Best Shots Extra: The Muppet Show #1
Welcoming the Muppets Back to Comics
Written and drawn By Roger Langridge
From BOOM! Kids
Ladies and gentleman, it's The Muppet Show! Brought to you by a very special medium, Comics!!
And cue the band.
Roger Langridge's first issue of The Muppet Show; the Comic is a labor of love, and celebration of everything good about Henson and crew's collection of dogs, pigs, frogs, and whatevers. It delivers on its promise to restore classic sensibilities to the most genuine folks you'll ever meet in show biz; the Muppets.
Langridge takes readers back to the Muppet's original formula, returning them to the Muppet Theater, and resurrecting their old recurring sketches. This isn't an adventure starring the Muppets, as the films are, or the Muppet's formative years, like the Muppet Babies, or a newfangled broadcast TV show, a la ABC's short-lived Muppets Tonight; this is the Muppets are their variety-show best. This is the Muppets of puns, slapstick, and jokes so bad you can't help but laugh.
The beauty of the Muppets as a comic is that here, everyone sounds exactly as you remember them. These are the lost episodes of the Muppets' golden years, and they are as classic as remembered. With songs, explosions, backstage access, a News Flash or two, Pigs in Space, and the Swedish Chef, it won't be long until you forget you're reading a comic, and not sitting in the audience.
Langridge takes care not to rest on the laurels of his characters, as well. Sure, it can be a bit jarring when he alternates out of the standard, puppeteer- concealing 3/4 POV, but he is committed to bringing out the most in these felt forged fellows. Most importantly, he makes sure to draw funny. And he does so without sacrificing any of the character's visual integrity. Better still, freed of the confines of Muppet physical reality, he can manipulate faces and bodies in new, emotive ways.
The most important thing about the Muppets, beyond the slapstick and charm, was the character's real heart. It allowed for the over-the-top tomfoolery to remain grounded, which was especially integral considering their unique ability to interact with the real world. Sadly, the real world bit back, and when Jim Henson died he left a void in the heart of his ensemble. Appropriately, this first issue finds its thematic center with Kermit's sense of nostalgia and loss. It isn't heavy-handed, or obtuse. Instead, it brings a simple poignancy to the characters that comfort us, and bring us laughter.
I don't know if this issue will make you fall in love with the Muppets if you haven't already. There are no big-haired celebrity guest stars, or unscheduled cameos. But there are pages that sing, bears in funny hats, hecklers who heckle, and things that go boom. Who could ask for anything more?