Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: The Muppet Show Comic Book #11

I’ve been avoiding writing about The Muppet Show Comic Book lately, primarily because I’ve been trying not to read single issues of it and instead enjoy it in the trade collections Boom has been putting out with clockwork regularity, but also because I assume readers get bored hearing me repeat how excellent the same book is on a monthly basis.

I had to make an exception for #11 though, because how can you say no to that cover?
Beaker as Frankenstein’s monster, his dead eyes just begging me to read this issue, trade-waiting be damned!

So, um, not to bore you by repeating how excellent Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show Comic Book is or anything, but Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show Comic Book? It’s still excellent.

Langridge continues to exploit the storyline backstage, skits-on-the-stage format, here making most of the on-stage skits more-or-less integral to the backstage storyline…everything fits in this comic book in a way that is both satisfying and reassuring.

It’s a dark and stormy night at the Muppet Theatre, made all the darker by Doctor Honeydew’s latest experiment: Beaker Mark 2, a robot Beaker designed to “take the load off poor Beaker’s tired, tired shoulders." (This being Honeydew and Beaker, of course, it’s followed quickly by a Mark 3 and Mark 4).

Honeydew’s power surges (and a few unlikely coincidences) also lead to Miss Piggy sporting Elsa Lanchester hair, Gonzo getting an Igor-esque hunchback, and his chickens turning into a pitchfork-bearing mob.

On-stage, a Frankenstein’s monster Muppet serves as the guest-star, visiting Vetrinarian’s Hospital and singing a duet with Sweetums and, in one rather neat panel, appearing as part of the Frankenbop Quartet, four Frankenstein’s monsters, including Dick Breifer’s funny version of the monster* in a stealth cameo.

I’m not sure if this is Langridge’s best issue of the series so far (It’s hard to beat that first one, with the “Holy shit, I can’t believe he’s doing this!” revelation of a one-man comic-book production of the Muppet Show TV show that was both faithful and transformed, in keeping with the spirit of the corporate-controlled characters, but highly idiosyncratic…or that heart-breaking Gonzo issue), but it’s gotta be one of the better ones, and it was certainly my favorite so far (Perhaps on account of the fact that it featured so prominently my personal favorite characters).

As a loosely holiday-themed, done-in-one issue—not that there’s ever too much continuity or soap opera in these things, but some storylines do carry over from issue to issue—The Muppet Show Comic Book #11 seem like a perfect jumping on or testing-out issue. So if you’ve yet to try out Langdrige’s Muppet comics, this is an ideal one to sample. Even if you didn’t grow up with the characters and even if you don’t have much interest in them, if you’re in to great cartooning and great terrible jokes, then you should dig it.

*Speaking of which, this recently came out. I bet it’s pretty good.

1 comment:

Randal said...

Haven't read that particular issue, but I want to agree on how awesome the comic truly is - although I'm still fuming a bit about Comicon 2009, where I bought the limited edition hardcover collection of the first issues, and Langridge was there to sign and draw a sketch in it...I truly treasure it, but the production was awful, missing covers (not just alternative covers, but most covers) and actually included the ads from the original comic instead. 50 bucks. Worth it for the sketch and meeting Langridge, but argh.

Enough ranting.

One thing that impresses me is how much continuity there actually IS in the series - and this is, what, the third or fourth issue in the monsters theme that's going on right now. But there is a continuing saga here (I mean, Skeeter! Grown up Skeeter!) that draws from 40 years of Muppet history. It is truly quite marvelous.