REVIEW: ‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 - But Why Tho?

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 is the start of a new anthology series based on the short-lived television series of the same name, published by BOOM! Studios’ imprint Archaia. The first issue is written by Jonathan Rivera, illustrated by Jade Zhang, and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller has lived on in comic form with a number of anthology series over the past several years. The latest, The Storyteller: Tricksters will deliver stories about some of the world’s most famous tricksters, from Anansi to Loki. Issue number one begins with a rendition of Anansi the trickster spider delivered for a slightly younger audience and made universally endearing.

The story is as old as any: Anansi wants to hoard all of the world’s stories for himself and devises a scheme to win them from his father. While he may be successful, he also has a big lesson to learn in the aftermath. Rivera scripts this classic story well, making sure the reader can follow along regardless of their prior knowledge of Anansi, his world, or his exploits.

The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 is a frame story, where The Storyteller himself is explaining a lesson to his dog. It’s an odd concept, and the original characters from the television program, while a technological feat, are a bit rough-looking in retrospect. But it works well in this comic thanks to well-executed cheesy jokes between the Storyteller and his dog, as well as a charming visual. The dog is just really cute.

The visual style is quite strong in the Anansi story as well. Anansi’s design is very cool and the celestial moments are really strong. The sequences of Anansi’s exploits are not especially memorable, but Anansi himself is more than enough to carry the visuals on his own. I particularly appreciate the pinks, blues, and purples of the backgrounds, sky, and heavens. It feels like a color palette not often adorning comic books and I love it. The garments the characters wear are gorgeous as well.

One slightly odd bit to me is a moment where Anansi’s father tells him that he has no need for money and then shows off the riches he has accumulated from all of the kingdoms in the world. One of the largest items he holds closely resembles the British Crown Jewels. It felt jarring both because it was larger than treasure chests and a horse, and because of the racist history of the Crown Jewels, having been stolen from Africa.

Nonetheless, I admire the art direction. This also includes the lettering, which nicely distinguishes the voices of different characters by using different fonts or speech bubbles. Anansi’s father’s speech, for example, is in a bold font while the speech bubbles of a snake are a bit slithery and that of a hornet’s definitely buzzy. It’s a nice touch that helps give a distinct voice to the story’s characters.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 is a lovely retelling of a classic myth set within an endearing frame story. I have no attachment to the original The Storyteller, but I do feel endeared by him in this comic. It has me excited to read the rest of the anthology and to recommend this first edition.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Tricksters #1
4.5

TL:DR

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #1 is a lovely retelling of a classic myth set within an endearing frame story. I have no attachment to the original The Storyteller, but I do feel endeared by him in this comic. It has me excited to read the rest of the anthology and to recommend this first edition.