The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Volume III Archaia
Written by:Matthew Dow Smith Illustrations by: Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John Cover by: Brian Froud
When I was a very small child, like most, I was a fan of the worlds created by Jim Henson. In addition to Sesame Street on my local PBS station in Los Angeles, my parents would actually let me watch The Muppet Show as well. I was seven years old when my dad took me to see The Dark Crystal and I fell in love with the story and the world created by Jim Henson and Brian Froud. The original movie featured an omniscient narrator and this 98 page graphic novel The Dark Crystal Creation Myths Volume III sheds light on many of the elements of the film that weren’t explored, including that narrator.
The narrator, in this case, tells stories of the time immediately after the shattering of the Dark Crystal and the subsequent introduction of the Skeksis and the Mystics. Matthew Dow Smith’s writing does a really good job of introducing the conflicts central to the story. You get the immediate sense that Smith is trying to build upon the mythology and expand the overall world for the reader. Unfortunately, Alex Shekiman and Lizzy John’s artwork takes the beauty of Brian Froud’s visuals and mutes them. The foreground characters look really impressive, but the background seems unfinished and the iconic set pieces like the Crystal Chamber, Aughra’s home and the Valley of the Mystics never seem to be visually represented at all.
The story is engaging and made me interested in once again visiting the world of The Dark Crystal that I loved from my childhood, but I wish the visuals kept me as engaged.