Hosted by Kris Bather and Mladen Luketin from Western Australia, ES is a weekly podcast filled with news, reviews and pop culture shenanigans. Kris (loyal superhero fan) and Mladen (manga, anime and indie defender) chat about their varying, and occasional overlapping, interests in the wonderful world of sequential art.

The Incredible Caped Muppets

BOOM! Studios recent acquisition of Disney’s/Pixar’s Toy Story, The Incredibles , Cars and Muppets franchises was a smart move. Sure, it would have cost them, but it’ll pay off. With their recent announcement of a deal that allows them to have these comics available in comics chops (obviously) and US newsstands, plus Trade Paperbacks eventually collecting the series available at bookstores, things are looking good for their new BOOM! Kids imprint. So good infact, that the debut issues of The Incredibles and The Muppet Show have all sold out the day before they were released, causing BOOM! to happily rush out second printings immediately.  This is good news for kids who love Pixar films, and their parents who remember Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang. So, are the comics actually any good? You bet!

The Incredibles #1, first of a four parter entitled Family Matters has the superpowered family visiting the Metroville Zoo when their lovely outing is interrupted by a mechanical baddie riding a dinosaur/elephant hybrid. He calls himself Futurion and he quickly re-makes the zoo’s inhabitants into mash-ups of various animals, so a hippo merges with a T-Rex and Pterodactyls merge with gorillas. The family put on their costumes and the action begins. After they round up the strange beasts and capture their master, the Parrs go home and receive a dressing down from dad for their reckless behaviour and disregard of his orders. Despite their neighbours popping in, Bob Parr AKA Mr Incredible goes back to the zoo after receiving a clue from son Dash, and finds that Futurion has left one last surprise at the zoo. However, as he reveals to pal Frozone, Mr Incredible has a surprise of his own – that he may not be so incredible after all.

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With the voices of the Pixar film running in my mind as I read this, it goes to show how good that film was at creating rich characters and fun superheroey adventure. Writer, and EIC of BOOM!, Mark Waid captures the voices well and move things along at a brisk pace. Marcio Takara’s art is suitably fluid and full of expression, making certain this is a grand read for those who loved the film.

Another 4 issue series just released from BOOM! is also a fun look at costumed adventures. However, Caped is more mature than the Pixar adaptation. Written by Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle, with art by Yair Herrera, Caped is made for older superhero fans. It’s a classy parody. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of those over the years, but fanboys don’t mind laughing at the objects of their obsessions. It begins with a dark Batman-inspired hero called Edge who arrives late to Gemini’s (think Two-Face) hostage maneuver aboard a train. The rescued hostage, Jimmy Lohman wants to be a top reporter, but instead gets a job as the 28th assistant for Grant Godfried, respected journalist, and you guessed it – alter ego of Edge, Capitol City’s nocturnal soldier. So why does a superhero need an assistant, you ask? In Edge’s words, because he can’t, “answer phones, wait for the cable guy and protect 8 million people all at the same time.” Good call. As the new pair start to track down the escaped Gemini, Jimmy is introduced to the world of big-time superheroics, witnessing the Edgemobile in action, dropping into the EdgeCave and glimpsing Edge’s suitably abled pals, The League. It’s here that Jimmy begins his training in the unique art of being a superhero aid by Marvin. This was a fun read. Fans who’ve been reading comics for a while may appreciate it more, but the characters are starting to be built well, and some humorous dynamics occur.

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Lastly, The Muppet Show Comic Book #1. Written and drawn by Kiwi Roger Langrdidge, this embarces the wholesome zaniness of The Muppets very well. Fans of the TV series from the 1970s and 80s, or the cavalcade of films over the years will appreciate this. Rather than telling one long story, it’s split up into bite-sized pieces, much like the original show itself. Set behind the scenes of the TV show, like the first series was, it’s filled with great moments, such as the two grumps in the balcony remarking about how the Muppets will corrupt the medium of comics, to exploding frogs (not as gruesome as it sounds) to a sketch set on another planet, to the always amusing Swedish chef. There’s also a Pigs in Space sketch, a song from Kermit, plus a lot more. This is so much like the Muppets I remember on the glowing box in my living room that I had flashbacks. And that’s a good thing.

Thanks to BOOM! there’s now plenty of excuses for kids to read, and for parents to read along with them. Dive in.

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