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Muppet Show Comic Book #1

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010
By: Danny Djeljosevic

Roger Langridge
Roger Langridge, Mickey Clausen (c)
BOOM! Studios
Plot: With their theatre closed down for repairs, the Muppets take the show on the road. The results, as you might expect, are disastrous.

Comments: More licensed comics need to be like The Muppet Show Comic Book. The stigma behind a lot of these books is that they're cheap cash-ins on popular shows where substandard artists attempt to draw actors as they appear on television so every element of the book is stiff and awkward. Because the tie-in comic is secondary to the TV show/video game/film, there's often a sense that it doesn't really matter because it can't deviate from the source material. Though you can argue that The Muppet Show Comic Book works because the source material isn't a scripted drama but a series of comedic sketches, it's still shocking that a licensed comic book is this good.

More comics need to be drawn like The Muppet Show Comic Book. Comics are free of the limits of live-action cinema (puppets count as live-action, right?), and writer/artist Roger Langridge shows an awareness of this by drawing the comic without strict adherence to the real-life objects he's working from. Rather, he captures the spirit of the characters, making his Kermit look distinct from the physical puppet while still maintaining the character's "Kermit-ness." Sometimes Langridge's renditions even surpass the "real" Muppets, like Gonzo, whose nose, when drawn, doesn't look like it's made of foam. Essentially, Langridge draws the Muppets as if they were actual living beings -- not craft projects with hands up their butts.

It also helps that the book succeeds in its intention by being a funny comic book about the Muppets, continuing the format of the initial miniseries by adapt The Muppet Show exactly as it appeared on TV with sketches and behind-the-scenes goings-on. That the show has gone on the road makes for some great gags, like Statler and Waldorf doing their heckling while perched in a tree. Particularly good is the "Alphabear" backup story, showing us just what Fozzie Bear is up to on his own, reduced to a series of alphabetical words ("Hecklers! Insulted! Jokes!").

More comic books need to be as smart as The Muppet Show Comic Book. This is a kid's comic that doesn't feel like the guy writing it thinks children are idiots. For one thing, he uses words with more than two syllables -- something not even accomplished by many comics ostensibly written for "adults." Langridge's pages have a surprising amount of content, unafraid to have 11 panels on a page and making The Muppet Show Comic Book one of the few $3 comic books that doesn't feel sparse.



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