Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jim Henson's Storyteller: Dragons (Daniel Bayliss)

Jim Henson's Storyteller: Dragons
(The Jim Henson's Storyteller series)
Daniel Bayliss, et al.
Fiction, YA Fantasy/Graphic Novel
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: An old storyteller relates four tales, inspired by legends and folklore from around the world, all featuring dragons.
Son of the Serpent: A Native American boy and his father have a fateful encounter with a horned sea serpent and its enemies, the thunderbirds.
The Worm of Lambton: The spoiled son of an English lord unleashes an evil upon the land, which he must confront many years later.
Albina: In Medieval Eastern Europe, a warrior woman and her reluctant companion confront a shape-shifting beast.
Samurai's Sacrifice: The daughter of an exiled samurai seeks vengeance, only to find a monstrous foe and a terrible truth.

REVIEW: The Storyteller was an interesting series, a showcase of Henson's groundbreaking puppetry and effects, though the stories told sometimes felt a little thin or incomplete, bearing fragments of cultures and mythologies that didn't quite translate. This compilation, part of a graphic novel tribute to the show, seeks to emulate the style of the original in new stories. It succeeds, with some great artwork in culturally-influenced styles, though it also retains some of that sense of incompleteness, of bits and pieces that haven't quite translated or don't quite make sense without the cultural touchstones of the original. My favorite, for art and storyline, is the first tale, with its stunning horned serpent and thunderbirds created in the Northwest Coast style, followed by The Worm of Lambton. Albina changes the genders of the heroes, but seems to be missing something. The Japanese story, feels jumbled and a touch confusing, as though it didn't start quite in the right place; there's an awful lot of backstory that must be crammed in via confused flashbacks, and the wrap-up felt a touch too neat and forced. Overall, I found it interesting, with some great artwork and intriguing world myths given new life. It certainly succeeded in capturing a mythic sense of wonder - and dragons rarely hurt a rating.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Tales of Great Dragons (J. K. Anderson) - My Review
Dragons: Truth, Myth, and Legend (David Passes) - My Review
Jim Henson's The Storyteller ~ The Complete Collection - Amazon DVD link

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