Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Muppet Comics Come in May

As previously reported, BOOM! Studios is preparing to launch a brand-new series of comic books this spring staring the Muppets. The debut mini-series, a four-part Muppet Show comic book series, is being written and drawn by Roger Langridge and will launch next month with the release of "The Muppet Show #1" on March 25, followed by "The Muppet Show #2" on April 29.

"The Muppet Show #3", the third installment in the series, has now been announced for a May 27, 2009 release - continuing the monthly spacing between issues. The story in the third issue will focus on exploits of the Great Gonzo as his dangerous routines come under scrutiny from the theater's insurance agent.

May will also bring the second installment of BOOM! Studios' second Muppet series, "Muppet Robin Hood". This four-part comic mini-series gives an irreverent retelling of the classic tale of "Robin Hood" with the Muppets. The series is being written by Tim Beedle, with artwork by Armand Villavert Jr. In the comic, Robin Hood (Kermit the Frog) joins up with the Merry Men to take on the stuffy Sheriff of Muppetham (Sam the Eagle) and the wicked Gonzo of Gisbourne (The Great Gonzo). "Muppet Robin Hood #1" will be released on April 29 and "Muppet Robin Hood #2" will follow on May 27, 2009.

So mark your calendars because "The Muppet Show #3" and "Muppets Robin Hood #2" will both be released on May 27, 2009. I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on the upcoming Muppet comic book seriess as more information become available.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Kermit Culture" Explores the Depths of the Muppets

McFarland & Company, a publisher of scholarly and academic books, is planning to release an exciting new anthology of academic essays that explore various perspectives on Jim Henson's Muppets. Entitled Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson's Muppets, the book will feature a unique collection of original essays on the Muppets.

Collected, edited, and contributed to by Jennifer C. Garlen and Anissa M. Graham, the anthology includes the work of a variety of contributors from various academic disciplines - including literature, philosophy, culture studies, puppetry arts, and education. As a result, Jennifer Garlen says, "there should be something for everyone in the collection."

Intended for both scholarly and general audiences, the essays included in the book represent a diverse range of topics – such as Statler and Waldorf's role as a critical chorus, the role of Muppets as actors, the Muppet films' embodiment of the American journey, Miss Piggy and gender stereotypes, the morality of Kermit the Frog, and even what the Muppets tell us about ourselves. This unique anthology of essays will provide distinct perspectives on how the Muppets became enduring characters, renowned cultural icons, and how they play into outlook on life and the world around us.

The 323-page book is slated for a softcover release in spring/summer 2009; you can already pre-order a copy for the McFarland website. I will be sure to keep you updated with more details regarding the release of Kermit Culture as more details become confirmed and available.

Jennifer Garlen has told me that, "if the anthology sells well enough, [they] already have plans and potential contributors for a second book that looks at the expanded Henson universe." So the success of Kermit Culture could lead towards an academic exploration of Fraggles, Grouches, Gelflings, Farscape aliens, and many other classic Henson creatures and characters that couldn't fit into this book (which deals exclusively on the Muppet Show family of characters).

Below you can read a copy of the official publisher’s description for Kermit Culture along with a complete listing of the essays and authors included in this remarkable new anthology.

Publisher's summary:
By the end of its five-year run on television, The Muppet Show had transformed its motley cast of characters from mere fistfuls of felt to true multi-media celebrities. Sophisticated and highly individuated, each of the Muppets nonetheless embodied a conventional character type from classic television comedy. Kermit, the manager of the show, functioned as straight man to the majority of the show’s jokes. Miss Piggy, the resident diva, evolved from first season chorus girl to full-fledged megastar. The Costello to Kermit’s Abbot, Fozzie peddled his vaudevillian shtick to a tough audience, but his genuine sweetness made him lovable even when his jokes were terrible. Intended for both scholarly and general audiences, these essays represent the work and ideas of a global community of scholars and Muppet enthusiasts, providing a unique perspective on just how Kermit and the rest of the frogs, dogs, bears, and chickens became cultural icons with influences reaching far beyond the world of 1970s television comedy.

Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson's Muppets
Part I: Audience Participation
• "Taking Silliness Seriously: The Muppet Show and the Anglo-American Nonsense Tradition" by Michelle Ann Abate
• "The Muppet Show Re-Forms the Fringe" by Anissa M. Graham
• "What The Muppets Can Tell Us About Our Furry Selves" by Gideon Haberkorn
• "How to Become a Muppet, or, The Great Muppet Paper" by Ben Underwood
• "Stuffed Tuxedoes: Statler and Waldorf as Critical Chorus" by Lynne Schneider

Part II: Adaptation and Performance
• "From Muppetry to Puppetry" by Jennifer Stoessner
• "The Muppets in Shakespeare" by Hugh Davis
• "Enter Kermit as Bob Cratchit: Muppets as Actors" by Ginger Stelle
• "The Muppet Wizard of Oz and the Re-Imagination of the American Myth" by Alissa Burger
• "While and at the Same Time: Gonzo the Great and the Conflation of High and Low Culture" by Jennifer C. Garlen

Part III: Theories and Strategies
• "The American Journey Narrative in The Muppet Movies" by Tara K. Parmiter
• "It's Time to Get Together for Some Sex and Violence on the Muppet Show?" by Kathleen Kennedy
• "'British to a Fang, British to a Whisker': Reconsidering The Muppet Show’s National Identity" by Rayna Denison
• "The Muppet Show as Educational Critique" by Julie G. Maudlin
• "The Ethos of Kermit the Frog" by Michele Lockhart
• "Miss Piggy and the Subversion of Gender Stereotypes" by Maryanne Fisher and Anthony Cox
• "Muppets and Money" by Andrew Leal

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Return to Labyrinth" Continues this Spring

The third installment in Tokyopop's "Return to Labyrinth" series is planned for release this spring. The original manga series, which launched in 2006, is a follow up to the classic Henson film "Labyrinth". Taking place thirteen years after the events of the original film, Toby, who was just an infant when his sister Sarah wished him away to the labyrinth, is dragged back into the goblin kingdom to take his place as the heir to the throne.

"Return to Labyrinth: Volume 3" will resolve the dramatic cliffhangers of the second volume and sets out to answer many of the readers' (and Toby's) unanswered questions. The 192-page graphic novel, written by Jake Forbes and with art by Chris Lie, will be released this spring – with an official release date set for May 1, 2009. The third volume has just been sent to the printers and the book is already beginning to appear for pre-ordering online; while volume 1 and volume 2 are already in stores. I will keep you updated with more information on this (and other) Tokyopop series as more information continues to surface.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stars Come Out For Sesame Street's 40th Season

Since its debut in 1969, celebrities have been an integral part of Sesame Street. Famous faces often drop by Sesame Street to help entertain, educate and engage audiences of all ages. The show is now entering its 40th season, set to debut on PBS in November 2009, and the list of stars planning to stop by the street just continues to grow. The upcoming season will feature appearances by Adam Sandler ("Bedtime Stories"), Jimmy Fallon ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"), Ricky Gervais ("Extra"), Jason Mraz (musician), Judah Friedlander ("30 Rock"), and many others. I will be sure to keep you updated with details on this exciting landmark season as more information become available.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Watch Miss Piggy's Appearance on The View

Watch Miss Piggy on Fox & Friends

Miss Piggy made a surprise visit to the set of FOX News' Fox & Friends today to promote her new book "The Diva Code: Miss Piggy on Life, Love, and the 10,000 Idiotic Things Men Frogs Do!". You can catch the appearance online as part of the shows' "After the Show Show". Enjoy.

Send the Gift of a Sesame Street Valentine's Day Tribute Card

Looking for a meaningful and fun new way to honor your loved ones this Valentine's Day? Then maybe could should consider sending an exclusive Sesame Street Tribute E-card featuring one of your favorite Sesame Street Muppets this Valentine's Day. Sending an e-card is a fantastic, furry way to honor family and friends with a meaningful gift - while giving your support to Sesame Workshop. It's quick and easy, and when you send a Sesame Street tribute e-card, your gift will help support Sesame Workshop's efforts of harnessing the power of media to prepare children around the world for school, life and a healthy future. And also remember that Sesame Workshop has special tribute cards for all kinds of occassions - Birthdays, Father's Day, Graduations, Mother's Day, Christmas, Teacher appreciation , Thanksgiving, friendship, and more. So give the gift that keeps on giving - the gift of Sesame Street.

Send a Sesame Street Tribute E-card

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another "Best of" Elmo's World Box Set Coming in May

Sesame Workshop and Genius Products have just announced plans to release a collection of Elmo's World DVDs in one convenient box set. The 3-disc collection, entitled "The Best of Elmo's World: Volume 2" (a follow-up to the 2006 "Best of Elmo's World" DVD collection), is planned for release on May 5, 2009. The set will inlclude three classic Elmo's World home video titles -- "Elmo's World: Families, Mail, & Bath Time!", "Elmo's World: Food, Water & Exercise!" and "Elmo's World: Reach for the Sky!".

This new DVD box set will feature nine Elmo's World episodes -- focusing on such topics as bath time, exercise, families, food, jumping, mail, school, sky, and water. The set, featuring over 155-minutes of Elmo's World content, will be a convenient and economical way to get these great Elmo's World titles - and the collectible boxed package is also perfect for gift giving. So be sure to check out both "Best of Elmo's World" collections and fill-up your libary with even more Elmo's World episodes this spring.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Watch Miss Piggy's Today Appearance

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Could Henson's "Happytime Murders" Lead to a "Puppet Up!" Film Franchise?

Back in October, the Jim Henson Company announced the development of "Happytime Murders," a puppet comedy film that plays on the film noir genre. The film, based on a story by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson, will feature the renowned Henson style of irreverence and parody. The film will take place in a world where puppets are a minority race amongst humans, and follows a puppet detective who is forced to solve a string of murders around the Happytime Gang, the cast of a beloved children’s show, that is being picked off by a mysterious villain. Todd Berger is writing the screenplay, while Brian Henson is attached to direct.

The film is being produced under the company’s Henson Alternative banner, a division that develops projects not intended for children – most notably the company's "Puppet Up! – Uncensored" stage show. The idea behind "Happytime Murders" comes from the company's desire to take the tone, talent and comedy of "Puppet Up!" to the next level. This film noir spoof may just be the first of many Henson Alternative films, as Henson is looking to possibly continue their foray into adult-oriented puppet films with a series of other genre-based comedies from the "Puppet Up!" team.

Lisa Henson (co-CEO of the Jim Henson Company and producer of "Happytime Murders") recently remarked about this upcoming project stating:

"It's an adult puppet movie. It's going to be a film noir staring a puppet detective and basically it’s a spin-off of our theatre franchise 'Puppet Up!'... We loved the live shows so much that we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do to go to the next level with that kind of comedy. So we want to do a series of 'Puppet Up!' films which would all be in different genres. So this would be film noir detective, and if we do another one it won't be that genre – it would be a teen comedy, or a sci-fi, or something like that. So we would use the 'Puppet Up!' improv style to do different genres."

So if "Happytime Murders" is successful, we might see a whole series of Henson Alternative genre-lampooning feature films coming our way. "Happytime Murders" is in development and currently planned for release sometime around 2010. And while no other Henson Alternative films have been announced, the company is currently producing two original Henson Alternative web series for – "Simian Undercover Detective Squad" (a spoof on police dramas) and "Alt/Reality" (a spoof of reality television shows). Also, the "Puppet Up!" troupe performs monthly shows at the Avalon in Hollywood (for showtimes and tickets visit I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on all these exciting Henson Alternative projects as more details are revealed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sid's Mid-Season Premiere

Young scientists, their parents and caregivers can get ready to enjoy 10 brand-new episodes of the acclaimed preschool series, "Sid the Science Kid". The new set of episodes will hit PBS airwaves later this month. In the first 20 episodes of the series, Sid and his friends explored science tools, transformation and changes, senses, and health. Starting on Monday, February 9, 2009 a new batch of episodes will premiere, with each week introducing a new scientific theme.

The week of February 9-13 will feature five episodes that provide a basic introduction to physical science and engineering featuring simple machines, like levers, wheels and pulleys. The five episodes debuting the week of February 16-20 will explore backyard science, giving viewers a chance to take a closer look at the nature all around them, including dogs, birds, bugs, leaves and dirt. This week will also introduce Sid's newest friend, Philbert, a dog Sid's Grandma adopts who will help Sid investigate animal communication.

Like all of the characters in "Sid the Science Kid", Philbert was brought to life using the groundbreaking Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, which allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real-time, creating an unprecedented level of spontaneity and warmth. For Philbert, an actual dog performed on the motion capture stage to record the body movements while Philbert's face and barking was puppeteered in real time by a Henson performer. The two images were then simultaneously composited together to create a single integrated character.

The Jim Henson Company also announced today that it has joined with Hasbro, Inc. to provide all sorts of "Sid the Science Kid" merchandise. The four-year license grants Hasbro the rights to introduce an array of "Sid the Science Kid" toys, games and other items starting in 2009; and Hasbro's plans to launch its collection of "Sid the Science Kid" products in the fall of 2009 -- coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the show.

"Sid the Science Kid" airs weekdays on PBS (check your local listings for details). You won't want to miss these spectacular new episodes as they make their debut. For more "Sid the Science Kid" fun check out the show's official website at And also be sure to check out our complete "Sid the Science Kid" episode guide, to see what the entire season has had in store for Sid and his friends, and what topics the young scientists will explore next. I will be sure to keep you updated with more information regarding this new series as things continue to develop.

Dark Crystal Sequel Update

Back in 2005 The Jim Henson Company announced plans to produce "Power of the Dark Crystal," a sequel to Jim Henson's classic 1982 film "The Dark Crystal". Since the initial announcement, fans have been clamoring for any news regarding the development and status of this highly-anticipated production. The film has had its share of pre-production setbacks that have nonetheless slowed the process of producing this ambitious film; however I have been reassured that the company remains as committed as ever to bringing the project to the screen.

The project has undergone several reworkings and overhauls and is finally preparing to move out of pre-production. The film's epic screenplay was recently rewritten by screenwriter Craig Pearce ("Moulin Rouge!", "Romeo + Juliet"), and producer Lisa Henson says that the film now has a "really great script."

The Jim Henson Company is now partnering with Australian production company Omnilab Media to produce their "Dark Crystal" sequel. Henson previously partnered with Omnilab to produce the television series "Farscape". The Jim Henson Company is preparing to unveil some more concrete announcements very soon, so a lot more information should be rolling out in the not so distant future.

The movie is not expected to hit theaters until 2011 (so fans still have some waiting to do), however I've been told that things are on track and continuing to move along. I will be sure to keep you updated as more information is released regarding this highly-anticipated feature film.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Miss Piggy's Talk Show Plans

Miss Piggy, the fabulous and feminine Muppet star, is scheduled to make some special guest appearances on some daytime talk shows to promote her new book "The Diva Code: Miss Piggy on Life, Love, and the 10,000 Idiotic Things Men Frogs Do!".

Miss Piggy's guest spot on NBC's "Today" that was originally planned for today, has been rescheduled for Friday, February 6, 2009. Miss Piggy will be stoppign by to talk all about her new book and share some of her own personal wisdom and advice on life and love. "Today" is a morning news and talk program broadcasted nationwide on NBC (check your local listings for details).

Miss Piggy will also appear on ABC's "The View" to plug her new book. Miss Piggy will appear on the program on Thursday, February 12, 2009! Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters, "The View" airs weekdays on ABC (check your local listings for details). Miss Piggy is scheduled to appear on Thursday's installment of the daytime talk show along with Patti Stanger and Helen Fisher.

You won't want to miss these special Miss Piggy appearances, so mark your calendars and be sure to tune in to catch everyone's favorite Muppet diva when she appears on "Today" and "The View".

The Muppets Take on Robin Hood in April

Ever since it was first reported that BOOM! Studios was going to be producing original comics featuring the Muppets, fans have been wondering what kind of Muppetational adventures they can expect to see. As previously announced, the initial mini-series, a four-issue arch based on "The Muppet Show", will make it's debut in March -- "The Muppet Show #1" will hit comic book stores on March 25th, "The Muppet Show #2" will follow on April 29th, and issues #3 and #4 will follow shortly after. However Muppet fans won't have to wait long for even more Muppet fun to come to their local comic book store, because the Muppets' second mini-series, "Muppet Robin Hood", is planning to launch in April -- hitting stores on April 29, 2009.

The new four-part comic mini-series gives an irreverent retelling of the classic tale of "Robin Hood" featuring the one and only Muppets. The series is being written by Tim Beedle, with artwork being helmed by Armand Villavert Jr. In the comic, Robin Hood (Kermit the Frog) joins up with the Merry Men, Sherwood Forest's infamous gang of misfit outlaws, to take on the stuffy Sheriff of Muppetham (Sam the Eagle) and the wicked Gonzo of Gisbourne (The Great Gonzo). The four issue mini-series will feature special collectible covers by David Peterson and Shelli Paroline.

"Muppet Robin Hood #1" is planned for release on April 29, 2009 (the same day as "The Muppet Show #2"), with subsequent issues to follow thereafter. I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on this upcoming comic book series as more details become available.

The Muppet Show #2 Hits Stores in April

Last month it was announced that BOOM! Studios was planning to release the first issue of a four-part The Muppet Show comic books mini-series. The debut issue will hit store on March 25, 2009; and ever since the initial announcement, Muppet fans have been claimoring for more information on this exciting comic book series. Well, you won't have to wait much longer because "The Muppet Show #2", the second issue in Muppets' comic book series, will be released the very next month - hitting comic book stores on April 29, 2009! The four-issue mini series, written and drawn by Roger Langridge, is based on the beloved The Muppet Show and will come packed with all the expected skits, gags, and characters one has come to expect from The Muppet Show.

In the follow-up issue, Fozzie Bear's comedy act is even more terrible than normal! But when he asks Gonzo to help him with his latest routine, Fozzie might end up breaking more than his funny bone. While the plot of the backstage story in the first issue is mainly a Kermit story, the story in the second installment focuses mainly on Fozzzie Bear -- the third issue will be a Gonzo story, and the fourth issue will revolve around Miss Piggy.

"The Muppet Show #2" will be released on April 29, 2009 with two different variant covers (see below). And with a retail price of only $2.99 per issue, how can you say no? I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on these upcoming Muppet Show comics as soon as more details become available.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Muppet Newsflash: Four Years and Counting!

It is hard to believe, but it has been 4 years since I started blogging here. This site debuted on February 1, 2005 and has been growing ever since. The site was founded with a simple mission - create a place to collect the latest Henson and Muppet news in one convenient place. Today, over 1460 days later, The Muppet Newsflash continues to provide fans with all the latest Muppet happenings.

I want to thank everyone who has given support to make The Muppet Newsflash one of the web's premiere spots for Muppet news. Over the past four years this site has grown (and grown) - the blog has published more than 1,000 news stories (that averages out to about a new story every 35 hours). However, despite this impressive history, there is still a job to do. The Muppet Newsflash will continue to uncover, investigate, report and compile all the news that Muppet-fans crave; and I hope that The Muppet Newsflash continues to be your definitive source for Muppet news.

Once again, I want to extend a gigantic "thank you" to everyone who supports this site, everyone who sends in news, everyone who gives us feedback, all the visitors, all the readers, all the friends and all of the fans around the world.

Here's to many more years of great Muppet news!