Howard Chaykin is the last person I would have picked to do a comic adaptation of one of Hanna-Barbera’s children’s cartoons, but nobody listened to me and that turned out to be a good thing.

The Ruff and Reddy Show was the first program that Hanna-Barbara produced, starring a good-natured but dumb dog named Reddy, and his smart friend, a cat named Ruff, and it ran from 1957-61. Chaykin has reimagined the duo as animated versions of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and like Martin and Lewis, Ruff and Reddy were beloved in the 50s but largely forgotten today.

The plot of this issue is simple, depicting the last days of Ruff and Reddy’s partnership and the slow declines of their individual careers that followed. And then a human talent agent named Pamela decides that the time is right for a Ruff and Reddy reunion…

Can these two manage to reconcile with each other, and will whatever project Pamela is pitching to them be a success or just another failed attempt at cashing in on nostalgia? At this point there’s no way to tell, but if this issue is anything to judge by, the remaining five issues are going to be a great read either way.

Chaykin’s writing elevates what could have been just another story of a performing duo that fell apart only to find their way back to each other with a good balance of pathos and comedy. Marc Rey gives the animated characters just realistic enough, and the human characters just enough cartoonishness for them to coexist. And Ken Bruzenak’s lettering is absolutely perfect.

Recommendation: Buy.