At the end of October, the first volume of the Wynonna Earp comic will be released. This is the comic series that has inspired the SyFy Channel show of the same name that has won over the hearts and minds of many in the geek quarters. The show can be most simply described as Supernatural meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is not only well written but well acted (a rarity for SyFy). After getting sucked into the show, I decided to get my hands on the first volume of the comic to get an idea of just how the source material parallels the show.
Premise is rather simple–there are a variety of demons and the government as a Black Badge unite to deal with it and Wynonna Earp is the descendant of marshal Wyatt Earp, who was a legendary demon hunter. There is, of course, subtle intrigue, but basically we have a modern Western demon shoot ’em up.
The comic has a kinda weird lineage as well. Existing before the show it suffered from the usual comic fetish–big-titted wankbait wrapped around genuine badassery:
I can always do without this kind of comic. Yet the premise and stories are solid. With the pick-up of the series as a show, the comic was given a re-boot of sorts bringing it out of the adolescent mire,
This move feels like it was meant to make for a tie-in/lead-up to the show. No qualms with that, but if you go into reading this series thinking you’re going to get a rough draft of the show, then you’ll be disappointed. The comic and tv series stand as individuals, linked but inviolate.
In fact, the comic is rather a pale shadow of the tv series. The art is incredibly simplistic although it moves at a good pace and mirrors the writing well, which is to say the writing is incredibly simplistic.
This usually wouldn’t be an issue but I was expecting more from the comic given how much I enjoyed and was surprised by the quality of show. If anything, I’ve more admiration for the show runners. The ‘good cop/bad cop’ of the Agent Dolls and Wynonna relationship in the comic is beyond cliche and quite tiresome. The story moves along quickly because it isn’t a complicated one working best when there is action to fill up frames on the page.
But the thing is, after watching the show, I can see how this comic would translate beautifully into a television series. The script, as it were, is all action leaving would-be actors the room to fill out the characters as well as showrunners/writers time and space to weave a more meaningful story. Which is what the SyFy show has done, it’s an exceptional balance of action and story.
However, later in the series the artwork changes becoming less cartoon-y and more stylized, which I believe serves the series better. At the same time, the story picks up a bit more nuance than simply being a “dysfunctional house on the prairie.” When fellow Black Badge agent Valdez shows up, Wynonna finally has another character worth interacting with (Agent Dolls is painfully one-sided and, although engaging, John Henry is hardly a good foil for Wynonna). Valdez and Wynonna are two powerful and adept women, both are the alpha, so their relationship is tense and honest.
This comic isn’t bad, it grows into itself and finds its footing soon enough. Much like the television series, which has been describe best thus:
Here’s the thing about Wynonna Earp. This whole endeavour should be cheap, throwaway trash TV. It’s the sort of thing that should scrape two seasons before its reruns are banished to theHorror Channel to be watched by drunk students at two in the morning for eternity. We’re supposed to cringe at every piece of bad dialogue, baffled actors delivering unreadable lines and visual effects which make 80s Doctor Who episodes look state of the art. There’s only one problem: Wynonna Earp is really good.
I wouldn’t go so far to say that Homecoming is good, but it is worth reading and a wonderful supplement for fans of the show. If anything, a comic like this in conjunction with the show creates a rich narrative matrix where more and varied stories can be told. I think Wynonna Earp could become a very, very good comic standing apart from the tv series yet in a bizarre symbiosis. Either way, reading Homecoming and watching the series are excellent means to get to know the best woman hero since Buffy Summers.
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