I think that the Dark Crystal may be one of my favorite Henson properties. This was something groundbreaking for me in my childhood, as fantasy was not as big on TV or in cinema in the ’80s. Sure, we had Legend and The Neverending Story, but these and the works of Rankin and Bass were my only real forays into the world of the fantastic. The Dark Crystal was as real to me as Dagobah for obvious reasons, and that was all the difference to my childhood. So, this series of Creation Myths has been a walk down a childhood path that I wish I had had access to and is amazing for the incredibly wide and varied stories that culminate in a single tome. Much like The Silmarillion for Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Creation Myths brings to life a world where the first story that we heard proves to not be the whole one.
Brian Froud’s designs and world are brought to life by a very talented team with Joshua Dysart writing and the artwork handled by Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John. The story continues from the first volume, where we find out just who Aughra is and are introduced to not only the Urskeks from the end of the film (before their split into the uRRu’s and Skeksies) but Aughra’s son, Raunip. Raunip is a Loki-like character for the world of Thra, somewhat mischievous with pride aplenty who sometimes only thinks after he acts.
This second volume continues the tales of the lives who intersect with his at the conjunction, and we get to see just what went wrong with the ceremony in the first place. This is the crucial center of the story that the three volumes of Creation Myths was to tell, and it is the basis of everything we know in the film, but on a much deeper and wondrous level. Whereas in the film we have only limited time to find the world wondrous, Dysart manages to weave every race and important location into a tale that is worthy of any of the great lore of our time. Every character has a history and a purpose, regardless of how much time they spend on the page, and the story retains the half-history, half-magic/wish fulfillment that makes any good myth lasting. The narrative is rich with high adventure, emotional weight, and metaphor in subtle and sometimes much-less-than-subtle ways. The feel of the story is perfect for The Dark Crystal‘s tone and fills out the world wonderfully.
The art is really where this volume shines, with everything based off of Brian Froud’s work on the film and since. Great care has been taken to recapture the ethereal quality of the world we saw in the film, but where the movie was taking place in a dark time, this volume portrays the delicacy of the life we’re shown as beautiful and full of grace. The world hasn’t turned ugly from people’s actions yet, and life is given itself in its majesty and its cruelty in equal measure. The world we see is as real on the page as ours is to us, and it takes some pretty incredible talent to pull it off well.
Dark Crystal fans will find plenty to love in this new volume, a rich and compelling story to further flesh out the world that so many of us fell in love with so long ago.
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