You Should Be Reading Dirk Gently: Salmon of Doubt

PC: IDW Publishing
By Boo A-C

On paper, a comic book tie in to a TV show that also doubles as a bit of the book the TV show is based off that then ties this and a current comic series based off the book it sounds like a mess–the sort of overdesigned shallow mess that happens when too many people in suits shout over a big conference table about how to cash in on sci-fi fans. However, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Salmon of Doubt proves this theory very, very wrong.

**some spoilers ahead**

It gets a bit complicated and the plot is a delightful jumble so do humor me as I try and explain it. Dirk Gently (curly haired) has been having bad dreams about a childhood he never had. This alternate childhood belonged not to him but to Dirk Gently in an alternate universe (this universe is the TV show’s Dirk Gently). Now the curly haired Dirk Gently with the help of Sally Mills must work out what’s going on, his cat has been taken by a goblin and Dirk Gently (alternate universe) is in the process of setting up the chain of events that lead to the first season of the TV show. If you haven’t followed along don’t worry you really don’t need to!

That’s the joy of it and what makes the series so great. It is so completely proud of its Douglas Adam’s heritage. The show is completely bizarre and that’s what makes it near irresistible; you never know what’s going to happen next.

Much like the TV show of the same name, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency doesn’t leave the female characters out of the weirdness. We have the introduction of the TV characters Farah and Bart who as usual are perfect in every way (Amanda turns up too but I don’t want to spoil plot points). We also have the fantastic nurse Sally Mills who is Dirk’s friend sort of and, bless her, she puts up with a lot of weirdness. We also have a character that is frankly awesome, Kimberly.

Kimberly is a princess who is pretty morally grey and likes to turn cats into strange mythical creations. Her minion is a large goblin called Peasbottom. If at any point you are wondering what this has to do with the main story it all has to do with a cat, specifically Bernice, Schrodinger’s old cat. No I won’t explain that one either.

PC: IDW Publishing

Obviously this being a comic I have to talk about the art, which is honestly fantastic. In particular there is a sequence early on where time is being explained but the entire double page is a Dirk Gently variation on the “Gutterballs” sequence from The Big Lebowski. All the designs are really fantastic to. One of the locations Dirk and Sally get stuck in is a room between dimensions  that is full of screens (for reference these screens are in the TV show too) and the design of it is the perfect mix between old school surveillance room and creepy spaceship.

That brings me on to my final point. This comic has the perfect symbiotic relationship with the TV show, which is great. If you read the comic, that experience adds to an understanding of the show and the more you watch the show the better the comic gets. The comic started in America before we got the first season of the show in the UK and somehow, it managed to time up really well because whilst no real plot points were spoilt in the comic it really enhanced the show. It is the perfect tie in comic and I really cannot stress that enough.

Honestly, it’s almost hard to put to words how much you are missing if you have seen the TV show and haven’t read this comic. Although, it should also be noted you don’t really need to watch the TV show (you should because it’s great though) to enjoy the weirdness that unfolds. All you really need is a base knowledge of the books, a fondness for strangeness and a love of things that don’t make sense!

Have you read Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Salmon of Doubt? Have you watched the TV show? Let me know in the comments!!

Boo A-C is a blogger/ freelance film critic from the UK. She likes to write about strange bits of film history and has written for numerous sites and the occasional online journal. She spends most of her time watching cheesy vampire movies and going on adventures. You can read her blog Tonight We Are Dinosaurs here.