Fraggle Rock Comic Book #2
James Gannon - I have to be brutally honest here, due to the fact that Fraggle Rock was a cable show, a premium station no less, it took me almost 20 years to finally see it on DVD. Looking at it with a more critical adult eye, you can pick apart things you can truly appreciate and see how deep the program really is. And those same great things, I feel, are in these Fraggle Rock comics by Archaia Comics. As I said last time, there is just no comparison between these and the admittedly weak Marvel Comics series. I almost wish it was possible to send a copy to my childhood self so I could really get the Fraggle experience. These seem to capture the series even better than the pretty good but not the same thing cartoon series I had to make do with.
The first issue started with a bang, and the second one continues with it. This comic series does something that the last one didn’t: Doc appears fully drawn in the first story. Doc did appear in the other comic, but similar to his animated counterpart, his face wasn’t shown. Yeah, just like Nanny in Muppet Babies. Doc takes in a stray kitten until he can find the owner. A fight between the cat and Sprocket breaks out, causing the cat to flee into the Rock. Naturally, the monster from Outer Space causes panic, especially since it seems to hang around Wembely. And each Fraggle deals with getting rid of it their own way, leaving Mokey to get distracted and start writing poetry. This is really a story line that could very easily have been lifted from the show itself, featuring dead on character personalities and great painterly art.
Rounding out the issue, we get two more short comics. In the first story, Gobo gets a postcard from Uncle Matt where he encounters garbage and recycling trucks for the first time. I really hope this is a recurring segment. Even though he was on the B cover of issue 1, Uncle Matt was nowhere to be found inside. He’s pretty much my favorite character outside of the main five, and it’s his wonderful observations that are the reason why. And it’s executed wonderfully here, mimicking the TV series perfectly. Closing the issue off, Wembley gets stage fright, causing Convincing John to tell about his origin. Or rather, sing about it in his signature tune. Music in comics rarely works, unless you know the song’s tune of course. Though, if it is coming from Convincing John himself, you wonder if it actually is true. And of course, a cute little activity for the younglings, Mokey’s instructions for a mock Doozer tower construction (though I’m still waiting for someone to devise something so I could make a real one).
I usually close with a critique of the art, but I find it would take far too long at this point. They ALL do a great job and they all have their different style. And I always like to see that in an anthology series like Fraggle Rock is. Jake Myler, Joanna Estep, and Fernando Pinto all adapt Fraggle Rock into different styles that are perfectly fitting with the characters and the artists themselves, and Leigh Dragoon, Adrianne Ambrose, and Neil Kleid clearly know the show and characters inside out and upside down. This is indeed a Fraggle Rock comic, and not a comic that just so happens to have Fraggle Rock in it. I will say this though… I like the idea of two short stories and one long, but I have to wonder... Wouldn’t it be something to see them mix the format up a bit, leading and ending with a short comic, while the main story is tucked in the middle? I have to say, if the two shorter stories are broken up, it might have a different flow, provided it’s not in every issue. Ah well, I can always read the comic that way myself.