Muppet Babies Omnibus Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Just in case there are any old school Star Comics fans on the board.

Jim Henson's Muppet Babies Omnibus

I had been waiting for this for years. It was super expensive since it was a hardcover, but since it's every issue at once, I'm probably spending a little less than if they had collected four issues in trade paperback volumes. Plus, I got a pretty decent price on Amazon. It was still expensive, but I didn't pay cover price.

How do the comics hold up? Well, considering they are a franchise from when I was a little kid, I expected them to be terrible. They aren't. The writing is hit and miss, and the puns are often a stretch (which was a weakness shared by the Muppet Ballroom on The Muppet Show), but Marie Severin's artwork is just amazing, and I can spend hours staring at it and picking out the nuances. The only other comics I read with artwork this interesting to look at are Sergio Aragones, Jeff Smith, Bill Watterson and Don Rosa. The difference to me is that Aragones and Rosa are kind of sloppy artists, which is what makes all the details fun. But Severin makes a comic look just as striking as Smith or Watterson, with all of the little details Rosa does, although admittedly not as many details as Aragones.

It should also be noted, that the comic was helmed by women for a large part of it in an era in comic book history where that was unusual. Laura Hitchcock was the main writer in the second half of the book's run.

The Big Bang Theory creator Bill Prady was the other main guy during that period, which is neat because he was the guy who later developed the polarizing Muppets mockumentary show simply titled "The Muppets" a couple of years back,. so at least he had SOME background cred when bringing back the Muppets in the specific controversial ways he did. And many of his scripts show that he was unafraid of trying new things and exploring high concepts all the way back in the time he was writing G-rated comics.

The Omnibus also collects the bland Muppets Take Mahattan adaptation, and also includes other goodies liked Marie Severin's pencil drawings for "Astro Babies From Outer Space", the Marvel Age column advertising the Manhattan adaptation and teasing the upcoming Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies comics, and the Star Bullpen profiles of some of the creators. I always thought those bullpen things were off-putting just because each creator puts in joke answers that don't actually give us any insight at all. One of the guys claims his influences include Malcolm X and the National Enquirer without saying why those two bizarre, diametrically opposed things actually influenced their career. What I do like about the inclusion of the Star Comics ones is that back in the day they'd often have different characters from the different licensed Star Comics titles in the background so it's fun to see little drawings of Alf, Heathcliff, and Flintstones Kids Fred Flintstone around the caricatures of the writers and artists. But I always found those segments in the monthly issues as otherwise completely useless.

One of the things I love about the Omnibus is that it keeps the coloring mistakes that the comic made during the 1980's in-tact. The colors are brighter and more vivid and on a high quality paper for once. But the fact they they are still sometimes wrong makes it feel authentic to the imperfect experience I had as a kid pouring over those comics on 60 cent ink and paper. It's a better experience now, but the mistakes make it a similar experience from when I was a kid, which is good.

I can't really do a great best and worst list because I liked almost all of the stories on some level. The badly written ones had great art, and the ones with lesser art somehow tended to be weirdly better written. But I can say that The Muppets Take Manhattan Adaptation is the weakest comic in the Omnibus, and "We Spy, Or The Spy In Striped Socks" from Muppet Babies 16 is the best. I remember why I loved the comic, and unlike when I rewatched Transformers and ThunderCats, I don't think I had terrible taste in hindsight because I did. It's a pretty good comic with great artwork. Overall: ****1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 1:

The Haunted Nursery:

This takes me back. The little door in the corner with spider webs and icky stuff is classic. I love how the Omnibus remembers to keep all of the coloring mistakes from the original comic. So even if the colors and paper are better, it still feels authentic. *****.

The Haunted Nursery, Part II: Say The Magic Word!:

"NOT the magic word!" I totally remembered that line from Gonzo, as well as him guessing the magic word being pinochle. And of course it's actually "Go Bye-Bye". This has an identical ending to Star Trek's "The Squire Of Gothos", and this was the first time I had seen the trope of the monster being a baby that an adult has to bring home at the end. I remember why I loved this comic as a kid. Most of the things I loved as a kid turned out to be garbage in hindsight. Muppet Babies comics are not one of them. *****.

Muppet Babies No. 2:

The Big Space Adventure:

The Muppet Babies TV Star Wars episode had Animal as Vader, but the comic takes after The Muppet Show and has Gonzo as the Vader stand-in, Nonzo of Onzo. Whereas the TV episode was a straight up Star Wars adaptation, this story plays things fast and loose, and contains many elements from Star Trek too. I totally remembered the lame Gaxaly joke and I love Piggy asking Skeeter that if she she's so perfect why no-one wants to marry her. Even toddler girls treat each other horribly about stuff like that. My favorite bit is Piggy yelling "Do what I mean, not what I say!" I knew people like that. And they suck. ****1/2.

The Big Space Adventure, Part II: Cancel The Future:

The Dreaded Many-Legged Giggle Beast is SUCH a great Muppet design. Marie Severin killed at those. I love that Nonzo had no idea what he looked like because everyone on Onzo wore helmets and mirrors were forbidden. Part of me thinks this makes the planet's procreation horrible, but if Nonzo's distaste over his own visage says anything, it probably helps procreation more than it hurts it. Great story. ****1/2.

Muppet Babies No 3.

Kermit And The Beanstalk:

Great artwork. The designs are a little simpler than in the first two issues, but they are very effective. ***1/2.

Kermit And The Beanstalk, Part II: Don't Call Me Jack!:

Like The Big Space Adventure, this story uses adult Muppet designs as doppelgangers for some of the secondary characters. They stopped doing this after a couple of issues, but it's a really interesting look and concept. This story was also the first I read that posited the idea that Jack wasn't very nice for taking the Giant's things. And I love the Giant saying here that if Jack had told him about his mother he would have helped him. This is the only Jack And The Beanstalk story I've read where the Giant gets a happy ending. Unfortunately, the story isn't quite as well-written, funny, or memorable as the first two stories. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 4:

The Dream Machine:

Beaker was always my favorite Baby on the original series because of his adorable character design, and it bummed me out they never used him more than they did. We see some Muppet-style Rats here, but Marie Severin is experimenting with doing various human characters in non-Muppet cartoon style for the first time as well. ***.

The Dream Machine, Part II: Meep Meep!:

Not a really strong story or ending. Although I kind of like the idea that deep down, Piggy considers Gonzo her back-up dude should Kermit split. That's kind of funny even if she doesn't really appreciate Gonzo otherwise. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 5:

The Idol Of Zoom And The Magic Ringdom:

The camel in the story has a Muppetish design but the Serpent, The Tiny Person, and The Evil One are Severin's first real examples of non-Henson style humans and animals in the stories. I actually like these designs a lot. It's not like the cartoon the comic was based on did a ton of character designs that would have worked as Muppets too. But the designs here are great and memorable. I like Skeeter reading a Fraggle Rock comic in the opening splash panel, which was another Star Comics title I enjoyed as a kid. ****.

The Idol Of Zoom, Part II: The Quest For Power:

I think the biggest weakness of the comic is that none of the stories ever have good endings. They just seem to randomly stop. The fantasies on the cartoon would suddenly end too, but we also used to get a bit of wrap-off in the nursery. The comics only tend to have a panel or two where things are back to normal and the stories feel incomplete for that reason. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 6:

If I Ran The World:

I recall reading some Whitman Comics when I was little, but Muppet Babies #6 was the first "legit" Marvel comic I read as a kid. I loved it. After rereading it, I see why I graduated to Disney comics. The sensibilities are very similar. The jokes are arch, and not very funny, but Professor Archie Feend and Oxo are very cool characters, and Feend's design is awesome. And again, Skeeter is reading Fraggle Rock. I remembered the professors' gasps and then Scooter saying "Really?" I don't know why that moment stuck with me. It's not even a joke. But I remember it well. And it's because of this issue that I misunderstood what Think Tanks were for years. Part of me still thinks they take place in water towers. *****.

If I Ran The World, Part II: Toy Island:

This is probably the most juvenile ending so far, but I think that's precisely why it spoke to me as a kid. A bad guy wanting to steal toys from kids is a very real fear a kid has. It's interesting because the cartoon never really had any actual villains in it, and the conflicts were between the Babies themselves, and if a villain was ever needed, it was imagined to be one of the Babies. But the comics using actual human bad guys tells me perhaps that they might have appealed to slightly older children than the cartoons. I can't imagine the cartoon ever doing a plot like this at any rate, or having a character this mean. This story brings me back, and was the story that got me into comics. *****.

Muppet Babies No. 7:

Lost In Time:

Great design on Napoleon, and seeing the various Fozzies in time was awesome. Interestingly, the beginning of the story hints the nursery exists in a big city, whereas I always got the sense from the cartoon it was in a suburban neighborhood. ****1/2.

Lost In Time:, Part II: Wocka Wocka!:

Oh, I love this story! I will always remember the drawing where Arthur swings his sword at the Babies and says "Don't you DARE get snippy with the king!" That stuck with me for years. Arthur's design is absolutely amazing and one of Severin's best. I love that Guinevere is Nanny, and being flattered that Piggy thinks she's as "beautiful as a Nanny". We don't get very many hints at what Nanny looks like, but my guess is that Piggy is probably right and she's probably a middle-aged beauty. Sort of like Barbara Billingsley was. See how perfectly that fits? The blue prehistoric Fozzie at the end was a great design too. I am bowled over rereading the artwork in these stories. It's amazing and far better than a TV tie-in comic actually needs to be. *****.

Muppet Babies No. 8:

The Storyland Caper:

The art is amazing, with a nice mix of Muppet style animals and more cartoony characters. ****.

The Storyland Caper, Part II: The Chicken Dragon:

The art wasn't as good in the second part. The Chicken Dragon's big reveal in the nest was not as big and scary as it should have been. And if I want to be honest, the second part isn't exactly well-written. That's never been one of this comic's virtues, but the arch and jokey dialogue usually fits what we are used to from The Muppets. The Muppet Show didn't have great dialogue either. But the second half of the story is a wee bit TOO clumsy. Enough so that I thought it worth mentioning. **1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 9:

Cleopiggy, Queen Of The Nile:

The designs on the Grand Schemer and his toady are terrific. Muppet Babies comics are the only projects where the bad guys often try to, (gulp!) KILL the Babies! It's lucky it's all just imaginary or I'd be traumatized. But is it all imaginary? Because we see scenes from the Grand Schemer's perspective that the Babies are not privy to. If the Babies imaginations are like the a version of The Holodeck from Star Trek, it's a pretty thorough one. I can totally hear Greg Berg's voice when Fozzie say "I knew that!" at the beginning. ***1/2.

The Pyramid Club: Queen Of The Nile, Part II:

The designs of the gems were gorgeous and the picture of Animal as he says a translated version of "Open Sesame" was beyond adorable. The Midas touch is the story mixing up it's history periods and fables a bit, but at least they did enough research to say that Cleopatra existed around 30 B.C. in the first part. Plus, it's weird that the Babies already know what Papyrus is in the first part. I didn't even know until I read this comic over 30 years ago. The ending is again sudden, but I've sort of made peace with that at this point. And did the Grand Schemer really deserve to be turned to gold at the end? My guess is yes. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 10:

The Weather Demon:

Honestly, this issue was the first time I heard of the joke of trying to find polar bears in a snowstorm. The black dots in Kermit's eyes being the baby polar bears' noses was a great visual. I also totally remember the hurricane joke "No! No! Slow down 'cane! What's your hurry?" Good to see the Omnibus kept the Marvel 25th Anniversary cover with all of the Marvel heroes surrounding a picture of Kermit in a top-hat. The other reason I love the Omnibus is that they remembered to keep the misprint of Rowlf's nose being red and his cheek pink in the first panel. ***1/2.

The Weather Demon, Part II:

This story pretty much turned insane by the end. I love the design of Captain Noah II and the Weather Demon (who looks like a more colorful Animal). Bonkers stuff. I am sad this is the last issue length story and all of the rest of the issues had two shorter stories in them. I missed the Muppet Babies "Epics". ****.

Muppet Babies No. 11:

Here Come The Flying Heroes:

The late Stan Kay's final issue. The design on the Biker was fun, and I loved that Bunsen turned out to be the villain. This is the only Muppet Babies story I've seen where Bunsen appeared, but Beaker didn't. The Marvel Comics of the era I noticed the babies reading were Spider-Man, Top Dog, Misty, X-Men, and Spider-Ham. I personally loved Spider-Ham back in the day. That needs an Omnibus next. The lettering in this story and the next is too big and detracts from the artwork a bit. ****.

The Super-Terrific Sand Castle:

I love that the "MB" on the flag is done in the same font as the Muppet Babies logo and I liked the Spider-Man puzzle. The designs of the Vikings were amazing and for some reason I really laughed at one of the Vikings randomly saying the demon alligator float toy didn't have any cavities. What a weird joke. Decent story though. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 12:

Color Crazy:

This is Laura Hitchcock's first story. She and Bill Prady took over for Stan Kay as of this issue. What a great idea to start off Piggy in a blue dress. And Severin remembered to put her back in it in the last panel.
Smart. Animal is quite the nuisance in both of these stories. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the joke of the horror movie "Bears On The Rampage" being quite a grizzly story. ***1/2.

Dr. Bunsenstein's Monster:

Bill Prady's (The Big Bang Theory, The Muppets) first story. Of course, Beaker is known as Beagor. The giant animal was really well drawn and Severin at her best. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 13:

The Strange Case Of The Missing Mermaid Costume:

Kermlock Holmes borders on clever, but there is NO effort involved in Dr. Fozzie. None. Automatic demerits for laziness. I love the herring aid joke and "You're a lady in distress, but you'd rather be in THAT dress! Wocka Wocka!" The bad thing is that the Mermaid is actually creepy. I tolerate the Babies meeting little men their sizes with oversized heads, exaggerated features, and facial hair, but the Mermaid's small design is so creepy because she is in a bikini top with actual breasts. Ick. ***1/2.

Out Of This World:

I would be inclined to say this isn't as great as the first space adventure in issue two. Except it stops being a space adventure pretty quickly and turns into a weird jokefest. I still recall those giant chattering teeth (they always freaked me out as a kid) and the foothills and toeholds are similarly memorable. The designs on the Jokers are, as always awesome. I do not think this comic would be what it was if Marie Severin didn't draw every issue. A lot of great little "freeze frame" sign gags in the Joke town's shop windows, which is awesome, because in a comic, you don't actually have to pause the show. You can just read them. ****.

Muppet Babies No. 14:

Upside-Down Land:

Man, that kid in Upside-Down Land's face is amazing. If you turn the comic over his face is a bearded man. What I especially love is that fact isn't in the story itself. Severin did it on her own and expected the kids reading and rereading the comic upside-down would find it themselves. The design on the giant is one of Severin's absolute best. She is an amazing artist. The solution to getting the key out of the tree being the Babies just "turning off their imagination A LITTLE" was genius. I love this story. ****1/2.

Treble In The Nursery:

I love this one too. Strictly speaking, a story about music in a comic book should not work at all. But this story uses the amazing visuals of the Babies riding giant notes and clefs and has musical bars be used as a jail. I love the Geordi La Forge visors on each of the little people, and the Note-All is hilarious looking too. This story should not work. Instead it is one of the most memorable stories ever. Entirely due to the visuals. ****.

Muppet Babies No. 15:

The Magic Book:

Holy cow! I remembered loving this as a kid, but even back then I could never fully appreciate how amazingly structured this is. I draw comics, and one of the characters chews comic panels and hangs off word balloons. It turns out I clearly got the idea from this. The picture of the string leading through the comic panels works so well because it starts in the lower left hand corner of the page and you sort of have to read the six panels in order and out of order at the same time. Marie Severin should get a ton of credit for pulling this off, but the truth is Bill Prady deserves equal praise for coming up with this scenario, and finding an artist to actually make it work. It does not surprise me that the writer of this specific story went on to bigger and better things. It's amazing. *****.

Go To Camp:

It was from this story that I learned what bug juice and keychain lanyards were as a kid. The Nanny in the imagination sequence suggests our Nanny is a younger woman than the Queen Guinevere design and scenario hinted at in issue seven. Her body is kind of young and hot. I adored that her face is covered only by a word balloon in the splash panel camp reveal. I question how the Babies know about magnets screwing up compasses and moss growing on the North side of trees, but the Comics Babies have always been portrayed as a little too smart to be credible. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 16:

We Spy, Or The Spy In Striped Socks:

When I was a kid, I was reading the Star Comics version of the Marvel Bullpen to see what the upcoming issue of Muppet Babies would be about. I will never forget that brief description for issue 16, and even if it's not in the actual Omnibus, I can still relay it verbatim: "Have you ever wondered what Nanny's face looks like?" I was like "I'M THERE!" It was a chore waiting for my subscription issue to come in the mail, and even if I think the issue is a let-down in the sense that they don't actually show Nanny's face, the experience I had as a kid waiting for it, and imagining the implications of what we got could actually mean deep down (Is Nanny actually the snooty short fat woman at the party?) this is easily my favorite story. It's not just the anticipation that was great. This was a legitimate rip-roaring yarn, and Agent V is a great and great-looking villain. The visual of him in that cloak tiptoeing in the socks was amazing, and it's easy to see why someone like Severin eventually won an Eisner Award. And ultimately, maybe the actual moral (that I didn't get as a kid) is that ALL adults are a version of Nanny, and the Babies think they all probably wear striped socks under their clothes. Maybe the truth is Nanny's face could never be as beautiful or magnificent as it exists in my head. For the record, the idea that Agent N's file photo is of the socks taken by an extremely short photographer is pretty much the perfect joke. I will rag on this comic a lot for it's nonsensical cheap jokes. and clumsy dialogue whenever it deserves it, but that joke by Laura Hitchcock is pretty much perfectly constructed on every level. Truthfully this 11 page story (along with Issues 1 and 6) are the main reason I bought the Omnibus in the first place. The Omnibus cost of $56 plus tax on Amazon (down from the list price of $75). These 11 pages were totally worth every cent. *****.

The Big Mess-take:

It's amazing that I remembered the first story so well and totally forgot which story it was paired with. Truthfully, it doesn't matter. This story is a bit of snore, and a bit of a kids book cliche, in being wish-fulfillment of the worst sort that probably will give kids bad ideas that their frustrated parents will have to clean up. It's imitable is what I'm saying. The arrogant and fey design of the Creative Director is pretty much the only other memorable thing about the story. **.

Muppet Babies No. 17:

Dinosaur Party!:

I like Fozzie saying the Dinosaur eating the lamp was having a light snack. I also laughed at "Take it away, Morris." This story has a rare good ending in turning the Dinosaur who didn't want to go back into the book into a cute stuffed animal. That was adorable. ***1/2.

Company Halt!:

Why does an Earlobe Vibrator sound vaguely sexual? I also am having trouble with figuring out the use for an underarm flashlight. I laughed at the meta joke of sudden transitions being hard to control. I also love the idea that Piggy's beauty inventions are exactly the same as Kermit's world peace inventions. Bunsen is not wasteful. It reminds me of Calvin's transmografier and duplicator being made out of the same cardboard box. I loved Gonzo's nose-straightener too. ***.

Muppet Babies No. 18:

Kermit And The Kermettes:

Love the designs of the green haired Talent Agent and Ned Mulligan. Although the idea that the Babies have no musical talent at the beginning is not credible. They rocked a song on TV once a week. The cover hinted at a lamer story that we got. Speaking of the cover, this was the first issue to be labeled Marvel rather than Star Comics. **1/2.

The A-Maze-ing Drain Story:

This was the first (but not the last) Muppet Babies story to have an activity for kids in the middle of the story (in this case a maze)! I love the Pipe People and that all their names rhyme with "Arry". The fact that the Babies take baths together is weird enough, but it's even weirder they do it in their clothes. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 19:

The Museum Of Natural Mystery (Or... The Weirdest Thing In The World!):

Another cool (and yet easier) maze, although the ending was predictable. Severin didn't ink this issue, so the artwork isn't as good as usual. Fozzie's joke were truly awful this story. ***.

Nannies On The Loose!:

Brilliant concept! Super meta when Gonzo looks at the reader and says "Well, you always wanted to see Nanny's face." Genius story. One of Laura Hitchcock's best. *****.

Piggy's Charm School:

Muppet Babies 19 is the only issue with three stories. I liked Piggy smooshing the too-big tongue twister word balloon. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 20:

The Adventures Of Kermit Hood (And His Merry Band!):

A valid ballad is a good joke. The design of the Sheriff of Noddington was great. It works equally well when he's sinister and happy. I love Rowlf as the Bard carrying the piano and wishing he had learned to play the lute. ***.

Through The Picture Frame:

Not much to interest me in this story but "Draw your own conclusions" was a good closing line. **1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 21:

The Weirdest Show On Earth:

At this point the monster finding Fozzie's jokes funny is old hat, but at least they used the good excuse that since the monster was from outer space he had never heard them before. Weird that the word "alien" never comes up in the entire story. ***.

Do You Sea What I Sea?:

I love the Kaleidoscope joke. Just because I loved those things as a kid. They were so inexpensive yet hours of fascinating fun. I need to get myself another one of them one of these days. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 22:

The Biggest Fishy Story Yet!!:

There are weirdly no credits at the beginning of this story. "Cut it trout! I've haddock!" was a good pun. I like the splash panel of the giant fish and the gags of all of the different punny fish in his stomach. The gag of making a fold in picture of the fish changing sizes was cool too. MAD Magazine was pretty popular when this title was on the stands. ****.

The Great Jungle Caper:

Credits in this story, but only last names, and they don't say who did what. I was a little bored with this. Piggy trying to tame Animal only to have him turn into Michigan J Frog when she tries to prove his wildness is an interesting idea, as is the idea that Animal's wildness wound up rubbing off on her. But it feels clumsily written, even for this comic, and doesn't actually lead anywhere unpredictable or interesting. **1/2.

Muppet Babies No. 23:

The Secret Of The Mummy's Curse:

Refreshing that the tour guide / mummy was an actual woman of color. This comic usually uses only white people, even in foreign countries like Egypt. I love the puzzles. That coded message actually took some work on my end, and it's super cool how the answers are in the next panel, or upsidedown, or in the case of the maze, on the next page. I also thought the rebus puzzle Fozzie translates was brilliantly drawn and executed. I love the idea that tourists are worse than an Earthquake. For the record, the "Egypt us" gag on the front cover is actually racist against Romani. But people still use that phrase today, so even if I cringed I am unsurprised that the writers don't know it's a slur. ****1/2.

The Magic Sneakers:

Skeeter saying it seems like she has to imagine everything for herself around here makes her the Mary Sueiest of Mary Sues. For the record, the "arms race" being a silly idea is a great, adult joke. I missed it as a kid because I was too young to actually appreciate it's subtle genius. But it's great, especially in the 1980's. ****.

Muppet Babies No. 24:

The Mild, Wild West:

Brilliant idea. As far as I'm concerned the fact that the show always used live action backgrounds and footage, is the reason the show was great. Every hardcore Muppet fan takes shots at the Muppet Babies cartoon, but the fact of the matter is it looked like nothing else on television at the time. The next show to absolutely break the animation mold was The Simpsons, so that's how rare that happened on TV. So this comic has the Babies interacting with photos. It's a great idea, that is sadly a bit of a disappointment. There are not enough photos. All of them are in black and white. And even more puzzling to me, they don't use the gimmick on the very cover they are trying to sell the reader. But the Muppet Babies cartoon knocked my socks off visually, so it was a great gimmick to say this issue of the comic was just like TV. There are also appear to be more signs and Easter Eggs in the story than usual. As great as Muppet Babies looked, it did not do Easter Eggs or Freeze Frame gags. And the cool thing about the comic is that it's fun to look all around the panels to see every pun and joke off to the side of story. Maybe the comic doesn't LOOK as interesting as the TV show. But on that level, it can often be just as immersive an experience. Bunsen and Beaker cameo at the beginning. No credits at the beginning of this story either. ****.

Rowlf Plays The Blues:

While it is not rare for Rowlf to have an episode focused on him, it is VERY rare that he has a comic story that is. I love the fact that the book reprints the mistakes, like the fact that Rowlf's nose is red for a panel, and in one panel he has an unexpected snaggletooth sticking up from the bottom of his mouth. I love reprint collections that reprint the mistakes. The joke of the kid insisting to his mother he wasn't holding his breath was a VERY weird visual to me. Him and his mother looked completely out of style with the rest of the entire comic's output, so it looks jarring and funnier because it is. ***1/2.

Muppet Babies No, 25:

Get The Last Word!:

Another photo-comic adventure, this one much more successful because there were a ton of photos. It's a shame this gimmick only started in the third to last issue. I was very happy that they spelled out the meaning of "serendipity" for the Babies at that end. I had kind of forgotten what the word meant myself and I smiled at the babies figuring it out. ****1/2.

The Castle Of Gold:

The artwork was great in this. Princess Piggy's golden dress design is beautiful, and Gonzo's excitement to see Nanny at the end was an amazing and amazingly cute drawing too. I noted that we see the bottom of Nanny's neck in the first panel. We didn't get that often in the TV show either, but I think that's the further we've ever gone up in the comic. Stupid word balloon. ****.

Muppet Babies No. 26:

Astro Babies From Outer Space!:

Last issue! Disappointed it wasn't a photocomic or a puzzle issue, but at least it had Bunsen and Beaker. The pinball using stars thing was a bizarre notion and didn't quite work if you ask me. ***1/2.

What A Job!:

"A Deeply moving tale of two chickens in love, fighting to survive in a world they never made," is a line I can picture Don La Fontaine saying. We don't get much of Camilla in the comics, and we got both her imaginary form and her doll form here. Rowlf's nose is blue in the first panel, which it was when the comic was first printed too. Spider-Man and Hulk appear in the comic at the beginning. You can tell Spider-Man is Spider-Man, but Hulk looks extra cartoony, and is weirdly purple instead of green. Maybe he's supposed to be the Gray Hulk. ****.

Marvel Super Special No. 32:

The Muppets Take Manhattan:

The art is not as good as Marie Severin's and to be blunt, The Muppets Take Manhattan is the weakest of the Muppet films done when Jim Henson was alive. If you want to get right down to it's actually lousy. It has its share of bright spots to be sure (Kermit and Piggy's wedding, the Muppet Babies) but it is pretty badly written, with the worst dialogue of any Muppet film period, and has Kermit doing some terrible things to try and sell his play around Broadway. I don't think I've ever found the characters less likable than in that movie. How is the adaptation? Besides the underwhelming art, since the movie is a musical, the comic has a bit of a hard time distilling the musical numbers into a few panels that made logical sense within the framework of the story. Somebody who had not seen the movie would get that that was probably where a musical number is. And it's the fact that they wouldn't actually GET a musical number which is why the comic is so inferior to the experience of watching the Muppets sing and dance. The Muppet Babies comic is hit and miss at times, but since they do completely original stories, there is no way to negatively contrast the comic to what the TV show was doing at the time, which was for the best. I was even more disappointed in the Muppet Babies sequence in the comic years later than when I first read it. Simply because not only do they only appear in two panels (and a cover of the last issue of the serialized adaptation), but the outfits are all wrong. Miss Piggy is wearing a pink bonnet and dress which is off-model enough. But the other Babies are just wearing plain diapers which make the adaptation completely inferior. Scooter doesn't even appear either. Good things about the comic? I was shocked they DID get the Sesame Street cameos in at the end (Marvel's Who Framed Roger Rabbit adaptation had ZERO licensed characters in it) but the problem is that they are poorly drawn and off-model, which is true of much of the adaptation. The adaptation did NOT get the licenses for the actors and celebrities in the movie, so the characters look much more cartoonier than they should, and provide less of a contrast with the Muppets than real people do, which is another weakness. That being said, the human designs ARE appealing in their own right. And the last positive thing I can't help mentioning is the fact that they kept in the movie's funniest joke of Gonzo giving Camilla mouth to beak resuscitation, and when asked if she's okay afterwards, he says, "Yeah, but I think we're engaged." Which was like a genius joke. I think it made sense to include the adaptation in the book as it was an Omnibus, but if they hadn't I wouldn't have complained. It barely involves the Muppet Babies, and the only writer or artist from the Muppet Babies Comics is Stan Kay, who wrote the adaptation. It's hardly part of the Muppet Babies Comic canon, much less one the book NEEDED collect. But collecting unneeded things is something that make Omnibuses more special than regular trade paperbacks. I didn't need it, but it was good to have it anyways. But it does admittedly suck. *1/2.


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