"The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Filipe Melo
Illustrated by Juan Cavia
2012, 120 Pages
Graphic Novel released on May 23rd, 2012
Eurico is your typical pizza delivery boy in Lisbon. He's got a crappy job riding around on scooters trying to get hot pizza to people in twenty minutes or less. His boss hates him. The girl of his dreams barely notices him. His life is drastically changed when his scooter is stolen by a gargoyle. A friend of his refers him to Dog Mendonca. He specializes in these kinds of things. He's an occult detective and the only person that is taking Eurico seriously. What starts as a simple grand-theft-moped case turns into a huge conspiracy involving abducted children, Nazi zombies, and a tunnel fifty years in the making connecting Portugal to Germany. This is why this graphic novel is entitled The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy.
The team up between Dog and Eurico is like an average buddy cop movie. The two of them are thrown together for one seemingly simple task and then find themselves way over their heads. Their connection should have ended pretty quickly, but there's a bizarre sense between them, like they both have to see this through to the end. Fortunately for us, they do and it's so worth it.
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There's a lot in Dog Mendonca's past that he doesn't reveal just yet. He's your basic private eye from dozens of different film noir pictures. Instead of having bad luck with women or a drinking problem, he has a touch of the supernatural in him. He's also a little overweight, but we won't hold that against him.
Joining Eurico and Dog is Pazuul, a demon trapped in the body of a young girl with the head of the gargoyle that stole the scooter and started this whole journey. The head gets pulled along for the ride for the most part but provides a fun commentary.
Author Filipe Melo took a lot of inspiration for this comic from horror and adventure movies of the ‘80s, such as Big Trouble in Little China, Gremlins, and An American Werewolf in London (Director John Landis actually writes the introduction to the graphic novel...twice). This is very clear in the look and feel of the book. It deals with some serious and possibly world-ending adversaries, but it's always handled in a fun and light-hearted manner. Yes, you worry for the lives and well-being of Dog, Pizzaboy, Pazuul, and even the gargoyle head, but you just know that they're going to get through this and have a joke about it later. This was originally written as a film script, which is pretty apparent based on the pacing and set up. It's like a cooler version of the Indiana Jones movies.
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Juan Cavia did a great job bringing Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy to life. This graphic novel could easily be translated to the big screen as Cavia has laid out everything better than any storyboard artist could have done. There's a two page spread of Eurico heading to a delivery early on in the book that's downright beautiful. It showcases the whole town in a nice landscape. There's nothing creepy or supernatural about it. It just looks great. The rest of the book is top notch. Cavia provides a slightly cartoonish look, but reins it in for the serious panels. The fight scenes are fast and bloody. Whether he's threatening a gargoyle with a gun at point blank range or smashing the skulls of Nazi zombies, Dog doesn't mess around.
The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy is a self-contained story, but there are plenty of opportunities to continue the tales of this group. The end of the book is a lead-in to another adventure, one that I hope to see soon. There's a one-shot out now that collects some chapters that were originally published in the anthology title Dark Horse Presents and there is a sequel on the way. I'm all for this as I want more from this group and this creative team. I also want a movie or a TV show...and maybe a toy line. Who do I have to talk to to make that happen? John Landis has already read the book. Let's get this going.