Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #3 is an anthology story written by Amal El-Mohtar with art by Isa Hanssen and Sonny Liew, lettering by Jim Campbell, and published by BOOM! Studios imprint Archaia. Based on Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, each story in this series tells the tale of a different trickster from cultures around the world.
The Storyteller: Tricksters #3 has a beautiful storybook aesthetic that really stands it apart from the earlier issues. It’s an art style that feels right out of Mother Goose in the best way. The characters’ designs and outfits feel very storybook and instantly comforting. The way that a number of the panels are bordered by vines and flowers is an exemplary design motif that perfectly punctuates the visual style of the whole comic. In fact, I’m not sure if it would be as visually appealing were it not for these borders. As a whole, the way the panels are overlayed on top of full-page backgrounds helps the comic capture the feeling of a storybook.
The story itself is a classic fairytale-type story. Reynard the fox is a trickster if ever there was one. He gets into a row with Stork who harangues the fox a bit about his economic prowess. So of course, Reynard determines to prove Stork wrong and goes about swindling the townsfolk. It’s a whole story about lies, honesty, and consequences. I chuckled quite a few times at the wit of the script and enjoyed the telling of the story as a whole. I also appreciate the way that it kept making clear that there are many, many other stories about Reynard out there to enjoy as well. This type of anthology is the perfect introduction to so many cultures and stories and it did its job perfectly because I immediately searched Reynard online to learn more about his tales.
I also appreciate the type of ending the story had. It essentially had two endings, a happy ending and a not-so-happy ending for Reynard. It was a witty way to offer multiple morals via the same story. The frame story in this one was a bit confusing. It was unclear where the frame story took place and whether it was meant to correlate to Reynard’s story or not. Given how the last story was told by somebody other than The Storyteller, and somebody whose own story it was at that, I was thrown off this time. The frame story seemed to take place somewhere in the Middle East or Central Asia, but Reyndard’s tales take place in Western and Central Europe. It didn’t take away from the issue necessarily, I just would love to see some more connectivity between the frame and the rest of the story like in the previous issues. I did enjoy getting out of the old man’s house though.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #3 has a masterful visual style and design. I was completely enchanted by the lively borders and backgrounds, as well as the use of such light and whimsical colors. It enhances the story completely, delivering a storybook of a comic completely befitting the anthology.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #3 is available wherever comics are sold.