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Guy Gilchrist’s Muppet Legacy Stands Tall 

Jim Henson is a legend. When the Muppets were the biggest thing on earth a young man named Guy Gilchrist was tasked to draw a Muppets comic strip to appear in newspapers everywhere. The interview period took 10 months.  

“I had a great job. I was writing books and comic books for Weekly Reader,” Gilchrist said. “Every night I would draw the Muppets and keep mailing it in. The Muppets would be anybody’s dream job working with Jim. 

“By the time they called me. They said, ‘He’s been doing this almost a year. He’s pretty good’. Until someone told me they had hired someone else. I was going under the assumption that I had the job.” 

This was a high-pressure job for a young man.  

“Jim Henson hired me to write his cartoon for every newspaper in the world. He gave me the entire Muppets,” Gilchrist stated. “The only thing better than a newspaper comic strip at that time was having a #1 television show. Which he already had. Then he had the #1 comic strip.” 

Gilchrist at Philly Fan Expo.

Once upon a time, two newspapers were fighting over the comic strip. 

“Here in Philadelphia, there was a thing that happened in 1981. It was unprecedented. The Journal and the Inquirer took each other to court. One had signed a deal with the Muppets comic strip and the other had wanted it,” Gilchrist explained. “It’s the only time in history that’s ever happened. They went to court, and it ended up in People magazine. That’s how crazy Muppet mania was.” 

Henson always had a vision and would accept nothing less than what he imagined. 

“The first day I met Jim, the stories were coming along very well, and I was working with Jerry Juhl, his head writer,” Gilchrist remembered. “I gave him the art and he said these drawings were very good. Some of them are even great. But we don’t want great. We want wonderful.  

“I was wondering, how do I draw wonderful? I realized what he meant. I had been working for Disney and Warner Brothers. All 2D characters. In this case, they were alive. They had voices and music, they were crashing into each other. Hugging each other. They had guest stars. I had to eventually bring that humor and life into those black and white pictures the size of a postage stamp and color on Sunday.” 

Catch Guy at Philly Fan Expo at the Convention Center all weekend.     

Gilchrist has a new book coming out in September called Jim Henson, the Muppets and Me. 

*Photo by Katelynn Reiss.

I'm the author of 10 books. If you're looking for autographed copies just go to my Twitter @Sportsology and DM me.

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