Tough Pigs Anthology

March 2003


Season Six

The Early Days of the Muppets Comic Strip


   September, 1981: It was the start of a new TV season, but who cared? The Muppet Show was over. There wouldn't be any new episodes on TV that fall, but -- to fill the void in our Muppet fan hearts -- the characters crossed over into a new medium, as a daily newspaper comic strip.


   It wasn't much of a substitute, really, but as it turned out, the comic strip was a lot better than you might expect. At least, it looked a lot better than you would expect. This month in the Anthology, I'm posting some strips that I collected from the first few months, when it featured really faithful representations of the Muppet characters. If you weren't reading the paper much back in 1981, then welcome to Season Six. 



Part 1:  Kissy Kissy, America!

   The Muppets make themselves at home on the comics page


Part 2: Get Fozzie

   The bear lobbies for his own strip


Part 3: A Dirty Job

   Gonzo tries his hand at mud wrestling


Part 4: Hat Tricks

   Do comic strips have musical numbers?


Part 5: Stepping Out

   Statler and Waldorf go for a drive


Part 6: On with the Show

   Vet's Hospital, Bear on Patrol and Pigs in Space!


Part 7: Joy to the Worms

   The closing number, featuring the Wormettes


Part 8: Compare and Contrast

   How the strip developed over the next few years...


   The examples reproduced here are from the first three months of the strip, from September to December, 1981 -- because that's how long the strip ran in my local paper before it got cancelled. These are strips I cut out of the paper when I was ten, which I hope explains the occasionally overenthusiastic cropping job. There were six books of Muppet comic strips published between 1984 and 1986, but the books mostly reprinted the later, yuckier-looking strips. As far as I know, these early strips have never been collected anywhere.  






Tough Pigs Anthology Contents

Feb 2003 -- Ernie vs Bert

Aug/Sept 2002 -- The Road to Hollywood

July 2002 -- The Decline and Fall of Gorch, part two: The Fall

June 2002 -- The Decline and Fall of Gorch, part one: The Decline

May 2002 -- Giant Frogs!

April 2002 -- April Frog's Day

March 2002 -- The Muppets Take Madison Avenue

February 2002 -- Kermit and Piggy : That Magnificent Hankering

January 2002 -- Off the Street

December 2001 -- It Feels Like Christmas

November 2001 -- Muppets: 1, Host: 0