Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Shortcuts

Writers: Jonathan Case, Delilah S. Dawson, Adam Smith, Matt Smith, Gustavo Duarte, Katie Cook, Roger Langridge,  Alessandro Q. Ferrari, Brandon Dayton, Jeff Stokely, Curry Ross, Ted Naifeh, Adrianne Ambrose
Artists: Katie Cook, Cory Godbey, Gustavo Duarte, Jeff Stokely, Daniel Bayliss, Sas Milledge, Matt Smith, Kyla Vanderklugt, Roger Langridge, Jared Cullum, Pius Bak, Brandon Dayton
Colourists: Joana Lafuente, Heather Breckel, Dan Jackson, Jen Hickman
Letterers: Jim Campbell, Nathan Pride, Deron Bennett, Warren Montgomery, Simon Bowland
Publisher: Archaia

Review by Melissa Prange

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Shortcuts collects tales from The Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special and The Labyrinth 2017 Special. Two new stories are also featured in this graphic novel, but most will be familiar if you have the habit of picking up anything related to the classic film. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with binding familiar stories in a fancy hardcover, especially if none of the stories, new or old, disappoint.

Archaia’s Labyrinth comics have always been strong and Shortcuts is emblematic of that. There are backstories for familiar characters and adventures for new ones. Some are cute and funny, and others tend toward the creepy side. While none of the stories are ho-hum, three stick out as especially impressive: “The Wrong Toby,” “The Way Out,” and “The Right Steed for the Right Deed.”

“The Wrong Toby” stars two goblins haphazardly attempting to kidnap Toby for Jareth. Sadly, they don’t have a firm handle on what a “Toby” is and steal a tabby instead. The story is very cute with the two bumbling goblins having a difficult time keeping their stolen cat under control. The art is especially soft and lovely, and the story was my personal favorite out of the volume.

Meanwhile, “The Way Out” offers a different sort of story. When a goblin realizes they don’t fit into Goblin City, they decide to escape the Labyrinth. The story mirrors Sarah’s journey but follows a backwards path through the Labyrinth. The art is suitably creepy and reflects the tone of the movie the best out of the entire volume.

The third story that sticks out is “The Right Steed for the Right Deed.” If you ever wondered how Sir Didymus met Ambrosius, this very sweet tale will answer all of your questions. The best part about this particular story, however, is Jared Cullum’s art. It feels as if you are reading a beautifully illustrated storybook.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Shortcuts not only includes twelve short stories, but it also features extras like a “Script to Page” section charting the journey of the “Humongous Two” from Jonathan Chase’s script to Daniel Bayliss’ realization of it.

The Verdict: Buy It.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Shortcuts is a must read for fans of the film. The entire thing is a joy, and it truly captures the essence of Jareth, the goblins, and the world of Labyrinth.

Melissa Prange

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