Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Muppet Show Comic Book # 0

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded, and maybe you'd like to think about reading them as well. This time, a review of The Muppet Show Comic Book # 0 (Boom, 2009).

Well, I can't help but feel a little disappointed with this one. Having successfully published a pair of four-issue Muppet Show miniseries, Boom has committed to an ongoing title. I don't know that you can tell that huge of a difference if you're picking these up from the funnybook store, but this one is labeled issue number zero, as is the fashion among publishers. While the script is by the mighty Roger Langridge as usual, he has taken a well-deserved break and it is drawn by fill-in artist Shelli Paroline.

Don't get me wrong; her art is terrific and she does not put a foot wrong. She is easily the second best person to ever draw Muppet comics, but she's not Langridge, and I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that a fill-in artist helped out this month, since it is his name that sold this book to me. Let's face it; there was a tremendous amount of subpar entertainment sold to us with the Muppets' brand stuck on it until fairly recently. That Christmas TV movie last year, for instance.

Anyway, issue zero is the story of the "Pigs in Space" movie, as pitched by Fozzie and Rizzo in alternate order to a pair of not-so-anonymous studio executives, each interrupting and carrying on the storyline into nonsensical directions. Somehow, it's further interrupted by Muppet Labs and Muppet News Flash breaks which further comment on the Swinetrek's mission. I've forced the News Flash guy's "bigamy" pun on about ten people since I read this comic; it's brilliant.

I'm not sure I believe the Muppets really need an issue zero relaunch, but having read it, I was as charmed as I could have hoped. It's a dense, funny read, with a lot of action in a wild story that takes a good while to read. You don't often feel like you get your money's worth in modern mainstream American comics, but Langridge packs so many gags into the fast-moving story that it really satisfied me. This is really good stuff, highly recommended for readers of all ages.

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