The Muppets 4 (December 2012)

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…

The Muppets 3 (November 2012)

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…

The Muppets 2 (October 2012)

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…

The Muppets 1 (September 2012)

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…

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 4 (November 2010)

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,…

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 3 (October 2010)

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…

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 2 (September 2010)

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…

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 1 (August 2010)

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…

Muppet Snow White 4 (July 2010)

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…

Muppet Snow White 3 (June 2010)

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…

Muppet Snow White 2 (May 2010)

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…

Muppet Snow White 1 (April 2010)

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…

The Muppet Show 3 (February 2010)

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…

The Muppet Show 2 (January 2010)

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…

The Muppet Show 1 (December 2009)

Langridge takes the show on the road–I wonder how many times someone’s made that statement about this issue. The Muppet Show, as a comic book, has a limited number of possibilities–I think I’ve already suggested Boom! have a guest star (i.e. a comic book guest star) for each issue–so Langridge’s solution is to make the performances mobile. It’s fun issue, though it has one of those endings of Langridge’s I don’t quite get (Piggy says something to Kermit, congratulating him, and he apparently uses it as an advertising slogan for the road show). Also, Langridge takes Fozzie out of the equation, something…

The Muppet Show 0 (November 2009)

I’m not sure why Boom! did a zero issue of The Muppet Show. Maybe to show off a different artist could illustrate Langridge’s scripts to good effect? Paroline does a good job faking Langridge’s style, so much I didn’t even realize it wasn’t him until the second or third page. I just assumed he was being lazy because it was a zero issue. As it turns out, he’s not being lazy. While the issue is a story within a story–Fozzie and Rizzo are trying to pitch a Pigs in Space movie and we get their disastrous pitch and the movie summarized–there’s a…

Muppet King Arthur 4 (March 2010)

A happy ending for King Arthur? The writers even comment on it. It does work, of course–so well I didn’t even think of a happy ending being out of place until they mentioned it. For this issue, Boom! upgraded the paper stock to something shiny. It holds the colors much better and gives Muppet King Arthur a lot of visual oomph. The art was excellent before, but here it’s shiny. It’s amazing, with this great art, King Arthur was a book I thought I’d be complaining about (visually). What a difference an artist makes. The story takes some fun turns–Kermit and Robin’s…

Muppet King Arthur 3 (February 2010)

And the need for an overall narrative–or at least plot progression–finally catches up. The comic even opens with it, as Kermit (as Arthur) complains to his knights about their lack of activity. They’ve just been sitting around since the last issue. So off they go looking for the Holy Grail. Muppet King Arthur might be one of the loosest adaptations in the ‘Muppets in popular, public domain literature’ genre, but it’s not like King Arthur really has a good four issue story in it. Taking that difficulty into account, this series’s approach makes sense. But it’s also funnier without all the Arthurian…

Muppet King Arthur 2 (January 2010)

Apparently someone agreed with me. The art this issue is from James Silvani (with a different colorist too) and the whole thing is different. It looks fantastic. The Muppets are fully realized, not amateurish sketches, and Silvani loves the Camelot backgrounds. It’s an amazing difference. The script is even better too, with Benjamin and Storck doing something very nice for a limited series–they’re following up the first issue, but not really doing anything to hinting at what’s coming next. It’s not a bridging issue, but it’s also not building in a traditional limited series fashion. It almost reads more like an issue…

Muppet King Arthur 1 (December 2009)

Muppet King Arthur has one rather big problem. It doesn’t really have any other problems, actually, as the writing is great–it’s funny as a Muppet comic–there’s plenty of the self-aware anachronisms the genre (the Muppet retelling) has always had, both in film and comic mediums. It’s also smart like a Muppet comic (or film) should be, accounting for adults more than children as an audience. It’s also beautifully paced. So what’s the problem? Artist Dave Alvarez is not ready for primetime. His artwork, if it weren’t digitally colored (poorly I might add, but they didn’t have much to work with), is about…

The Muppet Show 4 (June 2009)

Langridge returns to form, storytelling-wise, for his Miss Piggy issue. She’s not the issue’s protagonist, but she’s not the subject either; instead, Langridge treats it as a jumble. The show needs a guest and can’t afford anyone (it’s rather unfortunate Langridge doesn’t get to use real celebrities, since it always made the actual show so funny… maybe he should use other Boom! characters, which would at least be format adaptive–or other Boom! creators). They get a psychic who sends Piggy into a tizzy and hilarity ensues. He also relies a lot less on sketches than he did in any of the previous…

The Muppet Show 3 (May 2009)

How does Langridge deal with his Gonzo issue? Unoriginally, unfortunately. Langridge’s focus on Gonzo is the traditional “what species is Gonzo” question. He has Scooter go around trying to figure it out. This issue is definitely the quickest read of the issues so far (and, I hate to say it, the least artistically–that adjective having a special meaning in the context of discussing this issue). Gonzo is barely a character. Instead, he’s the subject. And it doesn’t work. It’s as though Langridge doesn’t like writing Gonzo–I don’t particularly remember him having a lot of page time in the previous issues–and would rather…

The Muppet Show 2 (April 2009)

Langridge gives himself a difficult task with his Fozzie issue. He has to make a comic about Fozzie getting funny again. Fozzie, of course, is painfully unfunny. The issue opens with Fozzie bombing, then we move through the standard Muppet sketches (some featuring Fozzie, some not) and Fozzie’s attempts at reinventing his comic style. So it’s funny to watch these incredibly awkward failures–and the various Muppets’ responses to them–while still being (humorously) concerned with Fozzie’s predicament. Unfortunately, Langridge’s conclusion is convoluted. He references an earlier sketch–Honeydew bringing a piece of cheese to life–and it reads like the cheese had something to do…

The Muppet Show 1 (March 2009)

I’ve read Langridge’s Muppet Show before and remembered it was excellent, but I didn’t exactly remember why it was excellent. Langridge mixes humor and quite a bit of sentiment here but also introduces the Muppets being the focus of the off-stage antics. In other words, without a “guest star,” Langridge makes it all about the Muppets (in this issue, Kermit in particular), which changes the dynamic a little…. Langridge’s artwork, while not as iconic as some of the other Boom! Muppet series, gives the characters so much life. His expressions are just amazing. His moments are perfect, whether it’s the hecklers or…

Muppet Peter Pan 4 (November 2009)

There’s a wonderful moment here, where being a Muppet comic really allows Randolph to do something neat, and she turns a battle scene into a segment for the Muppet sports’ show. It’s just a lovely way to do a comedic battle scene. As a last issue, it’s really successful. My only problem is the lack of Piggy in the final few pages, which seems awkward. It’s practically like she’s a non-character after the whole issue is this frantically paced conclusion, all set off by her. So much happens in the comic–Peter Pan growing up, he and Captain Hook befriending each other, Gonzo…

Muppet Peter Pan 3 (October 2009)

And now things are back on track. Randolph says, in a promotional interview where the letters page should be, Janice is one of her favorites to write and it really shows here. Janice sort of becomes the main character in this issue, opening it (but not closing it), and all of her stuff, whether funny or narratively important, works really well. It’s just a good issue, with a lot more content than the second. However, there’s one moment–Rizzo hurting Piggy as Tinkerbell–I didn’t really get. He’s able to hurt her with insults, so there’s no action violence, but it’s still torture in…

Muppet Peter Pan 2 (September 2009)

While solid, this second issue isn’t as strong as the first. Some of that weakness has to do with the content. Here we get introduced to Gonzo as Captain Hook. There are some very funny lines–especially with Rizzo the Rat as Gonzo’s first mate–but there’s definitely something off. Kermit (as Peter Pan) is barely in the issue. Even when he visually dominates, there’s something behind him going on to reduce his import. The focus is off here. It doesn’t wander so much as it’s misaligned. I get why it’s difficult–the pacing of a Peter Pan adaptation requires a lot of separate introductions,…

Muppet Peter Pan 1 (August 2009)

Reading Muppet Peter Pan, I’m confused why Boom! didn’t open with this series, at least as far as their themed Muppet comics go. I also want to mention I had a chance to get an Amy Mebberson sketch cover at C2E2 and did not because I hadn’t read Peter Pan yet and now greatly regret it. Mebberson’s art nearly makes the book. It’s outstanding (she seems to spend time making sure Piggy is pretty), nicely straddling making the Muppets cute and kid friendly while still turning in good artwork. But Randolph’s writing, her use of adult humor–I mean, Sam the Eagle’s jingoistic…

The Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson 4 (October 2009)

Langridge does a couple really profound things–wait, only one profound thing–the other thing isn’t profound as much as interesting. I don’t remember a lot of “the Muppet Show,” mostly the movies, so I don’t know if the theater’s history was ever discussed “in canon,” but here Langridge establishes the theater was around before Kermit and the gang, which is something of a crazy idea (just imagine, a prequel series–someone call Hayden Christiansen). The profound thing is taking Statler and Waldorf out of their balcony seats and sending them home for the night. It’s an incredible moment. Otherwise, it’s a nice, pleasant issue.…

The Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson 3 (September 2009)

I just read this issue and I can’t tell you a thing in it except a Pigs in Space episode–not as funny because Piggy’s not in it–something about Piggy being covered in fake jewels–and a really touching scene with Animal. The series has been full of touching scenes with Animal. It’s more of a character than I’ve ever seen him, but I’m not entirely sure I read Muppet comics for Animal’s character development. Pretty sure I read them to laugh and, here, Langridge does come up with some impressive writing… only not plotting. The rhyming alone is exceptionally impressive. I can’t figure…