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Diamond Select Toys Serves Up New Drinkware at Your Local Comic Shop!

This week, your local comic shop is the place to get great housewares, as Diamond Select Toys ships new glassware from some of your favorite movies and TV shows! Tumblers from The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Muppet Show, plus pint glasses from National Lampoon’s Vacation, are on sale now at your local comic shop, as well as your favorite online retailers.

Muppets Muppet Show Glass Tumblers

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s time to get things started! It’s time to pour the drinks! You can’t help but smile when you’re drinking a tasty beverage out of these nostalgic glass tumblers featuring the cast of The Muppet Show. Inspired by fast-food glassware of yesteryear, these tumblers sport all-new original artwork spotlighting main Muppets Kermit, Fozzie, Bunsen, Beaker and the Swedish Chef, as well as their supporting casts! Each glass comes packaged separately, in a full-color window box.

Muppets Muppet Show Kermit Glass Tumbler (Item #AUG162573, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Muppet Show Fozzie Glass Tumbler (Item #AUG162574, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Muppet Show Bunsen & Beaker Glass Tumbler (Item #AUG162575, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Muppet Show Swedish Chef Glass Tumbler (Item #AUG162576, SRP: $9.99)

National Lampoon’s Vacation Movie Reelware Pint Glasses

A Diamond Select Toys release! Who’s the moosiest moose we know? Marty Moose! Who’s the star of our favorite show? Marty Moose! Relive the craziest road trip you never went on with these two pint glasses that are straight outta Walley World! With one depicting Roy Walley’s famous creation Marty Moose, and the other showing the full cast of Walley World characters, both glasses are the ultimate in cinematic souvenirs, inspired by the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Be the first in your neighborhood to drink like a Griswold! Each glass comes packaged in a full-color window box.

National Lampoon’s Vacation Movie Reelware Walley World Pint Glass (Item #AUG162556, SRP: $10.99)

National Lampoon’s Vacation Movie Reelware Marty Moose Pint Glass (Item #AUG162557, SRP: $10.99)

Nightmare Before Christmas Glass Character Tumblers

A Diamond Select Toys release! Raise a toast to the Pumpkin King with these four tumblers celebrating The Nightmare Before Christmas! Featuring all-new artwork inspired by the film, these fast-food-style glass tumblers also have mini-biographies of each character on the reverse side, and spotlight Jack, Sally, Oogie Boogie and the Mayor, along with some of Halloween Town’s other residents. Recommend hand-wash only. Each glass is individually packaged in a full-color window box.

Nightmare Before Christmas Glass Jack Tumbler (Item #OCT162589, SRP: $9.99)

Nightmare Before Christmas Glass Mayor Tumbler (Item #OCT162590, SRP: $9.99)

Nightmare Before Christmas Glass Sally Tumbler (Item #OCT162591, SRP: $9.99)

Nightmare Before Christmas Glass Oogie Boogie Tumbler (Item #OCT162592, SRP: $9.99)

Muppets Gone Missing: Jan Nelson Discusses Jerry Nelson

Roger Langridge - Muppets Gone Missing

Jerry NelsonJosh Green: Welcome back to “Muppets Gone Missing”. This column focuses on the hidden treasures of The Muppets, Sesame Street, as well as any projects involving Jim Henson. Examples of this will consist of segments or characters that wound up on the cutting room floor, or were used, but not to their fullest extent. It has been a true honor getting to know and interview the wonderful Jan Nelson, the wife of the late-great puppeteer, Jerry Nelson!

Jerry Nelson was an American puppeteer, best known for his work with The Muppets. Renowned for his wide range of characters and singing abilities, he performed Muppet characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and various Muppet movies and specials.

Josh Green: Thank you so much for giving me your time to talk about Jerry, Jan. Can you tell me the story about how you and Jerry met? Was he already involved with puppeteering with Jim Henson and The Muppets?

Jan Nelson: Yes he was. Jerry and I met in 1982. He had just come back from England where he did The Muppet Show for 5 years. He had worked with Jim Henson even before Sesame Street in the late ‘60s.

We met at the apartment of mutual friends in my building in Hoboken, NJ. He had come over to go out with my friends, and I asked if I could go along. That was kind of our first date. I didn’t hear from him for over a week after that, but when he finally called he asked me to go on vacation with him for a couple of weeks in Key West and Coconut Grove. That was our second date. We had a wonderful time and I fell in love with him. I don’t know if he fell in love with me as early as that but he later told me that it didn’t drive him crazy to be with me day and night. Evidently that was some kind of a first for him.

Right after our second date he started doing Fraggle Rock in Toronto.

Jerry and Jan’s wedding on the beach. 1984 Truro (Cape Cod) MA

Jerry and Jan’s wedding on the beach. 1984 Truro (Cape Cod) MA

JG: And how closely were you involved with The Muppets?

JN: I loved the whole Muppet family and it is and was a family. I have never met a funnier and more wonderful group of people. I loved the parties and loved being on the set. Jerry and I got married in 1984 when he was 2 years into Fraggle Rock. I spent the next two years in Toronto, hanging around the set. Some people assumed that I worked there. Those were great times. Jerry’s characters were all major characters; Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg and Marjorie the Trash Heap.

I never missed a Monday morning read-through. There was a lot of improvisation and playing around. It was extremely funny. Sometimes the puppeteers would come up with something that would get written in. Everyone worked together so well. It was magic!

Jerry and I took lots of great vacations when he wasn’t working. We spent a lot of time in the Caribbean islands and summers in Truro on Cape Cod.

Jerry was so creative. Besides music he also did all kinds of art … like the above seashore art, carved driftwood and found shells put together – Cape Cod

Jerry was so creative. Besides music he also did all kinds of art … like the above seashore art, carved driftwood and found shells put together - Cape Cod

Jerry was so creative. Besides music he also did all kinds of art … like the above seashore art, carved driftwood and found shells put together – Cape Cod

JG: Jerry is responsible for performing many iconic characters on The Muppets and Sesame Street, most notably The Count. But I’m sure that there are characters written for him that didn’t last for whatever reason. Did Jerry ever recount any of these characters to you, wishing he’d had have the opportunity to do more with them? And by the same accounts, were there any truly bizarre characters that Jerry didn’t have an affinity to perform that was also performed infrequently?

JN: Jerry had a lot of “one off” characters but that was understood from the beginning. I know that his character, H. Ross Parrot became acclaimed and was interviewed on a network TV show. However, outside people wanted to take the conversation towards politics (this was when H. Ross Perot was running for president) and Jerry (H. Ross Parrot) was sticking to the alphabet. Jerry didn’t like being pushed and certainly didn’t want to talk politics. H. Ross Parrot was Jerry’s imitation of H. Ross Perot and it was a funny character.

I don’t think there was any character too bizarre for Jerry. I loved to hear about how he used a “bad” (his word) imitation of some actor to get the puppet’s voice. For example Marjorie the Trash Heap was a bad imitation of a Russian actress from old films. He said that Count Von Count was based on a rough interpretation of the old “Dracula” movies except Count Von Count has a compulsion to count. He has to do it.

The Muppets did a Christmas Special for Kraft called The Christmas Toy. Jerry played Balthazar, an old teddy bear that was the oldest toy in the nursery. He used a rough imitation of Colonel Sanders who used to say “Buy one get one free” in a KFC ad of the time.

At the beginning of the shoot the puppeteers would assemble on the set in place. In the quiet minute before they started, I would hear Jerry softly say “buy one – get one free” to get his voice.

JG: I’m also curious if Jerry himself had ideas for certain characters that he wanted to do that never got off the ground beyond a conceptual level? And by the same account, were there any truly bizarre characters that Jerry didn’t have an affinity to perform that was also performed infrequently?

JN: I don’t think so. As far as truly bizarre characters, I think that Jerry never had a character that he didn’t want to do. I can’t imagine anything being too bizarre for Jerry. He did a terrific job with every character he had.

JG: Who decided which puppeteer would do a character?

Dave Goelz

DAVE GOELZ has been one of the lead Muppet performers for over 40 years, performing Gonzo, Beauregard, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Boober Fraggle, Uncle Traveling Matt, as well as succeeding the role of Waldorf from Jim Henson.

JN: I think that the writers sometimes had in mind who they wanted to perform the characters. I emailed Dave Goelz this question and here is his response:

“For a long time I accused Jerry Juhl of creating the Fraggle characters for specific performers, and he denied it. Then many years later, he finally admitted that he, Jim, Jocelyn and Michael had indeed done just that. They did ask us to play around with all the characters in the fifth floor rehearsal room at 201 East 67th street just before heading to Toronto, which we all did. But we all ended up doing the characters that had been created for us. That said, I think the writers sometimes had a performer in mind when writing, but Jim always had the final say.”

JG: It would be remiss of me to not ask you about…you. Can you please tell me about yourself, your life experiences, and your passions? I know for certain that you are an accomplished painter, having drawn the cover to Jerry’s solo album, “Truro Daydreams”.

Jan Nelson’s cover painting on Jerry Nelson’s album, Truro Daydreams.

Jan Nelson’s cover painting on Jerry Nelson’s album, Truro Daydreams.

JN: Thanks! I studied fine art in school but was a graphic designer all of my adult life. When I left my last full-time freelance job, I went to the Art Students League in NYC to study painting. I still go during the school year. I paint in oils. Still life and model during the winter and plein air landscape during the summer in Cape Cod.

I designed and used my own paintings in the fold-out jacket for “Truro Daydreams.” I chose the photos that are in it, and made sure that I was in one. Also the kid that’s with Jerry in one of them is our grandson Tolin. I only wish that I had made my name bigger in the credits.

I consider myself a lucky person. I have a wonderful family, my daughter Lovisa and grandson, Tolin. I raised Lovisa as a single parent but had a good full-time freelance gig at an Advertising Agency that was easy-going about hours as long as I made the deadlines. I also raised her in Greenwich Village, which was a real neighborhood in those days and safe enough so she could play on the street from an early age. I had a couple of close friends who were also single mothers and our children grew up together. We took turns looking after each other’s kids, which enabled us all to have lives.

The greatest luck of all was meeting Jerry.

JG: Which characters do you think represent Jerry best?

JN: All the Muppet characters reflect an aspect of the puppeteers’ personality. Jerry had a great deal of the Boy Scout in him – like Gobo Fraggle. He was also the hippest of the hip, like Floyd the Bass Player.

JG: What was outstanding about Jerry Nelson, the man?

JN: He was so good at comforting people in their time of need. He said what was in his heart about the person. After so many of the people he loved had died, Christine his daughter, Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Jon Stone, Matt Caldwell (a close friend), he wrote an angry song called “Eye of the Storm”. Then Jerry Juhl died (head writer for the Muppets) and Jerry sang it at his memorial celebration. I was uncertain about this because it was supposed to be a celebration, but everyone was moved by it.

He was very wise and had a Zen attitude towards life. He was a gentle man yet watched some of the most violent shows on TV.

He was always writing “be happy” songs but he could be really pessimistic sometimes. He did consider himself very lucky in life so I told him that he should write a book, “The Power of Negative Thinking.”

We had fights of course, but they always ended in laughter. One of us would make the other laugh and then we would both laugh and it was over.

He cared about his fans. He never felt famous. We both had the capacity to walk into a bar and make friends with everyone there in ten minutes. His personality was larger than life. He walked into a room and had everyone enchanted right away, with his stories and music. He was very much loved.

He said in Muppets he was always the “straight man.” He said he married me because I was HIS straight man (the person who sets up the joke.)

JG: It has been just around three years since your husband’s passing. Knowing him best, what do you think he’d want to ultimately be remembered for?

JN: He wrote his own memorial speech. I’ll quote from it: “I am above all else a Professional, so I like to be on time (or maybe even a little early) and prepared.”

My own feeling is that he would want to be remembered for everything that he was, including being a professional. For being hip and funny, for caring about people, for being stubborn and hard-working while still being “the laziest man on earth” (my words) and proud of it.

I’d like to mention that along with the memorial speech, he chose two songs to be performed. One was “Tides” – everyone’s favorite, and one was “In My Life” by the Beatles. At the time I was not thinking straight. I remember being puzzled by the choice. Yes, he liked the Beatles but he had written so many good songs himself. It was only a year later that I realized that that song was for me. I still tear up, thinking of that.

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josh-lauren-caroll-spinney-and-oscar-the-grouchJosh Green lives in Philadelphia, PA with his lovely wife Lauren. Having worked at Dynamite Entertainment and TV Guide, Josh is now a freelance writer for Graphic Policy and the creator of the “Muppets Gone Missing” column, so that he can still dabble in pop culture. While he is not dabbling, Josh lives a simple life, where his main enjoyment is spending as much time possible with his wife, whose very existence gives Josh purpose for everything.

Marvel to Publish BOOM!’s Muppets as Omnibus

What would happen to BOOM! Studios‘ excellent line of Disney comics after they lost the license has been lingering for quite some time. We get our first idea of what we might expect with Marvel‘s announcement they will be releasing The Muppets Omnibus Hardcover! Roger Langridge’s award-winning comic adventures of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear, and all your favorite felt friends are finally collected in this oversized hardcover collection that’s as massive as it is hilarious! The omnibus collects The Muppet Show, The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson, The Muppet Show Comic Book, and The Muppets!

Explore every corner of the Muppet Universe, from the broiling labs of Bunsen and Beaker to the DEEP reaches of the galaxy with Piiiigs In Spaaace, in a Muppet experience like no other. And of course, no Muppet production would be complete without Kermit and the Glam Ham herself, Miss Piggy! Strap in for a knee-slapping joy ride that celebrates the best of what the Muppets and comics have to offer with The Muppets Omnibus Hardcover!


Now, can we get some more Darkwing Duck!?

Roger Langridge This Friday at Big Planet Comics

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Big Planet Comics will be hosting award winning comic writer and artist Roger Langridge this Friday at their Vienna location.  Langridge has most recently doing work for BOOM! Studios, including their well praised The Muppet Show as well as Snarked!.  He was also part of the team that put out the amazing Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

It’s not often we get comic talent to visit stores in our area, so we need to take advantage and show support so we can get more of them visiting in the future.  You’ll also get a free copy of Snarked #0.

Where: Big Planet Comics 426 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA 22180
When: September 9, 2011
Time: 5pm to 7pm

Comic Professionals Honor Peers at 2011 Harvey Awards

Official Press Releasebcc_logo_2011_700px

Comic Professionals Honor Peers at 2011 Harvey Awards

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – September 1, 2011 – Comic professionals came together Saturday night, August 20, 2011 to honor their peers during the presentation of the 2011 Harvey Awards, sponsored by DC Comics, comiXology, Insight Studios, IDW, and Painted Visions Comics, Cards & Games. The banquette to honor those nominated and the winners in more than 20 categories was hosted by the Baltimore Comic-Con and Cards, Comics & Collectibles.Harvey Award Recipient Logo

Named in honor of Harvey Kurtzman, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the field of comics and is the only industry award both nominated and selected by comic professionals. First awarded in 1988, it is one of the industry’s oldest and most respected awards.

Scott Kurtz, who is best known for his webstrip, PvP, served as Master of Ceremonies for the third year in a row, bringing his great sense of humor and charisma to the stage.

Special thanks go to the sponsors who generously donated to the 2011 Harvey Gift Bags, including: Abrams Books; Adhouse Books; BOOM! Studios; DC Comics; IDW; Lasermach; Legendary Comics; Top Cow; and Popfun Merchandising.

This year’s winners include:

Best Letterer: John Workman, Thor, Marvel Comics

Best Colorist: Jose Villarrubia, Cuba: My Revolution, Vertigo/DC Comics

Best Syndicated Strip or Panel: Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau, Universal Press Syndicate

Best Online Comics Work: Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton, http://harkvagrant.com/

Best American Edition of Foreign Material: Blacksad, Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, Dark Horse Comics

Best Inker: Mark Morales, Thor, Marvel Comics

Best New Series: American Vampire, Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafeal Albuquerque, Vertigo/DC Comics

Most Promising New Talent: Chris Samnee, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Marvel Comics

Special Award for Humor in Comics: Roger Langridge, The Muppet Show, BOOM! Studios

Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers: Tiny Titans, Art Baltazar and Franko Aureliana, DC Comics

Best Graphic Album Previously Published: Beasts of Burden, Even Dornkin and Jill Thompson

Best Anthology: Popgun #4, edited by DJ Kirkbride, Anthony Wu and Adam P. Knave, Image Comics

Best Domestic Reprint Project: Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer: Artists Edition, design by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier, IDW

Best Cover Artist: Mike Mignola, Hellboy, Dark Horse Comics

Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation: The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death, Todd Hignite, Abrams ComicArts

Special Award for Excellence in Presentation: Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer: Artists Edition, design by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier, IDW

Best Original Graphic Album: Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Oni Press

Best Continuing or Limited Series: Love and Rockets: Volume 3, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Fantagraphics

Best Writer: Roger Langridge, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Marvel Comics

Best Artist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW

Best Cartoonist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW

Best Single Issue or Story: Daytripper, Fabio Moon and Gabiel Ba, Vertigo/DC Comics

Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Hero Award: Mike Gold

Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award: Stan Lee

Paul McSpadden, Harvey Awards Administrator, was also honored with an award commemorating his 24 years of service.

The Baltimore Comic will host the Harvey Awards for the seventh year during the 13th annual show, taking place September 8-9, 2012.

Save the Date! Baltimore Comic-Con 2012!

That’s right! Mark your calendars now for next year’s Baltimore Comic-Con, which will take place the weekend of September 8-9, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center, and we’ll see YOU in Baltimore!

About The Baltimore Comic-Con

The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 12th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held August 20-21, 2011. For more information, please visit www.baltimorecomiccon.com.

About The Harvey Awards
The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry’s oldest and most respected awards. With a history of over 20 years, the last 6 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories. They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. For more information, please visit www.harveyawards.org.

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