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Muppet Maybes
posted July 17, 2008
 

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Creator: Roger Langridge
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 16 pages, undated, no price
Ordering Numbers:

Astute comics readers may be sick of the kind of praise-through-complaining that gets done on behalf of the cartoonist Roger Langridge. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Langridge himself becomes tired of the general rhetoric tossed out on his behalf, the notion that something is fundamentally broken in comics that he's not universally lauded and adored instead of his current status as hardcore fan favorite and cartoonist's cartoonist. I'm also suspicious of overpraising the kind of commercial work that appears in his con giveaway Muppet Maybes because all in all, I'd rather read Langridge working on his own characters 100 times for every one time I follow him into someone else's world.

All that said, this mini-comic featuring a bunch of Muppet adventures structure in the vignette form familiar from the international syndication hit The Muppet Show is kind of stupid-great. Not only does Langridge have the rhythms of the show down -- he opens up with a long speech by Sam the Freaking Eagle, for pity's sake -- the mini features crisp and lovely commercial artwork that serves as a great source of the overall pleasure one will derive from a comic like this one. So yes, in a perfect world, Langridge would have a solo anthology title that would be purchased by tens of thousands of fans and from which he spun book collections of whatever type he wanted to pursue, but I would definitely settle for a reality in which Langridge did 32 pages of Jim Henson comics every couple of months. It's a shame that both possibilities seem at this time to be off the books.

Even the imperfections in Langridge's models and dialogue -- Statler and Waldorf, Fozzy and Kermit himself look slightly different than what one might be used to seeing, and Langridge is better at the general bustle of the show than capturing specific voices -- lend an author's idiosyncrasies to the overall effort the same way the better adapted comic books of yesteryear were able to combine a recognizable style and an individual's artistic flair. I don't want to praise it beyond the point of reason: a good Muppet Show comic is a good Muppet Show comic, but I enjoyed this one, and find it increasingly difficult not to enjoy a lot of what Langridge does.