Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first issue of a new series and tell you whether or not to follow the comic based only on that. I checked out the debut of the Rick and Morty comic from Oni Press, which is maybe the best adaptation of a cartoon I’ve yet read.
Most of these comic versions read more like pretty good fanfictions of the show rather than extensions of it–writers often resort to having the comic personalities overact as the originals, which gives everything a very forced, filler-kinda feeling to it (unless we’re lucky enough to have the original creator as the main writer, as in the case of the Bee and Puppycat comics). That’s what I was expecting from the Rick and Morty comic, which is based on the cult Adult Swim cartoon of the same name, in which an irreverent mad scientist grandfather and his timorous grandson have scifi-deconstructing adventures, with copious amounts of alcohol and cynicism.
Miraculously, the comic happens to resemble its parent show pretty dang closely. This first issue sees Rick trying to teach Morty a lesson about hard work and perseverance, which means they’re going to cheat the intergalactic stock market with the help of temporal shenanigans.
I realize that imitating Rick probably isn’t as hard as I think it is, but nonetheless, ink-Rick burps, curses, and belittles just like the real thing! Morty has the same misgivings, and pathetic father Jerry is perhaps even more depressing and laughable than his animated counterpart.
Writer Zac Gorman, known for his fantastic work in animation (Over the Garden Wall) and comics (Costume Quest) alike, has a steady grip on original creator Dan Harmon’s vision and style of humor. The beating heart of Rick and Morty is a knowledge of, and critical disdain for, sci-fi tropes, from the metaphysical nonsenses of time to the logical conclusions of endowing animals with consciousness. Gorman and arist CJ Cannon nail the feel almost perfectly–the downcast look on Morty’s face when Rick punctures his self-esteem, Jerry’s pitiful cowering, it’s all very uncanny. Thus, the comic is a welcome respite for fans enduring the interminable wait until Season 2 rolls around.