Reviewing Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Witches #2 (of 4)

GameStop, Inc.

StorytellerWitches02_coverJim Henson’s Storyteller: Witches #2 (of 4) is Kyla Vanderklugt’s haunting retelling of the Japanese tale, “The Snow Witch.” It is the tale of a young woodcutter who, caught in the storm with his master, meets the dreaded snow witch. As his master has spoken of her as evil, the snow witch kills him. As often happens in fairy tales, the boy is spared because he is polite—but there is a catch: He must never tell anyone about meeting her, or she will punish him. The years go by, the boy grows up and falls in love, and telling the tale becomes tempting.

It is at heart a simple tale, and Vanderklugt tells it simply, keeping the prose pared-down and letting the images convey the nuances. Like many fairy stories, it hinges on promises kept or not, and upon being polite at all times. Vanderklugt gives the tale her own interpretation without moving over into the now-common territory of the “twisted” or “realistic” tale. Hers is a story that still sits firmly in the traditional realm.

The narrative flourishes are all in the images. The expressions and poses convey the emotional overlay that the simple narrative deliberately leaves out. Vanderklugt’s artwork is delicately done and Japenese-influenced. There are carefully drawn, angular trees in the background, and the snow witch herself is a combination of beautiful and terrifying as she speaks to the boy. The panels are framed by thick, uneven black lines, giving them the look of standalone images even as they work to tell the story—and, indeed, any single panel would work well as a framed image.

Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Witches #2 is a must-read for those who love their fairy tales straight.

Writer: Kyla Vanderklugt
Artist: Kyla Vanderklugt

 

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