Muppet King Arthur #2
Comic Book Review
Written by Paul Benjamin and Peter Stork
Illustrated by James Silvani
James Gannon - To keep things on schedule, BOOM! Studios released three Muppet comics (2 of them are King Arthur) in the frame of a month, and a short month at that. It’s like Christmas in February. Of course what would have made it more like Christmas in February is if someone bought these for me!
Now, I said in the last review they tackle this story loosely. It just got a LOT looser, and that’s not a bad thing. Unlike the other BOOM! Muppet comics, this one is full of pop culture references, anachronistic ones at that. (Think Genie from the Disney Aladdin movie. How did he know about the existence of Groucho Marx centuries before his birth?) The issue itself takes place in a parody of “Britain’s Got Talent,” going as far as making a significant parody of a famous contestant. Really, you haven’t made it until you’re a lobster caricature that the Swedish Chef tries to cook. If this was in the context of a movie, I’d actually mind all the current and semi-current references. The Muppets' Wizard of Oz came off as an advertisement for American Idol (I still blame Fox’s involvement in the project). But this serves as a very integral plot point, being how Arthur will gather his knights of a certain table (not giving away that joke).
And there are quite a few references to other shows, including (in a long string of gags) mentioning a certain Tatsunoko Productions anime, specifically it’s American name (Not giving away that groaner of a joke either, and I feel I should mention it, being a Tatsunoko fiend). It all comes off very much like It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and Muppets Tonight’s best pop culture jokes only much more strategically placed. Plus, since it’s a comic book and not a movie it really doesn’t matter as much if any of the jokes are dated.
We see quite a few knight hopefuls, some with Fozzie Bear quality groan inducing names (which I shudder to even name). While King Arthur is busy with his auditioning show, Sam of Eagle hosts his own forum to disavow, discredit, and dethrone Arthur so he can take the rightful leadership spot. Of course, his bitter angry political ramblings fall on deaf ears. At the risk of sounding political, wouldn’t it be keen if things were like that in real life? And of course, we get a certain reference to a certain old skit that takes a Muppets Tonight gag to a further level.
Understandably, with scheduling and deadlines, we actually have a new artist in this issue. While I did miss Dave Alvarez’s Looney Tunes feel, James Silvani’s stark graphic quality seems to work just as well. This really bridges the gap between Muppet, cartoon, and comic with the most traditional comic book style of the group so far. The only slight issue I have were that it took a few panels to really get Fozzie and Kermit down (and once he does, he does it wonderfully). He even gives background and original characters a very Muppet feel, putting in some uncommon to rare characters in crowd scenes (I’m not revealing them). All and all, James is another great Muppet comic artist BOOM! should continue to keep an eye on for future projects.
Now, I will close this review with something that’s been bugging me since the beginning of the Muppet comics. I think the colorists do a great job and all, but sometimes it feels they’re not too familiar with certain characters, and it seems like there isn’t quite a bond between them and the artists. Basically, more than a few times I’ve noticed a wrong colored Mahna Mahna on a cover, a green Thog in the background, and in this specific comic a flesh toned Beauregard (especially after the character was colored correctly the rest of the issue) and a green haired and lipped Pepe. It’s not really all that bad, since they do a spot on job the rest of the time, and it really doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment. But it really seems that some nice cameos get lost in the process.
Thanks to James Gannon for the fantastic review! Check back on The Muppet Mindset tomorrow for our interview with the artist of the rest of Muppet King Arthur, the fantastic James Silvani!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier