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Archaia Plans a Return of the (Goblin) King With ‘Labyrinth’ Prequel Graphic Novel

Archaia plans to expand their line of comics based on the work of the late Jim Henson with an original graphic novel prequel to his 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, according to an Entertainment Weekly interview with editor-in-chief Stephen Christy. The book will star The Goblin King character played by David Bowie in the film, and tell the story of how he first came to the world of Labyrinth. An official release date hasn’t been announced, though the book is expected to be released before the end of 2012.No creators were named, but Christy said artist Brian Froud, who designed the concepts, costumes and characters of both Labyrinth and the 1982 film The Dark Crystal, will be “a key ingredient” and will handle “all the character designs and all the covers and conceptualizing everything.”

Christy would obviously welcome any involvement from Bowie himself, which will at the very least include signing off on the likeness approval.

The film followed teenager Sarah, played by then 16-year-old star-to-be Jennifer Connelly, who was reluctantly baby-sitting her half-brother Toby. When she idly wished that someone would take him away, The Goblin King promptly appeared and complied. The only way Sarah could recover her brother was to successfully navigate the titular maze before her time ran out and Toby became a goblin. Henson and Froud creations of various sizes, shapes and demeanors aided Sarah in her quest.

Bowie’s Goblin King, Jareth, ruled over a court of goblin puppets. Alternately menacing, mincing, dancing and lounging in a variety of showy costumes, he shared the vast majority of his scenes with either a baby, a bunch of puppets or some combination of the two. Occasionally, he would break into song. It’s a role that a less game actor might have met with an embarrassed, embarrassing performance, but the chameleonic former glam rocker embraced and owned it, and it remains one of the highlights to adults who grew up with-but never quite outgrew-the film.

Archaia’s planned graphic novel won’t be the first attempt to further explore and expand upon the world of Labyrinth in comics. Tokyopop published a four-volume, manga-style series entitled Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth between 2006 and 2010. That one featured Toby, now grown up to the same age his big sister Sarah was in the film, doing like the title says and returning to Labyrinth. Archaia’s will therefore feature the only other character played by a human being in the film making his journey to the fantasy world as a teenager.

The publisher has met with great success with their previous Henson-related comics so far, in terms of media attention, fan approval and positive reviews. These include several volumes of Fraggle Rock comics, another series based on Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, artist Ramon Perez’s adaptation of an unproduced Henson and Jerry Juhl film script into graphic novel Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and Dark Crystal prequel Dark Crystal: Creation Myths.

While the book likely won’t see release until very late this year, fans can get their first look at an Archaia Labyrinth story on Free Comic Book Day, as the publisher’s free offering is a 48-page, hardcover flip-book featuring David Petersen’s Mouse Guard and a Labyrinth story by Ted Naifeh and Cory Godbey.

[Via Entertainment Weekly]

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