two-page prologue that goes virtually nowhere and contributes nothing to the primary story. Another criticism comes with the book’s narrator, the down-on-his-luck reporter. Although we see a connection between he and the owner of the haunted house, the reporter’s arc flattened a bit towards the end of the book. Like I said, it’s likely to be ironed out over the course of the first multi-issue arc.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour #1 is a hilarious book that’s easy enough to consume. It doesn’t require all too much thought to read and on the surface, there aren’t any further themes and ideologies readers should explore off-page. Then again, all comics don’t need to be thought-provokers to be great. And that is what makes comics great. A solid script and great artwork already put a comic book far ahead in the race against its competitors, and the creative team behind The Adventure Hour has put the title in a good place to become something great.
Published by BOOM! Studios
On July 18, 2018
Written by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
Art by M.J. Erickson
Colors by Brittany Peer
Letters by Mike Fiorentino