Dirk Gently, owner and proprietor of London’s only Holistic Detective Agency, believes in the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”; that is to say that everything he touches, does or sees is no mere coincidence, but will eventually come together in one glorious conclusion that will (hopefully) solve the case he’s working on and (preferably) result in some sort of payment. It cannot be considered coincidence then that I am sitting here on May 25th, also known as Towel Day (a day internationally recognised to celebrate the life of Dirk’s creator, Douglas Adams), having just read issue one of IDW’s adaptation.
I always approach adaptations with a small amount of caution; I don’t mean to, it’s just that certain properties mean a lot to me, and the idea of someone new trying their hand at them, and potentially being terrible at it, scares me. Douglas Adams’ works are among such properties; his weird and wonderful stories struck a chord with me, one connected directly to my funny bone, and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series is probably the only set of books I’ve read more than twice. Luckily, IDW know what they’re doing. They already have a wealth of excellent titles to their name, a few of the adapted nature (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, to name but three!) and I adore them. You can now officially add Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to that list.
Douglas Adams is one of my favourite authors. His trademark unparalleled wit and style hooked me in immediately, and that’s the main reason I opened this book with a little trepidation. Chris Ryall, however, does an absolutely brilliant job of bringing the essence of Adams’ to the comic, moving quickly but purposefully, with all the humour and charm of Adams’ original novels. Dirk felt very much like the Dirk I know and love, and it’s a testament to the entire creative team that I am hankering for issue two already.
This first issue, whilst largely set up, does a fantastic job of introducing the reader to Dirk, his seemingly random way of living and investigating, and sets up his new case beautifully. Jetting off to San Diego for reasons currently unknown, Dirk finds himself a new base of operations in the form of a detective-themed tea room, as well as a pair of friendly yet deadly stalkers… Also, there’s mummies! Whilst I have no idea what any of these plots have anything to do with one another, I trust in Ryall to use his knowledge of Adams’ ability to weave ostensibly unrelated occurrences together to make one utterly bonkers, thoroughly brilliant story. There’s a sense of urgency and light-heartedness to Tony Akins’ art that suits the character to a T, and I love Dirk’s design in this book. He has the look (and slightly frenetic feel) of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor with the hair of Harold Ramis, and that’s a pairing I can most definitely get behind. The creative team clearly have a love for and admiration of Adams’ work that shines throughout this debut issue, and it’s a joy to see.
In short, IDW have struck gold again, staying true to Adams’ vision and bringing Dirk back to the page once more. I’m very excited to see where this book goes, and how everything will come together. Douglas Adams was taken from us far too soon, but I think his brilliance lives on in the forms of his works, his influence, and within the pages of this very comic adaptation. Bravo, IDW!
Title: Dirk Gently’ Holistic Detective Agency
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StacebobT)