Wonder twins Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon are back and this time they’re adapting a short story from Neil Gaiman. Dark Horse has made a small cottage industry of getting top-flight creators — John Bolton, P. Craig Russell, and Michael Zulli — to adapt shorts from Gaiman over the years, and “How to Talk” is a funny, quirky, and a little scary addition to them. It’s about two friends, Enn and Vic, who are on their way to a party in the suburbs. Vic exudes confidence and has no problems talking to the opposite sex. Enn is just the opposite, but is encouraged by his friend to get to know some of the girls who have decided to attend this party. What the sociably reluctant teen finds out is that the members of the opposite sex may very well be from another planet. At least, maybe just the ones who are attending this party.
“How to Talk” operates from that classic assumption that the female mind and unknowable to men. Gaiman just runs with it in a slightly more literal direction for his story. As for the adaptation work by Ba and Moon, it’s a huge step up from what I experienced with their efforts on “Two Brothers” last year. The art is lively with a dreamlike quality that helps with the suspension of disbelief for the story’s more fantastical elements. Those only break through in a piercing moment of nightmare towards the end. Enn is something of a blank slate as a character, but his concerns help make him relatable and that blankness works well as a contrast when he’s put up against the respective histories of the girls he meets at the parties. It’s great work from all of the parties involved and warrants an easy recommendation to their respective fans. As well as anyone who is wondering if these adaptations of Gaiman’s short stories are worth checking out.