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Fraggle Talk: Jeff Stokely

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BF introduces FRAGGLE ROCK WEEK!

BF is asking about all things Fraggles as well as the plans for other Henson properties being published via Archaia this week. Every day we will be talking with creators, artists and writers about their Henson moments and their experience with Fraggles and Archaia, all gearing up to this month's release of Fraggle Rock #1. Today BF talks with Jeff Stokely, artist of the main story in Fraggle Rock #1.

BROKEN FRONTIER: What is your first or fondest memory of Jim Henson and his creatures?

JEFF STOKELY: I would have to say watching Labyrinth as a child and being utterly blown away by the world they take you to. There is such a wealth of inspiration for me in that movie and in The Dark Crystal. I will always love how Henson goes the extra step to really submerge you into this fantastical realm and create an environment that is truly alive. You can’t find that in a lot of modern films – or comics for that matter.

BF: This deal between Archaia and The Jim Henson Company is a deal of pure fantasy and creativity. The creatures of Henson always had the highest appeal to the fantasy of adults and children alike and to have that turned into comics is something extraordinary. How do you perceive this collaboration?

JS: Personally, I can’t think of a better publisher to be partnered with. Archaia continually strives to hit a standard in indie publishing that goes beyond the art and the storytelling to give the readers a great quality book. To me, it’s very rewarding to know there are people who put so much care into their product. Henson does the same thing; you can see and feel the heart in everything they release. This partnership was just meant to be!

BF: Of all the Henson characters, which is your favorite?

JS: David Bowie as Jareth in Labyrinth, hands down, ha ha! As for Fraggle Rock, my favorite has to be Boober; he’s just so much fun to draw! The scarf and the hat are so stylish, you can’t deny it. Other than Boober, I really love drawing Marjory the trash heap!

BF: Labyrinth's Jareth is amazing! The magic of Henson and his amazing characters triggered an instant love. To me that is! How you are planning to tackle that magic on paper?

JS: Oh, I love Henson’s characters as much as the next guy, if not more! I really wanted to stay true to the subject matter when drawing the characters and designing them. I wanted fans of the show to look at the cover and say, “Hey, Fraggle Rock!” I wanted to feature a style that was unique to the comic itself while staying true to the original designs. I didn’t modernize anyone by giving them a backwards hat or a cell phone or anything ridiculous like that. It just wouldn’t be Fraggle Rock if I did.

BF: Can you tell me something more about the adventures you are drawing in Fraggle Rock #1?

JS: The story I’m featured on is like watching an episode of Fraggle Rock! It’s a new story but feels like a classic. Heather White’s writing is outstanding for someone so new to this, I’m grateful for being able to work with her. As for the story itself... I can’t give too much away. I can tell you there will be some action and Junior Gorg! Even a special appearance by a mystical fortune-telling trash heap!

BF: With all the different groups like the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs and fan favorite characters Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley and Boober, what is the biggest challenge in getting the characters in a comic, like Fraggle Rock #1?

JS: I think getting them there was really Heather’s job and I have no idea how she did it! One of the things we wanted to do was to re-introduce the characters and she really pulled it off.

BF: You once mentioned that Batman was your favorite character. Has your experience with Fraggle Rock changed that stance?

JS: Well, I do love the Fraggles... But I think the Caped Crusader will always have a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf!

Fraggle Rock #1 goes on sale in April 2010 with the Fraggle Rock/Mouse Guard Flip Book out on May 1, 2010.

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