Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches

In the spirit of Jim Henson's late–1980s television series The Storyteller, this collection of the recent four-issue comic series brings together writers and artists telling tales of witches from around the world. Matthew Dow Smith's “The Phantom Isle” is the most literal inspiration from the TV series (which used actors and Henson's special brand of puppetry to tell European folk tales). The show's narrators, The Storyteller (the wonderful John Hurt) and his dog, have a strong presence in the story. It satisfies the nostalgia craving—as does artist Jeff Stokely's adaptation of an unproduced The Storyteller teleplay (included as bonus material) about the dreaded Baba Yaga. “The Magic Swan Goose & the Lord of the Forest,” by S.M. Vidaurri, honors Henson's respect for a storyteller's signature skills with beautiful visuals that drive the narrative. Kyla Vanderklugt's “The Snow Witch” falls just short of building a connection with the characters, though the panels' backgrounds and landscapes are exceptional. One panel, of a sick man sleeping against the backdrop of his snow-covered village, deserves a frame and a spot on your wall. Altogether, a good collection worthy of a master storyteller and a roaring fire.