The Two Great Ones finally made it to the comics page courtesy of Marvel
Comics in the fall of 1991, and true to the uniqueness of the characters this book is
sure to find its place in history as one of the most unusual and inventive adaptations
of a movie series into comic books.
The creative force behind the Bill and Ted series was cartoonist/writer Evan
Dorkin, best known for his well acclaimed Pirate Corp$! series for Slave
Labor Graphics and the highly creative Milk and Cheese comics. Evan both
wrote and penciled the Bill and Ted comics, with inking
provided by Stephen DeStefano. The series was produced in full color, adding to its
In a comics world full of superheroes and science fiction fantasy, it wouldn't
have been a surprise to see the Bill and Ted comic book take a definite science
fiction turn, following the guys through numerous adventures in time.
Likewise it easily could have gone the kiddie comics route, adapting the
animated series directly to the comics page (which was later done for Look
In! magazine in England). What was
refreshing, however, was Evan's apparent commitment to keeping the book
funny, with humor as its focus. The result was a short-lived but most unusual, refreshing
change of pace on the comics' stand and something which will probably stand out
as a collectible for years to come.
The books were incredibly well drawn (although we should warn lovesick fans of
Keanu and Alex's . . . the characterizations don't exactly flatter the guys!).
The art was so rich you could look though the panels several times and still find
something new, which is most excellent when it comes to comic book reading!
things like the ever-changing expression of the smiley face on the back of Ted's
jacket added to the humor, and characters from both movies made appearances
throughout the books, including Captain Logan, Missy-Mom, the historical babes
and dudes from the first movie (who attended Bill and Ted's second wedding), and
even a very brief appearance by Ted's somewhat-older, little brother, Deacon
(who was originally supposed to be seen in Bogus Journey before his part
was left on the cutting room floor).
The stories are linked from one book to the next, bringing an overall sense of
continuity to the series. Death's complaints about having to work all the time and
his consequent departure at the end of Issue #1 led directly into his most heinous
holiday in Issue #2. Bill and Ted settling into married life and moving into a new
house in Issue #2 was touched upon more deeply in Issue #3 (particularly nice was
the Little Bill and Ted Land playset - complete with giant Battleship board - the
dudes built for their sons). Also introduced in Issue #1 was a very strange character
named Time Thumb, who made small appearances in every issue, his purpose
culminating in issues #5, 6 and 7.
Bill and Ted's appeal reached people of all ages, from the very young to the very
old. While kids probably enjoyed the colorful artwork and the exciting stories, the
humor was geared more toward an adult audience. The zany storylines, made even
funnier by the good-hearted reactions of Bill and Ted, followed the style of the
original movies, while the plots took them though a wide variety of new and most
excellent adventures. This and the inclusion of Evan's taste for oddball pop
culture (The Planet of the Apes Movies) and hip bands (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
added a depth not usually touched upon in most Marvel comics.
As far as accuracy in plot and consistencies with the movies, the book keeps facts straight pretty
well, with the possible exception of mixing up Bill and Ted's babies names in Issue
#1 (Bill's baby's name in Bogus Journey was Little Ted and Ted's baby's
name was Little Bill) and the confusion over how many booths there were in Issue
#2 (didn't Bill and Ted have their own phone booth parked outside Bill's
garage at the end of the first movie?). However, these are minor compared to the
hilarity of Bill's baby being faced with the same childhood fears his father had of
kissing Granny S. Preston, Esq. or Death looking for acceptance by trying to tell a
few jokes at the second wedding, only to be pelted with empty cans and shouts of
"Death's not funny!"
Unfortunately, the series only lasted a short time: Thirteen issues, counting the
Bogus Journey adaptation. However, they can still be found today at used
comic shops and conventions and occasionally on auction sites as well. And
in 2004 and 2005 Slave Labor
Graphics reprinted the entire series (albeit in black and white as
opposed to full color) in two soft cover books.