Hello, my friends. We’ve reached a special anniversary that seems to have arrived at a most peculiar point in the space-time continuum. Though this media franchise has kept itself busy within other entertainment outlets (video games, an animated series and a short-lived live-action show), our favorite boys of San Dimas are primed for a silver-screen comeback in 2020. To celebrate this fascinating point, I’ll be giving a look back at the numerous journeys undertaken within the four-wall panels. As such, I welcome you all to…
The concept’s humble origins date all the way back to its original creators when screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon came up with the characters for a stand-up comedy routine at their improv school as it was originally “Bill, Ted & Bob”, with the third character ultimately getting dropped within translation. There were also some initial ideas for the film that would end up on the cutting room floor, such as different historical figures (Charlemagne, Babe Ruth & even Adolf Hitler, the latter of whom was replaced by Napoleon), Rufus being a 28-year-old and even the featured time machine itself. Originally, it was going to be a 1969 Chevrolet van, but that was dropped since it would have followed a far-too familiar vibe to the DeLorean from “Back To The Future”. Instead, they went with a phone booth (obviously inspired by the Tardis from “Doctor Who”). With all of that out of the way, let’s begin our radical journey through this series.
Originally released on February 17, 1989, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” went on to gross over $40 million in the U.S. against its $10 million budget and received fairly positive reviews as well. The original movie takes place in San Dimas, California in 1988 where a pair of young aspiring guitarists named William “Bill” S. Preston, Esq. (played by Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (played by Keanu Reeves) are failing their history class. If they receive anything less than an A+ on their final oral report, then they’ll flunk the course and Ted will get shipped off to a military school in Alaska. To the utopian society of 2688, it’s of the utmost importance that they stay together since they form the band Wyld Stallyns and it’s their music that helps bring about harmonal peace to the planet. As such, they’re assisted by Rufus (played by the late George Carlin) who gives them a time machine (shaped like a regular phone booth) so that they can gather several historical figures together in order to give the most epic final presentation ever.
In 1989 and around the time that the movie came out on home video, DC made their lone contribution to the franchise & published an adaptation. Bob Rozakis handled the writing duties while Angelo Toreres took care of both pencils and inking with Barry Goldberg on colors. As for the changes the company made when translating it into a comic, here’s what I could find in terms of major differences.
Immediately after the phone booth-sized time machine gets created in 2687 A.D. San Dimas, Rufus immediately embarks on his mission shortly upon the time machine’s creation. In the movie however, he gives a quick narration from the year 2688 where Earth has become an absolute utopia before ultimately leading into our main plight. He would then begin his assignment just as our heroes are about to begin their vital studies.
After we meet our titular characters goofing around with their guitars, we get their last history class for the school year. The comic omits the tail end of the session where Bill & Ted give pitiful descriptions to their teacher Mr. Ryan about Napoleon and Joan of Arc respectively, two of several historical figures that were mentioned in that scene in which they would ultimately gather for their final oral presentation. It also omits Bill’s stepmom Missy Preston giving them a ride home, but that’s neither here-nor-there. Before I close on this part of the overall tale, I’d like to add that the moment when Bill & Ted finally make it back to their time period with their historical figures, they arrive in the backyard of the Preston household. It’s at that point in the comic that Missy makes her only appearance.
Following the introduction of Ted’s father (S.D.P.D. Capt. Jonathan Logan), let’s quickly mention the scene where our boys are over at Bill’s house studying for their final history assignment. I noted two differences within the comic. 1. It did some condensing so that Ted tells Bill that they have to pass, or else he’ll get shipped to an Alaskan military school (Oats Military Academy to be exact) during this scene instead of the movie where he mentions it after getting his books from his house. 2. It’s Bill’s father who lets his son and Ted go on break in order to have some intimate alone time with Missy instead of the comic where Bill decides that they need a break.
Over at the Circle K where our protagonists meet Rufus and cross paths with their future selves, there was something I noticed that was in the movie but not in the comic. In both versions of the scene, past Ted would get reminded by the later Ted to wind his watch, especially since Rufus later reminds them that time in their period will keep moving forward regardless of their travels (which the comic decided not to mention). This was actually an interesting rule for this movie’s take on time-travel, since it’s unique to its own mythos and I don’t recall any other time-travel story using this.
Moving on, we get to Rufus demonstrating the time machine to our young lads. In the movie, he takes them to Austria in 1805 since the French army was in the middle of their invasion (which historically takes place during the tailend of the War of the Third Coalition), but the comic decided to keep making minor detail changes and make it France in 1804. Neither version of the story mentions this historical nod, but it is odd in this adaptation that Napoleon’s army would be fighting in their own country when they were over yonder and nearing the end of a successful war campaign.
Sticking with the time travel for now, another alteration of details (in which the comic is just enjoying at this point) is when Bill, Ted, Billy the Kid and Socrates arrive in Medieval England. In the movie, they exclaim that it’s the 15th Century. Meanwhile, the comic locks it down to 1381. While that in-and-of itself is utterly bizarre, I guess I could buy it since I did some brief research and discovered that plate armor was used in the late 13th Century and would continue to be used for several centuries afterwards.
While we’re still on the subject of Medieval England, let’s get to our love interests and how Bill & Ted get to their initial meeting. The comic condenses this overall scene which was a major win in comparison with the movie. It has a simple “Shortly” caption and gets right to it, whereas the film has them sneaking around in armor (only to then have a pretend sword fight in the style of Star Wars), a fake-out death for Ted (coupled with a weak explanation & the fact that the movie couldn’t be bothered to show this miraculous escape) and a brief fight for Bill which ends with Ted saving him (less we forget that they actually call each other an unflattering f-word that’s not the familiar F-Bomb just because it’s two guys hugging each other despite the fact that Ted’s not dead). So yeah, absolute victory for the comic in this section. Getting back on track, the film gets to have Ted espouse his “message of love” to Princesses Elizabeth & Joanna while the comic doesn’t even bother to pay that part off. While this next detail is minor, I will mention that the princesses explaining their plight followed by our heroes getting captured stays out in the garden area while the movie placed this moment in an adjacent bedroom. Finally with regards to the escape, the comic has Bill briefly mentioning that he and Ted will return to rescue the princesses following their report. While they don’t mention it during their breakout, the film’s final scene does have a passing line from Ted in that they “looked all over England” for them. It’s two different ways to show that despite their circumstances at that moment, they did have a romantic interest in our princesses and they do end up with them courtesy of Rufus. Either way, it’s a long-winded showing of differences in that aspect.
Following their eventual escape, let’s get to Bill & Ted arriving in the utopian future. I’m hesitant to bring a lot of blame upon the comic for this (especially due to the difference of mediums), but their encounter with the supreme beings (or as they’re credited: “The Three Most Important People in the World”) doesn’t have quite the same level of positive chills by comparison. Here, it’s an exchange of simple phrases. Meanwhile, the movie has our protagonists sharing those statements of peaceful wisdom to not only the supreme beings, but also a group of civilians after everyone unites in air guitar circle strokes while the Robbie Robb & Stevie Salas song “In Time” helps to bring in the uplifting vibes.
Before we continue on Bill & Ted’s time travels, allow me to have a brief sidenote in order to discuss a difference that the comic makes with a side-plot. While our protagonists rounded up Billy the Kid & Socrates before arriving in Medieval England, there was a brief moment where Ted’s younger brother Deacon and his friends took Napoleon out for ice cream (which had cameos for our writers, where Chris Matheson played the “Ugly Waiter” and Ed Solomon was the “Stupid Waiter”). That scene doesn’t show up in the film until after our main characters depart from the future in the hopes of returning to their time period. Also showing up in the comic right before we get to Medieval England is the bowling scene where Napoleon embarrasses himself, followed by Deacon & his friends immediately ditching him soon afterwards, only for him to then get hassled by the owner for not paying, resulting in him getting comically thrown out where he would ultimately end up at the Water Loop water park (thus completing his personal experience of “modern day” San Dimas). In the movie, that gets placed after Bill & Ted have rounded up their historical figures before finding out that the time booth’s antenna is damaged (due to a pursuing knight managing to strike it with his mace), thus forcing them to stop over in prehistoric times in order to fix it with bubble gum (while the film saw them use that and some chocolate pudding cans).
After a brush with chores (which was condensed to a single panel), picking up Napoleon from the water park and the historical figures going on their own naive rampages throughout San Dimas Mall (also condensed to a single panel), we get back to another notable difference, considering how Bill & Ted find out about the majority of their historical figures getting arrested. While the comic shows Capt. Jonathan Logan partaking in the arrest while our protagonists look from afar before heading out to get them free, the film shows the figures getting arrested by mall security as Ted makes a passing comment on his dad arresting the noted figures. I would also like to note that during these moments, Bill & Ted are escorted by Missy and they leave her with Napoleon while they attempt to break the historical figures out, while the comic has the famed French leader over within the off-panel sidelines while our protagonists are running around on their feet. Seems like keeping Bill’s stepmom for this moment in the comic would have been less exhausting for them.
Following a condensed version of our heroes breaking their historical figures out of jail, let’s get to the main event: the Final History Report. Sadly, this is where the truncating hurts the comic the most. Here, the majority of the historical figures are simply introduced with the exception of Abraham Lincoln who gets to conclude the presentation with his famous “Party On, Dudes!” speech. Meanwhile, the movie goes all out as Billy the Kid has to fire a shot at a stage light in order to get the crowd’s attention and introduce our heroes. From there, the rest of the historical figures get to demonstrate their skills while historical facts and comedic reminders of their present day escapades are delivered. During the presentation, Sigmund Freud’s own psychoanalysis on Ted gives some insight on Capt. Logan’s disapproval of his eldest son. In the film (and not the comic), he explains that because of his own “fear of failure”, he ended up seeing Ted as a mass collection of his “deepest anxieties”, thus using his eldest son as the outlet for his “aggression transference”. While it would have been nice for us to have seen some of those examples beyond an angered tone and generic fatherly platitudes, it does set up for some redemptive potential for Jonathan by the time we get to the sequel (which I’ll bring back up when we get there).
And now, the final scene where Bill & Ted are back at the Preston garage in Wyld Stallyns mode. In the movie, it’s Ted that mentions that they got an A+ on their final presentation and that they need to actually start learning how to play their guitars. Meanwhile, the comic had Mr. Ryan announce to our protagonists that they got an A+ upon their conclusion and even has Bill & Ted retreading some earlier dialogue from their introductory scene. Maybe that was the comic’s way of interpreting Ted’s line about nothing really changing despite their grand venture. When Rufus arrives with Elizabeth and Joanna, the comic doesn’t have the same detail from the film where there’s a mention of him rescuing the princesses and introducing them to our heroes’ time period. Other than the minor moments where Rufus has all four of them sign an album they’ll eventually create, giving Bill & Ted new guitars for them to work with and even showing off a bit of his shredding guitar skills (all of which are exclusive to the movie and not shared with the comic, though they’re ultimately minor), that’s pretty much it for this inaugural entry.
Overall, DC’s lone attempt at translating this Stephen Herek-directed sci-fi comedy may not have had the same impact as the film, but this was still a joy to read. While the truncation of some scenes may have hurt it somewhat (with the obvious exception of Medieval England) and some details were left out or hindered, it still mostly follows the movie’s plot and has decent art work to boot. If you’re a fan of the franchise or of its respective genres (or if it peaks your interest), then give this a read. It’s a nice 32-page romp that has enough familiar moments to satisfy you and helps to bring some nice feelings from its source material. Either way, it’s somewhat flawed but fun.
Thanks to the financial success and mainly positive feedback from its predecessor, a sequel was made called “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” which came out on July 19, 1991 and saw the feature-film directorial debut of Peter Hewitt. Made on a budget of $20 million, it only grossed a modest take of over $38 million and had more of a mixed feedback from critics. This time around, the utopian future has spawned a devious uprising within the year 2691 A.D. as a potential conqueror named Chuck De Nomolos (played by Joss Ackland) looks to undo the peaceful society and create one within his own image. As such, he has villainous automatons disguised as Bill & Ted use a Time Booth to go back in time and kill off our familiar protagonists. In a quest that takes them to Hell and Heaven, our rockin’ duo will gain a few allies along the way as they attempt to rejoin the land of the living, save their princess girlfriends, stop their automated doppelgangers and prepare for the upcoming Battle of the Bands.
This time around, Marvel was given the task of adapting the film into comic book form. Evan Dorkin handled both writing & penciling duties, while Stephen DeStefano, Marie Severin and Ron Boyd took the job of inking with Robbie Busch tackling colors. Released in 1991 (at least one month after the movie came out), this also contains some scenes that were ultimately omitted from the final film. As such, come join me as we discuss the major differences that the comic has with the movie.
Our first notable change happens past the opening scene within the future and more in the film’s present day when Wyld Stallyns is auditioning for the Battle of the Bands contest. Here, we have the character of Ms. Wardroe who commends the ladies for their actual abilities to play their respective musical instruments (Joanna on Drums & Elizabeth on Keyboard), but Bill & Ted haven’t made much progress on their guitar skills since the initial entry. Despite that, she allows them to take part in the competition as the final entry. In the film, she was played by Pam Grier. However, Ms. Wardroe is drawn here as a white woman. It’s just as bizarre as Marvel gender-swapping Linda Garcia into a man for their adaptation of RoboCop 2. Otherwise, the scene mainly plays out the same way.
Next up, there’s a brief moment at the apartment complex when Bill & Ted’s families have gathered for Joanna and Elizabeth’s 521st birthday party (yes, seriously). Anyway, the movie ended this scene with our foursome mildly joking about Bill’s recently-divorced Dad. After all, Missy broke up with him and ended up getting engaged to Capt. Jonathan Logan (I’m not kidding). In the comic, there’s a brief moment where Missy gives the young ladies a book called “Past Lives, Past Lesson” and even jokes about being Detroit Tigers legend Ty Cobb in a previous life. I bring this up because it does give a minor foreshadow to her eventual dabbling into the realm of the spiritual via a séance, even though she doesn’t give too much of a mention towards it. Speaking of the eventual séance (in which our creators cameoed in, with Matheson as the “Ugly” Séance Member and Solomon as the “Stupid” Séance Member), Missy mentions about contacting Ty Cobb to her group in the movie. In the comic, it’s Judy Garland.
Now, we’ve come to the point after Bill & Ted got thrown off the top of Vasquez Rocks to their doom (right after being called that same familiar f-word, groan) by their automated selves. It’s at this this point that their met upon by the Grim Reaper a.k.a. Death, wonderfully played by William Sadler (a.k.a. Col. Stuart in Die Hard 2 and U.S. President Matthew Ellis in Iron Man 3). This one is more of an artistic difference and it’s by no means a disservice to what the character looked like in the film. There, Sadler’s make-up design combined with his costume is simple, yet effective and works for the role. The comic gives the Grim Reaper a skeleton body within his robes which is just as solid. Either way, both designs properly suit their respective mediums.
Next up, we’ll skip the scenes where Evil Bill & Evil Ted convince Joanna & Elizabeth to break up with their fiancees and when our heroes possess both Capt. Jonathan Logan & Deputy James in an unsuccessful attempt at convincing their fellow police officers to arrest the villainous robot duplicates. Now that Missy and her séance group have accidentally sent Bill & Ted to Hell, we’ve reach a major difference in the form of a deleted scene. If you listen very carefully while watching that moment, there’s a tortured woman in the background who yells out “”I’m working as hard as I can!” before showing several more condemned people on their own individual rock. Originally, our heroes are met upon by a Demon Guard who gets them into smashing boulders. During the scene, the Demon Guard pulls a rat from his mouth after Bill dim-wittingly asks how long they have to do this job (which was asked by Ted in the comic). Instead of being sickened by it, they’re both amazed. Then in a moment you would only notice if you saw the trailer, Ted ultimately exclaims how they remember a time when a guy in San Dimas got a rat in his bucket of fried chicken (which is uttered by Bill here). Afterwards, they see a tortured soul getting hurled towards the Lord of Darkness himself: Satan. In the movie, it would have had that tortured soul on top of his boulder as the devil himself uses a mechanism to drag its chain into a gargoyle structure where that person ended up destroyed. Instead, it cuts from Bill saying that the look of Hell isn’t like what their album covers depicted before cutting to a gargoyle construct crushing a boulder. It’s possible that it was the end result of what happened within the deleted scene. Either way, it proves that despite their situation, they’re far too positive, happy-go-lucky and personally-focused with getting back to life in order to save their ladies to let the looming threat of eternal torment get them down. Afterwards, they get to talk to Satan and ask if they can leave. In a minor tweak from what ultimately came out in the movie, they briefly mention Missy and that the step-mom role has changed between them, to which the devil ominously states “I Know”. Other than that, the scene in the comic pretty much plays out how it did in the movie.
Briefly, let’s get to the part where Bill & Ted have been sent by Satan into their own personal Hell. In the film, the interior layout is an endless series of metallic hallways with various compartments containing their own haunting dreads & fears. In the comic, it’s essentially a vast cavern with several cave entrances that takes them to their own personal horrors.
During the scene where Bill & Ted play several board games with the Grim Reaper in order to return to the land of the living (which includes Battleship, Electronic Table-Top Football and Twister), the second game that they play is Clue. Here in the comic, Bill wins the game when he correctly accuses Col. Mustard with the Candlestick in the Study. In the movie, Death tries to win the game with that guess, but he loses as it was Prof. Plum instead. A odd choice to swap dialogue, but it’s not the only time here. More on that later on. Before I close on this topic, let me quickly state that in the final game (Twister), the Grim Reaper loses when he’s unable to place his “right” foot on a green spot while the comic sees him unable to do so with his “left” foot.
In a tiny bit of scene rearrangement, the comic then decides to show the villainous robot versions of Bill & Ted trashing our heroes’ apartment, instead of after the scene in heaven where our protagonists get help from God. In the comic, Evil Bill is able to dunk his own robot head while Evil Ted is about to do so before De Nomolos contacts them again. In the movie, it’s actually Evil Ted who dunks his head. Evil Bill tries to follow suit, but gets his head caught on the ceiling fan due to the size of the apartment. From there, the scene plays out like normal as De Nomolos gets in touch and orders them to continue with their plan, where they ultimately get the idea to “trash their relationships”. Before I conclude on this section, this is where another piece of a deleted scene was supposed to happen. Originally, there was going to be a far-more aggressive destruction here, ranging from Ted’s goldfish flushed into the garbage disposal and the landlady getting thrown from the second-floor balcony & into the swimming pool. Out of fear that the younger viewers would get influenced into emulating these devious pranks, they were ultimately cut out.
Getting back on track, let’s meet up with Bill, Ted and the Grim Reaper up in Heaven. While this mainly plays out the same way in the film, there are a few changes that were made here in the comic. First, we have an omission where our protagonists use the main refrain to the Poison song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in order to answer the gatekeeper’s question of “What is the meaning of life?” and enter the pearly gates. Second, there’s an addition that the comic has where after our heroes learn about whom they can turn to in order to help them make their own robots and properly combat their evil selves, Bill feels the need to make a reference to the show Dallas and ask the age-old question: “Who Shot J.R.?”. Thankfully, the movie never has this moment and keeps on chugging.
Following the aforementioned apartment trashing scene, we get to another part of Heaven where our heroes look for the universe’s most brilliant scientist. The only major difference here is how they come across this intellectual pair of geniuses. In the movie, they’re playing charades with several people, including Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. Here, Einstein is playing chess with someone as he points our heroes towards Station. Other than that, the comic decides to add an extra part where Evil Bill & Ted are done with trashing the apartment (and even doing prank phone calls, apparently) and decide to “grab the females & book to the concert”.
Now that our main pair are alive again and they’ve headed towards Builder’s Emporium in order to create heroic robots, we’ve now reached a scene that was altered from what ended up in the final film. After Evil Bill & Ted fly through Missy’s window in order to take Joanna and Elizabeth to the Battle of the Bands concert, Evil Bill takes out Missy. However, how he does it was altered. In the film, it’s his bad breath that makes her unconscious. Originally and also in the comic, it’s a punch that knocks her out. Also, the way in which the princesses faint was also changed from the original scripts into what became the final movie. Originally and also presented within the comic, Evil Bill & Ted were wearing skin suits in order to look like each other and that’s the shock that sends the ladies into unconsciousness. In the film, they open up their chests to reveal their robotic innards which causes the ladies to pass out from stunned shock. Before I close, there’s also something else here that was ultimately cut from the final cinematic product. In the film and following the phone call with our heroes, Evil Bill & Ted are contacted by De Nomolos are get ordered to “initiate the final plan”. Here in the comic, Chuck somehow knows that our protagonists are alive (unless he somehow overheard their phone conversation) before ordering his robots to begin their “emergency plan”. This leads into the deleted portion where Evil Bill & Ted open their metallic bodies and pull out three cylinders to leave behind as they become active and lead into another deleted scene which I’ll get to in the next section.
Now, we have our heroes driving towards the Battle of the Bands competition while the combined Station is building the good robot versions of Bill & Ted. On the way, they’re confronted by the three forms that came out of the aforementioned cylinders. It turns out to be the same terrifying trio that our duo came across in their personal Hell (Col. Oats, the Easter Bunny & Granny S. Preston, Esq.), but they’re now more vicious than ever. Those beings proceed to chase our heroes all the way to the San Dimas Auditorium where Granny Preston spins around the van in her wheelchair and ties up the doors so that our protagonists can’t escape. Ultimately, Bill & Ted decide to face their fears. As such, Ted calls up his young brother Deacon and admits to stealing his Easter candy from a decade ago, thus defeating the Easter Bunny. Meanwhile, Bill finally gives his grandmother a kiss, which makes her disappear. Afterwards, they team up and actual invite Colonel Oats to their tea party. This gets him to calm down and eventually open up as to why he’s a strict stick-in-the-mud before he’s ultimately vanquished. All of that was left out of the final film as Station simply builds Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted out of the materials that they got from the Builder’s Emporium and arrive at the competition with no hassle.
We’ve now reached the Battle of the Bands, but we’ve also got an altered climax than what we ultimately got in the movie. Originally and in the comic, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted charge in the wrong direction, leaving just Bill, Ted and the Grim Reaper to take care of the situation. While Death keeps the audience entertained with an improvised rap, Bill & Ted fight their robotized doppelgangers, only to get the crap kicked out of them. Afterwards, Death gets knocked offstage by Evil Bill (while Evil Ted does this in the novelization). From there, Bill & Ted allow their mechanized selves to kill them with microphone stands. It turns out that Bill was confident all along as the four victories over the Grim Reaper come into full effect here. Since the victories in Battleship and Clue allowed our duo to become alive again the first time around, it was time for Death to repay our heroes again due to their wins in electronic table-top football and Twister. After getting resurrected a second time, Bill & Ted sneak up to their robotized foes and rip their heads off. Meanwhile, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted run in at just the right time to save Joanna and Elizabeth from falling to their deaths. Shortly afterwards, Chuck De Nomolos arrives via a Time Booth and prepares to gun down our heroes (using a ridiculous, ’90s-style gun). Just then, Ms. Wardroe shows up from backstage and tells our duo to “use your heads”. As such, they use Evil Bill & Evil Ted’s metal skulls as shields against De Nomolos’ massive gunfire. Afterwards, Bill & Ted notice a self-destruct mechanism within their mechanized doppelgangers’ heads as they proceed to activate them and toss them towards Chuck, taking him out with a big bang. As for how the film handles its climax, our main duo immediately confront Evil Bill & Evil Ted and send their mechanized selves up against their villainous doppelgangers. The good robots take out the evil robots by uppercutting their heads off before punching their bodies with enough force to make them explode. Afterwards, the two Stations lower the girlfriends down from the rafters as they reunite with our duo. However, they have little time to celebrate as De Nomolos arrives in a time booth. From there, he zaps Channel 12’s TV cameras in order to access the global satellite and broadcast his speech to the entire world. From there, Bill & Ted reuse a Deus Ex Machina from the previous installment by stating that they’ll go back in time and arrive a day before the concert in order to set up some things. As such, a sandbag disarms Chuck before a cage drops in on him. However, De Nomolos is able to play their game as he states that once he gets around to killing our heroes, he’ll go back in time and give himself a key that’ll help him get out of their cage. Not only that, but another gun that he can use in order to execute our duo. Fortunately, Bill & Ted were confident. After it’s revealed that he had a prop gun, they explain that only the contest winners were able to “go back and set things up”, thus they were the ones who gave Chuck the actually key and the fake gun. Afterwards, the Grim Reaper gives De Nomolos a Melvin before Capt. Jonathan Logan arrests him (thus completing his own redemption arc, I guess?).
Now, we’ve reached the conclusion of our tale. In it, we have the part where Ms. Wardroe reveals that she was actually Rufus all along. Here, it’s just a simple surprise before we get to the finale. In the movie, Rufus explains that Chuck De Nomolos used to be his gym teacher. It’s a short explanation, but at least it fills in on that particular teacher-student relationship (albeit briefly). Afterwards, the scene plays out like normal as Bill & Ted realize that they still haven’t perfected their guitar skills. As such, they take their royal fiancees into the Time Booth and spend 16 whole months practicing their guitar skills (with two of those weeks spent on the honeymoon in Medieval times). They arrive back at this particular night in time with their baby boys (Bill & Joanna’s son named Little Ted, Ted & Elizabeth’s son named Little Bill). Shortly afterwards, they give an epic performance to the crowd. Afterwards, the comic ends with an added epilogue where De Nomolos wakes up in Hell and finds out that he’s trapped for eternity alongside Evil Bill & Evil Ted, forever forced to smash rocks.
Finally, there’s an odd decision that was made throughout this adaptation. It’s not even an isolated moment, since it’s just something that happens at multiple times during the comic. Whether it’s the heroic Bill & Ted or their mechanized and evil doppelgangers, it bizarrely chooses to have their dialogue swapped between them. That’s right, there’s lines that were uttered by Bill in the movie but are spoken by Ted here and vice-versa. There are some moments when either Bill or Ted properly say their line from the film, but it’s an utterly bizarre decision made to have our heroes and their evil robot versions speak each others lines, especially since I watched the comic alongside its cinematic source material. What ever the mindset Dorkin had when he made that choice is beyond me.
After getting the job of adapting the sequel from editor Fabian Nicieza, Evan Dorkin would go on to write and draw the follow-up series called “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book”, which ran from late 1991 to fairly late 1992. Believe it or not, it was actually nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication. In the forward to the series’ archive collection (released in 2015), Dorkin was given freedom to write whatever he wanted, which should make this trip through these 12 issues fun to go through. The only issue he didn’t work on was the eighth issue, which I’ll elaborate on when we get there. Essentially, he began his venture during the franchise’s run with Marvel as someone who was grateful just to get some work and ended up with an admiration for these characters. Needless to say (as of 2015), he’s never seen the series’ inaugural film. Either way, let’s begin with a two-part opening arc with a royal union between our bodacious dudes and our royal princesses.
We begin our inaugural issue (titled “Party On, Dudes” by the way) with our bodacious duo hosting a massive party that’s being attended by friends, family and several familiar historical figures. The most notable absent figure though is Rufus since he’s back in Medieval times acquiring a minstrel group in order to provide era-appropriate music to the liking of the princesses’ parents. It turns out that they’re going to have a more proper wedding, since Bill & Ted married Joanna and Elizabeth in private since the events of “Bogus Journey”, though they’ll now present a more proper ceremony for all of their loved ones. Even the Grim Reaper is taking advantage of his day off by joining in on the festivities, especially since he managed to get himself drunk.
Meanwhile, Rufus has traveled back to 15th Century England to pick up a minstrel group for the party. Unbeknownst to them however, two bitter young men named Linus and Geoffrey have kidnapped a pair of lutenists, tied them up and took their clothing. It turns out that they were originally going to marry Joanna and Elizabeth (through their own “Devil’s Work”) and now they look forward to reclaiming their ladies.
Back at the present party, Socrates gets asked on where he could find our duo, but is scared off as the asking figure turns out to be a thumb-shaped robot (who’ll become important as the series progresses). After Ted introduces Little Bill to his younger brother Deacon and Bill introduces Little Ted to Granny S. Preston, Esq., Rufus arrives with the minstrel group, though the lead musician isn’t entirely pleasant towards our main duo. Meanwhile, Linus & Geoffrey have slipped away from the pack as they look at the festivities with disgust before heading out to find the princesses. During the party, Genghis Khan stuffed himself with one too many tiny Hot Dogs. As the thumb-shaped robot tries to ask him on Bill & Ted’s whereabouts, he gets thrown up upon by the Mongolian conqueror before taking his embarrassing leave.
Over in the dressing room, the two Stations have helped Joanna and Elizabeth with their wedding dresses. Just then, Linus & Geoffrey burst in with the intent on taking them back to their proper time period. However, the two royal ladies laugh at them. Despite Linus’ attempt to lure them away from “this mad, frenzied display of debauchery”, Joanna and Elizabeth explain that they already married our main duo and that they’re going to renew their vows for this ceremony. Linus & Geoffrey become angered as they move in to carry out their plans, during which we learn that they used to be the ladies’ friends until their father forced his daughters into marriage before the two rapscallions killed the “two old men” that were originally set up to marry Joanna & Elizabeth in order to take them as their own. Fortunately, the princesses are quick to defend themselves as they smack their headpieces (which were made of metal, apparently) at the two royal goons before heading out towards the ceremony.
Will Bill & Ted fitted into their tuxedos, they realize that Rufus is somehow absent. With them pressed for time (since the hall is booked for an eventual monster truck show), they decide to have Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted serves as their Best Mans as the proper wedding commences. The ceremony proceeds as normal until the minister gets to the part where he asks for anyone to speak up in the event that they feel that this holy unionship shouldn’t happen. Sadly, Linus & Geoffrey had woken up in time as they speak up and challenge our heroes to a sword duel. After Joanna informs our duo that Linus & Geoffrey being “murderers”, Bill & Ted make fun of their accents before declining their challenge since they don’t have swords. However, Genghis Khan and Napoleon force them into it by offering their blades.
As such, the duel commences as our heroes put up a decent fight, but are ultimately disarmed by their foes. Fortunately, Billy the Kid intervenes by firing a shot into the air and escorting the fiends away from the ceremony. As the wedding is about to resume, Rufus arrives with the King of England. The main monarch explains that he saw the duel from afar and commends our main duo for their valiant act. From there, the ceremony is allowed to continue as Bill & Ted renew their vows and properly marry the princesses.
From afar however, Linus and Geoffrey refuse to let this matter go as they arm themselves with their rapiers and make their way through the crowd. They arrive at their target and proceed to strike, but it turns out that they attacked Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted by accident as they fatally (yet comically) shocked to death. However, it turns out to be the last straw as the Grim Reaper notices that a fatality happened during his day off as he drunkenly sneaks off. From there, Rufus informs our group that Death has taken the Time Booth and left his scythe behind with a notice of his resignation from his job. As such, Issue 1 ends with the revelation that there’s now no one around to “keep the dead in check”.
Issue 2 (“Death Takes A Most Heinous Holiday”) opens with the Grim Reaper traveling through time and telling various people throughout history how they’ll meet their grisly end before it’s revealed that he’s on his own vacation. He’s currently witnessing the infamous eruption at Pompeii, taking in the vast destruction and getting his own snapshots before taking his leave.
Back at Wyld Stallyns’ house in present day San Dimas, Bill & Ted learn that they’ll have to get the Grim Reaper back since he’s more favorable towards them. Rufus is unable to do so since he needs to return the historical figures to their rightful time periods. As such, he shows them a prototype version of the Time Booth that Death took for himself. It was made after De Nomolos caused havoc last time as this one it able track the other booth’s calls, allowing our heroes to follow after their skeletal friend. When Bill asks why they should go after the Grim Reaper, our heroes are immediately met upon by the recently-deceased Linus and Geoffrey.
Not only that, but they’re also approached by other newly-deceased beings. With their wives also against the idea of having “animated corpses” as house guests, Bill & Ted hop into the prototype time booth and head after the Grim Reaper, who at this moment is taking in the Hindenburg’s tragic explosion.
Meanwhile, Bill & Ted begin their own time-hopping, starting off with Greece in 399 B.C. as Socrates has been imprisoned by “the state” and forced to choose where his allegiance lies. As he ponders about how he could escape, our familiar duo pop in and inform him on their present situation before asking for what they should do. However, Socrates begins to freak out as our protagonists apologize for spooking him before heading out. From there, the scene ends with Plato popping his head through the window and telling him that he and his followers have come to save him. Unfortunately, all of this sudden shock is too much for Socrates as he collapses and dies.
Meanwhile, Bill & Ted arrive in Pompeii as it gets covered in lava. Bill tells his friend to get them out of here, but Ted suddenly discovers that this time booth has a rotary phone. As such, he meticulously dials a number while the lava slowly approaches them. While Joanna and Elizabeth have certain deceased people (including Linus & Geoffrey) helping around the house while they wait for the Grim Reaper to return, Bill & Ted managed to escape Pompeii’s lava in time as they continue to follow their skeletal ally’s trail for a while before they finally catch up with Death in “Earth’s First Age”. However, he refuses to return and starts to run away while mentioning that he’s going to time-travel to the Big Bang. Bill & Ted chases after him before they realize that the water that they’re running across is actually ooze as a primordial monster emerges. Fortunately, they manage to reach their time booth and escape in time.
From there, they try to catch up the Grim Reaper, but it turns out that he mislead them on purpose as he actually arrives at Cleveland, Ohio in 1973 to get his film developed and get new rolls for his camera. Fortunately for Bill & Ted, they manage to leave their viewing of the Big Bang with no harm. Back in present day San Dimas, Joanna & Elizabeth continue their oversight upon their household clean-up. Just then, the thumb-shaped robot pops up and tries to ask about Bill & Ted’s whereabouts, but Joanna mistakes him for another dead figure and instead puts him to work. As he cleans the window, a squid named Thurston pops out of the robot and says that he got a message and that they have to go.
Meanwhile, Bill & Ted arrive in the Cretaceous Period as they caught up with the Grim Reaper again and beg him to come back, since no one is able to enter Heaven or Hell without him. Not only that, but the deceased keep showing up at their house. However, Death is still bitter about losing those particular games to them since the various embodiments of Mother Nature, Chronos, War and Fate refuse to let him live it down. Just then, a Tyrannosaurus Rex pops up as our duo once again beg for him to return, but the Grim Reaper still refuses to budge.
Just then, Bill & Ted are running around trying not to get trampled by various dinosaurs as Death informs them that an incoming meteor is about to smash into the planet wipe out the dinosaurs and bring about an ice age. Our heroes once again beg for him to return, but the Grim Reaper says that he’ll only return if gets a proper rematch on Monopoly, best four-out-of-seven. Bill & Ted agree to his terms, even letting him start off with Baltic Avenue, a hotel and letting him be the dog. As such, they take their leave and eventually arrive back in their time period. With their house completely cleaned up, Death approaches Linus & Geoffrey in order to finally take care of their trip to the afterlife. As such, Issue 2 ends with the Medieval guys ending up in Hell, forced to share and work on the same rock as De Nomolos, Evil Bill and Evil Ted.
For Issue #3, we have a singular venture in which it’s time for the band to head out and perform to the world. However, those that they bring onto their team could potentially get into legal hot water in a tale called “Wyld Stallyns: The Disaster Tour ’91”.
We opens in a vast chronal space as a familiar robot is discussing a case file with a superior. This figure is Time Thumb, a Case Defense and Investigator as he says that they shouldn’t be trying to pursue our familiar duo over their actions. However, his two-headed, singular superior named Now & Then isn’t willing to go against procedure since Bill & Ted have several preliminary charges for their actions across the time spectrum. From there, the two-headed, six-armed figure tells Time Thumb to make sure that they serve their summons or else the “Hands of Time” will be used. Over at the Wyld Stallyns household, the band are playing host to J.C., his camera man Stinky Eddie and their Heavy Metal cable TV show. As J.C. gives his interview, Bill & Ted realize that they haven’t signed a record deal nor have they begun any plans for a concert tour. Despite that, J.C. & Stinky Eddie show no signs of worry for them and proceed to head out. Afterwards, it turns out that Rufus was visiting them at that time as it’s time for him to head out. Before he leaves, he gives them a Time Booth as their wedding gift before he takes off for his time period.
While the Grim Reaper takes residence with an elderly lady named Mrs. DeBussey while he’s under the alias of Mr. Thanatos (named after the Greek God of Death), our rock band family has Bill & Ted struggling with the process of changing their babies’ diapers. Just then, Capt. Jonathan Logan arrives and tells Ted that it’s time for him to pay back the money that he owes. Despite initially having $25,000, Bill & Ted reveal that it was mostly spent on covering the wedding costs, the utility bills and necessities of varying degree. It even went towards material that the Stations used to build the most epic backyard ever, complete with a roller coaster, grand TV screen, swimming pool, bowling alley, game show-theme playplace, and other things like it. Stunned and frustrated with how his money was handled, he heads out while warning Bill & Ted that they should try to pay him back as soon as they can. Afterwards, the Grim Reaper calls and lets Bill know that he’s taken residence. However, William pay too much attention as he mentions that he and Ted have to head out to record meeting in Los Angeles, leaving Robo-Bill to handle the phone in its own manner.
Later, our bodacious duo arrive at Pump ‘Em Out Records and spend an awfully long time trying to find the location of their contract meeting. Eventually, they get help in locating the right office as they meet a pair of eccentric agents named R. Flim and L. Flam. During the meeting, Flim & Flam do the majority of the talking as they unintentionally intimidate the young dudes with their incessant business talk. When Bill utters a meek “But”, the agents flip out and send them on their way in order to “think this all over”. Bill & Ted wonder what had just happened for a brief moment before they decide that they can just do loads of concerts in order to rake in the money. However in a quick montage, they end up playing in the most awkward of venues to hardly any fanfare.
After he has a discussion with “The Three Most Important People in the World” (while his time travel gets observed by Time Thumb, Now and Later), Rufus shows and warns our duo that poor business decisions can also ruin the eventual utopian future, advising them to hire a manager. While also saying that he can’t help them in that department, Rufus tells them to someone who’s experienced and is trustful. From there, it turns out that the group has chosen the Grim Reaper to be their manager. After much convincing, he ultimately decides to take the job. One week later, he got them a gig. However, it was for a funeral. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well.
One day later, the band ultimately decide that they need to hire a bass player. After three hours of failed applicants, they ultimately come across their winning bassist named Phillip (a.k.a. B.G. a.k.a. Phil). Afterwards, they get their only applicant for management with a sweating, shaking guy named Lemmy Tellya. Needless to say, he also gets hired. One afternoon later, Lemmy rambles about how the group will make it big while he handles the contractual side of business. Over another montage, Wyld Stallyns end up playing in several bizarre gigs while Tellya secretly screws them behind their backs with a lady. He even tries having Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted perform at San Dimas High School’s auditorium while taped recordings of their human counterparts play inside them. However, it doesn’t go as planned.
Ultimately, Bill and Ted find out that they’re getting sued by the San Dimas High student body. As such, a court session is in order as our familiar duo are also filing a complaint against Lemmy Tellya (whose actually name is Hubert W. Thiddle). Things aren’t going in Bill & Ted’s favor until Joanna, Elizabeth, their baby boys and the two Stations burst in to present evidence recorded from Robo-Ted. As such, the playback has Lemmy originally talking to the two robots about his scamming scheme for the San Dimas High concert. With this key piece of evidence, the judge drops all charges against Bill & Ted as Issue 3 ends with Flim & Flam announcing a three-record contract for Wyld Stallyns.
Issue #4 sees our familiar group deal with a sickness that’s going to cause a multitude of problems for them as they gather aboard at the “Times² Stations”.
We begin with another taping of the J.C. & Stink Heavy Metal Cable TV Show, in which J.C. got himself a girlfriend named Micki. They venture into Wyld Stallyns’ house for a behind-the-scenes shoot until they come across the epic backyard, where Bill & Ted show it off for them, introduce their wives and even show them the two Stations who’re currently under the weather. After they present Little Bill & Little Ted for the show, the Grim Reaper comes in and gets asked to punch a giant stress-reliever doll. He does so, but ends up getting smacked by it as well.
Eventually, Bill & Ted show off a masterpiece of scientific amusement with the “Waycool Everywhen Jet Roller Coaster”. They explain that it has the principles of the time booth and it can take its occupants through time & space. Because the group is about to board the technologically-advanced coaster, the two Stations slam into each other to form their taller, unified self. From there, Bill, Ted, Station, Phil and the TV crew hop on as they take a ride through the space-time continuum. Unbeknownst to them, they’re being observed from afar as Now sees this as the final straw of Bill & Ted abusing their time-travel capabilities. As such, our duo have been decreed as “Time-Upsets”.
After getting done with their chronologically interstellar roller coaster ride, Bill & Ted suddenly notices that their wives have disappeared. They ask ride, but neither their robot selves, their agents or the Grim Reaper knows where they’ve gone to. Afterwards, Bill & Ted notice their wives on their giant TV as they see a mechanical monstrosity kidnapping not only them, but their baby boys as well. After initially mistaking it as a lame movie, they suddenly have brain shock at the realization of their situations and decide to ask the two Stations for help. However, the alien geniuses sneeze and manage to duplicate itself. From there, they continue to sneeze as out group is suddenly overrun by a multitude of Stations.
With their wives and sons in danger, Bill decides that he and Ted will take the Time Coaster in order to find them. Phil also explains that while that’s going on, he and the remainder of the group will gather up the individual Stations in order to get them back together and provide sufficient help. As Bill & Ted depart on their rescue mission, Phil tells the group to place the numerous Stations into the closet until further notice. He even gets Flim and Flam to help out since Wyld Stallyn’s record deal hinges on whether or not the duo get out of limbo.
While Bill & Ted visit various places and dimensions without any stroke of good luck…
…Phil, Death, Flim & Flam and the TV crew go on a mad dash throughout the house (and evening getting some assistance from neighborhood kids) in order to round up every little Station. Though the multiple alien duplicates causes mayhem in numerous ways, every last one is gathered and stuffed into the closet. From there, they reform into one solidified Station.
After Phil informs them of the good news back at home, Bill & Ted finally arrive in the proper dimension in order to reunite with their wives & sons. They’re then met upon a pair of odd-looking beings named Harv Friedmont and Nestor Worth. It turns out that these would-be kidnappers are actually concert & event promoters in this realm known as the Dimension of Utter Boredom. They received a transmission of their Battle of the Bands performance and received some admiration from their populace. Bill & Ted forgive them for their recent action before inform their group back home that they have an inter-dimensional tour scheduled before scoring major brownie points with their wives. From there, Issue 4 ends on a sign of things to come as over in Hell, De Nomolos vows to escape and enact his revenge upon our duo.
For Issues #5, 6 & 7, we have a three-part tale that sees our heroes put on trial by a particularly higher authority while a familiar felon is looking to get out of his imprisoning realm and enact some revenge before resuming his dreams of a world under his influence. Brace yourselves for the longest story arc of the whole series.
We open Issue #5 (“Been Caught Cheating Time!”) with our bodacious dudes taking in the sights of Mars alongside the two Stations. It turns out that the alien geniuses are returning to the Red Planet, as Bill & Ted give their friends some Earthly mementos and a warm embrace before heading out. During the trip back home, we learn that the Stations had become allergic to Earth’s air, but they’ll return once they develop their own breathing system.
Shortly upon their return, they’re met upon by the Grim Reaper who demands that they finally fulfill their promise and give him his rematch. Several hours on Monopoly playing pass by until eventually Bill & Ted win four-out-of-seven. For their reward, Death has to take them to Taco Hut and a movie theater marathon of all five classic Planet of the Apes films. However, the Grim Reaper says that he doesn’t have any money. As such, Bill & Ted tell him that he has to get a job in order to acquire some necessary cash.
Later, our bodacious duo have gathered a crowd in order to debut their inaugural music video for their song “We Be Wyld Stallyns”. As the video plays, Now talks to the omnipresent leader as he accuses Bill & Ted for their time travel and wants to submit them as First Class Time Transgressors. Tim Thumb tries to counter by saying that our heroes are ignorant of their actions, but the leader doesn’t but it and sides by Now & Then. As such, Now decides to not only send the Second Hands to arrest not only Bill and Ted, but Rufus as well. At that point in 2691 San Dimas, Rufus is in the middle of his class over at Bill & Ted University when he suddenly gets the dreaded signal on his watch as he asks Professor Griph to take over before heading out.
Back with our heroes, Ted is reading a comic book containing the character of Fight Dude following the music video debut. As Film & Flam head out, J.C. buys the comic from Bill before a kid mentions to them about some “weird dudes” over at their booth. They soon discover the Second Hand bots impounding their Time Booth and falsely think that they’re simply cute beings. Just then, the Second Hand robots shock them as they fall unconscious. Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper is back at Mrs. DeBussey’s house as they have a talk about his struggle with coming up with the rent money. Fortunately, she’s completely understanding of his struggle and assures him that she’ll get the money as soon as she’s able to give it, thus sharing some kind-heartedness with him.
With our Earthbound members of Wyld Stallyns suddenly realizing that our familiar dudes has disappeared, we cut to Bill & Ted finding themselves within the House of Time. They’re then approached by Now & Then alongside Time Thumb as the Pre-Trial Briefing begins. The singular/dual prosecutor then explains that our bodacious dudes are on trial for “tampering with time” as their actions from the first film led to further alterations caused by Chuck De Nomolos.
Bill tries to counter by saying that De Nomolos’ actions were out of their hands while Ted exclaims that their sons will be upset if their mothers are sent back to their original time period. Bill even exclaims that their own actions have saved the universe and is leading towards a promising future. However, their words aren’t convincing enough as Then explains that their Time Booth has been taken as evidence since it also contains the record of their calls. With the trial set to begin once they’ve captured Rufus, Bill & Ted are then met upon by the beings who will serve as the judges: omnipresent spheres known as the Chronological Order. And so, Issue 5 ends in Hell as De Nomolos get so annoyed by his present company of Evil Bill, Evil Ted, Linus and Geoffrey that he shoves them off of his rock. Suddenly, he realizes how he can become alive again. Since Bill & Ted were able to come back to life by beating Death at simple board games, he’ll plan on doing the exact same thing.
Issue 6 (“Having A Bogus Time… Wish You Were Here!”) opens with Chuck having defeated the Grim Reaper in 10-straight games. As such, De Nomolos chooses to resurrect himself, Evil Bill, Evil Ted, Linus and Geoffrey. In addition, he also decides to enlist a sentient, glowing brain from Saturn named Walter 23, a deadly beast named Fortax, Al Capone, Benedict Arnold and an insane prisoner named Alan. The group tries to come up with a name for their group, but De Nomolos shuts them up as the Grim Reaper tries to head out and warn our heroes. Just then, Chuck is suddenly called up to by a former White House budget accountant named Mitch Platz. He wishes to offer his services towards De Nomolos and help balance his books. Intrigued, the scene ends with Chuck demanding Death to play him in one last game.
Over in the future, Rufus meets with “The Three Most Important People in the World” and explains that while he did expect some form of fallout from our duo’s time travel, he didn’t expect it to be this extreme. As such, he’s granted permission to use a Time Booth in order to help our heroes. Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper has returned to his personal office after losing 11-straight games as he tries to call the Wyld Stallyns’ house and warn our heroes. However, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted answer as they’re once again unable to properly assist him. Afterwards, Death is summoned up to his boss for all of the time that he’s missed from his regular job. Back at San Dimas, Elizabeth & Joanna are at the Logan household as they’re about to leave their sons under the watchful eyes of Jonathan and Missy while they look for their husbands. The ladies express their worry for their men, but the Logans aren’t too worried about Bill & Ted.
Speaking of which, we shift over to the House of Time where our duo is imprisoned within an hourglass cell. Because of its size, they’re squished within it and unable to read much of their copy of Fight Dude. They’re then approached by Now who informs them that their trial will begin fairly soon. Later, Time Thumb apologizes to them for what’s happened to them as he then says that he feels that the Chronological Order has lost some touch with proper judgment due to their grand ages.
Meanwhile, De Nomolos and his gang have arrived at Wyld Stallyns’ home as they proceed to blast their way inside looking for our heroes. While they do come across Robo-Bill and Robo-Ted, Chuck easily them apart before he and his group continue their search. Afterwards, we have a quick scene where Flim & Flam inform the royal wives that they haven’t heard from Bill & Ted.
Meanwhile at the House of Time, the trial is underway as a member of the Chronological Order asks our duo for their plead. Just then, their court-appointed lawyer named Halfpast says that they’ll plead guilty. However, Bill & Ted dismiss him as they demand for a new lawyer. They choose Time Thumb, but he tries to exclaim that his specialty is in Casework & Investigation, not as a lawyer. However, he ultimately ends with our duo as the trial is about to begin.
From there, Rufus arrives in the present when he’s suddenly approached by a group of Second Hand robots who tie him up with an impound/arrest notice. Just then, Chuck and his gang come out of the house to confront his former pupil. After De Nomolos gets an arrest notice, Walter 23 blasts the robots with a mental attack. From there, Chuck and his group is prepared to take Rufus’ Time Booth for their own despicable way.
Back at the literal time trial, Now lists off the various time displacements that our duo has caused during their venture. Time Thumb tries to argue that his clients are being unfairly accused and that they were fated to do their respective time-travel, thus preventing their time use would make the Order guilty. However, that argument doesn’t hold up as our heroes are found guilty and thus sentenced to relive their personal fears for all eternity. Just then, Chuck and his gang arrive to enact their plan.
Back in San Dimas, Elizabeth & Joanna are arriving back followed a failed search when Phil gets to them and warns them that something suspicious is going down at their home. As they notice Linus & Geoffrey looking over Rufus from afar, Issue 6 ends with the Chronological Order has come to a decision: time has become invalidated and thus the future is canceled.
Issue #7 (“Time Is Up!”) opens in future San Dimas as a proper figure meets with “The Three Most Important People in the World” and reports to them about the building disruption upon the time stream as she recaps the events that have occurred with our heroes thus far. Back in the House of Time, the future is only seconds away from getting wiped. Chief Prosecutor Now & Then tries to arrest De Nomolos and his group, but Fortax easily smashes him.
As Time Thumb desperately asks the Chronological Order to reconsider their decision, Bill & Ted begin to annoy Chuck with who it is. Back in the present, Phil is overseeing Linus & Geoffrey keeping a eye on the captured Rufus within the Wyld Stallyns’ house. Just then, the royal wives return with some historical help via the Time Coaster: Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Billy the Kid and Abraham Lincoln.
Back in the House of Time, De Nomolos and his group are arguing with the Chronological Order. With the high-end beings ready to take out time, Bill & Ted try to sneak towards Rufus’ Time Booth in order to escape. However, Chuck and his goons notice and stop them in time. Afterwards, De Nomolos has Evil Bill, Evil Ted, Fortax and Walter 23 stay behind to keep an eye on our heroes while he takes Louis and Benedict Arnold with him. Before they can escape, the Time Booth heads out on its own and returns to the present as it’s revealed that Rufus’ captors have been taken care of offscreen. After the TV crew find the still-functioning heads of Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted, Rufus tells the royal wives to take their historical figures onto the Time Coaster in order to save their husbands while he and Phil set up a surprise with his Time Booth.
Over in the House of Time, the Chronological Order struggles with their final countdown while Chuck looks to take our heroes’ Time Booth for his own means. Bill & Ted notice and decide to stall until proper help can arrive. As such, they chat with their evil robot selves and attempt to trick them into thinking that they’re the actual good guys. Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper is struggling with his regular job of escorting the recently deceased, due to the large amount that’s built up due to his self-negligence.
Back in the House of Time, Bill, Ted and Time Thumb enact a plan in which they trip De Nomolos and give him a “Super Melvin”. Just as Evil Bill & Evil Ted are about to retaliate, the royal wives and the historical figures ride in on the Time Coaster as a massive fight breaks out.
During the scuffle, Bill & Ted try to take out Chuck in the same fashion that they did in the comic adaptation as they trick their evil robotic selves, detach their heads, activate the self-destruct sequence and throw them towards De Nomolos. However, he’s fully aware of this ploy as he hands the heads over to Fortax, causing the massive beast to get taken out instead. Just then, Rufus and Phil arrive via the Time Booth as Rufus unleashes his secret weapon: a Robo-De Nomolos.
Chuck manages to rip its head off and prepares to take out our heroes with it, but Ted distracts him by stating that his shoe is untied. De Nomolos gloats about how his boots don’t have laces, but this hesitation ended up being his downfall as the metallic cranium takes him, Benedict Arnold and Louis out with a big bang. With Now exclaiming that the Chronlogical Order has gone to sleep over too much excitment, our heroes celebrate over the fact that they saved their future. From there, Issue 7 ends with the revelation that the remainder of Chuck’s lackeys were axed off due to the fact that he cheated in his games. As such, De Nomlos and his crew prepare for an eternal party in the Netherrealm.
Now, we’ve reached the lone issue from this series in which Evan Dorkin didn’t write and draw for. In the forward to the B. & T. E.C.B. Archive, Dorkin explains that he simply ran behind schedule. For this single issue, Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich served as guest writers while Steve Buccellato handled the penciling and color details. Also, this is the lone issue of the entire series that’s not in any single collection. Slave Labor Graphics published the complete series as a whole the first time around in 2005 while BOOM! Studios re-released it packaged with the adaption of Bogus Journey in 2015, but both collections omit this singular tale. As such, let’s see our bodacious duo travel into the future again in a venture known as “Bob Spelled Backwards…”.
We open with Bill & Ted watching a cartoon called “Lug Nuts” as they both find an appreciation for it before beginning to clean up their place in time for their wives’ eventual return. Suddenly, a Time Booth comes in as a figure simply named Bob steps out and claims that Rufus is his teacher. He then asks for them to help him out with his History Final, to which they accept with their signature air guitar (the first time they ever do that in this series).
Later, the group arrives in 2692 San Dimas alongside three historical figures: George Washington, Sir Isaac Newton and Mark Twain. Afterwards, Bob tells our bodacious dudes that he has to his history class. As such, he gives them some money to keep themselves busy. Following a bus ride, Bill, Ted and the historical figures arrive at the San Dimas Mall. Shortly upon entering however, our main duo gets bombarded by adoring fans. As such, they’re forced to go on the run. Eventually, they manage to hide from the massive rush (which actually has a distant cameo appearance from Spider-Man, I’m not kidding).
After buying a pair of sunglasses from a Circle K booth, they realize that they got separated from the historical figures. Fortunately, they find out how they properly search for them as a “Truly Helpful Directory” supplies them with a hovering vehicle called a “People Mover”. As such, they travel around the mall as they check out Slammin’ Jam’s Music World and Slushbe-We. As this is going on, a news broadcast pops up with the fact that our heroes have been sited within the shopping center. However, somebody has this report on a De NoMolos worshiper named Monomonop looks to accomplish what Chuck couldn’t do to Bill & Ted: “Kill Them Dead”.
Over at the Bill & Ted University, Bob has attended his history class. Following the session, Rufus is approached by a pair of Second Hand robots arrive to give him a citation for Reckless Temporal Endangerment. He tells the automated officials that he and his fellow people have taken higher caution since last time and that none of his students could be that foolish enough to sneak in some extra credit via time travel without his permission. Bob sees this on from afar and heads out to the mall to deal with what he’s done. Over at the mall, Bill & Ted manage to find Sir Isaac Newton who’s entertaining some young ladies with his newfound yo-yo skills. As the famed scientist attempts to Walk The Dog, he accidentally smacks himself on the head and falls unconscious. From there, Bill & Ted carry him off, unaware that Bob and Monomonop are individually running around at the same time.
Later, our bodacious dudes manage to find George Washington at the Wyld World Casino playing five-card poker. Bill tries to get him away, but George is willing to stick around for one last game. However, he sneaks a key card from his sleeve in order to fix the game into his favor. Just then, security comes in and catches him. Not only that, but he believes that he’s an impostor, as well as our heroes. Even when Bill & Ted says that they’re the real deal, all of three of them and Newton end up getting arrested. Fortunately, Ted comes up with an way for them to escape. He takes Washington’s wooden teeth and rubs them together with enough friction to get set on fire. The smoke then reaches the nearby sprinkler system and set it off, which also seems to open the cell doors as our group head out to find Mark Twain.
As such, ol’ Samuel Langhorne Clemens voices his displeasure about this time period as Bob tries to get him down. Just as our heroes arrive themselves, they then narrowly avoid a massive blast from Monomonop. Fortunately, he gets misdirected when Ted gives a “Behind You” distraction before Bill smacks him with a yo-yo.
From there, the group hop into the anti-gravity water slides. From there, they get pursued by not only Monomonop, but also armed officials and Second Hand robots. Through a topsy-turvy series of water sliding, our main group ultimately manage to evade their pursuers.
Eventually, they manage to reach the main chamber where “The Three Most Important People in the World” are. Just as the officials and the Second Hand robots finally catch up, Bill & Ted (who’re mistaken as “Sam & Al”) once again say that they’re the genuine articles. From there, Rufus comes in and chastises Bob for his action and tells him that he shouldn’t try to imitate our duo’s success. Afterwards, Monomonop comes in and tries to finish our heroes off. Fortunately, he gets squashed by an incoming Time Booth.
It turns out that it’s being operated by a pair of youthful humans from the 88th Century and that they’re working on a term paper about “Notorious Historical Figures”. It turns out that Bob is most notorious villain in their time. However, he doesn’t have much time to soak in that notoriety as he immediately gets arrested. While the youngsters from the 88th Century head out and Monomonop also ends up under official custody, Issue 8 ends with our heroes ready to return the historical figures to their rightful era in time. Mark Twain even states that the water slide has inspired him to write a new book back in his period.
With Evan Dorkin back in the writing and artist’s seat, Issue #9 sees our group dealing with the new face of the afterlife in a tale called “It’s a Living?”.
We open with Bill & Ted are out-and-about with their family. It turns out that they’re going to eat at their favorite eating establishment called Pretzels ‘n Cheese. When they head inside, they’re stunned to see that the Grim Reaper has taken a job there. He tells our gang that this is his how he intends to pay off his rent and also financially prepare to pay back his debt to our duo.
After Bill & Ted place in their order, Death tries to properly operate the cheese squeezing machine, the manager named Jerry catches him by surprise. As a result, his scythe accidentally punctures the machine as the melted cheese pours uncontrollably. Later, the Grim Reaper is glum that he just got fired. Just then, he gets summoned by his beeper as calls up his boss and finds out that he’s slacking on his otherworldly duties and heads out to take care of it. From there, the scene ends with Bill & Ted hoping that worrying for their skeletal friend.
We then shift to an area off the coast of France as the Grim Reaper finds a newly-deceased French scuba diver who lost his life after getting picked up from the Atlantic Ocean by a fire-fighting airplane and ends up getting dumped onto a forest fire. Just then, they’re approached by a smaller reaper named Morty who tells Death that he’s a permanent replacement.
Later, the Grim Reaper arrives back at the Wyld Stallyns’ household and shares the bad news as he got forced into retirement. He even expresses the embarrassment of losing a job that he’s held onto since “the dawn of mankind” to an abrasive new blood. He tried to appeal to the Lord, but was shot down due to him neglecting his duties in favor of Earthbound matters. Not only that, but Morty is terrorizing Mrs. DeBussey. Looking to help their skeletal friend, the partially rebuilt Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted supply him with classifieds in order to search for a new job.
Meanwhile, Morty is enjoying his job as he takes care of a mild scumbag name Joe DeSilvaro who got snuffed due to drunk driving. Even when he gives the guy a chance to redeem himself with a game, he ends up losing as Morty takes joy in sending him to Hell. From there, he continues his duties by taking care of nitwits who died under stupid situations before taking satisfaction over his work by resting on top of a deceased wife’s grave.
Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper tries to take on various jobs, but each one ends up in pink-slipped failure, ranging from school bus driver to comic book writer & artist. Even when Joanna offers him to serve as their babysitter, he politely declines before he heads out to a training session in Purgatory. After Morty mentions about a forty-car pileup that he took care of in just five minutes, Death chastises him by claiming that he’s far too flippant towards his job and demands for his job back.
We then cut to the next morning at the Wyld Stallyns’ house as Joanna discovers the high-end beings of War, Nature and Fate showing up alongside Time Thumb (who’s here in place of the vacationing Chronos), as this gathering is to decide whether the Grim Reaper or Morty will rightfully obtain the title of Death. As such, the Reaper declares a reaping contest. From there, Morty chooses Mrs. DeBussey as their subject as she starts to suffer from a Heart Attack. He’s far more abrasive towards convincing her to go the Heaven, while the Grim Reaper calmly tells her that he’ll guide her to the comforting afterlife. When she mentions that he was wrong about his passing comment on how she has a long life ahead of her, he asks Fate if this is her day to pass on. When it’s revealed that she still has a some life left in her, the Grim Reaper chastises Morty for trying to kill Mrs DeBussey prematurely. The little bonehead then gets literally fired by “the man upstairs” as Issue 9 ends with the Reaper winning the inquest as he tells his friends that he vows to fulfill his duty to the best of his ability.
Issue #10 sees our favorite band back on the concert touring scene, though on a bizarre dimension-hopping twist as we find out who’ll learn the vital lesson simply called “Don’t Believe the Hype”.
As we begin within Dullnex, the central municipality of the Dimension of Utter Boredom, Nestor Worth and Harv Friedmont announce to its gathered crowd that Wyld Stallyns will be performing a concert for them in person. While they wait for the band to arrive, they’ll show a broadcast of J.C. interviewing our group. From there, we have J.C. and Stinky Eddie telecasting the music group’s dimensional departure towards their destination. With their musical instruments sent to Dullnex ahead and the baby boys being baby-sat by their parents, Bill & Ted are looking forward to embark on their inaugural inter-dimensional tour and bridge their music towards some possible youth. As the group departs for their destination, their trip hits a major hiccup when the surrounding Circuits of Time suddenly disappears as Wyld Stallyns freefall into the unknown before arriving at a particular place. Bill believes that they’ve arrived back at San Dimas, but as Ted quickly realizes, they’ve arrived at an action-packed dimension.
With chaotic fighting all around them, the group is suddenly confronted by a pair of superpowered beings named Mister Metalliguts and Der Cranium who mistaken the band as villains. Bill & Ted managed to tell them that they’re not bad guys, nor do they have superpowers. Just then, they’re interrupted by the arrival of Admiral Behavior who’s puzzled as to why there’s no fighting going on while Mister Metalliguts takes his leave. After Bill explains who he and his group are, Admiral Behavior realizes that they’re “normals” as our band learns that they’re on a bizarre planet called Hyperworld. The good admiral then explains that on this realm, everyone is either a superhero, a supervillain or both, even to the point where they can even switch roles on a whim. Not only that, but the only “normals” that this world sees is within the pages of their comic books.
Wyld Stallyns decide to head out, but they discover that the Time Booth as they quickly turn to Major Headache for help. Thankfully, he’s had some help in the investigation by Major Headache who tells our group that it’s been stolen by Monstersaurus.
Admiral Behavior then explains that he’s part of the International Evil Fellas Union 690 before telling out group that they’ll need to get suited up in costumes. The entirety of Wyld Stallyns refuses to wear new outfits, but an alien referee explains that it’s an absolute rule in their world. One costume change later, the group emerges as the Super Stallyns and are informed that they’ll have help for this assignment with some assistance from the likes of Mister Metalliguts, Der Cranium, Super-Mummy and Supernatural Checkout Boy. When Ted tells them that he and his teammates aren’t able to fly. As such, Super-Mummy zaps them with an F-Ray and explains that the beam convinces their brains that they’re able to soar. As such, the group heads out unaware that they’re being watched.
As such, the observant villain group is revealed as it consists of the leader Dr. Braino, Monstersaurus, Hirsute Man and Gratuitous Girl. Braino wishes to study the captured Time Booth in order to spread his terror across time and space. Afterwards, he divulges into his comical background where the academy laughed at him for “building key-lime pies”, launching otters into outer space and evening cultivating “prehensile armpit hair”. As our heroes approach Dr. Braino’s lair, they’re suddenly bombarded by a full-on missile attack. However, the most that happens is that Major Headache got pelted by “a barrage of fruitcakes”. Afterwards, our heroes burst in and confront the fiends.
From there, a massive fight breaks out with our main group sits out of the fracas. As such, the main superheroes were defeated while Wyld Stallyns’ are zapped by a U.R. Ray and are dispowered as a result. Despite that, Bill & Ted are still naive as they wish to share kind-hearted love towards their enemies. Their sentimental speeches gets to Dr. Braino as he relinquishes control of the Time Booth over to them with their message even reaching the world’s superpowered figures. After our group takes their leave, Issue 10 ultimately ends them arrive at the Dullnex dimension as they attempt to perform their concert to the dulled out citizens.
For Issue #11, Bill & Ted will learn the classic time travel lesson of why you don’t change history for your own personal desires in a little tale called “Lincoln Immemorial”.
We open at the somewhat rundown Railto Theater as the Grim Reaper is finally paying back the duo’s favor from six issues ago: taking them to a Planet of the Apes movie marathon. Not only does pay for the tickets, but he also has to get them two “Glutton Carry All” snack-filled bins.
From there, our threesome begin their viewing experience as they make it through the first three films (Plant of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes) with little fuss. By the time they make it to the fourth film (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes), the Grim Reaper starts to feel sick from the movie theater food.
One throw-up session and a talk with the manager later, Death returns as he and the duo suddenly notice a sign for a new film called “Young Mr. Lincoln”. The Reaper admits that Abraham was one of the nicest individuals he’s even met, though it does admit that he feels bad that America’s 16th President ended up in heaven via assassination. Bill & Ted are majorly disheartened by that revelation as Death explains that he was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865 (Side Note, Lincoln lost his life the following day). Because they’ve gotten used to hanging out with this particular president so much, they decide to find a way to save him. Over at the Wyld Stallyns’ house, Joanna & Elizabeth talk with the Grim Reaper on the fact that their husbands have been in their shack for a whole week running themselves ragged in finding a way to save Lincoln from his assassination.
With no plan coming into fruition, they ultimately decide to just take the Time Booth and place the historical president out of harm’s way. One trip through time later, Bill & Ted raced to Ford’s Theatre, grabbed Lincoln from his wife’s side, stuffed him into the booth and departed for their time period. Upon their arrival however, they find their house in disrepair.
After finding out that some crazed person lives there (while even mentioning Curfew Week), our group wonder what’s going on around here before noticing a nearby newspaper to discover that it’s talking about various banned things within this totalitarian state. Suddenly, they’re approached by officials in specialized suits who chastises them for breaking several rules. Shortly afterwards, the Grim Reaper catches up to our group and gives them the bad news in that this is the same Earth, but it’s been altered.
He then tells Bill & Ted that because they changed history, everything that they knew of their surroundings has changed. Their country has become authoritarian, the princesses never left their time period, their sons don’t exist, the band never came to fruition and the duo themselves don’t really exist. As Abraham tries to flee after learning about our heroes’ original plan, the Grim Reaper also explains that while Bill & Ted’s intention were noble, it altered America’s history. Because the country never fully-recovered past the Civil War, another one soon popped and left it permanently separated. Fortunately, Bill, Ted and the Grim Reaper managed to snatch Lincoln up and escape in the Time Booth. Shortly after arriving back in 1865, Abraham gets brought back up to his theater box, only to immediately run for his life. Bill & Ted then notice his assassin John Wilkes Booth and ask him to shoot the president. However, he gets spooked and runs away.
With their recovery attempt shot down, all seems lost. Fortunately, Ted had one last idea. As such, they get back into the Time Booth and head back to April 14, 1865. Time time around, they intercept their past selves and escort them away in order to tell them not to carry out their plan. In the end, the past selves are convinced and the Grim Reaper goes back with them as the now-alternate future Bill & Ted fade from existence. From there, Issue 11 ends with the group taking a suggestion from Death as they arrive in Heaven. They soon discover Abraham Lincoln celebrating with the nobly deceased in his role as Entertainment Director. From there, they travel back to catch the last two entries in the original Planet of the Ape series.
For Issue #12, we close out Marvel’s run with the property on a celebratory note as our colorful cast of characters look to celebrate many “Happy Anniversaries!!”.
We open with a disheveled Mr. Preston (ultimately known here as Thaddeus) getting called up by his son in order to attend his own kin’s wedding anniversary. When his dad asks if his ex-wife Missy would be there, Bill tells him to move on and just show up. Upon his arrival, he sees the massive anniversary party as the young Esquire & Logan families were hosting a charity carnival for the festivities. Mr. Preston would meet and oversee the various figures that our duo have interacted with over the theatrical duology and this series before he gets the shock of his life: Missy is here in attendance.
From there, Lincoln takes the stage to announce that all proceeds from this event are going to “Mrs. DeBussey’s Fund for the Aged”. From there, Harv Friedmont and Nestor Worth announce a world record that several San Dimas University students are looking to set, notably stuff the most number of people in a phone booth. One stuffed both later, Rufus and “The Three Most Important People in the World” arrive to take in on the festivities. Suddenly, the anxious crowd decide to bum rush towards them in order to get their autographs, unaware that they’re knocking over the crammed booth.
From there, things get even worse for those trapped inside as a slushie got splashed onto the Time Booth’s time coordinator. Afterwards, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted attempt to set the booth upright, only to get shocked by the slushie as the electrical surge causes the time booth. Rufus exclaims that the group has gone into a dimensional rift as the relatives of the recently-displaced begin to complain. Suddenly, the sky becomes ominous with lights flashing from within.
From there, several different time booths come down as different dimensional versions of our familiar duo emerge from them. Rufus exclaims that they have to deal with this situation and find the missing students.
With the various Bill & Ted duos beginning to get on each others nerves and beginning some mayhem, Rufus gets an idea on how to solve this problem and heads out in his Time Booth. As the chaotic mayhem grows, several historical figures and even other dimensional beings join the fracas. Despite the massive brawl, the omnipresent figures (War, Nature, Fate and the Chronological Order) arrive to take in the view.
Suddenly, a trio of Time Booths emerge from the sky as Rufus from the lead, the rescued students from another and a familiar duo emerging from the third. Bill & Ted learn from Rufus that this grown-up group are actually their sons. They’re such good boys that they were the ones who saved the dimensionally-displaced students. Not only that, but they’ve cleaned up their fathers’ mess throughout the time stream while also spread their dads’ legend which is why the various Bill & Teds showed up in our heroes’ dimension. After the grown-up versions of Little Bill & Little Ted get the various versions of our main duo under control, they head out to fix more of their father’s eventual messes. With Bill & Ted knowing that they’ll ultimately raise such wondrous boys, they decide to make one last group of people a bit more happy.
As such, they travel to Hell in order to give Chuck De Nomolos and his fellow cronies some of their anniversary cake, even if everyone wasn’t in the best mood to see them. Later, Bill & Ted arrive back as their wives give them a trio of good news. First, their anniversary carnival raised a lot of charity money. Second, their numerous duos will be holding charity concerts within their dimensions. Third, Bill’s father now has a new girlfriend in Nature herself. And so, the series ends will Bill exclaiming how good he and his friend’s lives have gotten. With that, everyone closes things out with a grand proclamation: “Party on, dudes! Be excellent to each other!!”.
In the end, Marvel’s tenure with our bodacious dudes was a fascinating (even if somewhat chaotic) venture. In terms of their adaptation of “Bogus Journey”, it follows the movie’s plot pretty nicely. It even incorporates the deleted scenes and allows certain moments to have a nice payoff later on in the plot. However, it was a truly head-scratching decision to swap lines of dialogue between Bill & Ted (even with their villainous robot selves pulling that act here as well). While that in-and-of-itself was frustrating as I followed the comic alongside the film, this was still a enjoyable read that properly helped set up Marvel’s 12-issue run. As such, here’s what I thought about that. For a mainly comedic series, it does a fairly decent job in expanding this familiar universe, even introducing the Chronological Order to serve as a sort of a police force for time travel. Certain exclusive characters (Time Thumb, Phil and Mrs. DeBussey) each had brief moments to make themselves feel relevant to this series and while they didn’t really stand out in an everlasting memorable way, they helped serve their respective tales. The overall artwork was exaggerated and comical, but fairly decent. Youngblood’s Disease did pop up on a somewhat regular basis as several characters (especially Ted) were drawn with their eyes closed at several points, though thankfully it’s never as rampant as other books from this era. The imagination that Evan Dorkin brings here is out there, though is always in good taste and has the right supporting staff to help bring his ideas to life. Even when Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich took the wheel for the eighth issue, their fellow artists brought a comical good time to there lone outing. If you’re interested, then pick up the collected archive which contains the Bogus Journey adaptation in addition to Dorkin’s 11 issues. You’ll have to hunt down an individual copy of the eighth issue in order to have the complete series, but it’s ultimately worth it.
Following the conclusion of a short-lived, live-action TV series on August 9, 1992 (not to mention the “Excellent Comic Book” series), the franchise would lay dormant throughout the rest of the decade and even during the 2000s. Then in 2010, the series would start to gain some traction as it was announced that the script for a third film was being worked on. Throughout the decade, the process would see Chris Matheson & Ed Solomon fine-tuning their screenplay, fend off any claim that it would be a reboot and attempt to acquire a proper finance in order to properly work on the movie.
While the third film’s script was being worked on, BOOM! Studios would pick up the series’ comic license and begin a trio of mini-series. First up, we have “Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return”. Written by Brian Lynch, drawn by Jerry Gaylord (who would ink the comic alongside his wife Penelope) and colored by Whitney Cogar, this six-part tale was released from March to August 2015. With this being the bodacious duo’s first piece of action in 23 years, what adventure will our electric group face for their comeback tour? Let’s rock on and find out.
We open in 1991 immediately after the Battle of the Bands contest from Bogus Journey as Wyld Stallyns ended up winning the competition. After a college newspaper reporter asks them on what they plan on doing for a follow-up, Bill & Ted are given support from their bandmate wives Joanna and Elizabeth on their musical future. From there, Chuck De Nomolos is being escorted out by Capt. Jonathan Logan as Rufus informs the young guys that he’ll take the fiend back to his time period in order to proceed with proper incarceration.
We then cut to the next day as a rabid fanbase has developed outside of the group’s apartment complex. The group agrees in the fact that they need to find a different place to live and raise their baby boys. After the Grim Reaper gives Bill & Ted a grooming session, the band sees a newscast covering about them having already spawned a cover group despite their infancy and continuing their speculation on what our protagonists will do for their second song. From there, Bill and Joanna go to check up on the baby boys having trusted Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted with rocking them to sleep. However, they were air guitaring instead as the young babes are more energized from the motions instead.
As Ted and Elizabeth are about to check up on Station, they suddenly hear a scream from their bedroom. While the wives protect their babies, Bill and Ted ultimately catch up to what Death is witnessing: a group of future civilians checking out their living quarters. It turns out that this is a group of students from San Dimas High School in 2645 as they’re on a field trip being run by a teacher named Danitra Armijo. She tels them that see teaches Bill and Ted 101 back in her time period. Our main dudes then tell them that while they appreciate their interest in learning about them, they can’t really stay because of the small space. From there, the Grim Reaper shoves them all back into their Time Booth and sends them on their way while the duo agrees in the fact that they have to work on their second song.
As Ted comes up with some lyrics for a song called “Girl (Why’d You Build Those Robots)”, they suddenly approached by the arrival of Rufus who informs them that Chuck De Nomolos has been brought back to his proper time period. Afterwards, he says that he’s aware of our duo’s current case of writer’s block and decides to give them an article. He explains that this article was from an underground music magazine as it covered the Beatles’ inaugural gig and it rips into the group. He tells the guys that no matter how grand they’ll become, there will always be somebody who doesn’t appreciate their musical contribution, so just focus on those who genuinely like them. From there, Rufus sets them out on their own path before taking his leave with his Time Booth.
The young lads ultimately decide to go to the future and ask the Bill & Ted 101 students about their second song. However, they don’t have their own Time Booth. Fortunately, they still have access to Station. As such, they place their babies next to their wives while their alien technical genius builds them their own booth. After, the dudes arrive in 2645 San Dimas as their apartment complex has been turned into a museum. From there, Bill & Ted take some clothes in order to draw less attention upon themselves. Afterwards, they ask a young guy when the bus is arriving. However, he explains that this particular mode of transportation has been mostly replaced by Crosstown Water Slides. Thinking that our main duo are regular guys wearing Holo-Faces, he demonstrates his own before pointing them out towards the nearest bus stop. From there, Issue 1 ends with Bill & Ted discovering that not only is Chuck De Nomolos currently attending San Dimas High, but he’s also described as “the biggest loser”.
Issue 2 begins with our bodacious dudes overseeing the youthful De Nomolos’ miserable day of school. No one wants to be his partner for a science experiment, he struggles with his air guitar yoga and he even gets called out by his Bill & Ted 101 teacher just because his adult self’s villainous actions back in 1991. Disheartened by Chuck’s misery, Ted says that they should serve improve his situation by becoming his friend. Bill questions this decision since it’s not why they came here to begin with, but Ted explains that this could help prevent De Nomolos from eventually becoming their adversary. After all, they could serve as their own version of Rufus and guide him on the right direction. In the end, they decide to follow through on this idea.
Following his school day, the youthful Chuck is approached by our bodacious dudes who reveal themselves as the genuine articles. De Nomolos gets excited to see them as he enthusiastically unleashes a light show that explodes and states “Wyld Stallyns Rules!”. Just then, they notice a glowing red bead light on them as it turns out that Chuck was using his bright display as a means of distraction in order to try and blast them out of existence with his specilaized gun called the De Nomolator.
As he holds our heroes at gunpoint, De Nomolos expresses his anger at the alienation that he’s been forced to deal with due to his eventual evil acts. Not to mention, he has his own ideas on how the planet should work, but they’re being shoved to the side since he’s unable to plan out his “ideas to music”. Just as he’s about to shoot the two dudes, Chuck sees someone special to him as he floats away in love. It turns out to be a young lady named Claudia as he tries to talk to her, but gets next to no response. As Ted tries to tell him to praise her song, De Nomolos argues with him before noticing that Bill has taken his gun. Not only that, but Claudia has walked away. Ultimately, Chuck allows the duo to help him out as he asks them to follow him.
That night, Bill & Ted find themselves having dinner at the De Nomolos household. Unlike Chuck, the rest of his family members have radically different personalities. As his mother looks forward to Bill & Ted helping out her older son with making some friends, Chuck casually mentions about him having done so. Not only that, but they’re nearly complete and are stored within his closet. However, she just casually shakes that statement off as she simply exclaims “Boys and the artificial life”.
Ted notices that Richie wasn’t at San Dimas High, to which Mr. De Nomolos explains that the family’s youngest kin attends a “school for geniuses”. Chuck explains that it’s only because of our duo’s “musical teachings” that makes his younger brother seem like a genius due to his sweet nature and his watersliding skills. Despite that, Ted promises to not only help the elder son make friends, but confidently talk to young women and help him improve his schoolwork. Later that night, Bill & Ted lie awake as they feel homesick for their respective families despite looking forward to help their eventual enemy. However, Issue 2 ends with Chuck reading about his villainous robot versions of Bill & Ted killing him off of Vasquez Rocks (which is called Bill and Ted Memorial Gorge in this time period). He initial questions why we would commit such as act, but he ultimately decides to have them help him out before using his own Half-Bill/Half-Ted robot to take our heroes out.
Issue 3 opens with our bodacious duo and the youthful De Nomolos sneaking into the duo’s previous apartment complex (now preserved as a museum) in order to reach the Time Booth. As they travel through the Circuits of Time, Chuck gets assigned with the task of nicely talking to five random strangers. First up, they arrival at the inaugural Woodstock concert in 1969. Ted then presents two lovely ladies for De Nomolos to talk to, but he immediately screws up by telling them to “stop being a leech on society” and even mentions a foul odor as well.
After Chuck admits to feeling that no one likes him due to the negativity he’s has to suffer through back in his own time period, Bill & Ted then decide to take on a “side trip” as they in New Mexico 1880. The young dudes proceed to watch a saloon brawl as Billy the Kid gets a timely assist from De Nomolos. The youthful outlaw then explains that thanks to Bill & Ted’s influence, he doesn’t “shoot to kill” anymore. Instead, he only robs trains and spends some vacation time with Socrates. From there, Ted tells Chuck that because of the positive influence, Billy is planning to fake his own death, assume the identity of Herman and flee to the year 2000 in order to run his own Western-themed chapel in Las Vegas. Not only that, but De Nomolos is told that he can move away from the dark path that lies in front of him.
From there, the group makes one last stop in San Dimas 200 millions years ago. Through music, Bill & Ted will make Chuck feel much more confident by teaching him to play a guitar. Not only that, but to play without being affected by outside distractions.
Afterwards, they arrive back in San Dimas 2645 just as Claudia finished presenting her report to her classmates. De Nomolos emerges ready to present his speech while unbeknownst to our main duo, his Half-Bill/Half-Ted robot detects their presence and flies off on its lethal mission. Despite the historical prophecy of what’s to come, Chuck admits to his teacher and his classmates that after being taught by Bill & Ted on their peaceful ways, he looks to change his future and stray from his murderous path. Just then, the menacing robot (know as BillTed 1.0) flies in with the intent to slay.
After admitting to having built the murderous automaton, De Nomolos grabs a guitar from a nearby student and begins to play a rocking tune that impresses Claudia. This disorients BillTed 1.0 long enough for our main duo to hop in their Time Booth and plan their course so that it crushes the two-head mechanized fiend. Afterwards, Chuck hugs the two dudes in absolute thanks. While he does so, he stealthily dials a particular number before sending Bill & Ted on their way as they take their leave, unaware of what he did.
Later, they arrive back at their apartment as they look forward to spending some time with their family. When they head inside however, they start to notice that something isn’t right. First, their family is nowhere to be found. Second, they find out that they’re in 1993. However, the biggest comes from a newscast that’s celebrating the two-year anniversary of a particular band’s triumphant performance. As such, Issue 3 ends with the reveal of Chuck De Nomolos fronting a band that also consists of Claudia, his younger brother Richie and his robot BillTed 1.0. The main duo grimly discover that De Nomolos has taken their song and their entire rock band identity as well.
Issue 4 begins with Bill & Ted viewing the newscast in order of Chuck’s devious plan carried out as he took everything that he learned and memorized their success in order to bask in his own glow at the expense of our duo. With our dudes having realized that he messed with the Time Booth in order to get a proper “head start”, they decide that they can use it to undo this scheme. When they head outside however, they discover that the Time Booth has disappeared. Bill realizes that De Nomolos would know where they ended up, so he had someone take the booth while they weren’t looking. Just then, Ted gets hit over the head by a guitar as our main duo discover that their attacker was an alternate Bill who quickly calms down and lets the two guys in.
Alternative Bill explains that because Wyld Stallyns played right after Chuck’s band, no one paid too much attention to their performance due to the song that De Nomolos played being outstandingly good (ie, the song that our duo originally performed at the end of “Bogus Journey”). Bill then realizes that because Chuck didn’t kill them, he and Ted never met the Grim Reaper, God and Station as a result. Alternate Bill then explains that because Rufus’ original prediction never came to pass, Joanna and Elizabeth were also returned to Medieval times, thus also preventing Little Bill & Little Ted’s existence. As such, Bill & Ted look to reclaim their fame and family. As such, they convince Alt-Bill that his proper life was taken before asking about the fate of this universe’s Ted.
Because Wyld Stallyns didn’t win Battle of the Bands, Ted was shipped off to Oats Military Academy in Alaska. Alt-Bill tries to call his friend, but he’s in the middle of some push-ups and is unable to answer. Afterwards, Bill says that they have to get into De Nomolos’ upcoming concert. Alt-Bill says that he can get them in since he works at the Pretzels ‘n Cheese stand over at the San Dimas Civic Center. However, his wife has possession of the van for the day as he asks her if she can give them a ride. To Bill & Ted’s surprise, they find out that his wife is Missy herself. One ride later, they arrive at the concert and make their way inside while Chuck subtly reads from a transcript containing our duo’s original speech in order to keep the crowd in his band’s favor.
Bill & Ted soon discover the Time Booth, but it’s locked up in order to prevent it from being stolen. On stage, De Nomolos takes this opportunity to ask Claudia to marry him. Just then, BillTed 1.0 detects our duo’s presence and flies off. Chuck follows after him while Richie keeps the crowd busy. As the bodacious dudes struggle with the lock, they’re approached by the fiends and are forced to take cover from the automated fire. De Nomolos then proceeds to explain that followed their songbook and melodies in detailed fashion before he manipulated time in order to work things out in his favor. Unfortunately for him, Claudia was standing nearby to hear his confession as she now knows what they started up their band in 1991 instead of in their own time period. As such, she rejects him entirely and quits the band. However, BillTed 1.0 has grabbed our bodacious dudes and prepares to kill them.
Fortunately, they get some timely help as this universe’s Ted arrive and jams his military rifle into the fiendish robot before explaining to his fellow Bill that he hitched a ride on a jet to get here. However, Chuck then transforms his guitar into a gun and prepares to deal with our heroes himself. Fortunately, Alt-Bill and Alt-Ted manage to fend him off while Bill & Ted hop into the Time Booth in order to undo De Nomolo’s damage. When they arrive however, it turns out to be “Sideways Eight, Sideways Eight, Sideways Eight, Sideways Eight AD”. After they step out into this world, the Time Booth collapses from the extensive gunfire strain as Issue 4 ends with our heroes discovering that they’re in a future under the complete rule of Chuck himself.
Issue 5 opens in the alternate future of San De Nomolos, California as Bill & Ted look to exchange “some excellent artifacts” at a pawn store. However, the owner takes the items and throws them into the incinerator as he explains that “pieces of entertainment and/or entertainment-related memorabilia” is banned, in addition to time travel (so no Time Booths are present) as are certain phrases like “Dude”. With that plan failed, the two dudes are chased out as Bill becomes gloomy at the fact that they’re stuck in this time period. Fortunately, Ted says that they’ll figure something out, especially since they’ve accomplished some nice feats so far in their lives. As such, they raise their spirits with a quick air guitar session. However, that is also banned in this future as some drones notice this as they swoop in and attempt to gun them down.
Just then, they’re approached by a small group of armed officials who confront them for their “crimes”. As such, they proceed to execute them and a young boy (simply because he has a “homemade musical guitar”). Suddenly, they get a timely assist by the Grim Reaper as he takes out the officials before helping the group escape into the sewer.
Afterwards, they’re met upon by Rufus who’s also sheltering the remaining resisting populace that’s resisted Chuck’s rule. After learning about what Bill & Ted did, Rufus then explains that De Nomolos parlayed his musical fame into become California’s governor. From there, he waded out the next several centuries due to his immortality and ultimately became Emperor. Ted then wonders how Chuck acquired eternal life before Death steps in to explain.
After Claudia left him, De Nomolos had his brother drive him to “the highest mountain he could find” and jumped off. Shortly after his death, he was met upon by the Grim Reaper whom he immediately challenged to a contest. As such, it was a sit-up contest (Side Note: Near the end of Bogus Journey, Rufus did explain that the fiend was a sit-up champion in a throwaway line), he prevailed before challenging Death for his job. From there, he won and thus also acquired immortality. As a result, the Grim Reaper isn’t able to “escort the dead” nor can he bring anyone back to life.
Rufus then explains that Richie was given Death’s job, but he isn’t that bright due to him forgetting to claim the recently deceased. Also, Chuck’s rule has become so strict that no one is able to even smile. Rufus then leads our group towards their “resident genius” as it turns out to be Station. However, it’s only one of the Stations as Rufus explains that De Nomolos rounded up every genius from across the vast spectrum and made them work for him, including Station. He managed to help one part escape, but the other was captured by Chuck. The lone Station has spent several years working on a Tim Booth, but he’s depressed about not being with his other half and that he’s not as intelligent without it. Bill & Ted manage to cheer him up before Rufus exclaims that it’s only a matter of time for De Nomolos finds their hideout. Fortunately, his faith in our bodacious dudes had never wavered. As such, the half-Station gets to work on building something for our heroes.
Some moments later, Bill & Ted address the displaced civilians with some an inspirational speech. When that doesn’t seem to help, Ted simply speaks the lyrics to the Sesame Street them as the people get fired up to help. From there, Issue 5 ends with Chuck learning about our heroes existing in his domain and he prepares for the climactic confrontation.
Issue 6 opens with De Nomolos giving his State of the Universe address as he mentions some murmurs about “certain simpletons of legend” having returned, but tells the populace to ignore such notion since those tales only mention him. Suddenly, his lieutenant learns about something approaching. After learning about en emergence, Chuck automatically assumes an attack by our heroes. While he finds out that he is right, it’s not in how he expected as a pair of gigantic robots in Bill & Ted’s image emerge.
De Nomolos orders his men to fire away, but the giant mechs activate their powerful magnets and picks up all of their weapons. Afterwards, Rufus, Death and Half-Station emerge and holds the fiends at bay. From there, Bill & Ted emerge more energized than ever.
From there, they give a rousing speech to the crowd about them overcoming their own misguided fear before they conclude with a rousing guitar ballad. As a result, the audience start to become much more positive. The Grim Reaper even gets emotional towards Richie, with even Chuck even gets teary-eyed over losing Claudia.