Why isn't Roger Langridge one of the most popular cartoonists in the world? His cartoons are so lushly rendered that they demand repeated inspection, his stories are clear and funny and thoughtful. He can draw both a pratfall and an existential crisis — and even more impressively, he can make the pratfall incredibly sad and the existential crisis laugh-out-loud funny.
Langridge's best work, in my estimation, is Fred the Clown, a lovely little collection of short comic strips about a lonely clown, from Fantagraphics Books. It's full of poetry and music and tears and laughter. Everyone who loves comics should own a copy. And somehow, Langridge is still working in relative obscurity.
Last week Langridge published an entire comic book for free on his website. Even better, it's an adaptation of a public domain story titled "Leave It to Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse. (The original story is available here.)
"I've always wanted to do a P. G. Wodehouse graphic novel adaptation," Langridge writes in the post, "and the only way I know of of making that happen is to actually do a few pages and see whether I can get anyone interested in publishing some more." We should all lament the fact that we live in a universe in which publishers aren't tossing Langridge money to do whatever he wants to do, but we should be grateful, at least, that we get to read new work by Langridge for free.
And it turns out, obviously, that Wodehouse and Langridge are a delightful combination. The Wooster and Jeeves relationship works remarkably well in comics form, and Langridge gets some great comics history references across in a non-obtrusive way. And the reveal of Corky's painting in the story is a hilarious payoff that perfectly demonstrates why this story deserves to be adapted into a visual medium.
Look, I could go on, but the point is simple: Roger Langridge wants to do comics adaptations of Wodehouse novels. Someone needs to make sure this happens, please.