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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Three-Headed Rat of Doom

First things first - I believe the new Fin Fang Four stories begin their online serialisation on Marvel Digital tomorrow (I'll update that link when I have an actual page to direct you towards). Last I heard, they were going to kick off with the Fin Fang Foom solo story, The Bald Truth, which is one of Scott Gray's finest and funniest.

Monday was a deadline cluster - a triple whammy of Nick Mag, Muppets and Inside Soap spot illustration. Like three rats with their tails tied together (I'm just tired enough for that metaphor to make perfect sense - it'll probably be a complete mystery to me tomorrow). Finished the second variant cover for Muppet Show #1, just squeaking in on the deadline - there may be tweaks before publication, but this is what'll go in the Previews catalogue for now.


And I should clear something up: there's an online press release which seems to suggest that I'm some sort of "supervisor" on the Muppets comics, which is not the case, I'm afraid. I'm just a schlepper with a pencil, and that's kind of the way I like it. Any and all supervision is coming from Boom Studios, Disney and the lovely Jim Lewis at the Henson company, while I sit in an attic all day, scratching away. (I blame this new laundry powder.) So if there are Muppet fans who are worried about what I might do to the characters we all know and love, please rest assured that I don't have anything like the kind of power that could do any serious damage. Frankly, I'm lucky to be allowed to cross the road by myself.

8 comments:

  1. Hah! As if you have the spare time to go crossing any roads...

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  2. Just read the comments under the press release... WTF! I hadn't imagined such a hostile reception for your work, but then it had never crossed my mind that there are Muppet purists out there.

    I still think you've got the personalities of the muppets as i remember them. I believe you're taking the right approach in letting your style show through. Seeing as your comics have that vaudevillian, manic quality so in tune with the Muppets it would be crazy for you to bury it in pursuit of some kind of TM muppet look.

    Ok, rant over. :-)

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  3. there's always going to be some dipstick that believes they know the characters better the artist. I always look forward to an artists interpretation to something I'm familiar with because they tend to open doors to the imagination little ones (and myself) may not have considered before.
    I like the other cover better. I also think Animal should be crazier in appearance than Gonzo. But I really dig the dilated pupils.

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  4. Yeah, I like the other one better too. Boom seem to do variant covers as standard practice, though, so you're always going to have one you like better. On Gonzo's craziness: I always thought of Animal as relatively sane, just manic. Whereas Gonzo had depths you'd be afraid to explore...

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  5. The characters seem to be taking shape here and mostly seem to shine in this distinct style. I still don't understand the sharp-beaked Gonzo. That is the only remaining thing that sticks out, but that will likely progress too by the time he gets his own chapter. He's a very important character to fans. Muppet fans in particular are infamous for being outspoken about everything that bears the official label.

    And you are right about Gonzo being the wild one whereas Animal is fairly simple- natured and easy to figure out. I’m glad to hear your grasp on the character. From what I have heard the writing is excellent and quite Muppety on these. Will there be any newer characters included?

    Looking forward to the spring issue. For now I will keep browsing through your site and other very striking works.

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  6. I took a look at the comments under the press release too and was as surprised as Rob. Dearie me, is all I can say. I'd say more but what's the point?

    Look at the lovely cover you...you MUPPETS!

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  7. I'm really looking forward to seeing your Muppets work in print.

    The folks commenting on the press release are way off the mark.

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  8. It appears that my posts on another blog are the primary ones being cited on this one as being off the mark. Mine is not the only concerned voice out there, of course. I must admit coming on quite strong and apologize for the over-excited passions of this fan. That sentiment was related personally to Mr. Langridge some time ago and he was very gracious to me. I must thank him again for that.

    I have been reading around this blog and have discovered that many here didn't realize the Muppets had such fans. It seems short-sighted, but the truth is that Jim Henson has been gone for over 18 years and most of the efforts after his departure didn't forge a solid connection with mainstream pop culture. Let me assure everyone here that the Muppets have many fans and like most fan communities we like to see our favorite entertainment property in the best light.

    That does not mean being a "purist" or desiring the puppet characters to be drawn from the character model sheets of years past. I'm glad that these will get a stylized treatment. Trust me in that many of the classic style sheets I've seen don't pass fan muster the way that some of the Langridge translations have. His Janice and Scooter are particularly fine. My concern is with some key characters like Gonzo, Rowlf and portions of the Kermit artwork. I feel there are many shades between stale TM stock art and an entirely avant-garde approach. It appears that this artist is intent on finding that shade.

    Gonzo is my favorite character so he's particularly important to me. I am a Muppet "fanboy" and lend a hand to a popular decade-old Muppet fansite. That gig actually landed the opportunity to provide some legitimate work on his action figure along with several others a few years ago. That was a thrilling privilege for this fan and artist. I am also writing this next to a life sized puppet replica of the weirdo himself. One of the best days of my life was meeting the actual Gonzo and his performer Dave Goelz last year at a presentation. An added bit of trivia on the character is that Goelz put his engineering degree to good use in creating Gonzo's original eyelid contraption. The character didn't quite come alive until then and that could be helpful in this incarnation of him.

    I am truly sorry if I offended any Langridge fans along the way. I had never heard of Roger Langridge before this Muppet work and have since discovered the many treats on this site. In a time where it's getting harder to discern one comic artist from another these compositions and layouts are exceptional and his style is a feast for the eyes.

    I understand something different is being done here and I think this style could work for the this beloved property. The Muppet Show began its run over thirty-two years ago and many of its characters have been around for over fifty years. The characters underwent quite a bit of evolution during that time so it fits they'd do some of that here too. This fan just wants assurance that that this current work reflects a reverence for what came before.

    Fans know how the characters should look and the Muppets will likely pick up many new fans after the new holiday special. Buzz is good on that. Their legacy and style is secure. I just hope that this new comic will be a good fit and please both Muppet and Langridge fans alike. There's got to be overlap.

    Anyway, long story short - many fans exist (you can see us on muppetcentral.com, muppetnewsflash.com and toughpigs.com), we know the characters well and, like the Muppets we can be a rabid yet heart-felt bunch of misfits. Most of us want to like this comic telling. It's just that the Muppets are like lifelong friends that are so close to our hearts. Thanks for reading through this rant (and the others). I'll be sure to purchase issue one the week of release. If it's good I'll buy both covers. I'm sure your novelization will be much shorter than this post.

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London, United Kingdom
Eisner and Harvey Award-winning cartoonist responsible for The Muppet Show Comic Book, Thor the Mighty Avenger, Snarked! and Fred the Clown. Would like to save the world through comics.