Webcomic Weekly: Checking Into Roger Langridge’s ‘Hotel Fred’

by Richard Bruton

Webcomic Weekly – one webcomic each week, each one wildly different from the next, but all of them showing you just what amazing work is available online for you.

This week, we have Roger Langridge, comic creator, writer, artist, responsible for Hotel Fred, a near daily record of life with the Langridges…

Surely you know Roger Langridge‘s name? He’s a Harvey and Eisner Award-winning cartoonist who’s probably best known for his Muppet Show comics and his self-published Fred The Clown.

Indeed, he self-depreciatingly describes himself as “Cartoonist, comic book writer and illustrator. Epitaph will read ‘Drew the Muppets and died’. Immigrant”.

Basically, Langridge has been making funny books, either as writer, artist, or both for nigh on three decades now. A New Zealander living in Britain, he began by sort of breaking into US comics through the series Art d’Ecco and Zoot! from Fantagraphics in the early 90s, whilst also getting work from 2000 AD around the same time with The Straitjacket Fits and Judge Dredd Lawman of the Future.

Since the mid-90s, he’s been published at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Boom!, IDW and more, with strips as wildly different as Batman, Abe Sapien, Star Wars, Bizarro World, Mighty Thor, Fin Fang Foom, Flinch, and John Carter. As he points out though, he’s perhaps best known right now for his work on The Muppets for Boom! from 2009-2011.

Since then, he’s worked on Snarked!, Popeye, Rocketeer, Doctor Who, and most recently was the writer of the excellent Pandora Perfect, a one-off strip in 2000 AD Regened Prog 2196, which will be returning later in 2021 (see here for the preview of that Prog).

But all through his career, Langridge has self-published, with plenty of those comics including the adventures of Fred The Clown, which is sort of where Langridge’s brilliant slice of life webcomic Hotel Fred gets its name from.

Basically, Hotel Fred is Langridge giving us a near-daily look at his life, the work of drawing, the stresses of just getting through the day, all shared with partner, Sylvie, and their children, Tamsin and Thomas, and their dog Luna.

I quickly spoke with Langridge about Hotel Fred to give you an idea of what it’s all about and this is what he had to say in response…

“I started the current version of the strip in December 2019, when I began my Patreon account. Initially, it was supposed to be a way of delivering something to my patrons every day, a baseline level of content they could rely on, but I started sharing some of them on social media as a way of publicising the Patreon.

I don’t share all of them on Instagram (being daily, there are a few that age badly or might embarrass a family member if shared widely! But they’re all there on the Patreon page – they’re Patreon-exclusive for a week, then they’re publicly visible to everyone after that, so you have to scroll through a week’s worth of hidden posts to see the others.”

And now for a little of what to expect from Hotel Fred…

Of course, having started it in December 2019 it has, understandably, become something of a Langridge family Covid diary, with the family coping with lockdowns, living together, changes in jobs, home-schooling, the delights of living in the UK as it goes through a disastrous response to the pandemic… that sort of thing.

Basically, it’s fabulous slice of life stuff, Langridge’s tone might be one of whimsy and light-hearted flights of fancy at times, coupled with an obvious love of his family, but that doesn’t mean that it can get somewhat dark and introspective at times, especially in the past year for obvious reasons.

It’s also notable for the occasions where Langridge ventures into the murky water of politics…

You can support Roger Langridge through Patreon, check out the Hotel Fred daily strips on Instagram and Twitter, follow his work through his Hotel Fred website, and buy all of his great books through all the normal places (links to all of them at his site) and even get some of his self-published work direct at his web store.

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