1 The Muppet Mindset: Muppet Comic Monday: "Meet the Muppets" Trade Paperback

Jan 4, 2010

Muppet Comic Monday: "Meet the Muppets" Trade Paperback

The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet the Muppets
Trade Paperback Comic Book

Michael Wermuth, Jr. -
"Meet the Muppets" is Boom! Studios’ first trade paperback for The Muppet Show Comic Book, featuring the first four issues of the comic as well as the special preview issue that came out at Comic-Con in 2009. These trade paperbacks are a little bit smaller in actual size than the individual issues, but I feel like this size is better. As all collectors should probably know by now, the issues are "Kermit's Story," "Fozzie's Story," "Gonzo's Story," and "Miss Piggy’s Story."

Included are the "A" and "B" covers for each issue, but not any of the exclusive variant covers or even the second printing covers drawn by Roger Langridge. I’m not sure whether this was a residual issue for the various artists involved or if Boom! would have had to pay the various comic book stores that sold exclusive covers or not. Interestingly, the covers are presented without The Muppet Show Comic Book logo, and without text like what cover it is or what the issue number is. Also odd, to me anyway, is that the "B" cover is always shown before the "A" cover. The "A" cover for issue #1 is featured as the book’s cover, and not shown twice. One of the few flaws of the smaller size is that some of what was on the first cover (such as most of a Snowth) is cut off here.

The stories and short sketches are all good. Each of these issues feature a two-page spread which look to me like an honorary comic book adaption of the opening, and wish that this would have still been used as the two-page spread in "The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson." The two-page spread contains a lot of zaniness, and also allows for many characters to appear, including some obscure fan favorites. It’s a shame that these scenes don’t feature Lips, Gaffer, or Doglion (and also a shame that these same characters have yet to appear in the comic at all).

For the most part the comic focuses exclusively on characters from "The Muppet Show," plus original characters. Considering that Langridge wanted to stick with the Muppet Show characters and setting, it’s a bit odd that Rizzo is so heavily featured in these comics (well, not so much the first four, with the exception of issue #3, but with the next four issues), since he was a minor character on The Muppet Show. As for the comic’s original characters, I feel like many don’t look Muppety enough, especially humanoid characters. The frogs in the first issue look more like animated charicatures of real frogs than illustrated Muppet frogs (most Muppet frogs are closer to Kermit’s height, while these look more frog-sized).

Each issue contains a 1 or 2 page “Pigs in Space” comic. Now, while that may be a big favorite among fans, it is one of my least favorite of the recurring Muppet Show sketches. I prefer Muppet Labs, Muppet News, Muppet Sports, and Bear on Patrol. Thankfully, all of those (with the exception of Muppet Sports) make the cut in these issues. Incredibly, the comic also works in musical numbers, which I would expect to be hard to achieve in a comic, regardless of whether the song is original, copyrighted, or in the public domain. There are also a lot of funny original sketches, like "The Ubiquitous Quilp" in issue #2 and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Rat" in issue #3.

Issue #1 is a good way to start the comic book series, with everybody trying to cheer up Kermit, who longs for the swamp. One minor nitpick I have with this issue, however, is the fact that the Muppets decide to have Kermit perform in front of an audience in order to cheer him up. That’s fine, but since Kermit is the host, shouldn’t he be able to go on-stage if he wants to perform an act? Issue #2, in which Fozzie keeps trying to improve his act, is my least favorite of the first four issues. I don’t know why, but it is. Issue #3 is among the best, in which Scooter needs to find out what species Gonzo is in order for the theater to be insured (though this one does give me another nitpick… at first when asked Gonzo says he never really thought about what species he is, but at the end when Scooter begs him to tell, Gonzo gives an answer). I think issue #4 is my favorite of these, and I didn’t really expect that, since Miss Piggy isn’t one of my favorite characters, and I prefer variety over themed shows, which issue #4 is the only one in this four-issue series.

Finally, the book ends with most of the comics Roger Langridge wrote and drew for Disney Adventures. I hear that a two-page "Pigs in Space" comic is missing (hopefully that’ll appear in a future trade paperback). Many of these comics were featured in the Comic-Con preview issue, and feels more like an actual episode of The Muppet Show than the mainstream comics do. Many fans have expressed dislike for the preview comic’s artwork, but I’m not really bothered by it. A backstage story is included, in which the Muppets find what in itially appears to be a baby at the theater’s doorstep, and Sweetums gets a bit of a showcase here. Bert originally made a cameo in “At the Dance”, but here he’s replaced with Dr. Teeth. Unlike the other comics, this one feels short on obscure cameos, though Mildred make as cameo. The story ends with the one comic that was published in Disney Adventures, featuring Fozzie and a different format from other sketches in the book.

To me, these comics feel like a mix between The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight. If there is ever a new series, it should be a bit like these comics (though with actual guest stars, and more presence of Muppets Tonight characters… and also Jim Henson Hour characters).

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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