Everyone knows that the Jim Henson was a genius. Whether you watch Fraggle Rock or The Dark Crystal or The Muppet Movie, you know immediately that this was a man whose imagination worked on a different level. He could conceive and give life to concepts that made you think, made you cry or just made you laugh. But with the publication of Tale of Sand from Archaia, we see that Henson’s brilliance was greater than I think any of us realized.
Tale of Sand was originally a screenplay for a Jim Henson movie that, unfortunately, never got made. It was written by Henson and longtime writing partner Jerry Juhl between 1967 and 1974 and has sat in the Henson archives, gathering dust, until now. Thankfully, Archaia has teamed up with The Jim Henson Company and Henson’s own daughter Lisa to bring the screenplay to life as a graphic novel. To accomplish this they have enlisted the insanely talented Ramon Perez to turn Henson’s words into a story you will never forget.
At its simplest, Tale of Sand is a story about a man who goes on a journey in the desert of the American Southwest for some unknown reason. Along the way we meet and experience things that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Part parody, part comedy, it is a book that will make you think and make you look at graphic novels, and Jim Henson, differently.
There is very little dialogue, so the bulk of the story is told through the pictures and images on the page. Perez does this masterfully as you never get confused; never have to wonder what panel to look at next. The story flows from page to page and you’ll get get lost in this very eccentric, very beautiful tale. I should make special mention of the coloring as Perez and Ian Herring use what looks like a simple color palette to make the drawings leap off the page. The first seven or so pages will make your head spin with their beauty and will make understand you are in for a great ride.
In many ways, I can see why Henson and Juhl could never get the screenplay turned into a film. It would take a certain kind of person to appreciate what they had created here. In my opinion, Tale of Sand works much better as a graphic novel. With the unlimited budget of comics, the story can come to life with no limitations and be presented just as Henson would have wanted. Plus, I think comic book fans can value a story like this more than the average moviegoer.
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand is a must own for any Henson fan. Hell, it’s a must own for any fan of graphic literature. It’s a book you will come back to again and again and will always find something new that you didn’t see before. Go get this book.
Archaia has been kind enough to provide us with a copy of Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand to give away to one lucky Geekadelphia reader. Just leave a comment about which Muppet is you favorite and we’ll pick a random winner at the end of next week.
Please make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment and books can only be sent to addresses in the United States and Canada.