Tale of Sand: The Illustrated Screenplay

Between 1967 and 1974, Jim Henson and his longtime
writing partner Jerry Juhl developed three drafts of a screenplay for a
feature-length film called Tale of Sand. It is the only feature-length
screenplay written by Jim Henson that he was never able to produce in his
lifetime. In 2012, Archaia published a graphic novel adaptation as realized by
illustrator Ramón K Pérez which went on to win three Eisner Awards and two
Harvey Awards. The Illustrated Screenplay features the complete and final 1974
draft of the project with Jim and Jerry’s handwritten edits as well as layouts
and inked pages from the adaptation in gorgeous black-and-white, and
never-before-seen sequences that were cut during the production of the graphic
novel, newly illustrated by Ramón K. Pérez.
After just having the great opportunity to read The
Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow
, being able to have a shot at another
lost Henson treasure was so exciting.  As
soon as I started in on the foreword, I knew that I was in for something quite
different from this one.  I never
actually read the full graphic novel that came out some time ago, so I dove
right into The Illustrated Screenplay of Tale of Sand with anticipation.  Boy, was I completely unprepared for what was
before me.
To say this is one of the most unusual stories I’ve read
in some time would be an understatement. 
But, I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible.  Honestly, it’s hard for me describe exactly
what this lost screenplay is about.  Like
Ramon says in the foreword, everyone will see it how they want to see it.  It is a bizarre, fantastical, emotional
journey of a man in a desert unlike anything you’ve ever read before and has to
be experienced in your own way.
Although this version is primarily just the screenplay,
we do get to see some of the artwork used in the full graphic novel.  For me, never having seen it gave me a nice
glimpse of what I missed (and provided all the reason to grab it).  Just that small amount shows the fantastic job
that Ramon did and even those who read the novel get a whole new bunch of
unseen originals from the creative process.
Regardless of what you personally take out of this story,
it is a treat to see this atypical piece of Henson creativity.  If you’ve already read the original novel,
this is still worth picking up to see the final draft of the screenplay itself
and the behind the scenes art.  If you
haven’t, I can confidently say this is a great way to introduce you to this
crazy adventure before you grab the graphic novel.

For more on Tale of Sand: The Illustrated
Screenplay or other Archaia titles, check out Archaia.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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