Muppets

The Muppets 4 (December 2012)

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It’s Christmastime at the Muppet Studio and, of course, things don’t go particularly well. They also have a new fridge, which Kermit guards carefully. Piggy is trying to get a marriage proposal as a gift, Fozzie can’t come up with jokes for his sketch, Rizzo and Gonzo are trying to clone dancing yogurt… there’s probably something else I’m forgetting.

It turns out to be so packed, even Langridge can’t make the whole thing fit. He skips through one of the plot resolutions. It’s too bad, because it sounds like it might’ve been funnier than any of the other sketches.

Oh, see, I did forget. The Swedish Chef is trying to cook a Christmas Pudding; it escapes and wrecks havoc around the studio.

It’s nice, but lacking–Langridge has an overabundance of ideas and no way to properly fulfill them all. He had to pick Christmas or winter and missed both….

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Winter; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 3 (November 2012)

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Langridge gives Pops his own issue. Or most of one. Pops the doorman is going to have to retire and the Muppets have to figure out how to keep him. Langridge is only able to use that plot line for one sketch (and the closing music number), so he comes up with a secondary thread to run through–or at least get mention–in the other sketches.

He does an homage to Dream of the Rarebit Fiend with Rizzo (and gorgonzola). The sketch itself isn’t as funny as its followup scenes, which have some very funny references to it.

For Pops’s plot line, Langridge does a charming flashback to Pops’s days in the army. The principal (male) Muppets appear as his fellow soldiers. It’s just a page and a half but it’s great.

There is one confusing joke at the end. Langridge–presumably unintentionally–goes for a baffling visual punchline.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Fall; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 2 (October 2012)

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Langridge’s does a beach party for the summer issue of this season-based series… except, since it’s the Muppets, things don’t go particularly well.

There’s a freak snow storm and the Kermit and Scooter have to figure out how to turn the show into a winter-themed one. Meanwhile, Fozzie gets an offer he can’t refuse and goes off to do summer stock. Langridge splits the issue between the show itself, the production problems and Fozzie’s adventure.

As usual, the best sketch is the huge musical number at the end. Langridge builds expectation for it throughout the issue–almost to the point of exhaustion a few times–then delivers. He’s amazing how he’s able to convey song and dance with static images and word balloons.

There are some good sketches throughout–Pigs in Space is the only filler–and Fozzie’s arc is a good one.

Langridge produces another fine issue.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Summer; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 1 (September 2012)

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Animal falls in love. Who would have thought. With a gorilla, sure, but I still wouldn’t have thought. Roger Langridge has a lot of other side things going on–not many for Miss Piggy, however. She just gets jealous of the gorilla.

Langridge’s handling of the gorilla–Meredith–is rather interesting. One might even say Langridge thinks gorillas are dumb. She can’t talk and she’s incapable of a lot; she’s rather cute though, especially when she’s trying to impress animal.

Some of the other strongpoints are the songs–there are two or three–and the episode of Pigs in Space. Langridge does a great job making the songs simple and short enough one can “hear” them while they’re just written out. He also goes for a couple edgy jokes, in particular Rizzo making fun of dating between species.

It’s a very cute story and Langridge does exceedingly well telling it.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Spring; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 4 (November 2010)

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Storck wraps it all up, which is a little sad–a sequel does not seem to be in the offing.

He does tie it all together nicely here, though I’m not familiar enough with “The Musgrave Ritual” to know how close he sticks to it and the conclusion, from “The Final Problem,” is expectedly loose. Mebberson does a lovely job with this part of the story, with a great rendering of Reichenbach Falls.

This issue also wraps up the Kermit and Piggy arc, which seems to be in all the Boom! Muppet books, whether it’s primary or not. Storck’s been making Kermit’s LeStrade, especially this issue, a lot smarter than Gonzo’s Holmes, even though Gonzo manages to solve the cases.

For the most part, these themed Muppet titles have been outstanding and I probably have a new favorite with Sherlock Holmes.

Mebberson and Storck should be doing an ongoing series.

CREDITS

Musgrove Ritual?; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 3 (October 2010)

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I can’t decide if this issue is the strongest or if it’s just the one where Gonzo solves the case….

The opening titles establish the cast–Kermit and Piggy are now permanent additions (Piggy’s Irene Adler now impersonating Mrs. Hudson, which is a great way to keep her around)–and it certainly seems like Muppet Sherlock Holmes could have some legs. A sequel series or two would probably be just as good as this series, since they’re adapting from the Conan Doyle’s.

This issue adapts “The Red-Headed League,” which is a memorable title and I remember some of the story’s setup, but I have no idea if it’s all about a bank heist. Here it’s all about a bank heist. Holmes–sorry, Gonzo–stops it in an amusing way.

Mebberson’s art for this series is so sharp and so thoughtful. The third act, with the heist sequence, looks fantastic.

CREDITS

The Red-Headed League; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 2 (September 2010)

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The second issue is as nice as the first.

Storck doesn’t use “Muppet Show” standards (he did in the first issue for a great narrative device), but he does insert Kermit’s Inspector Lestrade–sorry, Inspector LeStrade–into the story. I don’t think Lestrade was in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” but he’s around here, a third wheel affixed to Holmes and Watson.

The plot pretty much follows the original with some Muppet flourishes. Storck and Mebberson come up with these great one or two panel gags–Gonzo, Fozzie and Kermit disguised as a post box, call box and bush having tea. But Storck also has more elaborate flourishes here–Miss Piggy plays Irene Adler and she has a dinner party the boys crash.

The dinner party antics are where Storck and Mebberson’s pacing skills really show. They’re able to fit a lot of events into a few pages.

It’s wonderful stuff.

CREDITS

A Scandal in Bohemia; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 1 (August 2010)

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Now here’s a lovely comic.

Mebberson’s art alone makes Muppet Sherlock Holmes worth picking up–oh, she does the colors too. I was just going to say how great the colors work in the book. Her renditions of the Muppet characters, particularly the expressions, really bring them to life. It’s not something I think about a lot with comics, but with the Muppets, for some reason I do.

But then there’s Storck and his whole approach to turning Gonzo into Sherlock and Fozzie into Watson. They aren’t traditionally paired and it works out as this wonderful dumb and dumber situation. Gonzo’s obnoxious behavior works perfect for the role.

This issue is an adaptation of “The Speckled Band.” Each issue is, presumably, going to be a different story. It’s a great approach and one I wasn’t expecting.

The story resolves the same, but Storck adds some very Muppet details.

A delightful read.

CREDITS

Writer, Patrick Storck; artist and colorist, Amy Mebberson; letterer, Joe Macasocol; editors, Christopher Burns and Jason Long; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Snow White 4 (July 2010)

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Now… this issue is an unmitigated disaster. Snider and Storck cut loose–free of the Snow White plot, shattering the fourth wall as the book entirely loses track of itself–and it’s bad. I don’t know if I’d come back for another Muppet book with the same writing team. It’s more a failure in editing, since some of the scenes are still amusing–most, however, are not.

The book’s terribly mean-spirited for what’s ostensibly a kids comic; it features most of the Muppet cast being eaten by monsters, Kermit and Miss Piggy apparently die… When I was a kid and saw Muppets Take Manhattan, I assumed it meant Kermit and Piggy were married now (I was six, leave me alone).

If I were six today and read Muppet Snow White, I’d assume they were dead.

Boom!’s had a fine track record with the Muppets until now.

Not anymore.

CREDITS

Writers, Jesse Blaze Snider and Patrick Storck; artist, Shelli Paroline; colorist, Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editors, Jason Long and Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Snow White 3 (June 2010)

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Remember when I said Snider and Storck were going to run into major pacing issues? They spend half this issue (or thereabouts) on a rock concert for the Electric Mayhem (who are the dwarves in Muppet Snow White) being threatened by one of the Queen’s assassins. Maybe both of them, I couldn’t keep track because there are all these forced attempts to break the fourth wall.

These Muppet adaptations of classic (read: public domain) works require thoughtful plotting finesse. Snow White clearly doesn’t have the material without some padding, but Snider and Storck wait until the end of this issue to make that padding both Muppet and content-related….

Piggy, the evil queen, decides she gets Kermit, the prince, and kidnaps him. This comes following a scene with her fighting with the Snow White stand in over whether she gets to eat the poison apple.

These are moves long overdue.

CREDITS

Writers, Jesse Blaze Snider and Patrick Storck; artist, Shelli Paroline; colorist, Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Snow White 2 (May 2010)

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I’ve decided Paroline’s art works well for Muppet Snow White. The book doesn’t require any suspension of disbelief–it’s hard to use that term when talking about a Muppet story–as the reader is constantly reminded it’s the Muppets doing a Snow White “performance,” as opposed to it just being Snow White told with a Muppet cast.

Paroline’s a fine, cartoony artist and it works perfectly in that context.

The issue has some funny moments–more smiles than laughs–as Snider and Storck seem to be targeting the younger audience while still leaving room for adults (the presumable Muppet fans) to appreciate.

The big problem is with the cast–the principal Muppets aren’t really important in Snow White (Kermit doesn’t even show up this issue). Instead, Snider and Storck are using the nineties Muppet creations, who are better as skit fodder than as lead cast.

It’s decent enough, but unremarkable.

CREDITS

Writers, Jesse Blaze Snider and Patrick Storck; artist, Shelli Paroline; colorist, Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Snow White 1 (April 2010)

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Snider and Storck take many four pages in the middle of this issue as an aside. Yes, they introduce Snow White and her prince, but it’s mostly just them having a lot of fun with the script. When the comic opens, it’s very much in the vein of the Muppet Treasure Island movie, down to Gonzo and Rizzo narrating it.

Actually, the aside has a lot to do with that narrative approach, because Rizzo doesn’t know the fairytale so he follows the Disney movie plot instead.

It’s a little soon to guess how the series is going to turn out because after just this one issue… it’s clear there are going to be some pacing problems. The writers probably could have gotten the entire story told in this one issue.

Paroline’s art is decent. It lacks any polish, which might eventually work for this series. Again, too soon to tell.

CREDITS

Writers, Jesse Blaze Snider and Patrick Storck; artist, Shelli Paroline; colorist, Braden Lamb; letterers, Deron Bennett and Troy Peteri; editors, Jason Long and Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Muppet Show 3 (February 2010)

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Now, another interesting move from Langridge. As opposed to the previous issues decisions, this one… well, it sort of makes even less sense in some ways. The story arc ends here–the Muppets return to their theater, which raises some questions about why Langridge focused on what he did in the previous two issues.

He makes the point of the issue about something mostly developed in the Fozzie backups of the previous two issues. All of the previous issue’s story elements involving the Muppets–excluding Gonzo and Fozzie–are ignored.

It’s a fine issue–a good one–it just doesn’t fit with the previous two. Langridge has some excellent skits, plays at least twice with storytelling in the comic book medium… though he does have one surprise I–and I imagine everyone reading–guessed at the beginning.

Overlooking that easy plot point, this issue made me wish the previous two were on par with it.

CREDITS

On The Road, Part 3: Box Clever; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Muppet Show 2 (January 2010)

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To keep things going this issue, Langridge introduces a town full of Statler and Waldorf’s relations. They make up the entire town (and the entire audience for the Muppet show).

The regular cast–except Scooter, it’s a Scooter issue–has little to do. First Scooter has to contend with Fozzie’s replacement, then he has to deal with telling jokes the audience will like.

There’s a lack of narrative thrust here–I’m wondering if Langridge is beginning to feel he’s running out of Muppet stories–especially given Kermit’s disappearance for much of the issue. He ought to be around, based on the setup, but he’s not.

So far, the Muppet Show ongoing feels episodic. And not in a complementary way.

It’s a decent read, but I’m not sure it’s good.

At least, the Fozzie strip–featuring the real Statler and Waldorf (for some reason Waldorf is frequently misspelled)–features imaginative work.

CREDITS

On The Road, Part 2: His Wackiness, Clint Wacky!. Garbage. Writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Eric Cobain; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.