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Labyrinth Comic Book Coming

Discussion in 'Fantasy Worlds' started by Kimp the Shrimp, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Kimp the Shrimp Active Member

    BACK TO THE MAZE: TALKING ABOUT RETURN TO LABYRINTH @ TOKYOPOP
    by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean


    Last year, TOKYOPOP and The Jim Henson Company announced an exclusive manga publishing deal to bring the Neil Gaiman-plotted MirrorMask and two others, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, to fans.

    The first of these projects, Return to Labyrinth, with a cover by Alichino creator Kouyu Shurei, hit comic book stores this week.

    Return to Labyrinth is set after the 1986 film directed by the late Jim Henson and starred David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. “The manga series takes place 13 years after the events of the film,” writer Jake Forbes explained to Newsarama. “Toby, who was just an infant when his sister Sarah wished him away to the Labyrinth, is now a teenager. For as long as he can remember, Toby has felt as if he's being watched. He doesn't know by who or for what reason, but ever since he was a child, trouble has clung to him like a grape juice stain. As the manga begins, Toby finds out that his suspicions have been correct all along. The Goblin King and his minions are behind Toby's troubles, and finding out why leads Toby on a journey to the center of the Labyrinth.

    “As for Toby's destiny, it isn't exactly something he's come to "assume" -- more like it’s been dumped on his lap. Adding to Toby's troubles is the fact that other forces have their sights set on ruling the Labyrinth. Clearly there is more going on here than Jareth, the Goblin King, is letting on.

    “As mentioned, the manga is not Sarah's story, but that's not to say she doesn't play a pivotal role. She doesn't appear much in the first volume, but we'll certainly see more of her later. Jareth, on the other hand, is a pretty consistent presence in the series. Not as much as in the film, but he does get a lot of "screen time" throughout the series. If the "journey" is Toby's story, the Labyrinth itself is Jareth's story.

    “Other characters – Sir Didymous, Ludo, Hoggle and the rest – all make appearances, although none of them are part of the "core team." There are a few more characters from the film who we don't see yet in Volume 1, but will show up later, such as the Wiseman.

    Forbes and co. created some new characters for the manga. According to the writer, there’s the female lead named Moppet. “Seemingly human, she wears a goblin mask to cover her face. Her past is still a mystery and currently she works as a servant to the goblin mayor.

    “Toby's main friends in the first volume are a diminutive trio composed of Hana, a wingless fairy, Skub, a goblin with an inferiority complex, and Stank, an adorably unhygienic "cub" of the same species as Ludo.

    “We also meet the inhabitants of the Moraine Kingdom – neighbors of the Labyrinth whose magic is based on water and ice. Their queen, Mizumi, has a past with Jareth that will be explored in the next volume.

    “Probably my favorite new character is Panjan Spittledrum, the mayor of the Goblin City. He's a bureaucratic buffoon who I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would from when he first appeared in the outline, thanks in large part to Chris' design.”

    “Jake Forbes initially broached the subject of contacting The Jim Henson Company about doing a Labyrinth manga,” editor Tim Beedle said. “The reasons for that were pretty simple. He thought it could be successful, and just as important, he was a huge Labyrinth fan! The idea of further exploring this wonderful world that Jim Henson, Terry Jones and Brian Froud created back in the eighties was just too irresistible. Quite frankly, it was something we were surprised hadn't been done before outside the realm of fanfiction.

    “However, I don't believe much was discussed with them until a few months later, when [former editor] Rob Valois started with our company. Rob was once an employee of The Jim Henson Company and was still on good terms with everyone there, so when he found out that we had approached them about doing a Labyrinth manga, and they had responded positively, he took it upon himself to help finish the discussion. Even better, when it was all over and done with, we had an agreement to produce original graphic novels based not only on Labyrinth, but on The Dark Crystal as well.

    “When all this began, Jake was still an editor at TOKYOPOP,” he continued. “However, one of the first things Rob had to do after he picked up the project was assemble a creative team, and his first choice to handle the writing duties was Jake, since we know what a gifted storyteller he is and how passionate he was about the project. Labyrinth was one of Jake's favorite movies when he was young, so I know this is very much a labor of love for him. He's perfect for it, too. His sense of humor and imagination are so in line with those of the film that it's almost bizarre. I know that maintaining the integrity and heart of the world of Labyrinth is a huge priority for him, and somehow he's managed to do that and still tell a fun story. Volume 1 is only the beginning of it. We were discussing just this morning where the story goes from here and I can't wait to get started on it!”

    Teaming up with Forbes is artist Chris Lie. “It was no small feat adapting the highly detailed character designs of the film into the more stylized versions of the manga, but Chris pulled it off with bells on,” Forbes said. “A lot of the creature designs, without the motion and voices provided by the Henson puppeteers, can be a little scary. I think Chris did an amazing job capturing the personality of the performance in his drawings. There is a lot of silliness in the manga, and I don't think it would have worked without the stylized characters that Chris does so well.

    “Jareth in particular is a character that Chris really nailed. The hair, the outfits, the commanding personality – it is unmistakably Jareth without looking just like David Bowie. He is the quintessential "bishonen" – the type of beautiful, slightly feminine, male character that are found throughout manga but are fairly unusual in American comics. It is actually Jareth's bishonen appearance that helped get this project off the ground. Michael Polis at the Jim Henson Company realized just how similar Jareth was to the bishonen characters of anime and manga, and that's what made him approach TOKYOPOP about the project, even as we were working on a proposal internally. It was fate!”

    According to Forbes, the original Labyrinth film has proven to be so endearing because, at its heart, the story of the Labyrinth is “the archetypal coming-of-age fantasy. I think every child (or any adult with an imagination) loves stories about escaping the dreariness of the real world for a lush fantasy world. Labyrinth took that formula and added to it amazing creature designs from Brian Froud, the music and charisma of David Bowie and the magic and wonder of Jim Henson's puppetry. Unlike a lot of properties from the 80s that rely on the nostalgia of an aging fan base, Labyrinth continues to pick up new fans with each subsequent generation. I'm sure it will continue to do so for many years to come.”

    What’s it like for the scribe to continue a story with such a passionate fan following with the Return to Labyrinth manga? “More intimidating than fan expectations for me was the idea of playing in Jim Henson's sandbox,” he admitted. “The man is a true hero for me. It has been an honor to work with the company he founded and more than any fellow fan, I want to do right by his legacy, first and foremost.

    “Having worked in the manga industry for over six years, I've had a great deal of experience in relating with fans who have very precise expectations for a book. It doesn't matter how much you love the series and try to do right by it, there will always be those who are dissatisfied. You just have to do the best work you can, and trust that your editors and licensors will correct your course if you stray to far.

    “In the case of Labyrinth, I specifically chose to tell a story that does not continue the story of the film. The movie Labyrinth is very much Sarah's story. I've always loved the sub-genre of fantasy where characters from the real world discover fantasy worlds spun from their own imagination– Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Neverending Story, Narnia, and of course, Labyrinth. Typically these stories feature characters on the cusp between childhood and adulthood. The fantasy worlds, while certainly compelling in their own right, are really there to serve the characters. Once the protagonist has crossed that threshold into maturity, the physical tie to the fantasy world is broken. Rather than focusing on Sarah returning to the Labyrinth as an adult, I was more interested in telling the story of another character experiencing the Labyrinth in a way that helps them discover themselves. I know that there will be fans of the film who are disappointed that the story does not focus on Sarah, but I hope that fans of the film and even those who haven't seen the film, can appreciate the manga on its own terms. For fans who are awaiting a more Sarah-Jareth focused sequel, a hundred years from now, if Alan Moore is still writing, maybe he can make it the fourth volume of his Lost Girls collection.”
  2. Kimp the Shrimp Active Member

  3. alorindanya Member

    Kimp, it is best to remove those images ASAP. The author of the manga has reported other people who have posted pictures and those people have had their entire accounts removed.
  4. Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Hmm...this is slightly different I think as it is just a breif clip to show the artistic style, without giving away a thing. Plus, he's taken the dialogue out, which is definatly a plus as far as copywrite is concerned.

    But maybe it would be best to take them down?

    Beau
  5. alorindanya Member

    Oh, right...hum. Now a days I'm afraid to post anything, though, because you never know who will call you on it or how serious it is. Kind of makes us regular Joe's afraid to share anything.


    By the way, I hope I live for a hundred years because anything J/S is worth waiting for. I sure wish this article had been posted first before everyone saw the scans/manga. When we just see the first presentation without any sort of "WHY HOW" behind it, it definately is suprising on it's own. But had I seen this first, I would have known to be more hopeful.
  6. Laszlo Member

    They should be happy when fans post stuff. It's promotion after all.
    (Many people bought the DVD's BECAUSE they saw my sculptures!)
  7. pinkspankyangel New Member

    MMM, thanks for the info Kimp.
    Looks like we do have more to look forward to then.
  8. BalconyHeckler New Member

    So I finally read it and I actually think it has potential.

    I like how it's focusing on Toby, but for some reason I think Sarah will have an important part to play in it. Like, she might go back to the Underground and try to free him from his "role" as Goblin King.

    I was quite harsh with my earlier post, but I guess I let other people speak for me.

    And so, appologies around...I think Jake did a good job. I really don't mind if it isn't J/S relationship or not, I have faith now in how the story is going to turn out. :)

    Seriously, buy it if you are a fan. It's not that bad. And if you are a J/S shipper, wait. Because you really never know. It had a rocky start but I think things will finally start picking up in the next volume. (Which is due out in April.)
  9. alorindanya Member

    Someone needs to yell at the Virgin Megastore at Downtown Disney- Orlando. They didn't have it in stock. It wasn't even in their system as something they could order.
  10. Infinity Sirius New Member

    I just bought a copy from overstock.com. I'm really happy to see that they drew Jareth a lot better than the comic books from Marvel. This is the first time I've seen Jareth transistioned from movie to paper without looking hideous.
  11. DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    My local comic store didn't have it. Is it available in regular book stores?
  12. DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    Found it. I liked it quite a bit...took awhile getting used to the visuals but story wise it was great (I also liked the dark crystal sneak peak in the back). Nice touches like the Mc Escher piece in the background in Toby's room and a cameo by traveling Matt.
  13. Douglas Fir New Member

    Oooh there's a cameo by Travelling Matt - that's pretty cool! I didn't order a copy of this through my ordinary channels so I'll have to see if I can pick up a copy somewhere! Anyone know how many volumes are planned - I almost broke the bank buying the Battle Royale manga!
  14. DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    Don't know how many volumes but amazon has volume 2 listed as April, 2007..... not very consistent sadly....I hope that date is wrong.
  15. Douglas Fir New Member

    I guess the problem is that TokyoPop usually are usually reprinting existing material - whereas this is a new manga that is still being worked on. That said if there is an eight month wait between Vol.'s 1 & 2 then that is poor management and perhaps they should have waited until they had more of the story completed before releasing the first volume!

    According to the TokyoPop website Vol. 2 is being released 10th April 2007 (http://www.tokyopop.com/S-1712/2.html) and Vol. 3 is being released 11th December 2007 (http://www.tokyopop.com/S-1712/3.html)! And it looks like that could be it (just 3 volumes)?
  16. DTWolf Member

    I read vol. 1 last week. From posts in other threads I was expecting the writing to be absolutely horrible, but it wasn't. Just so-so.

    What was horrible was the drawing. Despite what the inside back cover says about Chris Lie, the drawing looks like amatuerish fan art. The layout of panels on the page is poor, the placement of images within the panels is poor, and the basic work of posing characters and getting their proportions right is just plain sloppy. I kept shaking my head, over and over.

    I know that people who don't read manga are looking at this book--and I have this dread that they'll think actual manga looks like this. It doesn't. ("Actual manga" meaning "comics created by Japanese for Japanese"--I hate this marketing ploy of calling U.S.-generated graphic novels "manga" just because of the page size.) In Japan drawing like this would never even place in an amateur competition, let alone get published.

    With better artwork I might stick with it through vols. 2 and 3, but with this weak drawing I don't think I will. I'll spend my money on authentic manga instead.
  17. angiealight New Member

    I've ordered this from Amazon.com - can't wait to take a look thru it! A Travelling Matt cameo, hmm? I'll have to keep my eyes peeled ^_^

    From the previews I've seen, I'm not terribly impressed with the artwork. I hope the story more than makes up for it, though!
  18. Douglas Fir New Member

    Over the last few weeks I've looked for this in so many different shops that carry large selections of manga (specifically TokyoPop stuff) yet I've had no luck finding a copy! I guess I'm gonna have to order it online next time I do some amazon shopping - but it's a shame I couldn't just buy a copy in a shop!
  19. Infinity Sirius New Member

    I'm surprised that the Jareth/Sarah romance thing won't be a subplot. One of the main reasons why I enjoy Labyrinth so much is the interaction between Jareth and Sarah. The author wrote that maybe twenty years from now some other author might take that plot up, but am I the only one who feels like this?
  20. Laszlo Member

    Too bad... seems they only released this to make profit with the LABYRINTH name... :mad:

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