Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand
Written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl
Art by Ramon K. Perez
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Cover Price: $29.95
When Jim Henson passed away over 20 years ago, the creator left a legacy like no other. His hit show Sesame Street continues to educate kids all over the world. The Muppets, another one of his creations, has endured and just recently made it back into the spotlight, thanks to their recent hit movie. Even the Dark Crystal, though a dud when it came out, is now a cult classic. Henson fever remains alive and well, which is probably why Archaia has decided to published Tale of Sand, a lost screenplay from Henson himself.
Tale of Sand follows Mac, a man from a small town. Mac is chosen by the townspeople to go on a quest which involves him going across the desert to a location marked on a map. Why is he chosen? What is that location on the map? Mac doesn’t have a clue. What he does know is that a well dressed man with a goatee named Patch is hot on his trail, hellbent on killing him.
While the plot is easy to comprehend once you get into it, you certainly have to put a lot of work into getting the overall story. Even though this is written originally as a screenplay, there isn’t much dialogue. In fact, 75 percent of the story is mostly just pictures and sounds. Both Henson and his writing partner, Jerry Juhl, had a specific vision in mind for their tale, which relied on the viewer to piece together parts of the story themselves. As a result, you wind up getting just enough of the script to follow along but you are never sure if ever really know what is going on.
Despite this fact, you still feel empathy for the main character because you are in the same boat he is in. You know as much as he does and like him, all you care about is what is happening at that very moment. Not many stories out there can grab the reader’s attention and make them feel invested in the character so quickly but this tale does it.
The art, by Ramon Perez, is beyond amazing. The art literally leaps off the page and grabs hold of you. I know 2012 is relatively new, but I don’t think there is going to be a single book out there that can top this one when it comes to visual style. In fact, I want to go on record that if Perez is not nominated for an award for this book, I would be very surprised by this. It is that good. Everything from the lush colors to the beautiful women, it looks and feels the way an animated movie should feel. You may be confused reading the book, but your eyes are never bored.
The book is a bit on the pricey side (although it’s on sale for under $18 at Amazon), but its overall package makes up for it. The hardcover looks great and the paper stock is impressive. It gives the entire book some weight. Plus, whatever the price it is, you can bet your bottom dollar that Henson fans will pick this up and they should. It is a peak into a movie that could have been.
Tale of Sand is not the easiest story to understand but it sure is entertaining. Relying on only sound, visuals, and some dialogue, Henson and Juhl have weaved quite a creative tale. It is definitely a tale you want to read a second time. Ramon Perez’s art captivates and brings to life Henson’s long lost screenplay. This book is a must have for any Henson fan or any comic fan in the mood for a truly unique ride.