So they’ve been promoting this for years now and it’s finally out. In 2010, Lionforge, a digital comic book company, acquired the rights to create a digital Saved by the Bell comic book. And they released the first issue yesterday on their Roar Comics imprint.
So a bit of background on Saved by the Bell and comics. This is not the first attempt to translate Saved by the Bell into a comic format. In 1991, Harvey Comics, who became famous for releasing kid’s comics such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich, tried their hand at a Saved by the Bell comic. And it was horrible. Horribly written, horribly inked, and horribly drawn. It lasted seven total issues before mercifully being cancelled.
I have no idea what this comic will be like. I’m finding out along with you guys. A disclaimer: I’m a television and film critic, not a comic book critic, so this will be a learning curve for me, and I’m looking forward to it! So, with that, here is my review of Roar Comics’s Saved by the Bell issue #1!
Our cover is nothing particularly spectacular and I have a feeling that comic book reviewers might even say it’s a bit bland. It shows our seven main characters all posing. For a digital comic of such a nostalgic series, though, I think it does its job. It shows us how all seven characters will be drawn and it’s actually not bad. It looks like some of them have been updated, especially Slater, Zack Morris, and Jessie. Mr. Belding’s portrayal looks a bit off but I’ll just ignore that for now.
Our first story is called “Zack to School” and Zack Morris informs us he has better things to do than go to some freshman orientation, like sexually harass Kelly Kapowski. And wouldn’t you know it, who walks by but Kelly, asking Zack Morris if he’s cutting class.
He replies, “I can figure out where the gym is.” Hello, editor, I think you meant to say, “I can’t figure out where the gym is.” Otherwise it makes Zack Morris seem like he needs some remedial education. Zack Morris asks Kelly to go to The Max for lunch because that’s where all the cool Bayside kids go on the last open high school campus in America, and almost immediately Jessie and Lisa come out, prompting Kelly to invite them. Zack Morris looks perturbed because he was hoping to fuck Kelly and everyone is cock blocking him. Interesting here, Jessie is a vegan and insists they should be called “Fresh-People” instead of “Freshmen.” I guess that’s fitting for her personality.
In class, Zack Morris tells Screech he has to figure out a way to get Kelly alone at The Max, and Screech offers to eat lots of beans and hand out some flatulence. Zack Morris is understandably not impressed with this plan. Instead, he tells Lisa there’s another girl at Bayside wearing the same outfit she is, prompting her to go home and change. He tells Jessie there’s going to be a pop quiz in Algebra, prompting her to study. OK, the Lisa one I can believe but I have a hard time believing Jessie’s such a dumb ass she’d believe there’s a pop quiz on the first day of school.
Zack Morris tells Screech to fuck off to the cafeteria so he can ask Kelly out. At The Max, Zack Morris comes in late and tells Kelly the others must have gotten lost. She says she had to order because it was getting so late and he picks up the hamburger at the empty seat, preparing to eat it. But turns out Kelly didn’t order it for Zack Morris! Yes it’s, *dum dum dum* Slater’s hamburger!
Kelly invited Slater to join them since he’s new to town and Zack Morris immediately wants to kill him. He tries to one up Slater when Kelly thinks it’s cool Slater’s dad was in the army. But he does it by saying his own dad was in the KISS army. He fought alongside Gene Simmons to liberate Vietnam to rock ‘n roll all night and party every day.
Slater and Zack Morris both try to pour Kelly some water but Zack Morris spills it all over Kelly’s clothes, prompting her to run to the restroom for an emergency potty break. Slater and Zack Morris start fighting over whose property Kelly is and Slater tells Zack Morris to back off.
Zack Morris invites Kelly to study with him after school. Wait, what the fuck do they have to study on the first day of the freshman year of high school? Zack Morris offers to come along and help and Slater obviously doesn’t like the idea, but Kelly thinks it’s a good idea because she can’t take Slater in the boy’s locker room to show him how ginormous the other kids’ penises are.
Back at school, Zack Morris enlists Screech to help him get Slater into detention. Screech approaches Slater and tells him that he needs to win over Kelly’s friends because she’ll listen to her friends on who she should fuck. Slater tries to be nice to Jessie by offering to carry her books and she assumes he’s trying to say women are weak. He then tells Lisa that she and Screech make a cute couple and she tells Slater to go fuck himself.
Slater goes to class, and Zack Morris sits next to him, encouraging him to take his shoes off in class because apparently that will get him detention? He then tries to get Slater to wear a hat because apparently Bayside is anal retentive about what its students wear. Finally, Zack Morris order pizza for Slater because eating in class will get him detention. This gets our unnamed teacher to send Slater to Mr. Belding’s office as Zack Morris tells Slater the most important rule at Bayside is don’t fuck with Zack Morris.
In detention, Slater insists to Mr. Belding that he was framed for the pizza delivery. Mr. Belding doesn’t believe Zack Morris would go that far but decides to investigate anyway.
In the hallway, Jessie and Lisa are bragging about their one defining characteristics. Jessie managed to learn French on her first day of school and Lisa wants to go hang out at the mall. Zack Morris tells them he’s off to fuck Kelly. Mr. Belding confronts Zack Morris about the pizza and Zack Morris denies he had anything to do with it. Right at that moment, Jessie asks Screech if she can borrow a dollar and Screech, right in front of Mr. Belding tells Jessie he gave his last dollar to Zack Morris so Zack Morris could frame Slater with a pizza. Screech suggests she ask the old guy standing right behind him, and our next frame shows Mr. Belding releasing Slater as he brings Zack Morris in.
Slater tells Zack Morris he’s a fuckhead and now he’s going to go fuck Kelly, and Zack Morris tells Slater he better run because she’s been waiting for fifteen minutes.
Slater starts running but a hall monitor catches him and sends him back to detention. Seriously, he blames it on Zack Morris but who doesn’t know you’re not supposed to run in the hallways at school? Zack Morris tells Slater he’s a worthy advesary and Slater tells Zack Morris he’s going to fuck him up. The teacher asks Mr. Belding if he thinks those two are going to be a problem. Mr. Belding tells him no way that he scared Zack Morris straight. Oh, the naivete!
Kelly thinks she’s been stood up by both Slater and Zack Morris and seems depressed because she thought they both wanted to go out with her. Because, of course, as a pretty girl, her self-worth depends on guys liking her. Lisa asks which one she would pick and she says neither because they’re both fucking losers who deserve to grow lonely together. So Kelly decides to do the only logical thing to cheer herself up: flirt with older boys, and our comic ends with Zack Morris and Slater watching the scene from detention and blaming each other for Kelly thinking they’re both douches.
So not a bad start to the comic! The art is beautiful, much improved over the old Harvey comics and, despite a few inconsistencies, the artists and writers seem very talented and they have actually captured the spirit of the old Saved by the Bell series, cheesiness and all, very well. If you like Saved by the Bell, check this comic out. It’s $1.99 on Amazon so it’s pretty reasonably priced. We’ll see in the coming issues if it maintains my attention.