- Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches – The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest
- written/illustrated/lettered by: S.M. Vidaurri
- published by Archaia (Boom! Studios)
- Price: $3.99
- Roar Score: 4/5
Jim Henson’s Storyteller is back. If you don’t remember the original show from 1988, I’m so sorry. It was a groundbreaking series (for 1988) that blended live actors with Henson’s puppetry magic and retold European folktales and legends.
The show only survived for one season of 9 episodes, and it was briefly revived a few years later for a handful of episodes that centered on various Greek myths. John Hurt portrayed the storyteller in the first series, and it’s his contribution that sticks with me to to this day. The puppets made the show unique, but Hurt made the show a classic.
The episodes are bookended by the Storyteller, beside a roaring fire, telling the story to the viewer (and his talking dog). He then acts as narrator throughout the tales.
This new comic by Archaia stays true to that spirit. Though the Storyteller and his dog only appear on the final page of the first issue in silhouette, his presence is certainly felt throughout. The story is told mostly through narration–there is little dialogue–and S.M. Vidaurri adeptly captures the “voice” of Henson’s original Storyteller.
As I was reading the issue aloud to my kids, it was as if I were listening to John Hurt narrate the story. His cadence and tone are right there, on the page. It’s actually pretty remarkable.
This is the first issue of a 4-issue series, and each issue is a self-contained story. Issue #1 tells the story of the Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest, which begins as a fairly by-the-numbers European fairy tale that takes a left turn about halfway through.
The design of the book is unique in that the text is an intricate part of the art. Vidaurri has interwoven the words into each panel and page. At times, this proves to be a slightly awkward reading experience, but I think it fits well with the fantastic elements of the story.
Apparently, each issue (i.e., each story) will have a different creative team. I like this approach–it also seems true to the source.
Archaia is no stranger to the world of Jim Henson. They’ve published beautiful reprintings of the original Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and The Storyteller novels; graphic novels based on The Dark Crystal and Henson’s unproduced, feature-length screenplay A Tale of Sand, and a comic series based on Fraggle Rock.
In other words, they have respect for the source material and Henson’s legacy. This alone has made me a fan.
I was excited to hear about this graphic continuation of The Storyteller mythos. The first issue didn’t disappoint, and I’m eagerly anticipating the rest of the series. Is it good for the kids? If yours are fans of fantasy or fairy tales, then you certainly can’t go wrong here. Recommended!