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Fraggle Rock Comic Creators Talk To Comic Vine
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
What can we expect from the upcoming Fraggle comic?
If you've ever had a chance to watch Fraggle Rock, you should be on the edge of your seat waiting for the Archaia Comics release. When I heard the issue was coming, I started asking for any information we could get on it. I hadn't watched the show when it was on but I have with my daughter since the episodes were released on DVD. Fraggle Rock #1 (which is available for order by retailers) will contain a main feature along with a couple back up tales. I had the chance to ask Heather White (writer of the main story) and Jeff Stokely (artist of the main feature) some questions.
Comic Vine: What does Fraggle Rock mean to you in terms of childhood memories? Did you watch the show? The cartoon?
Heather White: Everyone who worked on this project is a huge Fraggle fan, which is wonderful. I’d go as far to say that I am a Fraggle geek, entirely. We didn’t have HBO growing up, and it was always a treat to see the show. Then, when it was widely available, I got completely addicted – comics, cartoons, everything. As kids, my brothers and I would get a reward for being good through church - either a comic book or candy treat from the local newspaper shop. I always got either a Fraggle Rock comic or a Whatchamacallit candy bar. More often it was the comic over the candy, and that is really saying something for a little kid. Such is my love for The Fraggles.
Jeff Stokely: I watched the show when I was very little and I really loved it. I couldn't say "no" to bringing back “Fraggle Rock.” I wanted to have a hand in it the moment I heard about it. My friends who grew up watching the show are extremely excited. It’s great being involved with The Jim Henson Company as well. It’s any kid’s dream.
CV: How does it feel working on the characters that are so beloved to many?
HW: Humbling, exciting and terrifying all at once! As a fan, you want to do justice to these characters that you love so much, but also take them on new adventures to share with the readers. I wanted to be 100% true to the characters, and not do any unnecessary modernization for the sake of doing it. A huge chunk of the Fraggle magic is in these characters and how they talk and interact, and we wanted to be very sensitive and attentive to that. We spent a lot of time making sure dialogue was just right, and sounded exactly like the characters.
JS: Intimidating, ha ha. But great! I had a blast taking the characters and adding my own flavor to it but still staying true to the originals. I think people are really going to dig seeing the Fraggles in this light.
CV: Are you working on any of the other issues in the mini-series?
HW: I had such a blast working with the Archaia folks and Henson, and would certainly jump at the chance to work on more stories with them. We’ve thrown around a few ideas about future issues, but it’s too early to confirm anything.
JS: Not that I’m aware of. One of the fun parts about this is that the main stories will be told by different artists and writers. I’m grateful to be on the leading chapter! It’s quite an honor.
CV: Which is your favorite Fraggle?
HW: Boober. Hands-down. The socks. The hat. The general trepidation. He’s the best!
JS: He's the most fun to draw! That hat and scarf are so stylin'.
CV: Which is the hardest to work on? Were you given any restrictions on how the characters can and can't act?
HW: Coming into the project, I wasn’t given any type of restrictions, which was fantastic! Archaia has an amazing commitment to telling great stories, and really let me play and have fun coming up with this adventure. When you are given a trust like that, it really fosters creativity, and I’m very pleased with how the story turned out. A big part of that came from Tim Beedle and Joe LeFavi, who were wonderful to work with and really shared the passion and love I have for these characters. It was great having that support system.
JS: Probably Red or Wembley. They aren't necessarily hard for me but I think I’m partial to the design of the other Fraggles.
CV: Jeff, when you draw the Fraggles, how much of your own style do you use versus capturing the 'look' of the Fraggles.
JS: Well, being the artist for the leading story, I definitely wanted to stay true to the original look and feel of “Fraggle Rock.” But being an artist, I naturally wanted to take it and rework some things. I think I found a happy medium. I looked at a lot of Jim Henson work and found myself looking at even more Vaughn Bode artwork from his days doing Cheech Wizard. I really wanted the characters to feel just as animated and lifelike as they were in the original series.
CV: Will we see new Fraggle characters or just random background Fraggles? Any Fraggles based on friends/family?
HW: In this first story, we really wanted to re-establish the main characters, but I couldn’t resist, and threw in some geeky favorites of mine. I wish I had thought to make some Fraggles for my family – that is brilliant! Maybe Jeff Stokely is making some personal Fraggles in the art. I did put a homage to my best friend, and two films, but that was about it.
JS: I actually have not had the opportunity to create any new characters but there are a few classics that make some cameos! Some I was really stoked on including. There is a point in the book where I have to draw nearly hundreds of Fraggles. It’s a classic moment in the story!
CV: Did the theme song get stuck in your head when working on the book?
HW: Yes! And in the heads of every single person around you. Most of them genuinely appreciate it…for a while.
JS: Every time I sit down to work. Ha ha ha. Actually, I get on Netflix and watch the show a lot..... for.... research... Yeah, research.
CV: Music was a big part of the series, will the lack of music affect the stories or mood at all?
HW: I think music enhanced the original episodes, but the storytelling was what really made them shine. While working on this issue, it was obvious that everyone was so committed to doing the series justice and keeping the show's original spirit, that you don’t even notice the lack of songs.
CV: Will we see Uncle Traveling Matt? The Gorgs? Any explanation between the Gorgs world and ours (Outer Space)?
JS: Traveling Matt does not make it into my story but the Gorgs do, as well as some other characters! The Gorgs are a blast to draw and so is the Gorg realm.
HW: In this first story you will see quite a bit of Junior Gorg! Though I didn’t get into Outer Space/Gorg’s Universe logic. That kind of physics is far too advanced for this girl.