Valiant Entertainment fans have one more reason to cheer at the possibility multimedia reinterpretations of their favorite series with the recent release of the audio drama retelling of Fred Van Lente’s first arc of Archer & Armstrong by Pendant Audio. Archer & Armstrong has been a fan favorite since its release in August 2012 (reference), and with the production talent of Pendant Audio, the series comes to life in the audio drama.
If you’ve never had the chance to experience an audio drama, it is an old school form of storytelling which originally became popular in the earlier days of radio before television became the primary source of consumption for visual storytelling. Unlike a straight audiobook, an audio drama foregoes most narrative bits of a story and instead uses audio cues to bring the reader into the story.
Pendant Audio has been producing various kinds of audio dramas since 2004 and their experience in the medium shows in the production of the Archer & Armstrong audio drama. For those of you who have experienced Fred Van Lente’s run on Archer & Armstrong, you may be aware of the level of humor and personality which he imbues into the characters, and the Pendant Audio crew has managed to create a solid interpretation of Van Lente’s story which will bring a new level of enjoyment to this series for even seasoned fans.
The Archer & Armstrong audio drama follows Van Lente’s original script very faithfully with a few added bits which are necessary to transition the story from a comic book to the audio drama format, including sound effects and audio cues necessary to make the story make sense in the new format, and the addition of a few lines of dialogue which take the place of some of the narration of the series.
The voice talent in the series is absolutely top notch, with many of the voice actors used having a long history with Pendant Audio productions. It’s obvious from the delivery of the lines that not only has Pendant Audio’s production team really done their homework for this series, but that the voice actors really managed to find the perfect tone to make each of the characters believable. You can certainly read along with the books to get an additional level of atmosphere, but each episode holds water on its own and is thoroughly enjoyable without ever having read the source material.
Pendant Audio has already released two episodes, representing issues 1 and 2 of the 2012 series, with at least two more episodes planned to complete the arc. Each of the episodes have been broken down into two parts with the first half of the episode being the audio drama version of the book with the second half being an audio commentary track from producers Jeffrey and Susan Bridges which give a nice behind-the-scenes “look” at how these episodes were put together, why certain choices were made in the audio translation, and more. The episodes are all available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes for between $2.95 and $3.95 per episode.
While audio drama may not be a format that will appeal to the majority of comic book fans, it certainly adds a whole new level of interaction with the story which isn’t necessarily possible with a visual only format such as comic books. Pendant Audio has done an amazing job with the audio drama translation of the Archer & Armstrong series with terrific voice talent and high production values. If you’re looking to try out a new experience with books you may already love, the Archer & Armstrong audio drama is well worth the price of admission.