The Book: After writing all the many and conflicting versions of the legendary Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, beloved author Douglas Adams created Dirk Gently: a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a unique relationship with the laws of probability and physics, and a love of cats and pizza.
In his first-ever comic series, Dirk has been forced to leave his beloved England behind, coming to the too-sunny, too-cheery, and altogether too-bizarre-even-for-Dirk city of San Diego, California, where he gets embroiled in three separate (or are they?) cases involving reincarnated Egyptians, copycat killers and insane zoo animals. All this in a new town seemingly incapable of making even a single proper cup of tea… “The Interconnectedness of All Kings” begins here courtesy of Chris Ryall (Zombies vs Robots) and Tony Akins (Fables)!
The Review: The late Douglas Adams work has a delightful habit of not staying in boxes, and it’s great to see that Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency has escaped the box marked “entertaining books” and jumped into comics. I had rather feared the BBC’s enjoyable and well-received TV series would be the last incarnation of the character, which would have been a shame.
Fortunately, you can’t keep a good detective – er, scratch that description – down, and I’m delighted to report that Dirk Gently is very definitely back in action, as rude and accident-prone as ever. This beautifully-drawn opening issue quickly introduces the hapless, unlikeable but unstoppable Dirk, who is now, for reasons yet to be explained, setting up his Detective Agency in San Diego. Or, more precisely, at Gumshoes and Tealeaves, a quaint eaterie owned by both life and business partners Susan Murdico and Tonya Fong, the latter something of a detective aficionado. Whether they like it or not.
His latest investigation might be something to do with the serial killers on his trail, after he stole their bag (and, after all, “Nearly everyone has wanted to kill an Englishman at one time or another”, quips one) – or it might have something to do with the Egyptian mummies that are wreaking death and destruction in the San Diego Natural History Museum. After all, as we all known, Dirk Gently believes everything is interconnected – he just has to work out how.
While there’s quite a lot of set up in this opening issue, it ends with what I assume will be all the main cast introduced (and the supporting characters seem a lot nicer than the abrasive Gently, which is a plus) and the villains established – even if we don’t, as yet, know what they’re up to, or why they’re up to it…
Chris Ryall, edited by longtime Gently fan Arvind Ethan David, with additional edits from John Barber, delivers a fine script, splendidly realized by Tony Atkins, complemented by Leonard O’Grady’s fine colouring. As an opening issue there’s many humorous lines and an opening sequence that reminds me of the comedy film What’s Up Doc, which is never a bad thing. This is going to be a slow burn but based on this outing I think Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is both a marvellous continuation of Adams character and a fun tale, peppered with black humour, in its own right. Check out the pages below – I hope it appeals to you, too.
• Dirk Gently on the IDW web site: www.idwpublishing.com/dirk-gently
• If you were in San Diego for Free Comic Book Day earlier this year, you most likely got a free copy of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Ashcan. If not, now is your chance to check it out here on the IDW web site
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.