Publisher: BOOM! Studios (Archaia imprint)
Writer/Artist: Nathan Pride
Release Date: 20th January, 2016
The work of Jim Henson and his creature workshop holds a special place in the hearts and imaginations of many people around the world (particularly those of the pre-CGI generation), thanks to their unique gift for bringing fantastical larger than life worlds right into your living room. The Storyteller was perhaps one of the lesser-known productions, featuring a heavily made-up John Hurt recounting old myths and legends based on European folklore.
This second comic volume concentrates on stories involving Dragons, with the ‘Worm of Lambton’ the subject of this particular issue, focussing on an errant young knight’s journey of discovery and battle with the titular beast for which he is ultimately responsible.
As you might expect, it’s an allegorical fable primarily aimed at children, but I found myself very quickly engrossed in the story. Aside from a bloody climactic battle, it’s fairly light on action, but there’s enough depth to these bold, exaggerated archetypes to maintain the interest of children and adults alike. The story follows a typical fairy-tale narrative in the best traditions of Hans Christian Andersen or Aesop, all wrapped up in Nathan Pride’s traditionally intoned fantasy prose, which perfectly captures the essence of Henson’s cinematic oeuvre.
Pride also provides art for the issue, which features some strong character work and clever panelling to covey the more nuanced moments of the story. The addition of tapestries and text contained within torn scroll captions neatly accentuates the medieval European aesthetic, and his colours vary in tone to match the mood of the narrative, as it sweeps from the vivid brightness of its opening, to muted melancholy in the second half.
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to, perhaps because it tapped into something that made such an indelible mark on my childhood, but more likely because this type of fairy-tale is universal and can truly be enjoyed by anyone.
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The Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
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