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Neat Find

Discussion in 'Muppet Merchandise' started by Joe P, May 9, 2017.

  1. Joe P

    Joe P Member

    I had a neat find at a used book sale that was hosted by my workplace a couple weekends ago. I came down specifically to get a cheap copy of Stephen King’s “IT” but of course had to stay and look around while I was there. They had tables upon tables of paperbacks and hardcovers, and I was joking about C.S. Lewis with a couple as we were browsing a Fiction table. The guy noticed a flat, oversized book hidden under the paperbacks and pulled it out. It was this:


    Brian Froud’s “The World Of The Dark Crystal” – a 1982 first edition softcover book released as a companion piece to the movie featuring artwork and very detailed character information.

    I figured the guy was gonna buy it himself based on his reaction to finding it, but should’ve known better when he said he thought it was a Disney film. When he went to put the book back, I said “Not so fast” and took it for myself.

    My allegiance has always been to Labyrinth. Frankly, I don’t think The Dark Crystal is a great story in itself (word is that Henson wanted to create the world first, then the story, and I think it shows) but I can easily appreciate the work that went into it and consider it a stunning achievement on many levels. I respect Froud’s work, and this book is a pretty cool tribute to it.

    The book itself is in decent shape, especially considering its age (almost as old as me :)) Minimal corner/cover wear, and the pages are pretty sharp and crisp. The glue in the spine has obviously seen better days and is working hard to barely hold it together. Put it this way – you’re not cracking this book wide open like you probably did back in the day. Do that now and it will be destroyed. So it’s a very fragile collectible, but for what I paid, I didn’t think I could go wrong.

    scooterfan360 likes this.
  2. rexcrk

    rexcrk Well-Known Member

    That's a cool book!

    I'm with you on Labyrinth vs. Dark Crystal. I've always found Dark Crystal to be kind of.. boring lol. But the special effects are out of this world and I do love the world that Jim Henson created for it.
  3. gavry3

    gavry3 Well-Known Member

    Just requested this book from my library- apparently they have it in their catalog.
  4. Old Thunder

    Old Thunder Well-Known Member

    You and your library...
    MikaelaMuppet and gavry3 like this.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That seemed to be Jim's creative process much of the time, particularly with some of his more ambitious projects such as DC, in that he felt whatever technical and artistic advancements we saw on screen would more than make up for the lack of story structure . . . unfortunately, that's not always the case.

    Labyrinth, on the other hand, had too many cooks when it came to the script, and likewise, it shows (especially that none of the writers bothered to try to develop Sarah's character).
  6. Joe P

    Joe P Member

    While Labyrinth may not have been a master class in acting for Jennifer Connelly, I dare say the character of Sarah does experience growth and has an arc. She learns lessons along the way and changes for the better by the end.

    Dark Crystal has some good things going for it. I like the idea of the UrSkeks' good and evil sides splitting into 2 different races, illustrating their interdependence and mirroring how we're all connected with each other as part of the human race. There's something very Fraggle Rock-ish about that. Maybe it's unfair of me to compare Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, because they're very different animals. But because they were both Henson pet projects, I think the comparisons are inevitable, especially since Labyrinth was almost a response to Dark Crystal and an attempt to correct its failings.

    To me though, the story of Dark Crystal has always just come across as too generic. Maybe its world was just too ambitious for one movie and better suited for a trilogy. You have the Gelflings, the Podlings, Skeksis, urRu, UrSkeks...so many races, all with their own stories to be better developed and told. Instead, Jen is dumped into the middle of a quest he knows nothing about, and as a consequence, neither do we.

    Still, that neither movie found an audience at release is a great tragedy. Henson obviously poured his heart and soul into them as labors of love and deserved better. Though Labyrinth always spoke to me more, both movies deserve our respect. I'm glad they have become cult favorites over the years and just wish Jim could've lived to see this belated appreciation.

  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'd have to watch again, but the last time I watched the movie, I just remember how bland and flat she seemed from beginning to end; but then again, in movies such as this, the puppets are always far more entertaining than the live actors anyway. :p
    Definitely, and for those very reasons, he fell into a depression for a period of time; he wanted and tried so hard to prove to people that he could do more than just Muppets, but somehow, I don't think people were ready for that.
    scooterfan360 likes this.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P Member

    You're very right about that. In a movie with David Bowie and red creatures removing their own heads, it'd be hard for ANYONE to stand out :)

    And yeah, it sucks that the poor reception for Labyrinth really broke Henson's spirit. Artistically it wasn't a failure at all, but commercially it very much was. Why do you feel that was? Was it just that tough of a sell to a mature audience? Why didn't kids flock to it and forcibly drag their parents along? Were we destined to thumb our noses at any Henson production that didn't have a cameo from Kermit the Frog to let us know that everything would be alright?

    Me, I was born in 1979 on a farm outside a VERY small town in Manitoba, Canada. I was late to the dance when Labyrinth came out, because I have no recollection of it at the time of its theatrical release and must have discovered it some time after that. I remember renting it on VHS from our town library, randomly catching it on TV once in a while, and always liking it. So why wasn't I hyped to see it in the theatre? Can anyone else vouch for what their marketing and promotion was like back in the day?
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Caroll Spinney seems to think one problem was another dark fantasy movie called LEGEND came out shortly before LABYRINTH did, and it supposed was a box office flop as well, so he figures many moviegoers were getting the two movies mixed up:


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