Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #1
Written by Chris Ryall
Pencils by Tony Akins
Inks by John Livesay
Colors by Leonard O’Grady
Letters by Robbie Robbins and Shawn Lee
Covers by Tony Akins and Paul Mounts (Regular), Rob Guillory (Subscription), Robert Hack and Stephen Downer (Retailer Incentive)
Release Date: May 20, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99
Everything is connected. That’s the long and short of how the title character in Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #1 sees the world in general and how he works through his mysteries in particular. If you haven’t read any Douglas Adams then immediately following this review, go do so. The man was not only amazing but he should have been sainted for the wonderful work he did in science fiction literature. I applaud anyone who revives or adapts his work for the newer generations. But we are here to talk about this individual issue, folks, so let’s do just that!
As it turns out, the concept of fundamental interconnectedness means that time, space, and reality can all be thrown to the wolves. If the entire makeup of everything is connected to everything else then it’s as if the universe is playing a game akin to the Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon! In this comic, we see the eponymous Dirk Gently seeking those very same connections! Relying on his wits and wisdom, and a good deal of luck and fate, he somehow manages to find the thread that links it all together.
Beginning in ancient Egypt, we are given the chance to view young Pharaoh-to-be Ahktenkhamen as he speaks to his longtime friends regarding his ascension. Proving through deeds that absolute power corrupts absolutely, he frightens his companions enough that they are overheard publicly discussing their fears and dreams. Jump forward a dozen or so centuries and we find our hero(?) rummaging for baggage before racing off into the unknown.
But Dirk’s destination is not the only mystery here, for it seems the bag he hoisted upon his shoulder is, in fact, not his at all! Pursued by the true owners, he manages to find an odd teashop with a quite unusual moniker. Strange goings on and the occasional transient keep the show lively, as does a little museum magic. But not one for spoilers, I’ll leave it at that!
As far as the creative team behind the comic goes, they seem to work flawlessly together. Of course, I wasn’t there in the studio(s) while they did it, I am merely basing this opinion on the end result. Don’t judge me! IDW Publishing hardly ever (AKA never) invites me to watch the process. To writer Chris Ryall I have but one thing to say: Thank you. Thank you for staying true to the work of Douglas Adams. Though he’s been gone fourteen years now (effing heart attack) it felt, however briefly, as if he were here with us again. And Tony Akins‘ art is beyond compare. The quirky, lighthearted renderings helped create just the right feel for Dirk. And I especially love the hairdo as it reminds me of Egon Spengler (portrayed in Ghostbusters by Harold Ramis, another comedic great that was lost to this world too soon). Not that the two have anything to do with one another, as far as I know. Dirk would probably find a way to link himself to Egon, no doubt.
This is a treasure. I kid you not. If you are unfamiliar with Adams’ work, you couldn’t find an easier way to get to know one of his characters in a more casual and relaxed fashion (I speak of this comic, in case I was unclear). The books are a prime example of writing in it’s most humorous form. But thanks to this spectacular creative group, a whole new generation and demographic has the chance to experience it for themselves. i can think of no better homage to the author than seeing his creations, his characters, finding their way into the hands of wonderful, imaginative folks such as yourselves. Embrace the fun that I found decades ago, grab this gem as soon as you can. It’s a blast!