The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow tells the tale of Timmy and Ann, a boy and girl living in the tiny town of Turkey Hollow, a place where the turkey population is quite literally twenty times that of the human one. Everyone in the town is a turkey farmer. Everyone. Timmy and Ann live with their eccentric aunt, and love nothing more than to spend the day playing and writing music in the woods of their home. It is there they meet the adorable, fluffy musical monsters and befriend them. Not everyone in the town is so friendly, though. Mr. Sump, the wealthy and very crochety old man (and possible eater of children) who lives next door has been coveting his neighbor’s property for years. He also hates music (and joy and hapiness, generally speaking). What will happen when he discovers the musical monsters?
Originally the story was meant to be a live-action holiday special staring muppet versions of
the musical monsters. Each muppet was to make its own unique sound, that was meant to make a harmony when joined together with its brethren. In fact, included in this volume are a few pictures the actual muppets that were made. Sadly, the project never came to fruition. One of the challenges for the comic adapter, Roger Langridge, was to capture and translate this musical concept into comic book form. He did this using bright and distinct colors for all the notes and musical pieces in the issue, while leaving the rest of the colors in a more muted, autumn palette. It works very well. The colors look great, the musical nature is very apparent, and the comic undoubtedly feels like a Henson work.
One of the great things about any of Henson’s writing is that he never pulled his punches. He never treated his audience with kids gloves, even if his audience was, in fact, actual kids. Even though the Musical Monsters comic is obviously aimed at children and families, there is an occasional sense of darkness and realism. Take for example our villain Mr. Sump. “I love children, I really do…” he says “but I could never eat a whole one.” In the course of the story, he also hired a muscle-bound goon, with a gun, and actually tries to frame and then kill the cute, fuzzy musical monsters. This is important. It lends credibilty to the story and to the villains. How can you be scared of a villain if you know there was never a real threat all along?
Upon receiving this issue, I was expecting a kids holiday special. Not bad, but perhaps not for me. I was pleasantly surprised. I found this comic to be highly enjoyable, even for an adult. It combines great lessons for the kids with enough humor and mature references to keep the adults engaged.
“The people who despise you will persist, it’s best if you pretend they don’t exist. Think of the better ones, not the four-letter ones. Just cross them off the list.” sings Ann.
Besides, who doesn’t like a good holiday special? Spend some time with the adorable fluffy and mischeivious musical monsters of Turkey Hollow. You will be glad you did.
The Musical Monsters or Turkey Hollow is available from Boom! Studios & Archaia Comics