THE STORYTELLER: WITCHES BY JIM HENSON

The graphic novel comes to life as a witch boils a liquid in a pot over a fire.

It’s not the stories you tell, but how they are told

A lovingly crafted and richly illustrated tales of witches.

The Storyteller, which was originally intended by Jim Henson as a television series but then became a comic book when that wasn't picked up, has been around for more than 25 years. Despite this, the TV series on which it was based is still widely remembered.

 

In between the captions were old European folklore stories, most obscure, acted out by a combination of actors and puppets. Obviously, these weren't available to comics.

 

Instead, creators are urged to study their own stories on a certain theme, with each telling his or her method as a preface and resulting in a showpiece for the versatility of comics as a storytelling medium.

 

The Storyteller, written and directed by storyteller Jim Henson, is a beloved retelling of fairy tales and folklore. We're delighted to be able to bring the property's magic to single issues after releasing a highly praised graphic novel.

 

In the spirit of Henson's inventive creativity, this series explores the history of witches and witchcraft through the ages, with a unique blend of art styles and storytelling methods that take full use of comics.

 

Jim Carroll's son, Mark McGwire, discusses his father and their relationship in an entertaining and insightful presentation. The title is a reference to the book's main protagonist: an ancient swan with magical powers who comes back from the dead to help his people. When her brother is abducted by a witch, a young princess must go into the dark woods beyond the castle in order to rescue him.

 

The story's arc shifts to the head of the forest, where a young woman named Usha and her brother, who is half-human and half-dragon, are caught in a battle against an ancient evil. Together they must travel through the forests of India while their rivals seek to stop them at every step.

 

View the complete library of The storyteller books.

Other Books In The Series


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Details

Title: Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches

Pages: 112 pages
Published: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Archaia
Language: English
Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

Contents

#1 The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest

 

The first issue of S.M. Vidaurri's "The Storyteller: Witches" is a triumph and a failure of visual storytelling, combining text and images on each page to stunning effect. The sentences may as well have spiral forms, and the spinning wheels are just as likely to appear on one page as on another.

 

The tale is a collection of short stories, each of which has its own style and mood. Individual panels are stunning, but the pages don't connect to or follow one another, making the problem feel more like a series of beautiful posters than a flowing visual narrative. "The Storyteller: Witches," on the other hand, is a gorgeous work of art. It's still an entertaining tale that has plenty of action and suspense, but it's not as charming as in previous volumes.

 

The Storyteller is a seven-part series by S.M. Vidaurri, which he describes as "a tale of love and adventure set in World War I Europe." This issue, the nicest book you've ever owned, feels like a wonderful storybook. The entire book appears to have been painted in watercolours, and the comfort of it lured me in.

 

Despite its name, the magazine is not entirely black. There are a few slight variations, however, they are generally subtle. When I opened to one page with darker purples and filigree gold text that gleamed in the light, I exclaimed "ooh." The typeface used in this edition is also amazing.

 

His artwork melds the conventional with the innovative. Rather than being a set of panels, his designs are frequently one-page, single-image summaries of the story in the text, with thematic suggestions for what happens during the action described rather than a straightforward display of it.

 

Even if he does use panelling, floral or vine border will spread throughout the panels. However, while retaining the most basic elements of the tale, such as the prince and the witch, Vidaurri also emphasizes some of its most innovative characteristics, including large patterned borders, monsters, castles, and witches who resemble Little Red Riding Hood.

 

Even so, it doesn't feel much like a comic to me, and the pages don't flow together because of those same margins and layouts. Even the colour scheme changes drastically from one page to the next.

 

When the pages aren't linked to each other, it makes the book jumpy unnecessarily. Some two-page spreads might have helped with that, and I would have appreciated seeing Vidaurri attempt something bigger in a smaller format.

 

The legend of the Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest, which was written in 16th century Mexico, is a traditional folktale with all the essential features: princesses, witches, enchanted forests, and hereditary curses. Vidaurri creates a strong sense of place for this tale.

 

Despite the fact that "witches" is in the series title, the forest is really the protagonist. Despite its traditional structure, however, the story has some twists; it contains a feminist and environmentalist message within its conventional trappings.

 

The only acknowledgement of the name Storyteller is on the first and last pages, with a full-page painting of him and a closing outline of him with his dog, respectively. It's not as much about the series' style itself as it is about the spirit.

 

"The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest" is a lovely story for all ages. It's an ideal method to introduce new readers to the strange, wonderful ways that text and image can interact.

#2 The Snow Witch

 

A terrifying and beautiful witch is said to walk the snow-covered slopes of Japan. According to tales, only a few people survive her wrath when she encounters them. She is a fiend who, as such, is unable to show compassion or clemency.

 

What will happen to Minokichi, the young apprentice, when he encounters her on a snowy night amid a storm? This is the second story in Jim Henson's The Witches series from Boom! and Archaia Studios, entitled The Snow Witch.

 

The second instalment of this comic book series is illustrated by and written by writer and artist Kyla Vanderklugt. The Witches is unique in that each of the four comics will be written and drawn by a different artist, providing their own distinct style and viewpoint. Each comic has been inspired by a distinct artistic and cultural style.

 

The Snow Witch is set in Japanese culture and storytelling, as opposed to the European fairy tale motif of the first book. The tale is intriguing and well-written, and the artwork, which mimics traditional Japanese paintings, is beautiful.

 

The manner in which the tales are delivered is crucial to any of the Storyteller series. They have a more oral tradition feel than they do comics as if they were something told around a fire on a cold winter night. This is an unusual viewpoint for today's strip; it's rather fascinating.

 

If you were watching a performance of The Snow Witch around a campfire, for example, you would most likely believe it was based on folklore rather than a comic script. The Snow Witch is wonderfully done.

 

It follows the same structure as many traditional fables, complete with cautionary tales and values, once again keeping true to the Storyteller series. Both of the first tale's surprises and one of its reveals were unexpected, which increased my desire to find out what would happen next.

 

Since each comic is a self-contained narrative, you may read this sequence at any time; however, I recommend reading them all. They're wonderfully written and illustrated, and they're unlike anything else I've ever seen. If you enjoy classic tales, folklore, and mythology (particularly about witches), this series is for you.

 

In fact, I'm a little disappointed there will only be four. Archaia is doing an excellent job with these, as well as the Henson brand and I can't wait to see what they have next.

#3 The Phantom Isle

 

The Storyteller: Witches is written and drawn by Matthew Dow Smith, who has done a great job in the previous instalments. This series so far has excelled at one thing unique from the regular witch tale that takes you by surprise after delight.

 

These aren't silly old women who chatter and laugh, but rather a distinct kind of witch. Smith introduces us to an enchanted island full of witches, complete with a unique Storytellers hook that integrates storytelling into the narrative itself.

 

The storyline is a little more sombre and reflective, with the voice-over no longer providing narrative commentary as he has in episodes of the show.

 

This is one of those novels that doesn't wow you with each page or provide a fresh twist or turn to pique your interest. Although most readers would not consider this, it's a narrative that might be imagined to suit the prose style. It keeps you engaged, but it must be told from beginning to end in order to make an impression.

 

The tale begins with a guy telling some youngsters in a tavern a story. The narrative follows a boy who is also an experienced sailor and enjoys storytelling. His boat struck a reef off the coast of Cork, and rather than dying in the freezing sea, he awoke on an island where no such place should exist.

 

It's at this point that the story takes a turn for the interesting, as we learn more about the island and its witch inhabitants. But lost in the past, he remains forever on this island where he tells tales and we learn a crucial principle about storytelling: one cannot just tell stories; instead, one must live to obtain them. It's a lovely message that fits with this series.

 

Smith's artwork is solid, but it isn't the most arresting style for this sort of narrative. It's thick with ink and has a simple depiction. The colours are very dark and dreary, giving the tale a melancholy and haunted atmosphere that I'm not sure complements it.

 

There's nothing supernatural about the narrative, especially when living on the island is wonderful and yet the appearance creates everything to feel downcast and melancholy. When it comes to pacing, the tale is also a little sluggish.

 

When I think back on everything that happened while I was there, I'm at a loss as to how to make a lengthy list. That's because the narrative is primarily driven by the opening narrator, who tells the main tale. It is, however, a fantastic story in memory of narratives that wonderful.

 

This was a fantastic tale that should appeal to anyone who enjoys storytelling. It has the appearance of a finished narrative. However, it is a little too sluggish for my taste. It's well worth seeing.

#4 Vasilissa the Beautiful

 

For a series that is concerned with fairy tales about witches, it makes sense that Baba Yaga would make an appearance at some point. She's drawn from an unused teleplay for the original TV series here. While there are numerous witches who have acquired a name in fairy tales, many of them aren't named specifically, thus making Baba Yaga's moniker unique enough to warrant notice.

 

The tale follows a prevalent motif in fairy tales, the death of a mother and her replacement by an evil stepmother and wicked daughters. The protagonist is a young girl who has been forced into slavery and is subsequently sent to the dark forest to live.

 

The Baba Yaga folklore tradition does not contain a typical narrative, like Cinderella or Snow White does, instead the witch is seen more as a myth or superstition, and frequently even a cautionary story about what happens to youngsters who do not follow their parents' rules.

 

This is where she is inserted into a narrative that reflects many of the typicalities of fairy tales, even if they aren't from a specific tale about Baba Yaga. The story's weirdness increases as the tale go on, and as a result, it can feel contrived at times. This is especially evident in this issue when the title character is shown considerably more than he was in previous issues, and his presence seems almost essential to advancing the narrative.

 

However, by drawing on public domain source material for fairy tales, the protagonist may show some redeeming qualities, notably when she is forced to solve riddles that she easily solves.

 

The conclusion of this problem and series is somewhat disappointing. When examined from a certain perspective, the series is charming and intriguing, but it never quite managed to achieve the heights that it might have or should have.

 

The collected edition can be a wonderful addition to a child's collection, but most of the fairy tales in this four-part series fell flat from an adult perspective. Although there were many problems in the fourth and final issue, it was undoubtedly the second finest of the four, but also reflects some of the issues this series had.

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