The Muppet Show #5
The Family Reunion storyline continues from issue #4. In this issue, it’s Miss Piggy’s turn, with the visit of her nephews Randy and Andy, who are incredibly stupid pigs.
I never cared for them much when they appeared on Muppets Tonight!, but in print, they’re funny to me. Perhaps because I can enjoy how they waste everyone else’s time without feeling that mine is wasted, since they take up relatively less screen time. And since their appearance is framed as another attempt to cause chaos by the gods Statler and Waldorf, they’re perfect choices.
But my favorite part of this issue is the cut-away to Bobby Benson’s Baby Band. I adore the way Roger Langridge manages to remember and include Muppet pieces I loved on the original show but had forgotten about until he captures them perfectly. In this case, the comic format allows him to have artist Amy Mebberson draw them doing things that would be too difficult with actual baby puppets, cute as they are. Mebberson, meanwhile, carries on excellently in Langridge’s tradition, creating a cast that look like their familiar puppet selves while still seeming to move between panels. They’re not static and they’re not false.
Seeing the Swedish Chef is always a treat, too. I’m amazed by how Langridge uses every tool he can for humor: visuals, authentic voices in text, puns, gags, wordplay, what we know about the characters, and what we didn’t realize we knew. In the Chef’s case, he doesn’t have the audio of the Chef’s ridiculous accent, but he does have funny-looking characters to drop into word balloons to remind us of what he should sound like, and he writes the dialogue so we can sound it out ourselves and capture the mood.
He even makes a gag of what I didn’t notice last issue: that Skeeter apparently can’t be named. The pig boys call her “genius” or “Scooter’s sister” or even, obviously, “what’s-er-name” — but that’s in keeping with their tiny little brains. Speculation has it that this is a restriction involving licensing or some such.
The Muppet Show remains the best all-ages comic out today, and by that I mean everyone, no matter their age, will find something to enjoy in it. I can’t wait to see which forgotten relatives will appear next! I’m thinking one issue might be some of Kermit’s frogs, although they’ve already done a storyline with him going home. I wonder who else is to come? I greatly anticipate finding out. (The publisher provided an online review copy.)