The popular Nerdist podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour has already dipped a toe into comic books with their recurring segment “Sparks Nevada,” which made the jump in mediums back in February.
Now Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are pushing another repeat segment into the realm of comics. That segment is “Beyond Belief,” in which Sadie and Frank Doyle, voiced by Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins, drunkenly venture into the realm of the supernatural and swindling.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a live audio recording in the style of an old-fashioned radio show. Sadie and Frank are married socialites with martinis forever in hand and the power to see ghosts. They go around exorcising them and mooching booze off their clientele.
In the first issue, Sadie and Frank chase ghosts and evil spirits through Donna
Donner’s new house, and later we get to see Sadie and Frank meet. It’s at a phony and accidentally legitimate séance.
The podcast has a delightful soundtrack done by both writers, Andy Paley and a variety of others. “Beyond Belief” is filled with accordion and piano tunes, like a dark parlor full of rich velvet curtains and the musk of shadow and liquor.
You might notice how frequently I mention liquor. There are a lot of spirits puns.
“Beyond Belief” really captures the aesthetic of the apathy and self-focus of the extremely rich in such a way that, even in the face of the darkest and most terrifying evil, they are nothing but pompously blasé.
Sadie and Frank just want to spend time together being drunk and rich, but they’re just so talented at ghost hunting that they are constantly being imposed upon by the world outside their own marriage.
Whether they’re booing faux priests for terrible exorcisms or gazing into each other’s eyes while people scream and flee from the hellhounds of a demon, the two are immaculate.
Always dressed in evening gowns and three-piece suits, Sadie and Frank fight off possessed baby dolls and climb through time, dusty attics and dewy forests without a hair falling out of place, which is only expected.
An askew appearance is simply impossible to imagine for them; they’re just not those kinds of people.
Acker and Blacker met each other at a horror film class in college, and by Blacker’s own testament, that class culminated in their show.
And while very much a horror series, the Thrilling Adventure Hour is without a doubt a fantastic comedy. Sadie and Frank are not only the ones with a special awareness of ghosts and the afterlife, but they’re genre aware and can’t stop themselves from breaking the fourth wall whenever it suits them, especially to mock the foley person or musicians.
I’d be surprised if the same thing doesn’t show up in the writing of the comics, but we’ll just have to wait for subsequent issues.