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‘Anansi Boys #1:’ Comic Book Review

Dark Horse has enlisted Adora and the Distance scribe Marc Bernardin and Thief of Thieves artist Shawn Martinbrough for their comic book adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, Anansi Boys. Set in the same world as Gaiman’s American Gods, the story itself is not a sequel, but an adjacent tale featuring the spider god. This first issue introduces Mr. Nancy’s son Charles and Charles’ fiancee Rosie.

When Rosie asks Charles to invite his father to their pending nuptials, Charles calls him the most embarrassing person he ever met and cites things like giving him the nickname Fat Charlie despite not having a weight problem, making him dress as his favorite president on President’s Day, and looking for mermaids. Before we start the comparisons to Big Fish and the extraordinary life Mr. Nancy may have lived, Edward Bloom he is not. Charlie’s mom said it best from her deathbed: He’s not a bad man, but he’s certainly not a good one. Charlie finally relents and tries to find info on how to contact his father, but a family friend tells him he has passed away.

While reading any of Neil Gaiman’s passages is never a bad thing, comic adaptations of prose can sometimes feel like CliffsNotes. Marc Bernardin’s adaptation of Anansi Boys does not rely on Neil Gaiman’s narration as much as other comic adaptations of his work, particularly Dark Horse’s previous adaptation of American Gods. Bernardin’s sparse usage of Neil’s text gives us more character without using his words as a crutch.

Shawn Martinbrough’s art complements Bernardin’s script. Choosing an artist who draws crime stories will match the tone of the story ahead. From cave paintings to a karaoke bar on a beach in Florida, Martinbrough’s art is top notch.

Jim Campbell’s letters seem to be the backbeat of this first issue. There isn’t a lot of action in the script for him to show off what he can do, but consistency is key. The word bubbles and dialogue boxes are well placed and help with the pacing between Neil’s narration and Charlie’s flashback to growing up with his father – a relationship that will only become more strained in the subsequent issues. With an Amazon Prime series looming in the near future, this is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the spider trickster god Anansi.

Creative Team: Neil Gaiman, Marc Bernardin (writers), Shawn Martinbrough (artist), David Mack (cover artist), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Forrest Gaddis, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor



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