Jim Henson’s Storyteller is one of the most magical half hours a kid can experience.
If you’re not familiar quickly Google it and you’ll discover an old and wise narrator, a quirky dog who can talk and a wonderful array of mythical creatures. The stories are told by the Storyteller and all came from real stories told throughout the world; it’s a celebration of fairy tales and clever stories that explain the unexplained in the most folksy way and with a new comic comes more stories… so is it good?
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios)
The fairy tale in the first issue is standalone, but as the title suggests it involves a witch. The witch in this story is anything but conventional though and isn’t even the real bad guy. No, instead it’s a king, and the story spans 18 or so years as a man kills a witch, assumes the throne, and reveals the man’s desire to conquer nature.
That’s a big tree king. Maybe fashion some toothpicks while you’re at it?
S.M. Vidaurri writes and paints this issue with an astounding use of watercolors. The watercolors give the book a dream-like feel with the colors bleeding nicely; Vidaurri also draws some very compelling layouts, with playful borders, backdrops and panels within panels. It’s all very simple, but very compelling, which makes the read like reading a children’s novel. The story isn’t too childish though, maintaining a sense of wonderment over simplicity.
It’s the lettering that makes this more of an adult read, though children would probably enjoy it too, because it twists and turns around the pages. At points you’ll have to turn the comic at different angles to properly read, although don’t be alarmed by any tricks as the words spin to become a part of the story. On one page for example, the princess must drink all the milk from a stream, and the lettering flows through that stream curving completely upside down. Another page has arrows piercing a witch, each arrow cutting through the letters making them move on an angle.
The story is steeped in wonderment and spectacle with plenty of interesting twists that make this a very original tale. Something that’s a bit missing however, is the tenacity and skill of the protagonist, who seems to get through all of the challenges simply because she grew up loving the forest. The comic only spends two pages building up the princesses’ love of the forest, showing her hanging out but not building any bond beyond that. She never really earns the help of forest friends to get through each challenge later on, cheapening her eventual success.
Cool lettering going on in this book.
Is It Good?
Beautifully painted with excellent ideas and an interesting, winding story. The protagonist gets it easy, but how it all ties into a cultural custom makes up for it in this wonderful fairy tale story.