Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock
This is an enjoyable read that I picked up at the Archaia booth at C2E2 as a part of the free comic books they were giving away. Each issue features three stories with a different creative team on each story. I'm going to highlight some of the stories that stood out the most to me:
"Wembley and the Great Dream-Capade"
story by Grace Randolph
art by Caravan Studio
Wembley feels envious of his friends' dreams and begins to think his dreams aren't worth having, so he dreams about nothing and can't go to sleep. All of the other fraggles try to help him out but it isn't until he talks to the trash heap and understands that it shouldn't matter if his dreams don't seem extravagant to anybody else. His dreams are his own. As long as they make him happy, they should suffice. Everybody has very different dreams. Because I'm a knitter, I particularly enjoyed the line the trash heap said about his own dreams of knitting patterns. What would the trash make? I can't imagine is knitting a sweater for itself... then again, that would be quite funny to see. Wembley wound up having lots of dreams because he can never make up his mind about which one he likes best. The dreams are so indicative of the fraggle, it was nice to see him finally accept himself in the end.
"A Visitor From Outer Space"
story by Leigh Dragoon
art by Jake Myler
This story has one of the best opening sequences. A dog is sleeping and Doc rushes in with a cat and says, "Wake up, Sprocket!... Look what I found." And he holds out the cat. :)
The cat gets loose into the wall where the fraggles live. The fraggles freak out and try to figure out how to get rid of it. Wembley has the first encounter and while everyone else sees the cat as a monster, he sees that it wants to play with their tails and that the cat doesn't seem all that mean and vicious. Boober has the worst time coping with the cat. This story was cute because I have my own little monster, Randy, that visits me from time to time. I'm sure I've mentioned him on one or two of the podcast episodes. His claws would swipe at and hurt the fraggles compared to the cat in the story who looked so harmless.
All in all, every one of the fraggles has a good time leading the cat back out of the wall. Red even suggests they make this an annual event. The cat bounces into Sprocket and falls asleep upon collision. I've never seen a cat do that but it was a cute illustration to see the dog on his back with the cat asleep on his stomach.
"To Catch a Fwaggle"
story by Bryce P. Coleman
art by Michael DiMotta
Junior Gorg is going to catch a fraggle. Every time he comes close to doing it but things just fall apart for him. He's trying so much and so hard. King Daddy says he should give up. Junior gets pretty down and concedes. I can empathize with his feelings of being a failure. Queen Mommy suggests that maybe the son is only doing all this to get the approval of his father but we see that junior only wants to befriend the little fraggles. He's made a bunch of little dolls that look like them and himself.
This story, in particular, was my favorite out of all three issues. The fraggles are a nuisance to the gorgs. The gorgs look so huge and imposing. It goes to show that appearances don't count for everything. The gorgs were very sweet at heart and acted like a normal family hierarchy with the parents ruling the "household" and the son trying to figure out his own role. The gorgs eat radishes and it was a nice detail for the son to wear pajamas with radishes all over them, too.
Each story had its own style of art and I really liked all of them. Each character was unique with colorful personalities. The messages within the stories never felt forced. It was all good but because of all of the morals, the book was less funny than certain other comics I've read and more sweet and charming instead.
I had never seen the Fraggle Rock television show when I was younger, but after reading these issues, Tash and I looked up and watched the theme song. Now, I can't get it out of my head! :)
The activities at the back of each issue looked pretty fun, too, like the activities at the back of my Tiny Titans comics. There's a "lesson in artistic interpretation" in the third issue, and I'll be adding my own interpretation to the end of this post soon ;)