The Muppet Show Comic Book #10
Muppet Mash Part Three: Monster Munch
Written and Illustrated by Roger Langridge
James Gannon - Muppet Mash features a perfectly-timed Halloween friendly story arc with the last issue to be released in October. But would you believe that the September issue, Issue #3, is the one that actually takes place on Halloween?
For this very special occasion, Kermit has booked the famous (and quite old) Howlin’ Jack Talbot. This legendary blues/rock musician wrote the Halloween favorite, "Monster Munch" (which, as you can expect is a fairly obvious parody of "Monster Mash," performed later this issue). While last issue’s guest star was a favorite of the old coots in the balcony, this guest is a personal inspiration for the house band. Dr. Teeth and the rest of the Electric Mayhem welcome the chance to perform with their idol--except something very strange happens every time they do. Howlin’ Jack mumbles “not again” and runs off, only to have a giant wolf (which bears an uncanny yet unconnected resemblance to Rowlf) run up on stage in his place, ruining the number even further.
The old adage that one should never meet their hero holds true, as the Electric Mayhem get frustrated at his repetitive disappearance. Animal still likes him, and nibbles on a large bone he finds in Howlin’ Jack’s dressing room. Of course, two and two are finally put together, begging the question, is Howlin’ Jack’s mysterious secret that he really is a werewolf? All of which leads to a stunning climax, featuring a great performance by Animal and a very twisty-turny double twist of an ending. Oh, and there’s a clever little gag throughout. Silver bullets are the way to defeat a werewolf, and who better to dole it out but the Lonesome Stranger (couldn’t get the rights to the real one, I suppose).
The show opens up with perhaps the maddest version of Little Red Riding Hood a human being from this planet could tell, substituting a perfectly Muppety giant chicken instead of a wolf (and that's the sane part). Bunsen tests a hair growth formula on Beaker, and Link Hogthrob: Monster Smasher takes on a giant monster attacking the city--a giant puppy. All of these sketches tie into the Werewolf theme to be sure. And it’s nice to see the story line center on the Electric Mayhem once again, after having a very important subplot in the Treasure of Peg leg Wilson arc. The addition of a guest star that’s more like an actual Muppet Show guest makes the thing really feel more like the show. I know Roger was pushing for a guest star related arc, and he managed to pull it off here anyway. And let’s not forget the off kilter musical numbers that deteriorate and just keep going. This is a very wild issue, even without a wolf running around.
One last thing... I can safely say that a major part of not having two variant covers came out of necessity. The cover is actually altered from an unused Mummy themed piece, swapping Howlin’ Jack and the Wolf for the Pharaohs of last issue, making me think that was supposed to be that issue’s variant. As we’ve seen with Family Reunion, some of the covers were supposed to be for different stories (said Guest Star Arc) and were done so far in advance that they had to actually be incorporated into the story somehow. A lot of these stories and concepts did change at last moment (the case with Snow White #4), and to actually have two different covers that don’t match the story (unless the story is changed to match the covers) wouldn’t be cost effective and tricky to work around. At least that’s what I’m getting.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier