Indie Comics Review: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Story: Amal El-Mohtar
Artist: Isa Hanssen
Letters: Jim Campbell
Spot Illustration: Sonny Liew
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #3 tells the fable of the legendary Reynard. A wily fox with humble beginnings who sets out to prove wrong a nosy stork and succeeds more than once.
The Storyteller and his dog are on a journey. Stepping out of the house leads them into a market where they are quickly offered many goods for sale. When the shopkeepers catch the attention of the dog by offering treats they make claims like how their treats will make the dog’s coat gleam like gold and silk or turn its teeth into dragon’s fangs and give it the strength of seven lions.
The Storyteller recognizes the tall tales and is reminded of the story of Reynard. Reynard is a fox with bright eyes that twinkle like stars. Even though he is sleeping in a ditch, Reynard speaks to an approaching Stork as though the bird works for him.
Reynard is the type of Storyteller who commands the stage. He claims he robbed a Giant and has in his possession many wares that are unusual and must be hidden until an assigned day.
Reynard makes one sale. Then he makes a second. There’s a wonderful intermission when the Storyteller points out why it is good to value the important things in life.
But for a Storyteller, it is stories and all the different ways of telling them. He says this while standing in front of a theater surrounded by seated children while a puppeteer moves the marionettes through the story and across the stage.
Stork is a spirited character who does not like it when people don’t pay attention to his over-explaining. But his dislike grows exponentially when he discovers that Reynard is telling lies. But because Reynard is such a great storyteller Stork’s attempts to reveal a lie only backfire.
Then, with the crowd behind him, Reynard makes a final claim, and one that suggests only great harm will come if the Stork tries to open a package containing the Four Winds. Reynard is able to walk off wealthy and dressed in finery the stork must pay for all the Wild tales that Reynard was telling.
The Storyteller then makes a comparison between the stork and Reynard. One told marvelous stories that were actually I’m true. The other told stories based strictly on plain facts. Neither was a storyteller. The real storyteller only uses lies, to tell the truth.
One of the great things about the Jim Henson storyteller tricksters series is that it features characters who are telling lies. But it is through their lies and truths are told. Another truth is that stories come from many places. In the beginning, it is easy to consider that all stories come from one book, one person, or one source.
Amal El-Mohtar takes the name of incomparable storyteller Jim Henson and uses it to share stories from many sources. It is a channel fed by many tributaries pouring like a river into the ocean. Sonny Liew and Isa Hanssen’s art bring the waters to life and Jim Campbell’s letters give them a voice. On the waters sail the Storyteller, his dog, and all those willing to ride the timeless waters of narrative.