Roger Langridge is currently the MVP for the Muppets, being the only one these days who has been writing The Muppets in a consistent and funny voice on a regular basis. The second issue of The Muppet Show Comic Book hit the stands this week (read our review here!) and Mr. Langridge joined us for another Q&A, because he’s the coolest guy I know (sorry Dad).
If you’ve got questions for Roger Langridge, feel free to e-mail them to me and I’ll include them in next month’s Q&A. Now let’s get some As for our Qs!
ToughPigs: I noticed that Pepe made a cameo in the opening 2-page spread. Is that just a tease to the fans, or can we expect him to have a role in future issues?
Roger Langridge: I confess I’m not that familiar with Pepe – if I’m requested to give him a bigger role I’d do my best to find out more about him, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a part of the classic show, which is what I’m trying to evoke, and what my brief is, as it were. So it’s low on my list of priorities at the moment. I’m not ruling anything out, though!
TP: In the latest issue, Fozzie is dealing with the pressure of having to be funny for a niche audience. Were you channeling your own turmoil for this one?
RL: Ha ha! Not really, though I can see the connection now that you mention it. It was more that I needed to find something central to Fozzie’s character to build a story around, and his sense of himself as a “Funny Bear” seemed about as central as you could get.
TP: What has the feedback from Disney been like?
RL: I haven’t heard anything from Disney directly, but the feedback Boom! have passed on to me has been very positive.
TP: Will we ever get to meet Flash McBuck?
RL: No plans, but you never know! I think the Pigs In Space situation works best when it’s claustrophobic and the principals are getting on each other’s nerves – introducing a supporting cast would dilute that somewhat.
TP: Both this issue and the first one ended with a nice message and the main character learning something about himself. While this is welcome territory for the Muppets, will this be a recurring theme, or will we see some more bizarre storyline endings that focus more on the zaniness of the Muppets rather than the heart?
RL: These issues, focussing on individual characters, sort of require some moment of heart, some statement of who they are – that’s kind of the point of them. Further down the line, I expect I’ll mix things up a bit more. But on the whole I’m trying to balance the wacky with the heartfelt without letting one overwhelm the other. Can’t promise I’ll get it right every time, but it won’t be for lack of trying!
TP: How did your approach to the writing and art change between the first two issues? After the feedback of the first issue’s release?
RL: The first four issues were completely written before the first one was released, so there wasn’t any real difference in approach as a result of reaction to the first one. I hope there’s no difference in approach afterwards, either! I’m trying to produce a comic I’d like to read myself; I’ve been doing that since day one, and I want to continue to do that. If I think it’s funny or moving or whatever, presumably other people are going to think so too. I’m not sure I believe that trying to anticipate critical reaction and change things accordingly can ever produce anything of value.
TP: How did you come up with the sketch, “The Ubiquitous Quilp?” Between the nonsense language and your playing with the comic page as a multi-tiered set, it’s very impressive, yet confounding!
RL: I’m always trying to come up with ways to make the comic book something unique, something that couldn’t work on television – the graphic style is a part of that, and using the medium in ways that wouldn’t work on screen is another part. Otherwise, the entire comic book project is kind of redundant – why make a Muppet comic when you could just watch the videos? So I try to come up with something that could only work as a comic in each issue. And I always liked the bits on the show that seemed to come from nowhere; that were, shall we say, aggressively strange. So that was something I wanted to do as well.
TP: Can you tell us anything about your next Muppet Show comic book, “The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson”?
RL: It’s a four-issue story where Scooter finds a map in a storeroom that reveals the existence of a treasure hoarde hidden somewhere in the theatre. Rizzo gets his fellow rats searching for it, and naturally this interferes with the smooth running of the show. Hilarity ensues! (Or something.) Meanwhile, Kermit starts acting very cool for no apparent reason, getting Miss Piggy all hot and bothered, and Animal… oh, poor Animal isn’t himself at all. This story will be a bit stronger on subplots than the first four issues, hopefully all coming together in a satisfying way by the end. (Bit of a new way of working for me, so I hope I can pull it off!) And, of course, the skits and general mayhem will continue unabated.
TP: Again, is there anything you’d like to relate to the fans?
RL: Once again, I’d just like to express my sincerest thanks for the warm reception the book has received so far. It’s very gratifying and means a lot to me. So thanks!
Thank you, Roger, for taking the time to chat with us!
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