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Before He Danced the Magic Dance

Boom! Studios (through their Archaia imprint) are returning to the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth in a new series called Labyrinth: Coronation. It sounds like this: “Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued. This is the untold history of the Goblin King.” Written by Simon Spurrier and illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, the first issue is on the shelves now. Mr. Bayliss, you may recall, was the illustrator of that marvelously weird anthropomorphic comic Kennel Block Blues.

image c. 2018 Archaia

Light the Lights, Baby

Disney Channel is bringing back a childhood memory for many, and perhaps creating new memories for a new generation. This March they will premier a new Muppet Babies TV series as part of their Disney Junior line-up. (If you didn’t know, back in the 1990’s the original Muppet Babies 2D animated series was so successful that it spawned a flood of imitators, including Disney Babies and Warner Brother Babies, no less.) Interestingly, this will be the first Muppet TV series animated in CGI. (Also interesting: Jenny Slate (Dawn Bellwether from Zootopia) is one of the voice actors.) According to Animation Scoop: “Based on the original Emmy Award-winning series, the all-new CG-animated Muppet Babies chronicles the hilarious playroom antics of the young Kermit the Frog, Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal and brand-new Muppet Baby, Summer Penguin. The series will feature guest appearances by fan-favorite Muppets including: Statler and Waldorf, Bunsen and Beaker, Rowlf the Dog, Rizzo, and Dr. Teeth. Set in the vibrant playroom of an urban brownstone with an expansive backyard, the Muppet Babies have everything they need at their fingertips to lead them on their fantastical adventures.” The article has a lot more information, and a preview clip as well. Look for the new series to debut March 23rd.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel

It’s Time to Night the Nights

Back from Comic Con, with lots to talk about. So why not start off with something delightfully odd? This fall, the Muppets return in a new illustrated book, Muppets Meet The Classics: The Phantom Of The Opera. Seriously. “This classic tale of love, intrigue, and jealousy at the Paris Opera House, which has thrilled readers, musical lovers, and movie goers for more than a century, has now been reimagined with the cast of the Muppets. Readers will gasp, cry, laugh, and laugh again as Kermit (as Raoul), Miss Piggy (as Christine), Uncle Deadly (as the phantom), and the chickens (as the ballet corps) give a whole new meaning to the word classic.” You read it here. Gaston LeRoux’s famous work has been adapted for the Muppets by Erik Forrest Jackson, and it’s illustrated by Owen Richardson. Look for it in paperback this October.

image c. 2017 Penguin Workshop

You Remind Me Of The Babe

With the death of David Bowie earlier this year, lots of people have been remembering his 1986 turn as the Goblin King in Labyrinth. Now Boom! Studios have their own salute to that landmark film as they bring us Jim Henson’s Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special. “Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the beloved Jim Henson fantasy film with stories from inside the magical walls of the labyrinth. Featuring fan-favorite characters like Ludo, Hoggle, Sir Didymus, and a few surprises, this special celebration collects for the first time all of the Labyrinth Free Comic Book Day stories along with new tales from Eisner Award winner Jonathan Case (The New Deal), Gustavo Duarte (Bizarro), and more!” Entertainment Weekly did a special preview recently.

image c. 2016 Boom! Studios

image c. 2016 Boom! Studios

The Monsters of Rock?

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s the late Jim Henson and his associate Jerry Juhl wrote many interesting screenplays for development as projects for The Muppets, and many of them were never produced. Among the latter was a story called The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow, which went like this: “Turkey Hollow is a picturesque town where hundreds of years ago, unbeknownst to the citizens, a meteorite landed nearby a small brook on the outskirts of town. One Thanksgiving, while young Timmy Henderson practices his guitar, he’s accompanied by strange, unearthly, musical sounds. That meteorite wasn’t a rock at all but an egg holding seven furry, goofy monsters, each with a unique musical sound. After the initial shock, Timmy befriends the lovable creatures following him all around Turkey Hollow. Not everyone takes a liking to the visitors though and it’s up to Timmy to protect his new friends and save Thanksgiving!” Now Archaia Comics have partnered once again with illustrator Roger Langridge (Snarked, The Muppet Show) to bring these Musical Monsters to life in a brand new full-color graphic novel coming in hardcover this October. What’s more, according to an article in USA Today, Lisa Henson (Jim’s daughter and CEO of Henson Company) has confirmed that the original script is being developed into a holiday TV special — possibly for release as early as this Thanksgiving!

image c. 2014 Archaia Comics

image c. 2014 Archaia Comics

You Remind Me of the Babe

Next month Archaia Press is re-releasing the novelization of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, the 1986 fantasy feature (with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly) which was later adapted as a novel by A.C.H. Smith — and illustrated by well-known fantasy artist Brian Froud, who of course also designed the movie and many of its characters. This new hardcover edition features a brand new collection of Froud’s goblin artwork and sketches for the film, recently uncovered, as well as notes and sketches by Jim Henson himself. USA Today has the story on this and other Jim Henson-inspired projects currently in the works at Archaia.

image c. The Jim Henson Company and Archaia Press

image c. The Jim Henson Company and Archaia Press

Who’s That Fuzzy Person?

Just in time for the new Disney Muppets film Muppets Most Wanted (hitting theaters this March) comes a new tie-in book, The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. According to the Muppet Wikia, this 200-page hardcover book features entries on more than 150 Muppet characters and more than 600 full-color photographs. “The most sensational, inspirational, muppetational character encyclopedia ever! You can play the music, light the lights, and meet all your favourite characters from the Muppets in The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. From Animal to Zoot, meet over 150 of the most memorable and best-loved Muppet characters from the 1970s to the present day. It is packed with facts about Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, The Swedish Chef, and all their wild and wacky buddies. Featuring full-colour images of each Muppets character with annotations. Fact files provide info on each character (and some little known facts), including their role in the Muppets pantheon and details of their first appearance.” It’s available now on Amazon from Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.

image c. 2014 Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd

It’s Time to Light the Lights

Since 2009, artist and writer Roger Langridge has been playing in Jim Henson’s world by creating various comic book series featuring the Muppets for Boom! Studios. Titles like The Muppets, The Muppet Show, and The Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson. Now, over at Marvel Comics, they’ve announced that all of these titles have been brought together to be released in march in a new hardcover collection, The Muppets Omnibus.  The Comic Book Resources page has a more complete preview of this full-color collection, coming next year on the Disney Comics imprint.

image c. 2013 Disney Comics

Sweeping the Clouds Away

Oddly enough for an international institution like Sesame Street, it has never had its own comic book — Until Now! Ape Entertainment’s Kizoic imprint presents the first regular Sesame Street full-color comic, written by Jason M. Burns and illustrated by Amy Mebberson. The first issue hits stores this April, and features one of five full-color covers that interlock into an ultra-wide poster.  “From television to the comic panel, Ape Entertainment will portray the characters that millions of parents and children have come to know and love in a comic series that will be produced in full color and available in stores this fall in standard comic sized printed editions for $3.99 and digest sized hardcover comic book editions for $7.99. They will also be available as a digital comic book that will be available through Apple’s App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.”

image c. 2013 Ape Entertainment