September 6, 2013

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SPX/Baltimore Comic-Con Spotlight 2013: Roger Langridge

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at one of the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

Welcome also to my 2013 Baltimore Comic-Con Spotlight entries. Over the course of this week, I will also be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at another of my favorite conventions, the Baltimore Comic-ConYou can check out all of my spotlights for the Baltimore Comic-Con from both this year and prior years here.

If Roger Langridge is remembered for nothing else other than reminding the world just how you use Jim Henson's Muppets, then his legacy is assured. (I can't help but think that the success of new the Muppet movie was partially due to Langridge showing them how to do it right.)

His work, however, goes far beyond just adapting some of my favorite characters. Langridge has a great sense of comic timing that shows throughout all of his work. He's quietly put together a catalog of work that ranges from all-ages work to things with more adult themes, and even a stint working on Doctor Who.

No matter what Langridge is working on, you can tell he's putting forth his full effort. I think I may have first seen him turning Fin Fang Foom into a straight man (review of that here), and I knew instantly he was a creator I wanted to keep tabs on.

There's the Muppet Show work of course (a review here), much of which is getting reprinted by Marvel soon, which was followed by taking elements of Lewis Carroll and turning them into a story that had echoes in his Muppet work, but a clear voice of its own, Snarked! (sample review here). I also read his collection of short works (review here). All of these are easily recommended, if Roger had any of them at the show.

It's incredibly difficult to pull of humor comics. Only a handful of creators can manage it and even they miss periodically. Langridge hits a home run every time. Whether it's verbal gags or slapstick visuals, everything seems to fit neatly into place, showing a lot of time and effort put into getting the jokes just right.

Langridge also has a distinctive style that's rather unlike anyone I've seen. It's partially realistic, partially cartoonish, blended together and ever-changing. Once time he might be doing things that resemble Mad Magazine interpretations of superheroes, then turning in a thin and angular work that's closer to 1950s illustrations. Yet another instance finds him drawing in a style that's akin to animation. He changes design type to fit the story, which is what makes him so good in the first place.

I have no idea what Roger's bringing with him to Baltimore and SPX. So just go see him, and grab something you don't already own. You'll be laughing in no time as soon as you start to read.

Stranded on an island and can't make SPX or Baltimore? You can find Roger Langridge on the web here, with links to buy some of his books.