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A revolutionary and beautiful comic - Storyteller: Witches No. 1

Written by Lee Newman on Monday, September 29 2014 and posted in Reviews

A revolutionary and beautiful comic - Storyteller: Witches No. 1

Stunningly gorgeous, the first issue of the new Single Issue version of the comic line bearing Jim Henson's name is one of the best comics of the year.


Source: none

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches No. 1 (of 4)

“The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest”

Written, Illustrated & Lettered by S.M. Vidaurri

Published by Archaia

 

There can be no doubt at this point that Archaia publishes some of the most beautiful books on the stands.  From Mouse Guard to Secret History, the imprint of BOOM!, has redefined the comic genre as a storytelling medium.  Knowing this does not prepare you for the gorgeousness that is Storyteller: Witches #1.  This is a horse of a different color.

From the beautiful front cover, it is obvious this is something special.  Once you open to the story itself, it is very clear that the reader has underestimated what he holds in his hands.  It is almost deceptively set up like a child’s storybook, which makes sense given the property line at play here.  The text sits in the middle of, around and running through the water colors, fine lines and fantastical creatures.  It slowly becomes more a part of the story as opposed to just being the words to the story.  Creative word balloon technique leads to proper punctuation.  If you’ve ever seen the subtitled version of the film Nightwatch, you have an understanding of exactly what happens with the text here.  Any other attempt to explain it does not do it justice.  There have been attempts over the years to bring this kind of feeling to a comic, most notably in Sandman.  However, no book I have ever read has so thoroughly played with the concept of comic book and storybook so well.

Then there is the story itself.  The book is populated by your average storybook folk.  There are princes and princesses.  Kings and Queens.  Lords of the Forest.  Witches of the Lake.  A curse.  A strong hero, in this case a strong willed young princess who knows things are not as they seem.  It is hypnotic and well told.  It is also intelligent while still being all ages friendly.  And somehow, with all this storybook flair and feel, it is not slight at all.  It feels longer than it is, but not in a dragging soul sucking way.  The way the prose and graphics work suck you in and bring the story to life in an almost cinematic fashion bringing the reader into the story in a way that no comic has ever done before.  It’s quite astonishing and feels hefty.  As much as I like Mouse Guard, this doesn’t feel slight like it can often feel.

This book had a hefty legacy to live up to.  You can’t throw Henson’s name around lightly.  When it works - you get The Muppets.  When it doesn’t - you get Muppets: Most Wanted.  This is something the fan beloved creator would have been proud to have his name on, as should Archaia and Vidaurri. 





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