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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow is a charming children’s story with clearly defined heroes and villains, plus music-making Muppet monsters from outer space, all lovingly adapted into comics form by Roger Langridge. It has a classic feel that will please adults but is fresh enough for children to enjoy, and Langridge does a particularly nice job of rendering music into visual form, something that is often a challenge for creators.
The book is adapted from a script that Jim Henson and collaborator Jerry Juhl wrote for a children’s television special, and the story is pretty straightforward. The protagonist, Timmy, lives with his Aunt Clytemnestra, who has an other-worldly feel to her, and his older sister Ann, who is more of a hippie type (the story is set in 1968). Ann and Timmy like to go out to an isolated area of their property to practice playing guitar, but they get chased off by their mean neighbor Mister Sump, who wants the land for himself.
Timmy is out practicing one day when the monsters arrive and accompany him with strange musical sounds of their own. Soon Timmy is friends with the monsters, but you know in a story like this that the bad guy is going to cause trouble, and that’s exactly what happens. Turkey Hollow has more turkeys than people, and suddenly the turkeys are all gone and the monsters are found sleeping in a heap with bones scattered all around. The sheriff reluctantly rounds the monsters up and puts them in jail, but Timmy is pretty sure they are being framed, and he sets off to prove it.
Roger Langridge, who earned acclaim for his run on BOOM! Studios’ The Muppets, will return to the world of Jim Henson in October with Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow.
Published by Archaia, the graphic novel is an adaptation of a 1960s screenplay for an unproduced Thanksgiving television special by Henson and Jerry Juhl, later head writer of The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock and co-writer of five of the first six Muppet feature films. According to USA Today, the script had been in the Henson archives for decades, along with Tale of Sand, which was adapted in 2012 as a graphic novel by Ramon Perez.
Back in March, Archaia Entertainment announced it would publish Tale of Sand, a graphic novel based on an unproduced screenplay by Jim Henson and his writing partner Jerry Juhl. Last week, on the eve of Henson’s 75th birthday, the publisher posted a generous 20-page preview of the book, illustrated by Ramón Peréz. It’s a bit disorienting at first, but stick with it — it’s not exactly cinematic, but the flow of the story, especially in the first few pages, is also very different from traditional comics. Peréz told Comic Book Resources’ Steve Sunu about the process of illustrating Henson’s script:
After reading the script a couple of times, I sat down with my sketchbook and basically started sketching and adapting and the film just started unraveling in my head. The script itself is very light on dialogue; it’s all about visual story. It could almost be a silent film with a principle soundtrack. If you cut all the dialogue, it would still work. It was very detailed, and I had to adapt the pacing to a graphic novel where you have page turns. You want to keep exciting moments as much as possible as the reader is flipping through
You can definitely see what he is talking about in the pages so far—there are quick cuts and montages, but it’s definitely a graphic novel.