A pleasent find - 'A tale of sand'.
So on one of my jaunts around Forbidden planet the other week. I stumbled across a brightly coloured book sitting all by itself, on a shelf, in a corner. Turns out it was a graphic novel adaption of a screenplay written by Jim Henson and his writing partner Jerry Jhule in 1967. Titled 'Tale of Sand' it is a strange yet surreal story, liberally dosed with satire and humor, of one man's adventure through a Sand filled exterior.
Originally declined and rejected by numerous producers in Hollywood at the time, the script itself was rewritten and edited over the years and then eventually filed away within the Jim Henson Company's archives. Until it was found by Karen Falk, the Henson Archivist, who brought it out into the light of day and had it published by the company's comic book partners Archaia Entertainment. Lisa Henson, Jim's daughter, gives a wonderful afterword explaining some of the thoughts and ideas behind her father's screenplay.
The artwork, drawn by the very talented Ramón Pérez, fits the writing style perfectly. Pérez's detailed yet impressionistic take on the landscape, characters and ensuing chaos brings the story to life in a way I feel a moving picture film would lack. The main colouring was done by Pérez himself and the fantastic Ian Herring, along with both Kalman Andrazofszky and Jordie Bellair all of whom jam pack the book from front to back with bold striking colours and a mass of visual noise. The story is heavy on the visual and unspoken narrative that some may find difficult to follow. I however believe this is it's most attractive feature, each illustration merging into the next. As if one were unravelling a scroll, which is why I think Pérez's illustrations are a perfect fit. Though throughout,all art was directed by Pérez and it definitely shows in the way the book flows.
After Speaking to Mr Pérez, via email, he explained that he had to make some significant changes to the script to ensure that it fitted a more visual, printed style, without compromising the storyline.
This is, I think, one of Jim Hensons' earlier and more 'out there' piece of work. Slightly more removed from his well know puppet work, the novel contains a short concise history of Jim's early work and experimentations, what drove him to produce work and how he came to be involved in the creative world.
If you only read one Graphic Novel this month, make sure it is this one.
Further reading and information on the artwork of Mr Ramón Pérez can be found here on his site.