Review by C.J. Bunce
What comic book series would you like see adapted to film that hasn’t yet been tried? The big superheroes–and many small ones–have now made their marks, along with the likes of stories from independent or creator-owned origins like From Hell, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Cowboys and Aliens, Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, Hellboy, RED, R.I.P.D., Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and even small screen shows like The Walking Dead, iZombie, and now Wynonna Earp. Ask me what comic book series I would like to see translated to film the most and I won’t flinch: It’s Portuguese writer/musician Felipe Melo and Argentinian artist/designer Juan Cavia’s The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy. (I’d invest in that film right now). It’s the most humorous and satisfying series since Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows. Rich in pop culture references like you’d find in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Leverage, fanboys and fangirls of any franchise will find some all-out fun here. Now the creators are concluding their series with the final act of an epic trilogy, The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy III –Requiem, available now from Dark Horse Comics.
Melo and Cavia (and colorist Santiago R. Villa) are the real deal. Each of their three volumes has a foreword by a legendary film director fan: John Landis, George A. Romero, and now Tobe Hooper. Dog Mendonça (pronounced men-dōn’-sah) and PizzaBoy originally appeared in serial form in the pages of Dark Horse Presents. João Vicente “Dog” Mendonça is an overweight, Portuguese werewolf operating out of a noir era private investigator’s office. Mendonça has a lanky unpaid pizza delivery boy who becomes a client he calls PizzaBoy. And he has an assistant–a 6,000 year old demon named Pazuul, who appears as a chain-smoking blonde girl who never speaks out loud. They’ve saved the world more times than anyone can count, and are pretty blasé about it.
We reviewed the first volume in the series, The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy, here at borg.com back in November 2012. In the first book the reader becomes a character walking along with the duo as Melo breaks the “third and fourth walls” in a funny and beautifully drawn story. Mendonça told the reader his own comic book creation story. In flashback we saw Mendonça’s tumultuous past. We learned that Mendonça’s father and six sisters were killed during World War II so that bad guys led by a Nazi could capture Mendonça and use his beastly werewolf powers for his owns ends– a tale full of bad circumstances, an epic journey in a small package, and revenge.
For the second volume, previewed here at borg.com, only Melo could tap the Book of Revelations for a zombie story springing out of the actual Apocalypse story. Juggling the best parts of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the humor of Ghostbusters, with high drama, satire, and whimsical blasphemy, as he brought the world-saving team back to the pages of Dark Horse Comics in The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy II: Apocalypse. Back in Portugal all hell is breaking loose. Locusts, horned beasts, the four horsemen, the sign of the last days, it’s all intertwined with the hilarity of these strange friends, with the addition of a stone gargoyle named Edgar Augustus. Volume 2 was smart as any book on the newsstands, irreverent and wildly funny.
And now the concluding volume is here, and the creators have said they don’t expect more stories in the series. Pizzaboy now has a family of four. Dog Mendonça and Pazuul have been evicted from their mansion by the Portuguese government, and they barge in to stay with Pizzaboy’s family. Mendonça, saver of the world many times over, takes a job as Santa Claus at the local shopping center, just as an enemy from the past returns and another story wiped from his memory catches up to him. Our friends must once again join together to save the world. Seamless storytelling. Laugh-out-loud comedy. Great, unique visuals. Characters who interact like they’ve known each other for years. Melo and Cavia provide a satisfying ending, straight out of the fantasy classics.
Take a look at Cavia’s artwork:
The trailer for the third book became a viral hit on YouTube, reaching over two million hits in two days. Check it out here:
Pick up The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy Volume I from Amazon.com here, Volume II here, and now Volume III here. And cross your fingers a movie version will be in the works soon.