When you think Jim Henson, you think of something fun and entertaining. What you don’t think about are the weird, existential movies he made before the Muppets took off. There was The Cube, where a man is trying to escape a giant cube and visited by a stream of bizarre guests like mimes and apartment managers. And there was Time Piece, where a man waiting for a doctor experiences a bunch of bizarre surreal fantasies like painting a live elephant pink. What I’m saying is no one but die-hard Henson-fans and film-geeks are trying to see this stuff today.
So when you hear that Archaia Comics is adapting a long lost Henson screenplay, A Tale Of Sand, into a graphic novel, you’re sure to be a little disappointed when you find out it’s one of those weird non-muppety pieces he wrote. As Stephen Christy from Archaia described it:
The story takes place in the American Southwest. It’s a very surreal, very trippy, very weird… Jim’s version of the American Southwest, basically… the setting is almost a character in the story itself. Lisa Henson has a told a great story of when she was young and the whole family going to a dude ranch on a vacation, Jim just falling in love with the Western landscapes and wanting to shoot that and showcase that and do something really spectacular. The desert is very much a character in this piece and that’s the setting. So there is a whole load of sand in it.
It’s a very dark fairy tale parable. It’s a story about a journey, a journey through the American Southwest, so you’re seeing a lot of different landscapes, you’re encountering a lot of different characters. It’s expansive but at the same time what’s interesting is that it has a lot of the same feelings of loneliness that The Cube has.
It’s a much different landscape, much bigger and wider landscape, something that was very important to Jim when he was developing it, that he really pay tribute ot this landscape, but it does have a sense of loneliness, of paranoia, of isolation.
Hmmm. Loneliness, paranoia AND isolation? I think I’ll stick to my Muppet Show DVDs. At least with those I get to watch Gilda Radner tap-dancing, too.
I want more like this!
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