Boom Studio\'s Muppet Peter Pan #1 delivers Muppet Movie style! Check out the Outhouse free preview and review here!
MUPPET PETER PAN #1
Written by Grace Randolph
Drawn by Amy Mebberson
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (1 of 4), SRP: $2.99
COVER A: David Peterson
COVER B: Amy Mebberson
Diamond Code: JUL090750
The timid Kermie Pan resides in the magical realm of Neverswamp, where the pushy fairy Piggytink tries to toughen him up! One night, while searching for his shadow, Kermie Pan and Piggytink encounter the Darling children, who run away to Neverswamp and encourage Kermie Pan to battle Captain Gonzo! Features A covers by Eisner-award winning MOUSE GUARD artist David Petersen!
Muppet Peter Pan is a book I might have passed up on if not for reading the book for this review. Now I’m going to pick up the series and check out the other Muppet books Boom is making. In the past most Muppet comics and books felt more like Sesame St. than Muppet Show. Most other publishers in the past have treated Muppet books as purely kids books. Boom is the first publisher that I’ve read that gets the Jim Henson and Frank Oz style. Fun story for the kids, yet injects subtle humor for the adults. So subtle that the kids won’t notice it and it doesn’t detract from their enjoyment of the story. This is a book you will have a good time reading to children. Especially if you can do any of the voices of the characters (like I can).
To be fair, the above paragraph was being written as a diehard Muppet fan. I wouldn’t recommend this book as person’s first Muppet experience. If you aren’t familiar with the Muppet Movies or don’t know the characters well enough to imagine their voices while you read, the book may fall flat. The big draw back to doing Muppets in literary form is that most of a Muppet’s personality is in the voice acting. If you haven’t watched a Muppet Movie in a while, I recommend doing so before reading this book. Other wise characters like Janice as Wendy might not read as well as they should.
The book reads like it could be a story board for a yet to be made Muppet Movie. Writer Grace Randolph isn’t just replacing the Peter Pan characters with Muppets. She is making the story of Peter Pan conform to the Muppet style. The story even starts with Sam the Eagle insisting that the narrator tell the story as taking place in America rather than England. He then highjacks the story in a political commentator like fashion. Putting the focus on the origin of Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle (as played by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy) rather than starting the story with an initial focus on Wendy and family. Here we get a subtle analogy to the life cycle of frogs and the child hood of Michael Jackson.
Once we get back to the Wendy portion of the story, we see how the Muppet characters react when put in the situations of that the Peter Pan characters were in. The start and end beats of the scenes match the original story (or at least the Disney version we are all familiar with). What takes place in-between those story beets is what makes this worthy of a Muppet Movie. This is were having knowledge of the characters is needed. Most people know Kermit and Miss Piggy well enough, but I’m not sure how well Janice and Scooter would be read to some who doesn’t know their voices. The one exception to this rule would be Sam the Eagle. Since he looks and sounds like Kith Oberman, most people should be able to put two and two together for him.
Amy Mebberson does a good job with the art. Drawing a Muppet in line art isn’t as easy as you would think. Most Muppets are made out of felt or other cloth. It’s hard to translate them into line art with out making them look like plastic. It probably helps that Amy is doing the coloring too. The coloring is where you get the detail and dimension.
The faces are dead on for the characters. The usual mistake when drawing Muppets is drawing their expressions the way a human face would make them. Amy draws the expressions the way a hand puppet would make them. Not sure if she is using photo reference or has puppets of her own, but the end result is much better than what I’ve seen in the past.
The only weak point in the art is when we see full bodies of Muppets. It looks odd (Piggy being the exception). Even that is more a function of what a Muppet is and how they are usually viewed. The character’s bodies tend to look less puppet and more human in the wide shots. When they are viewed in close-ups, the proportions go back to looking like the puppets they are based on.
Over all, this is a good book for Muppet fans, a good book to give to kids, but is a great book to read to children. Especially if you can do some of the voices. The shared experience will be better than some one reading it by them selves.
8 of 10