The 30th anniversary of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth takes place this year and what better way to celebrate than to cherish the characters we all love in original comic book shorts?
Is it a shameless cash grab, or a chance for up and coming creators to show their stuff? More importantly, is it good?
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 (Archaia)
So what’s it about? Check out our full preview here.
Why does this book matter?
One of the most successful aspects of Labyrinth is that it had the look and feel of a complete world; so many different types of characters and environments were in the single movie which made it feel that much more real. The film also made it possible to imagine more stories in the universe and I certainly wished for a sequel. This isn’t a direct sequel by any means, but a medium that allows us to experience the characters we love in new ways.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This comic contains plenty of stories, with six in total utilizing different main characters, but Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus pop up more than once. The shorts range from the cartoony “Gone Fishing” by Gustavo Duarte, to the more traditional looking comic book story called “Humongous Two” by Jonathan Case that focuses on the littlest goblin filling very big shoes. The stories vary from each other quite nicely, with some offering cute one off jokes, and others shedding some new light on characters like the blue worm. They all offer a snapshot of what it’s like to be the characters for a few moments or part of a day which allows the creators to focus on the characters.
While the stories aren’t going to change how you feel or think about Labyrinth they certainly succeed at allowing the reader to experience the characters’ charm just a little bit more. It’s clear each story is a labor of love as the creators take a stab at enjoying the best elements from the movie.
The art in this story brings me back to the 80’s and I don’t know why!
The art in each story varies, but each is fantastic in its own right. The “Rock Solid Friendship” story written by Adam Smith and drawn by Kyla Vanderklugt will bring you back to 80’s cartoons with the style and vibe evinced. “Sir Didymus’ Grand Day” by Cory Godbey is told with vividly real and beautifully painted panels. Godbey actually draws three of the stories in this comic (two of which are written by him as well) which gives the comic a consistency that many anthologies lack. He also draws a very cute and cuddly looking Ludo.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While checking in with the characters is nice, learning about new elements in the Labyrinth mythos is one area that’s lacking in this comic — that and there’s also not a single panel of the Goblin King to speak of. New environments aren’t explored either. We do learn one interesting fact about a character, but it’s the only one, and actually draws attention to the lack of new material from the rest of the stories. This comic does a great job reminiscing about how vivid and cool these characters are, but if you’re expecting anything beyond that you may be disappointed.
Love is in the air!
Is It Good?
A great anniversary comic that pays respects to the characters we all hold dear from Labyrinth. It succeeds at capturing some of the magic of the film, but it will make you wish for new stories rather than a check-in issue such as this.