Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Muppet Show Comic Book- Meet The Muppets

The Muppet Show Comic Book- Meet The Muppets

Writer and artist: Roger Langridge
Colours: Didikore Studios
Publisher: Boom Studios

It’s time to play the music,
It’s time to light the lights,
It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight!
What’s It About?
The Muppets: a collections of pigs, frogs, dogs and… things. Together they run a small variety theatre complete with songs, sketches, stand-up routines, backstage shenanigans and pessimistic hecklers all presided over by history’s most put-upon impresario: Mister Kermit The Frog.

The Muppet Show Comic Book resurrects the classic children’s programme in a new format, suitable for all ages.

What’s Good About It?
Cards on the table: this book is an act of sheer nostalgia, the format of the series is very much based on the Muppet Show as it was on television. The action of the show takes place in the old Muppet Theatre with all the established acts in place: awful stand-up comedy from Fozzie the Bear; Muppet Labs (where the future is being made today); Muppet News; Pigs In Space; the works.

Each of the four issues collected in Meet The Muppets mixes an main story following one of the Muppets (Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and Miss Piggy in this collection) with a series of sketches representing the show the theatre audience is seeing. Writer-artist Roger Langridge captures the manic pace and uncontrolled lunacy of the old Muppet Show and each story moves at a fast pace. He really captures the characters, too: Kermit is perpetually stressed and confused; Miss Piggy remains the consummate diva; and any scene with the two old hecklers Statler and Waldorf is a joy to read.

Highlights are too many to list them all but a random selection follows: chickens performing Swan Lake; Miss Piggy in martials art gear fighting a Sasquatch in the background of a news feature; Gonzo as a private detective (with a chicken playing the part of his femme fatale, naturally); and Muppet Labs creating cheese with free will.

The whole series has such charm to it and a real “anything goes” feel, suitable for children new to the Muppets or for adults with fond memories.

What’s Bad About It?
In his desire to make this series as much like The Muppet Show as possible, Langridge does a few things that don’t quite work. The first are the musical sketches which, whilst well-drawn and funny in concept, fall down about half the time because I can’t get the tune right in my head.

The Muppet Show was and is essentially sketch comedy and shares the greatest (and most inevitable) flaw of the format: there will be sketches you just don’t like. This is all down to personal taste so I can’t offer any warnings. I didn’t like the Pigs In Space sketches but then I never liked Pigs In Space on TV so that might just be pure personal bias. Some sketches will be laugh out loud funny, some will make you smile and some will have you flicking to the next page because they just don’t grab you.

What’s the Art Like?
Langridge’s art is very busy, full of little details that reward taking a little extra time over each page. To demonstrate this, I give you one of the double page spreads that introduce each issue in place of a title sequence:

This is a large and extreme example of Langridge’s style but go through the picture and notice the sheer volume of sight gags he crams in to that image. There are little gags like that throughout the book, just little background details created for pure humour. Now, as to actual visual storytelling, Langridge adopts a style designed to be in keeping with the Muppets as they appeared on television:

That is to say that more often than not he only draws the characters from the waist up, a shooting strategy the TV show used to hide puppeteers. He isn’t slavishly committed to this, however, and the character’s legs do sometimes make a surprise special guest appearance. It’s a nod to the past that adds to the atmosphere. Its also no small feat to give such evocative expressions to non-humanoid characters.

Other Information
The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet The Muppets is currently available in paperback priced between £5 and £7, depending on outlet.
ISBN 1934506850.

No comments:

Post a Comment