James Gannon - What comic can come out a month early the second issue, and a month late the third and let it not detract at all from its super-coolness? Why, Archaia’s Fraggle Rock Volume 2 - Issue 3 of course! Okay... you find a way to address that without sounding like it matters.
The issue leads off with “My Gift is My Song” by Katie Cook. She usually handles the cute little craft activities at the end, and this is her first story since Volume 1 - Issue 1, and her first lead over all. Much like Langridge made the Muppet designs completely his own, so does Katie, giving them a fresh, bubbly, cute but not sickeningly so look that completely fits the characters. I especially like how she handled the Trash Heap, bringing out the character’s inner sweetness. She does look quite a bit different, but there’s something so unique about the design, yet keeping with the character (though, she does tend to move around a bit more, almost slug-like). Story-wise, we get Boober, worrying as always. This time, he wants to give a gift that comes from deep within him to Mokey... and someone else decided to give her socks. The title... well, aside from being an Elton John reference, kinda acts as a spoiler, but we finally get the first comic appearance of Cantus and his wandering band of Minstrels. Everyone from Storyteller Fraggle to Convincin’ John appeared before, but this is the first (and hopefully not only) time we got to see Cantus grace the pages of this fine publication.
Another great Traveling Matt postcard gets read by Gobo in “Shopping with Silly Creatures” (Katie Strickland/Lindsay Cibos ). Matt, curious about the Silly Creatures’ shopping habits infiltrates a Laundromat, and misunderstands things only the way he can. There’s a great aside by Boober to make sure the Fraggles misunderstand the point, as it should be. These are so close to the show, I can’t help but hear the familiar background music that accompanies the show segments as I read.
Finally, my favorite of the already amazing bunch, “Red’s Chomp-a-Thon” (Paul Morrissey/Nichol Ashworth). Being jealous of a Doozer winning a Doozer construction competition, and therefore not being the center of attention, Red Fraggle comes up with another cockamamie contest for to win for herself. A Doozer stick eating contest, mutually benefiting Red and the Doozers (who have to construct things for them to eat). Red, being Red, makes sure to pick the weakest competition (her friends, who each have a different problem with the game) so she’s bound to win. Only there’s one Fraggle who she purposely ignored as a contestant, Large Marvin. I swear, Large Marvin has been in more comics than episodes of the show at this point. Hilarity ensues when the World’s Oldest Fraggle is the judge. Above all, a madcap, Fraggley end to an amazing volume.
What more can I say that I haven’t said five other times already? The comic is great, the art is great, the stories are great... so much time and care went to making this, they did a good thing making this an anthology series, differencing it from The Muppet Show Comic Book and Muppet Classics line. The only thing I can add is that I really hope this isn’t the end completely. Archaia’s got big plans for The Dark Crystal and A Tale of Sand (resurrecting a long-lost Henson screenplay), but I hope they consider at least one more volume of Fraggle Amazingness. If nothing else, these wonderfully done, original stories and beautiful art should outnumber the slapdash, contractual obligation “Oh, it’s just merchandise” Marvel comics of the 1980’s (I don't have anything against Marvel, but the Muppet Babies series was far superior as you'll see sometime). What an injustice that would be if they didn’t.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier