Back in the 1960′s and early 1970′s, Jim Henson and Jery Juhl (who became a frequent and long-time collaborator with Mr. Henson), wrote a screenplay for a movie that was never made. It was titled Tale of Sand. Years later, after having sat, essentially as a “missing” Henson work for years, it was discovered. Archaia Entertainment, in what has become their most anticipated release of the year, have taken that screenplay and made it into an officially licensed graphic novel. We here at Die-Screaming were lucky enough to get an early copy Tales of Sand thanks to Archaia Entertainment. Our fearless leader, Dan C, has given me, the local “Muppet of a Man”, the opportunity to review it. Here we go.
Before getting into my thoughts on Tale of Sand, however, here’s the official description from the fine folks over at Archaia…
“Join us as we explore this missing piece of Jim Henson’s career in a celebration of his creative process. Discovered in the Archives of The Jim Henson Company, Tale of Sand is an original graphic novel adaptation of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl. Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman, Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manners of man and beast of unimaginable proportions. Produced with the complete blessing of Henson co-CEO Lisa Henson, Tale of Sand will allow Henson fans to recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later Henson Company productions.”
Tale of Sand is a surrealistic comedy-drama and if it were to be made into a film would be shot in the deserts of the Southwest US, which was one of Jim’s favorite locations. As with most of Jim Henson’s early work like Timepiece and The Cube. Tale of Sand tells a story through the fantastic artwork and not through the use of linguistics like many graphic novels (there are words when needed but that’s it). This novel spews Jim Henson from beginning to end. It has his unique kind of humor and storytelling expertise that he has been well-known for since he first started writing and making short films.
The story takes place in the desert and has a man who starts off at a dance and ends up in an old west town. While there he’s given a knapsack full of stuff that’s gonna be useful to him and gives him a 10 minute head start. He then heads off into the desert with no information as to who these people are, what the purpose of his quest is, and why he is listening to him. On his “quest” the guy (let’s call him “Jim” because he looks like a younger Mr. Henson) meets many different people, some of which help him, like two old women who are trying to play golf in the middle of a giant sand trap. The majority of people, however, are trying to kill him. Bummer, eh? Obviously I don’t wanna give too much away but I will say this the ending will make you scratch your head and I recommend taking your time and reading/looking at the pictures carefully or else you miss something, be confused, and have to reread parts. The artwork as I said earlier is superbly done by artist Ramón Pérez. I really like how some of the pages have the original screenplay behind them which I think is a really nice touch. Tale of Sand is a great addition to any Jim Henson fan’s collection. My only words of caution would be that A Tale of Sand may not be for younger kids, only because there is one scene with a topless woman.
Tale of Sand is now available at finer comic book shops everywhere, having been released on December 16th. Any fan of Jim Henson (and, really, aren’t we all?) should really appreciate this book. The combination of Henson’s and Juhl’s classic storytelling, combined with Ramon Perez’s superb artwork, make Tale of Sand something special. Own this or regret it. I’m so happy that a new generation of fans are getting the opportunity to experience the genius of a man who has touched my life and helped make me the man I am today. Thank you Jim, Jerry, and everyone at The Henson Company and Archaia for another great story.
Filed Under: Comic Books