Jim Henson’s The Storyteller HC
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Writers: Jeff Parker, Ron Marz, Paul Tobin, & more
Artists: Tom Fowler, Craig Rousseau, Evan Shaner, & more
Cover: Patrick Scherberger & Mike Maihack
This past weekend at New York Comic Con 2011 Archaia gave the fans several surprises. One of them was the debut of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller! For those that may have forgotten or are just too young to remember, this was a television show back in the late 80s. Each episode featured a different fable being told by The Storyteller (played by John Hurt) to his faithful canine companion (voiced by Brian Henson). Well, Archaia, along with the help of some very talented writers and artists, has brought that same magic of the show to this generation in a spectacular fashion. This is a collection of fables, folk tales, and short stories from all over the globe, and are as diverse and entertaining as the people who came together for this project.
Each tale begins with some dialog between The Storyteller and his dog, and for those of us who remember the show, it’s hard not to hear Hurt and Henson’s voices as each story opens. At that point is when the magic happens, and as each story unfolds you’re taken deeper and deeper into something that just brings back your inner child, if even for a moment. From a young girl’s dreams of wealth in “The Milkmaid and Her Pail,” to the adventure and magic in “Puss in Boots,” this book is one of the finest collections for the all-ages group it’s intended for. If you’ve ever wondered how the rivalry between cats and dogs began, it’s in here. If you wanted to know what Jack did besides climb the beanstalk, you’ll find the answers in these pages. A woman even gives birth to a frog in one of the stories. It shocked me, too, but it’s now one of my favorite stories in the book. There is also a Russian folk tale titled “The Witch Baby” that is an unproduced teleplay, and it’s the lengthier of all of the stories.
When it comes to the artwork there is something for everyone’s tastes, and though you’ll enjoy some more than others, I really didn’t see anything that didn’t help tell the story. Each style is as different as the stories themselves, which is always great in a compilation book such as this. Personally, I enjoyed all of the artwork, though the ones that stood out were the works of Tom Fowler, Jennifer L. Meyer, and Craig Rousseau. Especially Rousseau’s work, because the way he chose to visually move the story was perfect for a book like this. No traditional panel layout, just his work taking the script to another level.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller is the perfect book for those readers with children, or for those that just want to go back and read a favorite childhood tale and maybe discover a few new ones. Regardless of your reasons, you will finish this book satisfied that Archaia has done a great job in handling yet another part of Jim Henson’s legacy and introducing it to a new generation. Now, maybe if we’re lucky this is just the beginning, and we’ll see more of the Storyteller series in the future. It’s just too good to stop with just one volume anyway!
[Editor’s note: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller and Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Greek Myths are both currently available for streaming on Netflix.]
Review copy provided by Archaia.