James Gannon – In the fall of 2011, Ape Entertainment announced it had acquired the license for a Sesame Street comic book series. After BOOM!’s spectacular job with The Muppet Show and Muppet Classics, and Archaia’s wonderful Fraggle Rock comics, it’s great that the last of the major Muppet franchises finally has a series of its very own. Told in an anthology format with different writers and artists, this issue features seven… seven stories! AH AH AHHHHH!
Every issue will feature a different overall theme. This issue features different stories about imagination. As this is a comic geared for the younger crowd, Elmo introduces the issue with “How to Read a Comic Book” (Jason M. Burns/Scott Ball), with the issue’s only appearances of Big Bird and Murray. This will be a recurring feature in every issue. The comic’s main story, “The Anatomy of a Hero” (Jason M. Burns/Amy Mebberson) stars Elmo as he takes Super Hero lessons from Super Grover. Beautifully rendered by the fan favorite artist, Elmo learns an important lesson about what a hero is.
The one page short, “Little Castle Built by Prairie” (Jay Fosgitt) features Snuffy pretending to be a dragon, trying to knock down Prairie Dawn’s castle. Prairie is also features in the next story, “Smog Day Afternoon” (Paul Morrissey/Scott Underwood), where Oscar fantasizes about the delightful possibilities of a weird stench that’s wafting in. A miscolored Moishe Oofnik and Bodoque appear in Oscar’s daydream, as does Irvine with his grouch family. In a different take on “If Moon Were Cookie,” we see “A Dip in the Galaxy” (Patrick Storck/James Silvani). This time, Cookie isn’t all that guilty to actually eat the cookie moon, and is quite happy it’s not made of cheese. The key is, he doesn’t finish it off, because it’s a “sometimes food.” Yeah, they reference that.
Rounding out the issue are “The Count Counts” (Jay Fosgitt) and “Imagination Runs Wild” (Jason M Burns, featuring stills of “Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures”). In the former, Count von Count daydreams of counting car parts, and buys a car at Nelson motors from a certain car salesman (a nice tribute). In the latter, Bert doesn’t appreciate Ernie’s overactive imagination, through re-purposed stills of the Sesame Street television segment. I personally prefer original artwork, though.
This issue is a great start to the series so far. Mercifully, the writing isn’t in the form of Easy Reading, despite the obvious preschool audience. True to show and character writing is once again hand in hand with top quality artwork. It fits perfectly into the Muppet comics collection. Especially since Muppet artist mainstays Amy Mebberson and James Silvani contributed to this issue. Amy even provides artwork for the chase covers that expand to show the whole street and every single popular character currently on the show.
This comic also sees something that is rare in Sesame Street print media, background humans (including Alan and Maria). You usually see Sesame Street books with Anything Muppets in human roles. This adds a layer of realism, connecting it better to the show. Maybe in subsequent issues, some of our favorite non-Muppet cast members will contribute to the plot. While I’m on that subject, the one thing I’d like to see in future issues is a better presence of fan favorite characters that are no longer on the show, if only as background characters. Prairie Dawn was in two consecutive comics. That’s more than her presence on the show in recent years.
One last thing, if you didn’t get the Free Comic Book Day reprint, it just features a reprint of the first story. But I recommend tracking it down anyway. Not only is it a fun collectible, but it comes with an exclusive pin up of Super Elmo and Zoe.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org