Fraggle Rock Classics volume 1
Archaia (November, 2011)
collects issues 1-4 of Star Comics‘ Fraggle Rock
WRITER: Stan Kay
ARTIST: Marie Severin
RESTORATION/COLORS: Brian Newman & Joanna Estep
COVER ART: Jake Myler
LETTERER: Grace Dremer
EDITOR: Sid Jacobson
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Tom DeFalco
If these four issues of the Star Comics run are any indication, the comic version of the then hit HBO children’s series takes visual cues and character models from the NBC Saturday Morning animated spinoff. I suppose that makes turning the 3-D Muppets into 2-D comic drawings easier when someone else did the work. Doc’s face is never seen, much like the animated version. Actually, I just looked into the show and comic, and it’s possible the comic came before the show. The collection by Archaia (I’ve reviewed their original stories as well in the past) includes the covers, replacing the issue numbers with chapter numbers but otherwise they seem intact. The comics themselves split the issues into two chapters for some odd reason, as if Marvel never thought a kid would read a whole comic by itself. Which they did all the time in other comics so what does Marvel have against kids?
The Magic Time Machine: Boober can’t keep up his rope turning with Red’s rope jumping so he swipes (and damages) Doc’s metronome. With the “Magic Time Machine” damaged it runs at top speed and drives the Fraggles nuts. They keep trying to get rid of it but it eventually winds down on its own. This is a rather weak one. It’s also one of two stories in which Gobo is basically a thief, showing no respect for the “silly creatures” and their property.
#1: After an epic dive, Red gets an inflated ego, assuming she’s now famous and has lots of fans, driving herself nuts. Doc comes up with a super-long extension cord but doesn’t want the fame attached, even though he picks up a hat that hides his face (because again the cartoon doesn’t have Doc’s face…maybe Marvel (their animation wing made the cartoon while Star was a Marvel imprint) couldn’t get the rights or knew that Doc was played by different actors in different countries? Anyway, this is another weak one. Maybe if Red actually did have fans instead of just assuming everyone was driving her nuts with hero-worship it would have been a more interesting story.
The Monster That Could Be Anything: Red and Wembley meet a creature who changes form and personality based on people’s beliefs. When Ma Gorg thinks he’s a monster, he becomes one but Wembley convinces her to stop seeing him like that and he turns back to himself. It’s an adaptation of the HBO episode “Believe It Or Not” with few extra scenes to establish Wembley had heard Uncle Travelling Matt’s postcard (for some reason) and excluding the scenes with Doc and Sprocket. No adaptation credit is given like episode adaptations usually are, even in other Star Comic adaptations. It’s a fair story but I credit the source material considering the first two stories.
The Doozer Who Wanted To Be A Fraggle: Another adaptation, this time “All Work And All Play“. In fact, the four issues that would be in the second collection are also episode adaptations. As I said, after the first two we were probably better off but it’s still disappointing that all they had were adaptations. Thundercats and Silverhakws fell into that trap as well before the Star runs ended. In this story we actually get a look at Doozer society through Cotterpin, a Doozer who doesn’t want to build because she’d rather draw and relax. She decides she’s better off as a Fraggle and chooses Red as her role model. However, she soon learns that while she doesn’t want to be a builder she’s still a Doozer. When the Architect sees Cotterpin’s work he takes her on as an apprentice. This is my favorite of the stories presented. Cotterpin finds her own place in the world and in Doozer society, and it’s one of two times in the show that we see the world inside Fraggle Rock from the Doozer perspective.
Overall though I wasn’t as into these stories as I was the Arachia originals. Not because they’re for kids, mind you. Most of you should know better than that by now. The two originals were rather weak and painted Gobo as a thief. The first adaptation was okay but the benefits of the second came from being an adaptation of a really good episode. I only picked this up for the same co-worker I bought the Arachia original for, but this collection was delayed and by the time I got it she had already left the store for other things. So I really don’t feel the need to keep this but I would like to get the original series on home video.