Roger Langridge has had a long career in comics, crafting a unique body of work that ranges from Fred the Clown to Abigail and the Snowman, The Fez to The Baker Street Peculiars, Art d’Ecco to Snarked. Langridge however is likely best known for a lot of the licensed projects he’s worked on which include Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow, The Muppet Show, and Popeye. It’s a shame, and not just because people who love The Muppet Show could pick up Fred the Clown and some of his other work and find that same love of wacky characters, vaudeville, silent comedy, music and hijinx.
Fred the Clown: The Iron Duchess shows Langridge’s love for old silent films, in particular those of the late great Buster Keaton. Langridge likes to use Fred as a character the way old silent comedians played the same “character” in one film after another. The book manages to combine a mad scientist, a wealthy man and his daughter, the making of a film, a horse, a pig, a train chase, and much more. It manages to be a madcap adventure, but also a beautifully structured story with multiple threads moving along and leading to some strange and hilarious surprises by the end. The Iron Duchess is out now from Fantagraphics Books, and Langridge has also released Zoot! #1, a new one-man anthology that is a available from his website.