By Nolan Patrick Smith
Writers: Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl
Artwork: Ramón Pérez
Rating: T for TEEN- 12 and up, may contain mild violence or mild profanity, brief nudity
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Every so often, we come across something so unique, so off the wall that it blows away any and all expectations. Well, when one of the authors is Jim Henson, being blown away takes a whole new meaning. Tale of Sand is the lost feature length screenplay by Henson and long time collaborator Jerry Juhl. It is the only feature length script to never be produced, that is, until now.
Design: The design behind this book is nothing short of brilliant. This hardcover collection has a beautiful wrap around cover by the artist of the book, Ramón Pérez. The edges on the book are rounded a bit, giving this book that much more of a reason to stand out on the shelves, not like having the Henson name on it could hurt either.
Story: Tale of Sand is based directly off of a long lost feature film script by Henson and Juhl. Created under the supervision of Henson’s daughter, Lisa Henson, in partnership with Archaia, we finally get to see this tale brought to life. Yes, I know it was a script for a film; but after reading it, this stands out as something unique to the graphic novel art form.
The story is of Mac, a disorientated man who begins a journey like no other. The story is more like Henson’s short film “Time Piece” than any of his puppet works (if you haven’t seen Time Piece, do yourself a favor and watch it today). Worlds clash, realities crumble, all as a man desperately tries to at least get one cigarette in before the world goes crazy again. There is some brief nudity near the end of the book, hence the rating for a more mature audience. Words are kept to a minimum in this book, instead it relies heavily on the visuals: not only the artwork, but also onomatopoeia, which are the sound effects that are more art than text.
Art: The art is handled by Ramón Pérez, who is known for his extremely popular web comics like Kukuburi. Pérez’s style is so clean, I know that readers of this book will be blown away. The art is stark and striking, with parts of the screenplay transposed into the background at times. The feel of each and every page is something so unique, that it would have to have been done as a comic book to fully appreciate the excellent script. From symbolism as text, to football players speaking in plays (literally), this book helps break down any barriers one might have of the comic book genre. Pérez guides the readers visually throughout this story, leaving a mark that will not soon be forgotten.
Overall: Honestly, I was unsure of what to expect from this book. Henson, though a genius of creativity and artistic expression, created many projects in many different genres and styles. After reading the book from cover to cover, I was amazed at how this stayed stored away in the Henson’s vault for so long. This book personifies all the brilliance that can be achieved in the often-overlooked art form of sequential art. Highly Recommended, I give Tale of Sand a perfect ***** out of 5.