But, umm . . . I liked it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty funny, and very true to the spirit of the original cartoon. It definitely helps if you read Peabody and Sherman’s dialogue in the voices of Bill Scott and Walter Tetley, respectively.
Even if you’ve never seen the original “Peabody’s Improbable History” cartoons that aired on Rocky & Bullwinkle in the '60s (though if you haven’t, you really should; YouTube is your friend!), you’re probably at least familiar with the basic premise. Mr. Peabody is a dog who is a genius and all-around know-it-all. He has a pet boy named Sherman, and, together, they go on trips to the past, using the WABAC (“Wayback”) machine. Hilarity ensues.
This first issue serves as an origin story for the pair, and one that’s surprisingly faithful to the actual first episode of the cartoon. The only major difference is that, whereas the original WABAC machine was a large cluster of industrial machinery and a doorway, the new one is a large, red, flying sphere.
In this flying sphere, Peabody and Sherman travel first to pre-historic times for a run-in with some Neanderthals, and then to the days of the ancient Mayans to have a look at their calendar. The comic is silly without being stupid and includes Peabody’s brilliantly ridiculous problem-solving skills and, of course, his terrible puns. Slightly disappointing is the fact that, so far, the time traveling adventures seem to be about the time periods they’re visiting, rather than the people. Part of the fun of the original cartoon was seeing historical figures acting completely silly and inept, lost without Peabody’s brilliant guidance to steer them towards their greatest accomplishments. But, then, it’s only the first issue. There’s still plenty of time for that.
I’m still a little wary about the movie. We’ll have to wait until March to see if it gets things right. But, I’m sold on the comic. It respects the original source material, while still managing to be unique and original. And, most importantly, it’s funny and entertaining. That’s all you can really ask for.