Released in January 2012, Tale of Sand is a comic book adapted from an unproduced screenplay written by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl. Numerous drafts were written over the course of many years but the unmistakable touch of 60’s experimental filmmaking is extremely evident in the story. With little to no dialogue in the entire story, the artwork of Ramon Perez carries the story of a young man named Mac who comes upon a small desert town throwing a party which he quickly realizes seems to be in his honor. Despite his protests of not knowing what’s going on, he is equipped with a backpack, a gigantic key and a map (Don’t trust the map) before being shoved into the desert and told to run because he only has a short head start. The head start, as Mac soon realizes, is against an eye patch and tailored suit wearing madman out to kill him before he reaches the “safe zone” at the top of a mountain.
The bright, trippy colors just add to the existential story through out the book as Mac encounters many strange people and situations you wouldn’t expect from the middle of an empty, barren desert. Tale of Sand follows on the footsteps of two other Henson films, “The Time Piece” and “The Cube”, in the experimentation of storytelling that Henson and Juhl wanted to explore with their original screenplay. The story however, could not find a producer willing to work on it and sat in the “Henson Vault” for years until being discovered a few years ago.
Like I said before, the story has little to no dialogue so it is a very quick read, those it definitely will warrant a second read through. The first time I read it, I flew through the thick book in what felt like 20 minutes. I enjoyed the story though and Perez’ amazing artwork really shines through to tell the story that Henson and Juhl never had the chance to in their lifetimes. Each page is a piece of art that you want framed on your wall and “reading” this story leaves you feeling like you’ve just watched one of those trippy 60’s movies with bright colors, dream sequences, and stuff that just doesn’t make sense unless you’re tripping on LSD or something.I bought Tale of Sand recently at my “local” comic shop (“local” meaning I drove for almost an hour) since none of the chain bookstores left in my area ever carried it. Tale of Sand is a thick hardcover with large pages and even has its own nylon bookmark attached to the backcover. Everything about it is beautifully done and worth the $29.99 price tag IF you’re a fan of Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl or Ramon Perez. If you are not a fan of theirs however, the price tag is pretty heavy and though I still recommend you reading this, I might search for a digital copy that is going to be less expensive.