Monday, January 17, 2011

Best comics of 2010: No. 2 (tie) : The Muppet Show

Whoda thunk it?
There should be no way The Muppet Show would translate into a comic book. Gags are dependent on timing, and there's so much of this you just can't reproduce on a printed page.

It's so delightful in such a cornball way. There should be no way that the old guys in the balcony or the backstage antics work in a comic book.
But they do!

The drawing is perfect. Much as I like The Simpsons comic line, sometimes the art is just wrong for the characters. Not so here!
Every issue, there's a couple story lines going- the one onstage and the one backstage, just like in the show. However, in the comic, they can stretch a bit more. the layouts offer chances for innovation, and they're able to take the storyline outside the studio, which the show seldom did (aside, of course, from the immortal PIGS IN SPACE, which I still say should have been a feature film).

Charming, witty stories of werewolves and Sherlock Holmes pastiches, interspersed with wisecracking deities gaming with the lives of our troupe.
Writer/artist Roger Landridge, who sadly announced his departure from  the book amicably for his own reasons by the end of 2010, created an unexpected masterpiece out of what was largely thought of as a dated kids' show. The artist on issues 4 - 8 was one Amy Mebberson, whose work is deserving of recognition in its own right.
Landridge began doing Muppet comics in the late lamented Disney Adventures Digest. this was another haven for kid's comics.
A couple points need to be made here.
First, I'm so sick of hearing things like "safe for kids" and "fun for all ages"that I could puke coat hangers. A good story is a good story is a good story. Are there stories that are too nuanced for kids? Possibly, but you could make the same argument for many adults. Sadly, there are a  large number of adults who think this material is somehow beneath them, more fools they.
Second, this is not the first time that The Muppets have been around the funny books. In addition to appearances in The Muppet Magazine of the mid-80s, Marvel had a great Muppet Babies comic as part of their 80s Star! line of comics aimed at the youth market.
These were also very smart, imaginative comics. But Muppet Babies was the best thing on Saturday morning for 7 years (1984 - 1991), so they had great source material too.
We wish Landridge well in his future endeavors. He's also moving on from writing THOR, which means we'll probably never see this scene....
Much as I like Simonson's Thor-frog, pictured below, Landridge's might be better. You be the judge.

Next: Best of 2010: the runners-up.


  1. With a growing number of incidents where parents buy their kids comics with adult themes and then blame the companies for their own failure to properly censor their child's reading materials, I suppose it's understandable that companies would want to make it known that they are producing stories that lack objectionable content. Personally I love a lot of "kids comics" cause as you put it, a good story is a good story...

    But unfortunatly the conservative media, is still pushing the same old Seduction of the Innocent stories... so people producing stuff for kids have to jump up and down and tell everyone.

  2. True, and incidents like the comic store operating nutcase blogging about executing government officials don't exactly help our tarnished image.