Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Shapeshifter’s #1 is the first of a four-part series retelling myths about shapeshifters from around the world. In this issue, we join the Storyteller and Poppycock to hear a retelling of the Celtic legend of the Children of Lir. Fionna, Aodh, Fiachra, and Conn are royal offspring of Lord Lir and members of the fabled Tuatha De Danann.
The lives of the quarrelsome siblings are interrupted when their uncle Dain, son of the witch Carman, grows ambitious for the throne and uses dark magic to turn the children into swans. However, no curse can be created without a way to break it. Before leaving them to their fate, Dain tells the children that they can break the curse when they are able to set into motion the song of a foreign land, played by a saintly visitor. Thus begins a journey in which the siblings not only break the curse but also discover that cherishing those dear to them is more important than fame and status.
Mythology, and Celtic mythology in particular, has a special place in my heart. Furthermore, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller (1988) is a favorite of mine. While The Storyteller retellings often significantly alter or combine myths, they capture the essence of the myths in an affecting way. For instance, in Shapeshifter’s #1 the sibling relationships feel very relatable, and the creators convey the pain of a years-long quest over the brief length of the issue.
Additionally, the paneling and artwork is simple and easy to follow, yet pleasing and not too minimal. As the oldest girl in a large family, I grew up relating closely to myths about oldest girls on quests to break family curses. As such, revisiting the Children of Lir in this comic retelling was somewhat emotional for me, yet wholesome and rewarding.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Shapeshifter’s #1
- Writer: Andre R. Frattino
- Artist: Nori Retherford
- Letterer: Jim Campbell
- Color Artist: Kieren Quigley
- Cover Artist: Mike del Mundo
- Variant Cover Artists: Mateus Manhanini, Mike del Mundo
- Spot Illustrator: Sonny Liew
- Designer: Madison Goyette
- Editor: Allyson Gronowitz
- Publisher: Archaia