The Muppets Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
As the reviews editor for Comic Book Resources, I accumulate a lot of collected editions. For better or worse, trade-waiting has become a part of the comics landscape, but it’s easy to tell when a collection rises above the pack. Whether it’s through superior craftsmanship, incredible bonus material, attention to the little details or a combination of all three, there are always a few trades that rise to the top, and make for an enjoyable reading experience and a fantastic display piece.
Thus, here are a few of my favorite collected editions of 2014, factoring in the strength of the original material, and what makes the collection worth picking up for those that might already own the single issues — ranging from budget-conscious trades up through the incredibly pricey omnibus editions.
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’d first pick up Creator Owned Heroes #2 (Image, $3.99). This format is something I revel in, and it doesn’t hurt to have good comics like those from Palmiotti, Gray, Noto, Niles and Mellon. After that I’d get the long-awaited Infernal Man-Thing #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I only found out about this delayed-’80s series in the early 2000s, but I had the chance to speak to Kevin Nowlan about a year back and we talked at length about the book. He showed me some art and I was sold. Third on my list would be Invincible #93 (Image, $2.99). The Walking Dead might be getting all the attention, but if I had to chose between all of the books Kirkman’s written it’d easily be Invincible. He and artists Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley continue to bring their A-game here, and this new format with Ottley and Walker trading pages is great. With the last bit of my $15 I’d pick up Avengers Vs. X-Men #7 (Marvel, $3.99). This has easily become one of the greatest event series since Civil War, and the last issue in particular sold it with the twin stylings of Jonathan Hickman and Olivier Coipel. You might say I have diminished thresholds when it comes to event series, but I see it as a different kind of comic than, I don’t know, Dan Clowes or something. It’s its own thing, and in this case it’s very good at it.
If I had $30, I’d get Mike Norton’s Battlepug HC (Dark Horse, $14.99). Call me a fool for buying a free webcomic in trade, but I missed the boat when this was coming out online. Norton has won me over with his work through the years and I have no problem shelling out $15 bucks to see it in this hardcover format – even if I’m not a dog person.
And for splurging, I’d get Ed Piskor’s Wizzywig HC (Top Shelf, $19.95). This is exactly the kind of book that fits in my wheelhouse, but like Battlepug I missed out on this when it was first published. Like some sort of Hackers movie done right (sorry Angelina!), I want to learn more about this and eschew my status as a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie.
Roger Langridge is the latest creator to say he is no longer going to work for Marvel or DC Comics because of concerns about the way they treat creators.
The subject came up last week, when Langridge, the writer of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, the Muppets comics (originally created for BOOM! Studios and now being republished by Marvel) and John Carter: A Princess of Mars, was interviewed on The Orbiting Pod podcast. After chatting about his newest comics Snarked! and Popeye (which IDW Publishing has just expanded from a four-issue miniseries to an ongoing series), he added this:
I’m very happy to be cultivating a working relationship with people like BOOM! and IDW at the moment when Marvel and DC are turning out to be quite problematic from an ethical point of view to continue working with.
I think it’s down to everybody’s individual conscience, but I think those of us who have options—and I do have options, I’ve got a working relationship with a couple of different publishers, I’ve got illustration to fall back on, I’m not beholden to Marvel and DC for my bread and butter, so it seems to me that if you do have the option you should maybe think hard about what you are doing and who you are doing it for. I was writing the last issue of John Carter when the news came that Marvel had won a lawsuit against the heirs of Jack Kirby, and Steve Bissette wrote a very impassioned post about the ethics of working for Marvel under those circumstances, and pretty much then I figured I should finish the script I was writing and move on, and it’s not like Marvel needs me. It’s no skin off their nose if I don’t accept anything else from them in the future.
On his blog, Langridge clarifies that he made the decision last summer, at a time when he wasn’t doing any Marvel or DC work, so he’s not so much quitting as deciding not to go back. His statements come less than a month after iZombie and Superman writer Chris Roberson made headlines with his announcement that he’s ending his relationship with DC because of its treatment of creators and their heirs.
Last year BOOM! Studios’ licenses for the various Disney properties expired, and one of the casualties of that was a four-issue Muppets arc by Roger Langridge that had not been printed yet. “As far as I understand it, the unpublished work I’ve done for Boom isn’t technically Disney’s until it’s published, and obviously Boom can’t publish it without a license,” Langridge said at the time. “So it’s in a kind of limbo right now. In the best of all possible worlds, I’d like to think that Boom and Marvel can come to some kind of arrangement whereby Marvel can eventually release the work.”
Apparently some sort of arrangement has been reached, as Marvel has solicited the first issue of a four-issue Muppets miniseries for July, featuring that “lost” story by Langridge. Here’s the solicitation:
MUPPETS #1 (of 4)
The four-part Muppet Show story “The Four Seasons” – for the first time in print!
Written by ROGER LANGRIDGE
Art by ROGER LANGRIDGE
Cover by TBD
• Kermit and the gang put on a show to celebrate spring’s arrival at the Muppet Theatre!
• A special guest — Meredith the Mountain Gorilla — arrives to perform on the Muppet Show, and her many admirers compete for her affections.
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99
The miniseries follows Marvel’s reprintings of other Muppets material produced by Langridge while BOOM! had the license. Langridge said he wasn’t aware that Marvel was publishing the comic until he read it on the internet, but he did know it would be published in Italy.
“I’ve been working with Disney Italy on a few things they wanted tweaked (they needed Gonzo’s nose redrawing), so presumably that’s where Marvel are getting it from,” he said on his blog, adding, “If anyone from the appropriate department of Marvel is reading this, I can send you my scripts if you want, rather than translating from Italian back into English. (I remember reading British Disney comics as a kid where Carl Barks’ dialogue had been totally rewritten and it made my teeth hurt.)”
Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.
When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.
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.