INTERVIEW: "Fantastic Four" EP On Character-Driven Approach, Sequel Plans
Comic Books, Film
Forget Drake vs. Meek Mill, the greatest rap beef of our time is clearly between Stan Lee and Jim Henson.
In the latest installment of “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the co-creator of the Marvel Universe and the father of the Muppets (or at least a couple of guys who look sort of like them) settle old grudges by spitting mad rhymes.
All-New Doop (Marvel): It’s perfectly appropriate for any series starring peripheral X-Men character Doop to be a weird one, however, the miniseries collected in this trade paperback is weird in a weird way.
Doop was created by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred for their iconoclastic (and somewhat -controversial) 2001 X-Force run, which was then relaunched under the name The X-Statix. The premise involved a group of celebrity-wannabe mutants who used their powers for fame and fortune by starring in a reality show; holding the camera was a mysterious, gross, floating, potato-shaped green creature that spoke its own, indecipherable language and answered to the name Doop.
Milligan imagined a dramatic behind-the-scenes life for the character in a two-part, 2003 Wolverine/Doop miniseries, and writer Jason Aaron ran with the joke, including Doop as a member of the faculty at the Jean Grey School during his Wolverine and The X-Men run. For the most part, Doop functioned as a background joke, one more signifier of the zany environment of the new school for young mutants, though Aaron did pair with Doop’s co-creator Allred for a one-issue story that focused on the character as a behind-the-scenes, floating potato-thing-of-all-trades.
Milligan returns to the character for this miniseries, in which Allred only provides the covers, while David LaFuente draws the majority of the art. Milligan takes Doop’s behind-the-scenes portfolio to an extreme, marking him as a character capable of traveling through “The Marginalia,” entering and exiting the comic-book tales in order to influence their outcome.
The story Doop influences here is “Battle of the Atom,” the Brian Michael Bendis-helmed X-Men crossover that involved Cyclops’ X-Men team, Wolverine’s X-Men team and an X-Men team from the future engaged in a fight over what to do with the teenage original X-Men plucked out of the Silver Age and currently hanging around the present.
[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.
I spoke with the former Muppet Show cartoonist about his current projects — a return to BOOM! Studios with The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow and his creator-owned Abigail and the Snowman – what he likes about SPX, and what awesome comics he found at show. He came up with a doozie!
Brigid Alverson: Why are you here at SPX?
Roger Langridge: SPX is the first American convention I ever came to, in 2000.
What book were you debuting there?
I wasn’t! I was in the country with my wife, and we were visiting New York together, and we thought we would work in a trip to SPX while we were here. We came just to see it and to check it out and see what it was like. I was at that point working on Fred the Clown as a webcomic, and I showed it around to a few people, and it really fired me up to do self-publishing. The next year I was planning to debut Fred the Clown at SPX 2001, and of course that’s the one that was canceled because of 9/11. But that got me self-publishing, which is pretty much why I have a career today, I think.
Archaia is launching a new Fraggle Rock miniseries, based on the 1980s Jim Henson television show of the same name. This is Archaia’s third Fraggle Rock title, following a two-volume anthology of short stories in 2010 and a collection of issues from Marvel’s Star Comics imprint in 2011.
Debuting Oct. 8, Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring is a four-issue limited series with a single story arc, written by Kate Leth, who has worked on BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors comics, and Jake Myler, who was involved in the earlier Fraggle Rock comics.
In this series, the Fraggles’ water supply mysteriously runs dry, and a group sets out on a quest to find the Everspring, their water source, which no Fraggle has ever seen before. If previous comics are any guide, there will be strong personalities and plenty of silliness along the way.
This is just the latest in a long line of Henson-themed comics from Archaia, which has also published anthologies based on The Storyteller, graphic novels and novelizations of the movie The Dark Crystal, and an adaptation of Henson’s unproduced screenplay A Tale of Sand.
A few years ago, Archaia published an anthology of traditional tales based loosely on the Jim Henson television series The Storyteller. In the book, as on the screen, each of the stories was introduced by a genial storyteller (played on TV by John Hurt), who was always portrayed sitting by the fire with his dog.
Now, Nerdist brings news that Archaia is putting a slightly different spin on the concept with The Storyteller: Witches, a four-issue miniseries of folk tales about witches. As in the earlier collection, it will consist of stand-alone folk tales, each told by a different set of creators, but this time they will be published as single-issue comics. The fourth issue, Vaslissa the Beautiful, is based on an unproduced screenplay from the television series, adapted by Jeff Stokeley, the artist for Six-Gun Gorilla and The Reason for Dragons. But the one that caught my eye was the second, which will be published in landscape format (the others are portrait). And yes, the Storyteller will introduce each tale.
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.
Crime | A man in Augusta, Georgia, told police someone stole his collection of nearly 30,000 comics from a storage building at his friend’s home sometime between Nov. 13 and Dec. 30. Although the 85 boxes allegedly included signed issues, police valued the comics at just $1 each. [The Augusta Chronicle]
Publishing | ICv2 concludes its three-part interview with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley with questions about variant covers, Marvel NOW!, and staying in New York City. [ICv2]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald profiles new graphic novel publisher Magnetic Press, which is spearheaded by former Archaia and BOOM! Studios executives Mike Kennedy and Wes Harris. Magnetic will launch in April with a varied line that will focus strongly, but not exclusively, on translations of French comics. [Publishers Weekly]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Salgood Sam, who has just relaunched his independent personal anthology series Revolver. He is also completing the last chapter of a graphic novel called Dream Life after a successful Indiegogo funding drive to finance it. He also publishes the Canadian-centric comics blog Sequential. As he told me, he “usually has too many projects going on and does not get enough sleep.”
To see what Salgood Sam and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Alex Dueben, who you probably know from his interviews for the main site, Comic Book Resources, as well as for sites like Suicide Girls.
To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Beth Scorzato, managing editor of the excellent comics news and commentary site Spandexless.
To see what Beth and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I only had $15, I would only be buying one title this week: 20th Century Boys, Vol. 18 (Viz, $12.99). Sorry Americanos, but Naoki Urasawa is delivering a gripping, sprawling drama that most other books can’t live up to. Wait, I’m wrong – I’d buy two comics with a $15 budget this week; I’d snag the $1 The Strain #1 (Dark Horse, $1) for the price point and Mike Huddleston. I’ve read the novels, but for $1 I can’t miss sampling at least the first issue.
If I had $30, I’d be thankful to double-back and first get Uncanny X-Force #18 (Marvel, $3.99). This issue, the finale of the “Dark Angel Saga,” has been a long time coming and I’m excited for the writing, the art and the story itself; and I can’t forget colorist Dean White, sheesh he’s good. After that I’d pick up my usual Walking Dead #92 (Image, $2.99) and then try Ed McGuinness’ new work in Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m a big fan of McG’s work, but also realize just how different he is than the standard Marvel (or mainstream super-hero) artist in general. I’ve loved his storytelling sense since Mr. Majestic, and will pick up most any of his work without knowing much about the book itself. Next up would be James Robinson & Cully Hamner’s The Shade #3 (DC, $2.99). I’m surprised DC hasn’t done more marketing for this book, especially considering it’s a character who’s never held a series before; they’ve done little-to-any marketing to define just who the character is, relying on his ties to a lesser-selling series that ended ten years ago (no matter how good it was). Getting off my soapbox: those that have been reading The Shade know it’s good. After that I’d round it off with the best looking comic on shelves, Batwoman #4 (DC, $2.99).
If I was to splurge, I’d double-up my J.H Williams 3 fix with the final volume of Absolute Promethea (DC/ABC, $99.99). Although I already own these issues in singles, getting it over-sized and in hardcover is a treat. I’m hoping it also includes some production art or process sketches – I’m a nut for that.
Archaia has been doing a nice job of preserving Jim Henson’s legacy in comics form, with their well produced Fraggle Rock anthologies and the upcoming graphic novel A Tale of Sand, which is based on an unproduced screenplay by Henson and his co-writer Jerry Juhl. Now editor Tim Beedle has news of another Henson project that will hit the shelves in 2012: A new Labyrinth graphic novel, written by Ted Naifeh (of Courtney Crumrin fame) and Adrianne Ambrose (Fangs for Nothing, Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice) and illustrated by Cory Godbey (who has contributed to the Fraggle Rock comics). Beedle was the editor of the Return to Labyrinth graphic novels that Tokyopop published a few years ago, as well as Archaia’s Fraggle Rock comics, so he has plenty of hands-on experience with Henson’s work.
Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day giveaway is already getting the most buzz of any Gold Sponsor books, as it’s a 48-page hardcover filled with new comics, but this should seal the deal: The book will include a Labyrinth story by Naifeh and Godbey.
Gallery Nucleus showcases Graham Annable’s lovely and melancholy watercolor contributions to “The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me,” an upcoming tribute art exhibition to the late visionary Jim Henson.
“Clearly Kermit, Ms. Piggy, and Gonzo don’t know what to make of their beginnings,” the post on the gallery’s blog states, “but what we can decipher from this is Graham’s bold wit for introducing us to an unusual scenario we never expected the Muppets would run into.”
The exhibition opens Dec. 10 with a reception at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, and continues through Jan. 2.