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.
The Muppets make themselves at home on the comics page
The bear lobbies for his own strip
Gonzo tries his hand at mud wrestling
Do comic strips have musical numbers?
Statler and Waldorf go for a drive
Vet's Hospital, Bear on Patrol and Pigs in Space!
The closing number, featuring the Wormettes
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.