Fraggle Rock was one of my favorite shows growing up. As soon as they had the complete series out on DVD I bought it because it’s just that awesome. But…I was a bit leery about seeing it in comic form. In part, because what made Fraggle Rock great was the magic and vitality that the actors brought to it, the way the characters became real with them. So it’s difficult to see them in print, especially so long after Jim Henson passed away. And I’ve never really a big fan of TV shows being turned into comics, especially ones that are I like so much.
There are several different stories in this issue, each with their own style of writing and artwork. In the first story Gobo escapes from Sprocket, after successfully retrieving another letter from Uncle Traveling Matt. But when Gobo begins bragging about his bravery, Red throws down a challenge to spend the night in the Gorg garden. Gobo accepts and the two make their way out to the garden, but then…they get trapped! Can the two resolve their differences with the help of Madam Trash Heap or will the Gorg’s gain a couple of Fraggles? In the second story Junior drops a new pocket watch down the well into Fraggle realm. There Red and the other Fraggles hold contests about how fast they can do something within the ticks of the clock. In the third and final story Red gets hits on the head with a ball…but she comes up with a brilliant idea! She works with Cotterpin, the Dozzer, to build it and make it into reality. And what has she created? The F.R.A.G.G.L.E.W.A.Y. the greatest invention to hit Fraggledom ever.
The artwork in this issue ranges from being pretty darn good to just meh. For example I really love the artwork in the third story, it perfectly captures the Fraggles and what they look like, the expressions they make, and how they move. And the coloring matches just what I remember from the TV show. But then on the flip side you’ve got the first story where it looks like it was drawn in MS Paint. The characters are blocky and angular in many ways, and they’re too dependent upon the a black marker to hold the forms together. And the coloring is just a bit off on some of the characters, like Madam Trash Heap…she’s puke green. I get that perhaps they feared if they drew her brown she’d look like a pile of poo, but…it’s like they didn’t even try to draw her. She just looks like a swamp monster vs. the all knowing Madam Trash Heap. And this of course impacts how I view the story, because I want the characters to look like I remember them not how someone else chooses to interpret them.
The writing in the issue is just so-so. In the first story it mostly feels like one of the classic episodes of the show…up until the end where the Fraggles are able to knock Junior out of his chair with what looks like a pointed rock. It just doesn’t quite fit well. Nor does having all of the Fraggles rush off and try to save Gobo and Red. It just doesn’t jive with what I remember about the series, because while the characters cared about each other I don’t remember them ever all coming together just to save two Fraggles. I think part of the problem is that writers are trying to pick up the vibe of the original show, but there lacking some of the vitality that the actors and Jim Henson brought to the series. They just can’t quite duplicate the magic of the show. Also…I don’t think they depicted enough of the Doozers or Doc.
Overall if you’re missing new stories from Fraggle Rock then you might enjoy this comic. But me? I’m just going to sit back and watch the original series, because it has that element of Jim Henson and life that’s just lacking in this book. It’s not a bad comic, but…I prefer the original.