Bob's Burgers: Well Done is a must-have for fans of the show looking to experience even more of the Belcher kids' hijinks. You know how that one judge on Chopped is hyper-critical of people who don't cook pasta correctly? I feel like I'm like that with adaptations of cartoons to comics. (For what it's worth, as an Italian-American who loves to cook, I'm also a stickler about pasta.) I haven't been reading comics for a long time relative to most of my fellow Bastards, so I think a lot of things that might bother me don't really annoy me on a deeper level because I haven't been watching people make those mistakes for ten, fifteen, or twenty years straight.
The thing with cartoons becoming comics, though, is that I have been watching cartoons my whole life, and so if I'm going to read a comic instead of enjoying the quality of animation and voice work being done, that comic better make it worth my time. To me, that's a very simple requirement that is very often not met. Not to compare, but just to give an example, I was pretty hard on the Rick and Morty comic despite the fact that some of the stories were fantastic and the animation was often as good as the show. The problem is that the show has had several episodes that actually played with the television format, whereas the comic was just adequately arranged on the page.
Bob's Burgers is a comic that is steeped in its familiar visual identity, but is unafraid to embrace the fact that the comics are comics and not just fragmented storyboard pamphlets for the fandom. Further, the comic takes us deeper into what makes the characters who they are, and thus augments the series in a way that is valuable to fans of the show. While I think a large part of what makes these comics good is being acquainted with the television show, that's less of a sleight and more of a really praiseworthy aspect of the work.
Something I really like about this comic is that many of the issues serve as this really affirmative nod to the fact that the Belcher kids are just that: kids. These comics allow the children to dwell full-tilt within their fantasies in ways that the show can't accommodate. The show's humor and charm are derived from the absurd happenings in its real-life settings: the comic can (and does!) take us into Tina's friend-fiction notebooks, as well as Gene's rhyming life as a pirate. I adore these story choices, but they are also executed really well: Tina's stories are composed wonderfully, and Gene's are full of similarly clever little flourishes that could only occur in the comics medium. One panel in particular involving an undersea fart is a favorite of mine.
The only thing I'm down on about this trade is the way in which things are arranged. Each issue of Bob's Burgers comes out containing several stories, like an anthology. Those stories continue into the next issue and the next, but when collected into one book in published order, the stories are all jumbled. I think the trade works better than the single issues because there's more to sink your teeth into. However, I think the trade would have benefited even further from combining the story chapters together rather than publishing them in chronological order. The reader can still choose to skip around, I suppose, but I would rather be presented with the choice to take a break from a story than to have to search for its next chapter in the same book.
Anyway, that's a small quibble compared to how successful this comic is as an adaptation of the show. Its success rests on the fact that it's more than an adaptation and is willing to be funny on the page, while adding elements to the show's mythos that the show itself can't reasonably explore. I really think this is worth checking out for any Bob's Burger fan, unless you for some reason only like the adult characters.
Bob's Burgers: Well Done TPB Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $14.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital