Jim Henson’s Labyrinth 2017 Special is published by BOOM! Studios under their Archaia imprint.
It includes stories written by Adam Smith, Katie Cook, Alessandro Q. Ferrari, Jeff Stokely, Curry Ross, Delilah S. Dawson, Roger Langridge, with art contributed by Jared Cullum, Pius Bak, Sas Milledge, Katie Cook, Jeff Stokely, and Roger Langridge.
I don’t know for sure, but if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you like the movie Labyrinth from 1986 starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. And if you haven’t, you need to go watch it because it’s one of the greatest movies ever. I pretty much love everything involving Labyrinth so BOOM! Studios is going to continue getting all of my money. They have also published the Labyrinth 30th anniversary special, a book of short stories titled, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Tales, and also an artist tribute. All of which are just fantastic.
As with the anniversary special, the 2017 special is made up of short stories about different characters within the Labyrinth universe. It contains 6 stories by various writers and artists (names listed above) and I honestly enjoyed all of them. My favorite though is probably, “Cup of Tea?,” which was written and drawn by Katie Cook and stars my favorite character from Labyrinth, the worm. So, allow me to break down my review between each story.
The first story, The Right Steed for the Right Deed, written by Adam Smith and illustrated by Jared Cullum, is about Sir Didymus and his search from a trusty steed before he met Ambrosius. It’s silly and zany, and is mostly Sir Didymus sitting on different fantasy creatures and it not working out so well. And I can even picture his voice as he gallivants about trying to make creatures his trusty steed like he sees in his book about knights.
The second story, The Wrong Toby, written by Delilah S. Dawson and illustrated by Sas Milledge, is about two not-so-bright goblins who want to get into King Jareth’s good graces, so they decide to kidnap this “baby Toby” for him. Of course, these goblins don’t even know what a baby is, or even remember the right word for what they’re looking for half the time. This story gave us new characters to examine as they searched familiar worlds (ours and the Goblin King’s) trying to find baby Toby…or a tuba…or maybe it was a ladle?
The third story (my favorite), Cup of Tea? As previously stated, is written and illustrated by Katie Cook, is about the worm as he goes around the castle labyrinth asking whoever he runs into if they would like to come to his home for tea and sandwiches. As he ventures through the labyrinth, we are met with familiar characters all accurately representing their odd and silly mannerisms.
The fourth story, Into the Bog, written by Alessandro Q. Ferrari and illustrated by Pius Bak, is about three goblins who call themselves, “the threatening trio”. The goblins are named Puz (the apparent leader), Pudor, and Puch. While they are exploring, a trapdoor opens and they fall, barely missing the bog of eternal stench…or so they thought. Except Puch’s foot fell in and now not even his comrades can bare to be around him due to the smell.
The fifth story, Beauty or the Beast, written and illustrated by Roger Langridge, is about Jareth’s time with Toby that we don’t see on screen. He talks with him and shows him his magic, along with the “wonders” Toby could do if only he would choose to be a goblin. However, Toby is a baby…and doesn’t exactly understand what’s happening.
The sixth story, Run, Goblin, Run, co-written by Jeff Stokely and Curry Ross but also illustrated by Jeff Stokely, is about a goblin we haven’t seen before who claims he and Jareth are the best of friends. He is full of stories about the things Jareth has done for him because they are so close. And yet, he was unaware that Jareth was having a gathering to celebrate his capture of the human baby. So, of course, our goblin must rush off to get to the castle to congratulate his best friend Jareth.
The way this special is set up, the stories shift from familiar to new. Every other story is a new character, so we are equally given time with new characters, and developments, origins, or simple side stories for characters we know and love. Each story is unique and tells its tale in a way that wraps up nicely. No story feels too long or cut short and you can tell the writers and illustrators know this movie, these characters, and this world. If you’re a fan of Labyrinth, I have no doubt you’ll love this special.
OVERALL SCORE: 10 / 10