Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Comic Of The Year

I know May is a little early to call it but to be honest I don't think I will read another book this year that will come as close to giving me as much pleasure as this single issue did (though the subsequent three issues will be joint second if this is anything to go by). I speak of course of Boom StudiosThe Muppet Show Comic Book Issue 1.

Written and drawn by Roger Langridge.

Now I have been a life-long fan of the Muppets and aside from the Muppet Babies comic I've never encountered their print incarnation up until now. Now the original Muppet Show was an old style variety show in a theatre hall run by Kermit and peppered with acts, whose quality will range from dubious to amazing with famous people guest starring.

Now obviously the famous guest stars have been jettisoned for obvious reasons. What we are left with is the most adept translation of the television show antics to the printed page. An overall story is loosely played with, as the book is broken up into much smaller vignettes which read as complete on their own but contribute to the overall story – in this case Kermit getting a letter and being a bit down as he is pining for the swamp. The structure of the story is a scaled down version of the approach to Planetary by Warren Ellis.

All your favourites are in here, Statler and Waldorf are pouring scorn on proceedings as the Swedish Chef works his demented kitchen magic. There's even an installment of Pigs in Space. I've no doubt that Muppet Hospital will get a look in in future issues.

Now the art is fantastic, Langridge is a very skilled cartoonist and he shows his chops here. Now apparently some hardcore Muppet fans (yes there is such a thing, I didn't know until recently either) were unhappy that not all of the likenesses were spot on. For me I don't mind at all, I'm always happy to see some interpretation on the part of the artist and it's not as if the likenesses are wildly off. He's no stranger to the Muppets, having done some work for the now defunct Disney Magazine featuring the Muppets. Go to the man's blog and you will see some samples of his Muppets work as well as others.

Now licensing restrictions mean this book sadly isn't on sale in the UK, although there are ways round this of course and I urge anyone who loves fun comics to check this out. It's not some horrible nostalgia cash-in. The book has a lot of heart and it's a pure joy to read from start to finish.

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