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Monday, November 17, 2014

Archaia Summons a New Type of Witch in "Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches"


Archaia has published some undeniably gorgeous work with its Jim Henson licenses over the past few years, adapting lost scripts including Tale of Sand and The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow with talent and passion. Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches takes that partnership to a new high. The original Storyteller show, which began in 1988 and wrapped in 1991 with a Greek Myth-inspired spinoff, recast little-known fairy tales into pure, magical escapism enhanced by sharp writing and exemplary production. Framed by the titular storyteller (a barely-recognizable John Hurt, accompanied by his muppet dog voiced by Brian Henson), the series survived as a cult sensation even if it never reached the ubiquity of The Muppets or Fraggle Rock. 

Halfway into its 4-issue run, the comic series Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches has captured the innovation, escapism and allure of its TV inspiration, driven by a host of creators hellbent on suspending reality for 22 pages. Four individual cartoonists contribute to each of the four issues, save the finale, which uses an unaired teleplay about the child-eating witch Baba Yaga. Taking an international approach, the first issue by S.M. Vidaurri presented a charming European fable of princesses and vengeful forest lords, while Kyla Vanderklugt’s follow up immersed readers in a bittersweet love story set in historical Japan. With issue three, “The Phantom Isle,” set for release Wednesday, Paste chatted with series editor Rebecca Taylor on how the project began, the role of sympathetic witches in fiction, and female agency in the comic industry.

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