For those who don’t know, Douglas Adams created Dirk Gently from pieces left over from the ill-fated Doctor Who story Shada. He is a private detective who believes in the doctrine of the interconnectedness of all things (hence the pun in the title) and runs a so-called holistic detective agency.
He has appeared on radio (played by Harry Enfield) and more recently on TV (played by Stephen Mangan). Now it’s the turn of IDW publishing to bring Dirk to comics in a story by Chris Ryall, illustrated by Tony Atkins.
Dirk is in San Diego, due to some undisclosed trouble back in Cambridge. He wanders around before setting up base in a tearoom called Gumshoes and Tealeaves. So far, so Dirk. Meanwhile there are two serial killers chasing him and various undead Egyptian characters.
The story wanders around anarchically and manages to fit in nods to Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who. It also litters the landscape with corpses and mysteries. All ends well and Dirk ends up established in his new US home, complete with CIA agent who has him in her sights. While it’s all jolly entertaining, it misses much of the essence of Dirk. In the UK he is an outsider and plays his idiosyncrasy against the most mundane of settings. In moving to the US, he inhabits a sham US with possible little connection to everyday US life. It is hard to judge as a Brit but I feel something has been lost in crossing the Atlantic. The story is not unreasonable; Adams would use Norse gods when it suited him, so Egyptian magic (even with very modern dialogue) is not a stretch. What is also different is having the story told from many points of view, revealing much of the setup before the end. Again, this is at odds with the previous renderings of the Dirk Gently story.
The artwork neither adds nor detracts, and as a whole it entertains but misses the mark.
DIRK GENTLY: THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL KINGS / AUTHOR: CHRIS RYALL / ARTIST: TONY ATKINS / PUBLISHER: IDW PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: 28TH JANUARY 2016