The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy is a hoot.
Perhaps, the best way I can quickly and easily describe this book is to say that John Landis wrote the foreword to it.
This is a comic that is so heavily influenced by film that it bleeds classic adventure movies. There are references to everything from the [Spoiler Omitted], to [Spoiler Omitted], and even [Spoiler Omitted in Little China]. The script by Filipe Melo draws inspiration from An American Werewolf in London, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Hellboy among many others. If you caught a strong whiff of humor and subtle overtones of fun adventure from those titles, then I would recommend seeing a doctor. The art by Juan Cavia perfectly captures the feel of these movies. The characters are a little too caricatured and the action is very stylized. This makes it perfect, by the way. The colors by Santiago Villa are flawless. I can’t describe them any better than that. They make every page feel alive.
I will say this outright. Most of the characters in this book are familiar archetypes, like the mostly clueless delivery boy who is a stand-in for the audience, the big gruff PI with a secret, and the little girl who is more dangerous than she looks. The plot follows a well-trodden path, as well. In no way are either of these claims meant to be seen as criticism.
What this book does is introduce an incredible amount of fun into a story that doesn’t seem like it should impress at all. This was accomplished in two ways. First, this is just a good and exciting story. Second, it is really funny. Without spoiling anything after the first chapter, the titular Pizza Boy is thrust into a mystery involving kidnapping children and stolen scooters. Then, it gets weird.
I am having a difficult time describing this book, because I want to keep as many of the surprises intact, but I want to explain how bizarre this book is. There are movie references without context, a sidekick who is just a head, and lots of washing machines.
For a real treat, stick around after the book to read the making of section.
This book is everything that a big summer blockbuster should be: larger than life, funny, and fun as hell.
Four and a half eighties references out of five.