Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal Tales

by Cory Godbey

Over the years I've had the delight and good fortune to get to play in the gardens created by Jim Henson and Brian Froud. I love these kind of projects and I often feel as if I've stumbled out of the woods and into a dappled, ever-growing, ever-changing meadow. They planted the gardens and we get to enjoy them.

Here and there, I've been given the chance to plant a few seedlings of my own so whether the "garden" is the world of The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth, I've never taken that opportunity lightly. With each book or project I've sought to push myself as hard as I could to honor the original films, characters, and stories.

My next book is a follow up to 2016's Labyrinth Tales (which you can read about right here on Muddy Colors if you'd like!) and with it I'd like to invite you to return to Thra in The Dark Crystal Tales.


From the press release:
Los Angeles, Calif. (February 2, 2017) – BOOM! Studios and The Jim Henson Company are proud to announce JIM HENSON’S THE DARK CRYSTAL TALES, a new children’s book set for release this summer by acclaimed writer and artist Cory Godbey (Have Courage, Be Kind: The Tale of Cinderella). The publication is a follow-up to last fall’s best-selling JIM HENSON’S LABYRINTH TALES, also written and illustrated by Godbey. 
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Tales delves deep into the Skeksis-ruled land of Thra in this beautiful look at some of Jim Henson and Brian Froud’s finest creations from the beloved cult-classic film The Dark Crystal.
“The themes woven within The Dark Crystal have never been more important for children or the parents of those children to hear,” said Godbey. “As the UrSkek tells Jen, ‘…we all are a part of each other.’ For this book, my goal was to create three stories which reflect those ideas and honor the tone of Jim Henson’s original, groundbreaking film. These stories explore how a single act can ripple outward and how you can never know who it will touch or who it might help." 
“Cory Godbey brings tremendous beauty to Jim Henson’s visionary creations as seen in the bestselling Labyrinth Tales. We were eager to work with Cory again and witness his take on the colorful, rich world of The Dark Crystal,” said Editor Sierra Hahn. “What new chapters await young Jen and Kira long before their fateful meeting? Cory’s genius is in full effect in the delightfully spun The Dark Crystal Tales.”

This was a terrifically challenging book to write. While Labyrinth Tales is pretty light-hearted, a look at what some of these characters get up to when they're not otherwise engaged in goblin-wrecking adventures, the stories for The Dark Crystal Tales proved much more difficult for me to find. I wanted to write stories that meant more, that while fun still reflected the themes of the film, and were braided together to tell a story larger than each individual story.

I'll delve a little deeper in to the three stories once the book is released later this summer but until then I wanted to give you a look at the creation of the cover.
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In the same way that The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are sort of companion movies, my first idea was to have this book's cover feel like a companion to Labyrinth Tales.


Here you can see the original thumbnail roughs. The second one has decidedly more Podlings.


And then the sketch. It felt more natural to have Jen sitting down.


For the sake of time and flexibility, I often work in pieces. Here's a look at the Mystic. 
Can there be more wonderful characters than these "natural wizards" the Urru?



And here's the undressed (actual term) cover.


Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal Tales will be released later this summer. It's a book that I'm terrifically proud of and one that which I think you'll enjoy, Dark Crystal fan or not.

It was a special challenge to take three stories, stories with characters who can not have met before the events of the film, and have a thread that weaves through and ties them all together. 

Good and evil actions ripple across each story and impact the lives of Jen, Kira, Fizzgig and many other wonderful creatures in the ever-growing, ever-changing world of Thra.

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