‘The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths:’ An Amazing Prequel Comic to the Jim Henson Classic
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal has always had a special place in my nostalgia. I watched it as a kid but came to appreciate it more as an adult. An example of world-building right up there with Star Wars, the design and execution of the film has always left me wanting to know more. For years I kept up with rumors and updates about the possibility of a Genndy Tartakovsky helmed sequel called Power of The Dark Crystal, but that fell through.
Recently I got an iPad Mini and fell back in love with comic books. Not sure what I should read and what I should avoid, I stumbled onto a comic book prequel to The Dark Crystal in Comixology. The price was right so I downloaded it, not knowing what to expect. I thought it would at least look great since Brian Froud, the film’s original designer, was involved. Needless to say, I was pretty blown away.
From the first few pages I was hooked. The art in Creation Myths is gorgeous and the story is (in my opinion) very strong and a worthy prequel to the film. I was sucked in as I learned the history of Thra, Aughra, and the mystery surrounding the Crystal.
If you’re a fan of Crystal than you surely remember the epic ending where the evil Skeksis and the gentle Mystics are merged into one race after the shard is returned to the crystal. Creation Myths starts from the absolute beginning as a mysterious storyteller unveils the history of Thra, and the birth of Aughra.
Aughra: She’s Kind of a Big Deal
Aughra always reminded me of a horned, female version of Yoda. She spoke kind of funny like him, she was wise and all-knowing, and served as a teacher to the main character. In Creation Myths we get to see how she was created and what her role on Thra is. Without revealing too much, she is basically Mother Earth.
The way Aughra’s creation is described is a perfect example of why I love the writing and art of this comic. It’s described that Augrha walked all over Thra telling each living thing it’s name and befriending the whole world. She develops a bond with the Gelflings and soon has a son of her own, Raunip.
That was a bit of a surprise when I first read it. Aughra definitely doesn’t have a son in the movie (at least as far as we know), so I immediately wondered if he would turn evil or die somehow. He actually turns out to be a very interesting character. He is friends with the Gelflings too and seems perfectly normal until something strange happens.
Meet the Urskeks
Remember the Great Conjunction, the whole planets aligning thing from the Dark Crystal movie? Apparently that happens every so often, and that is how the Urskeks came to Thra. That moment is pretty epic in the comic adds a cosmic aspect to the story that I never would have expected.
The Urskeks bring knowledge and culture to the world of Thra, but this is when Raunip starts to get suspicious. I’ll leave it at that.
I love that this comic reads like an actual prequel to the movie, and doesn’t seem like some hokey comic book story tacked on to the beginning of the film. I also love that new characters still look like they existed as Henson puppets before they were illustrations. Aughra’s son Raunip looks like something that would have been in the movie. I would expect the artists to stray from the puppet aesthetic while designing characters for a comic, but thankfully they didn’t.
In the first volume of Creation Myths it isn’t all Aughra and Urskeks. There is also a tale about a Gelfling minstrel named Gyr. In between chapters of the comic there are also a few text stories and poems. All that just adds to the mythology around The Dark Crystal and makes these a great read if you’re a fan.
The first volume collects the first couple issues and the second volume is supposedly coming soon. I read these digitally, but I’ve heard that Archaia makes gorgeous print versions of their comics, so I plan on getting the hardcover books as well.
If you’re a fan of The Dark Crystal and you’re looking for something other than superheros in your comics, you might want to give Creation Myths a try.