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August 29, 2016

ToughPigs Turns 15: Flashback to MuppetZine

Filed under: Feature — Tags: , — Joe Hennes @ 10:18 am

Launched in August, 2001, ToughPigs is celebrating its 15th year of existence!  That’s a decade-and-a-half of interviews, newsbits, silly commentaries, complaints, observations, and witticisms all about the Muppets. Thanks to all of you for a great 15 years, and here’s to 15 more!

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Somehow I can’t believe that ToughPigs has been around for 15 years.  Our little website is old enough to get its learner’s permit.  It’s partway through high school.  It’s long past its bar mitzvah.  But we’re actually a bit older than that.

For those of us who were around in the early days of Muppet fandom, there weren’t things like fancy websites to keep us educated about the goings-on of the franchise.  Instead, we had usenet newsgroups forcing us to memorize discussion titles like alt.tv.jim.henson or alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork.  Life was hard in the stone age.

We also had something called a “zine”.  Those were self-published magazines, usually written and distributed by hardcore fans.  One of those fans was Danny Horn, who created the MuppetZine in the mid-1990s.  He was the one who gave us the scoop on current Muppet projects like Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets Tonight, and more.  He began to build a format where he could geek out over what the Muppets were creating, while voicing an honest (and hilarious) opinion, reporting on the news, connecting fans, and all with a spoonful of snarkiness.

As you may have guessed, MuppetZine eventually evolved into ToughPigs, which is the website you’re reading right now.  Surprise!

Today, MuppetZine is a time capsule for us fans.  It wasn’t just where we read the news, but how we collected information before the Muppet Wiki existed.  It was also where you could find rare Muppet memorabilia for sale before eBay.  And most importantly, it’s where a lot of us made new Muppet fan friends before, I dunno, Tinder?

So as our first act of ToughPigs’ 15th anniversary celebration, we’re bringing MuppetZine to you.  We’ve uploaded all 20 issues to the site for you to peruse, read, and devour.  If you divert your attention to the sidebar on the right, you’ll see MuppetZine as our newest category.  Or you can click here to see all of the issues and start reading!

Of course, all of the credit for MuppetZine goes to ToughPigs founder Danny Horn and our artist-in-residence Chris “Smig” Smigliano.  Thanks for the building blocks, guys!

Stay tuned for more about MuppetZine later in the week!  Happy time traveling, Muppet fans!

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Click here to get self-published on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com



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