Muppet Comic Mondays: Muppet King Arthur #1

Muppet King Arthur #1
Comic Book Review
Written by Paul Benjamin and Peter Stork
by Dave Alvarez

James Gannon – After tackling Robin Hood and Peter Pan, BOOM! Comics has taken Kermit and Co. to the days of King Arthur and his well rounded night tables. Right off the bat, you can tell the tone is much different than the previous fairy tales. Pretty obvious when it starts as an infomercial, then jumps into crazy snappy word play.  Paul Benjamin and Peter Stork have decidedly taken a raucous comedy path that really showcases the off the wall wackiness of the Muppets. Kermit is cast as Arthur, and the legend starts out with him being a page (and a page worth of groan inducing “page” puns ensue). Sam, being his master, sends him out to find a new sword after a training session with Sir Perciful (Fozzie as a combination knight/ Jester, and his weapon, a large plastic chicken shaped like a baseball bat).

This leads to the chance meeting of the Lady of the Lake (Janice, fer shure), who instructs Kermit to grab the magical Excalibur (From United Kingdom, I’m looking for him… Soul Eater fans know what I’m talking about). Which leads to another Jay Wardian pun about why it’s jammed in a stone in the first place. He becomes king, as the legend goes, with extreme protest from Sam, who will clearly stop at nothing to become king himself. Even making a sharp jab at Town Hall meetings (I had a feeling some of those guys were paid off). Now, Merlin the Magician (a role played by Rowlf, who was actually cast beforehand in The Jim Henson Hour) has to train Kermit to become king, and instructs him on using the magical sword,  And even more crazy antics ensue, with all your favorites and fun little cameos, including Miss Piggy who’s tailor made to play the role of Morgana.

Having been through two fairy tale adaptations already, the side projects to The Muppet Show Comic Book have become quite breezy and fun to read. While Robin Hood had the misfortune of being the first one (and therefore being the test comic), Peter Pan came out much more fluid (in writing and art). King Arthur is just as fluid as Peter Pan was. Robin Hood, long story short, tried to cram in too much legend into 4 smaller issues, leading to lengthy dialogue balloons that detracted from the action. Peter Pan, however, took the barest parts of the story and managed to get everything into those 4 issues, shortening and omitting parts of the story. But it didn’t exactly need them to get their point across, and I hardly even missed the Crocodile (he wouldn’t have worked in their version anyway). 

Now, King Arthur is a legend that has been completely inconstant to begin with, with half the characters added in by different writers (Lancelot came from a French epic for example).  The story combines the Lady of the Lake and the Sword in the Stone, and manages (so far) to take bare bones parts of the story, leaving the writers to adapt the rest of the story as they please.

And I can’t close this without mentioning the art. If Roger Langride is schooled in underground Comix and Amy Mebberson is clearly inspired by Disney, Dave Alvarez is a follower of the old Tex Avery Looney Tunes style. And it works just as well as the other adaptations. I swear, if the Muppets ever got another animated cartoon, this would be the style they’d use. The illustrations looks like they’re moving, and can barely stay on the page. Now, Dave is a veteran of this, and has a bunch of great fan Muppet Strips online somewhere, and he really brings that same visual humor to this one. I’d almost say it’s a shame he’s not doing the rest of the series, but I can’t wait to see the next artist take a crack at is as well.

Be sure to check back on The Muppet Mindset tomorrow for our exclusive interview with Dave Alvarez, artist of Muppet King Arthur #1!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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