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‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Giants #1’ – Comic Book Review

Tall tales and tall deeds.

When I was a kid, I loved the Jim Henson’s Storyteller series.  I didn’t quite know what it was. I only caught a few episodes, and it never quite entered my consciousness as to who Jim Henson was, though I loved watching The Muppet Show on summer mornings after Gomer Pyle and F Troop. (I have since continued my eclectic taste for programing from multiple decades, but that’s a tale for another time.)  The Storyteller was pitched a little above my age group, but it was one of those shows that stayed with me, resonating without me realizing why.  When I came back upon it on DVD eight years ago, I was enraptured.  It was somehow nostalgic and yet completely new, as I had not seen the majority of the episodes.  The series found the magic of myth and storytelling in a perfect mix that managed to invoke something primal in my consciousness, a forgotten time where stories were told over many days by an elder around a fire, when stories were something more than just an entertainment. They had a life all their own.

This is what The Storyteller’s been for me, and I’ve loved every run that Archaia has done with its license.  I especially love that each tale is presented by a different team, joining together only in the theme of the run (Witches, Dragons and now Giants) which is the perfect continuation of the presentation from the television series.  First up is Conor Nolan telling the story of “The Peach’s Son.”  This take on the Japanese tale of Momotaro fits in with the rhythm and tone of the original superbly, taking elements from variations and casting the titular character as a giant to help propel him to his destiny.  This highlights one of my favorite parts of this series; it introduces folklore and famous stories from around the world to people who may otherwise have never heard them, though something in them feels familiar.  It’s because these stories have been told for generations, and with each retelling something of the person telling it becomes a part of the story, making the very fabric of the tale something human in itself, which we’re able to recognize on some deep level.

I really enjoy Mr. Nolan’s artwork; the richness of the world is a wonderful backdrop upon which he layers the lovingly detailed characters.  There’s not a true sense of motion within the tale, though it’s readily apparent that there are fun camera tricks in his mind, as shown when he incorporates the storyteller himself into backgrounds that then become the focus.  There’s an intense wizardry that he uses in composition and flow that makes these effects much more pronounced and wondrous.  The flow becomes almost ethereal, a magic that happens in between the panels that makes for a very cool reading experience.

I’ll never be able to sing high enough praises of this series or the show that it was based on, but if you’re a fan of Henson’s special brand of presentation, then this is definitely a series you want to be a part of.  Nolan manages to nail “all-ages” but in a way that anyone would enjoy it.  He hits the tone perfectly, and I look forward to next month’s installment.

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