CCI: Archaia Returns to "Fraggle Rock"

Read your cares away, leave your worries for another day and let the creativity play down in the second volume of "Fraggle Rock," coming to comic book shops later this year courtesy of Archaia Comics.

Announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the latest volume of "Fraggle Rock" plans on continuing the tradition set in the original miniseries - fun, done-in-one tales and activities set in the world of the Jim Henson-created television show. The show originally ran from 1983 to 1987 and focused on a race of Muppets known as Fraggles that represented allegorically the human race and our relationship with the world around us. Like "The Muppet Show" and "Sesame Street," the show gained massive popularity and remains a favorite among fans to this day. Earlier this year, Archaia released the first volume of the "Fraggle Rock" comic book series as part of their partnership with the Jim Henson Company and beginning in November they return to the world of the Fraggles once more.

Archaia Studios Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy spoke with CBR News about the announcement, the love that lives on today for the Fraggles and gives readers his take on the Fraggle Rock theme song.

CBR News: Archaia is continuing with "Fraggle Rock" Vol. 2, which makes sense because it's a very popular franchise. But are you continuing with the same format that you used for the previous volume?

Stephen Christy: Yeah. It's very exciting that we're, first of all, bringing "Fraggle" back for the second series and, second of all, sticking to the very successful format that we established for the first series, which is not only the eight-by-eight "Mouse Guard" format but also very continuity-free tales set in the world of "Fraggle Rock." One of the important things for me with this book is that I feel like, in general, people are very tired of month-to-month stories that no end in sight and that are part one of eight or part five of eight. What we're trying to provide, especially with "Fraggle," is all-ages content where you can pick up all three issues or just one issue and read it and have a complete story and a complete adventure.

You don't need to buy issue after issue just to keep up with what's going on. They can pick up just one issue and have a good time.

Yeah. Exactly. And that's something that's rare. One of the things that we've done with the "Fraggle" series that I absolutely love is that we're really trying to make this all-ages and we're really trying to make something that's for everyone. Each issue is usually around anywhere between 26 to 30 pages of content, as opposed to the normal 22. Beyond the main story, we always have two backup stories in every issue as well as activity pages. There's "Draw Your Own Fraggle" or Fraggle mazes and all these different, unique and fun activities. The reason why we do that is because we want to bring back a certain level of interactivity to all ages books. We want to do something where if people are putting down $3.95 for one of these, they're getting as much bang for their buck [as possible].

There're a lot of creators lined up for this second volume of "Fraggle." I guess it can't be too hard to find people willing to write stories for the series.

We've been very lucky in that the first series was very successful, especially with the attention that Free Comic Book Day got. There's a lot of people interested in it and a lot of people stepping up. One of the fun things that I've seen just from speaking to people in comic shops is that people didn't realize how much they missed "Fraggle Rock." I think it was something that wasn't the most popular of the Henson properties and something that people saw here and there while growing up, but I think that people who saw the book, it brought a lot of memories for older readers. And I heard a lot of stories about people who grew up with the show now having kids of their own that they can introduce the book to. I think it hit home in a lot of ways that people didn't really expect.

That said, what do you think is the appeal of "Fraggle Rock" and the world that the Fraggles inhabit?

I think it's appealing because there's a lot of stuff going on - much more than the Muppets and "Sesame Street" in a certain way - that comments on the world that we live in. Obviously, you have the Fraggles and the Doozers, who are in this symbiotic relationship. At the same time, the Doozers are creatures that build the structures in Fraggle Rock and the Fraggles eat those structures in order to survive. It's like a constant cycle. The appeal to it has to do with that. Also, in my mind, Fraggle falls in that space between the Muppets and "Sesame Street" in terms of age bracket. It's a little bit more grown up than "Sesame Street" and it's not quite a raunchy as the Muppets can be sometimes. It targets a very specific part of childhood.

You mentioned that there are a lot of stories coming up in this second volume - can you tease some of those stories that you'll be telling?

I think what's exciting is that with the second you're really going to see us expand beyond what we covered in the first series and really start to explore the world of Fraggle Rock a little more and see more people and more sights of the world itself that weren't really touched upon in the original TV show that much. So, that's something we're really excited about, being able to explore areas that people haven't really seen before.

Were you a fan of the "Fraggle Rock" television show?

It's weird - I wasn't actually a fan of "Fraggle Rock" growing up, because my parents didn't have cable. My parents were very anti-TV. They made me read, so I grew up reading Roald Dahl, CS Lewis and comic books. I did love the Muppet movies as a kid, and I did love "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth," so I grew up with a huge amount of Henson in the household. But because we didn't have cable, "Fraggle Rock" was the one show that I never got to see, along with "The Storyteller." So, that's been a nice thing about Archaia's deal with Henson. I'm getting to explore a side of Henson that I didn't know about beforehand and [I'm] getting to see a lot of cool things that Jim and the rest of the Fraggle team did in the TV show that, like most of Jim's stuff, was way ahead of the times.

Like you said, for fans of Jim Henson and the Muppets and the Jim Henson Company as a whole, this is a way of opening up that world and showing them things they might have missed out on.

Yeah. Exactly. You know, one thing that "Fraggle" has that of course "Sesame Street" and the Muppets and almost any Henson property has, is a sense of being able to discover the creativity within yourself, discover the part of you that's a creative person and just learn how to be a better person. That's really important and that's a very important message to put out there. That's always been something I've really admired the Henson Company for. I'm proud we're able to help continue that tradition of putting positive messages out there and putting out works that hopefully make people think about the world around them and how they're interacting and treating other people. That is something really intrinsic not only to the message of "Fraggle," but to the message of a lot of Jim's other properties.

You know, you announced volume two and we mentioned at the top of the interview how much sense it makes to be creating more Fraggle stories. Does that mean we can expect more volumes in the future?

I hope so. I will all depend on readers' interests. If people want more "Fraggle" after this, and they're not tired of it, we'd love to do it for years to come. It's been a really fun series. We have a lot of great creators working on it and there's a lot more creators waiting in the wings that would love to be a part of it. So, I'd love for an opportunity to continue it beyond volume two.

As we close out, I want to hop back to something you said earlier. Since you didn't have access to "Fraggle Rock" growing up, does that mean if I asked you to sing the theme song you wouldn't be able to?

[Laughs] Oh my God, I can! I'm not going to regale you with it, but at the last three conventions, we've had a TV playing "Fraggle Rock" episodes. So, it's literally burned into my brain now. I know every word. I know every note. I can sing it in my sleep. It's a great song, too. It's a great theme song. That's actually one thing I wish we could do in comics because there's a lot of great songs from "Fraggle Rock." Once the price on sound chips goes down a little bit, we'll definitely be the first ones to put them in.

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