‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Shapeshifters #2’ - Comic Book Review

The story explored in this issue of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller is a bit different from the previous one—as well as from the original series. The tale is set in a relatively modern setting, seemingly around the 20th century. Does that make it any less of a folktale, or any less worthy to be included in this collection? Not at all.  It’s just as magical, just as timeless, and just as engaging as The Storyteller’s usual fare. It also may or may not have made me cry.

The story begins when the Storyteller’s dog notices that when the plants sway back and forth in the wind, they look like they’re dancing. The Storyteller then relates “The Dancers,” a tale about the Reed People: spirits who live in the reeds and love to dance.

To most people, these spirits just look like plants, but occasionally, when someone special comes along, they’ll reveal their human forms. This is what happens to Rose, a young Apache girl who loves to dance. At the creek near her home, she happens upon a little girl named Reed and her friends who love dancing as much as she does. They dance the day away together, and Reed even teaches Rose some cool new dance moves. But when Rose’s mother comes to bring her in for the night, all she sees is a bunch of reeds.

Time passes and Rose grows up, eventually becoming a dancer herself. Every so often, though, she’ll come back to the creek and dance with Reed and her friends.

“The Dancers” also tells us about the oppression of the Apache people and the erasure of their culture. It’s a powerful story and not always easy to hear, but it’s definitely worth reading.

The writer and artist are different than in the previous issue, and I imagine they’ll be different for each of the remaining issues, as well. The writer, Darcie Little Badger, is an acclaimed Apache author. I wasn’t previously familiar with her work, but now I want to read more of it. The artist, Alexandra Fastovets, creates a modern-looking world that still feels timeless and just a bit magical.

All in all, this is a great issue and well worth reading—as well as a powerful reminder of why #StoriesMatter. If you’re a fan of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, or folktales and storytelling in general, you’ll definitely want to check out this issue.


Creative Team: Darcie Little Badger (story), Alexandra Fastovets (art), James Fenner (colors), Jim Campbell (letters), and Qistina Khalida and Mateus Manhanini (covers)
Publisher: Archaia
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