On sale this week from Archaia is The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, the first of a three-volume prequel to the events of the cult classic Jim Henson film. Devised by Brian Froud, the conceptual designer behind the original movie, Archaia's Dark Crystal book is not just an unusually handsome and lavishly illustrated graphic novel (even by Archaia's typically high production standards), it's also in my view one of the best attempts at any kind of prequel story I can remember. As you can see in the preview pages below, Froud and writer Brian Holguin and illustrators Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John go deep, deep into the origins of the fantasy world of Thra and the titular crystal, creating a story of biblical proportions that will delight fans of the original Henson film.Creation Myths Volume 1 focuses largely on the enigmatic Aughra character, who in the film was a kind of Yoda figure who helped the hero Jen learn some crucial information he needed to save the day. As it turns out, Aughra is a hugely important individual in the history of Thra, as you can see in the pages below. The origins of Henson and Froud's memorably weird world are explored in even greater detail as the book progresses, and the conclusion left me wanting to read the next volume at once.

Fans of the Henson original will be extremely happy with this graphic novel, which delivers on the "untold story" prequel concept like almost nothing I've ever seen (certainly nothing in comics, where a "prequel" is typically an annoyingly misidentified prelude to an upcoming film or video game). I love the epic storybook style of Creation Myths. The artwork, language and scope of the tale are reminiscent of an illustrated Bible or something similarly opulent, and I was impressed that Froud and his collaborators generated nearly one hundred pages of comics based on just the couple of sentences of back-story we heard in the The Dark Crystal's opening narration -- and this is just volume one.

You can buy The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths Volume 1 this week at finer comics shops and bookstores or from online retailers.

Part one of a three-part graphic novel prequel series delving into the origins of the Skeksis, Mystics, Gelflings, the world of Thra and the Dark Crystal itself. Spanning a time period from thousands of years ago to right up to the start of the original Jim Henson film, this graphic novel epic will tell the definitive origin of the Dark Crystal, under the supervision of The Jim Henson Company and The Dark Crystal concept designer Brian Froud.

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