FRAGGLE ROCK #1
Written by Jared Cullum
Art by Jared Cullum, Michelle Ankley & Mike Fiorentino
Edited by Gavin Gronenthal, Cameron Chittock
Published by Archaia
Release Date: May 9, 2018
Holy mother. My heart.
Mokey has lost her artistic spirit. The other Fraggles immediately notice and put a plan I’m action to help their friend. Things don’t really go as planned, and Mokey continues to feel lost and eventually literally does become so. Yet, she finds her way through with the timely arrival of a new friend.
When I realized Fraggle Rock was coming out, I immediately knew I needed to read it and I’m thoroughly happy I did. With minimal context for the 80s tv series, I still feel the comic captures the feel of the world around these strange and happy creatures. Seeing the Fraggles recreated with these visuals was like picking up someone’s sketchbook and seeing their story laid out with a curious and endearing intimacy.
Jared Cullum’s storytelling is remarkable. There’s very little dialog and most of the story is told through narration, reminiscent of many shows geared toward younger children. What I love about this story is that it is one that is easy to digest, but parallels so many real life issues. Mokey’s loss of drive for her art and her eventual journey out of a distressing place is an excellent analog for difficult experiences. From loss and trials to the very real experiences surrounding mental illness, this comics demonstrates that there often is a way out that you can create for yourself and that it help to have friends alongside you.
Cullum’s use of watercolors evokes lots of different feelings. For one, you can almost feel the damp and rocky environment around the Fraggles, but not in a way that is dismal. In fact, Cullum uses darker and muted colors to make this world tangible without making the reader get lost in them. Mokey’s scenes are more somber, a visual expression of her mood, while the other Fraggles are drawn with a vivid contrast. This execution seems deliberate, because in the final panel of the issue, she becomes much brighter, drawing upon the power of emotions through color and illustration.
My favorite page of Fraggle Rock is has Mokey rediscovering her passion. The way that it is set up is a wonderful layer to the story, embracing the art through each page while having her be the sole focus, surrounded by white. A feeling of warmth and happiness emanates from this page, making it a subtly powerful image and one which I think captures the essence of the story.
Fraggle Rock #1 is a heartwarming kind of enjoyable. Not only is this comic stellar from a storytelling standpoint, it also has the potential to be used to help people. We hear a lot that it is not always easy to find a way out of where you are and that the solutions are not always the same, but at least there can be one. The metaphors imbued in this comic are worth examining, but you don’t even have to ponder them for this story to be valuable. It is certainly one which could jive well with all ages, and beyond it being an endearing story, you can glean helpful talking points that could aid people in telling their story and either their way through a challenge or how they could make one.
The Verdict: 10/10