We Muppet fans are pretty lucky. Not only do Muppet comic books continue to show up in our comic book stores, but Roger Langridge keeps on agreeing to do these Q&As with us! Let’s see what Roger has to say…
ToughPigs: How does it feel to have your first Muppet Show story arc in the can and another already in stores?
Roger Langridge: Pretty satisfying, I have to admit – there’s nothing like finishing a long piece of work.
TP: Do you have a method for creating the cover art?
RL: I usually submit between 4 and 6 sketched roughs to the editor each month, and he’ll come back to me with suggestions and tell me which ones he’d like worked up into finished covers. At that point I take my sketch and blow it up nice and big, then I’ll trace it and build it up into finished pencils, fleshing out details and fixing anything that looks a bit wobbly. Then I ink it, scan it and send it off to be coloured.
TP: How did you make the decision to stop the designs with the characters in the circles from the first arc? Will the circle covers be making a comeback after the end of Peg Leg Wilson?
RL: I always intended those to be limited to the first arc – my original plan was to change the colour of the curtains each issue so the covers didn’t look too similar, but that idea seems to have been lost in the shuffle at some point. I think it’s a good idea to move on from that now – I don’t want to risk people skipping an issue because they think they’ve already bought it!
TP: On the ToughPigs forum, we?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve discussed the difficulties in capturing Miss Piggy?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s character (she?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s often written as too angry, too much of a ?¢‚Ç¨?ìdiva?¢‚Ç¨¬ù, or too quick to turn to violence). We saw a great character arc for her in the 4th issue of The Muppet Show Comic Book. Did you have any trouble writing her?
RL: Well, you’re always feeling your way a bit with any character you didn’t create. I suppose she was difficult, but no more difficult than any other character. The thing I try to remember about Piggy is that her toughness is a front to conceal a very vulnerable pig beneath. If you can show flashes of that vulnerability it makes her much more rounded, if you’ll pardon the expression.
TP: We were happy to see the return of fan favorites Wayne and Wanda, and the Talking Houses. Were you worried that readers might not remember them? Are you keeping a list of other Muppet Show sketches to include in future issues?
RL: I’m not too worried if people don’t remember a particular sketch because I try to make them work whether you remember them or not. If you recognise it, that’s like a nice little bonus – an Easter Egg for dedicated Muppet-watching – but it shouldn’t be essential to know this stuff in order to enjoy the comic. If it is, I’m not doing my job right!
TP: You mentioned in an earlier interview that your close friends?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ love of Pigs In Space led to its inclusion into every issue. Now that you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve gotten feedback on your first arc, are there any other sketches or characters that you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re considering giving more screen time?
RL: Well, it wasn’t just close friends! But I’m probably going to ease off on Pigs in Space for a few issues after the Peg-Leg Wilson arc is over, not least because there’ll be a Pigs in Space one-shot between that and the arc which follows. So that should keep the Pigs in Space fans happy for a few months.
TP: When you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re designing a new character (for example, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìNinja Rogers?¢‚Ç¨¬ù), do you think of them as a puppet first, or is the fact that they might not fit with the overall design of the Muppets not an issue?
RL: I try to make them look at least vaguely plausible as Muppets – or at least cartoon Muppets, as they appear in the comic – but that leaves an awful lot of wiggle room when you consider the enormous variety of shapes and designs the Muppets encompass. I’ve been almost too conservative sometimes, I think!
TP: How do Kermit?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s sunglasses stay on his face if he has no ears or nose?
RL: The magic of comics, I’m afraid. Don’t look at the man behind the curtain.
TP: BOOM! has amassed a strong team of cover artists for the Muppet comic books. Have they offered you any opportunities to illustrate a variant cover for any of the other titles?
RL: No, but then I wouldn’t have time with doing the Muppet Show book. It’s a full-time thing, and then some. If I were cloned I’d love to have a shot.
TP: Have you seen the Muppet Robin Hood comic book? Or any pages from the upcoming Muppet Peter Pan? Did you have any advice to give to the writers or artists of those series?
RL: I’ve seen the Robin Hood book at a recent convention, although I didn’t get time to read it. The Muppet books aren’t for sale in the UK, so I don’t get much of a chance to look at them. I thought the art was strong from the bits I saw.
TP: We enjoyed the Muppet/Dr. Who sketches you posted on your blog. Is there any chance we?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll see any of those in The Muppet Show Comic Book?
RL: Nothing quite so on-the-nose, because of the fact that Dr Who is owned by the BBC, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see an oblique Who reference or two in the Pigs in Space one-shot. I’m still writing that one, so I don’t know for sure myself yet!
TP: Speaking of references, do you have any other plans for literary or pop culture references in the comic?
RL: To call them “plans” would be putting it a bit strongly, but I’ve got an idea for a Hamlet song I’m looking for an excuse to work in sometime.
TP: You also reported on your blog that there will be a Pigs In Space one-shot in between story arcs. Is this the only one-shot planned right now? Can you tell us who will be illustrating it?
RL: It’s the only one planned right now – I’m probably going to need another breather at some point, though. I’m not 100% certain if the artist has been selected yet. (UPDATE: Shelli Paroline has been announced as the artist. Congrats, Shelli!)
TP: How was the San Diego Comic Con? Have any interesting stories?
RL: San Diego was great fun. I don’t know how interesting the story is, but I ran into the editor who gave me my first comics work in the UK 20-odd years ago, which was great. And I got to meet some of the other Muppet comic creators like Shelli Paroline and Grace Randolph. I was reluctant to go at first but I’m really glad I went.
Many thanks to Roger Langridge for all the obvious reasons!
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