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Jim Henson's The Storyteller Vol. 1

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Jim Henson's The Storyteller Vol. 1

Credits

  • Words: Katie Cook, Colleen Coover, Nate Cosby, Chris Eliopoulos, Roger Langridge, Marjorie Liu, Ron Marz, Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin
  • Art: Ronan Cliquet, Katie Cook, Colleen Coover, Tom Fowler, Roger Langridge, Mike Maihack, Jennifer L. Meyer, Craig Rousseau, Evan Shaner
  • Publisher: Archaia Comics
  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: Dec 14, 2011

While The Storyteller has returned to tell more tales, readers are treated more to the vivid imagery created by the artists and not the writers.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller is an odd beast. It's not as well known as the Muppets, who just made a triumphant return to the theaters. It doesn't have the nostalgia factor that something like Fraggle Rock did, garnering repeat parodies on Robot Chicken and comic book series. Only having run for 13 episodes, and with a format that didn't allow for much character development or praiseworthy acting, it survived solely on the performances of John Hurt and Brian Henson as the Storyteller and his dog.

If you're one of the masses that has no idea how the story goes, it's simple. Every episode featured the Storyteller, played by John Hurt in Season 1 and Michael Gambon in Season 2, telling a tale to his trusty companion, played by Brian Henson. The stories were all commonplace folk tales, legends, myths, and more, and were performed by the actors (supported by the creature crew that Henson is known for). The two returning characters may bicker back and forth, but the story is told, although it may have a few twists or turns thrown in by the Storyteller.

"Volume 1" of The Storyteller is effectively a full season of the series, collecting a handful or two of old tales of wonderment, replacing puppeteers with artists who aren't limited by television budgets, special effects, or the like. Looking at the crew list, there are some incredible names in here from every facet of comic books; Colleen Coover and Marjorie Liu work hand-in-hand with Kyle Rayner's creator Ron Marz to Anthony Minghella, a writer for the original series (with a story in the book adapted from an unproduced episode of the show, as Minghella passed away three years ago).

The problem with this book is that these tales are not of the writers. While the Storyteller segments (and the inherent narrative in a few of the tales) are always entertaining, they're stories that have existed for ages. Chances are you might not have heard of them, and beyond the tale of Puss in Boots, none have truly tapped the surface of the culture of America (and that one only gets by because of Dreamworks co-opting the character). They're not bad stories at all; they have lasted this long for a reason. The writers do a great job with the work, but much like a "Based on the hit movie now in theaters!" comic book, they're rather restricted in going on a true adventure.

The artists, on the other hand, truly get to shine. Each story has its own unique look, whether it be intricate paintings, simplistic yet evocative cartoons, or primarily text with artwork. Visually, the book is a treat, and if you're a fan of any of these tales, you'd be set right with the book.

The Storyteller is both a noble title and an enjoyable venture. While it doesn't take full advantage of its writing crew, the artists give it their all. While they may not capture the magic that Jim Henson's puppeteer work wove, they bring life to the page in their own way.

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