Do you have specific movies that you like to watch when you are ill, or during times when you are sad or stressed out? I certainly do!
While I tend to spend more time reading and writing than watching movies or television, there have been many times over the past several months when I’ve found myself watching “comfort movies,” either to help get my mind off of things, or because I was tired of losing my spot in my book every time I sneezed. One of the movies I’ve chosen to watch more than once is Labyrinth.
Labyrinth tells the story of a teenage girl named Sarah who, in a moment of selfishness, wishes her baby brother away to the goblins. When the goblins grant her wish, Sarah begs the Goblin King, Jareth, to return her brother, claiming that she didn’t mean what she said. He gives her the chance to win her brother back, providing that she can reach his castle at the center of the Labyrinth before the end of her 13-hour deadline. Determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her brother, Sarah heads into the Labyrinth, meeting challenges, danger, and new friends along her way.
Unlike many of my contemporaries, I did not watch Labyrinth when I was a kid. (I do vaguely remember seeing the VHS tape sitting on a shelf during a family trip to Target, but I was pretty heavily invested in Star Trek and Star Wars at the time and didn’t give it much thought.) The first time I watched the movie was when I was in college. One of my roommates loved Labyrinth, and when she found out that I hadn’t seen it, she insisted that we all watch it immediately.
And I am so glad she did, because I fell in love with Labyrinth the very first time I saw it. At this point, I have watched Labyrinth so many times, I honestly could not tell you how many times I’ve seen it. The music, the magic, the adventure, the acting and puppeteering…all of it is excellent!
Since its release, the movie has not only inspired a novel adaptation, but also a couple of comic book series, and a four-volume manga series called Return to Labyrinth. While I have not had the opportunity to read the manga, I have read the novelization, and as many of the comic books as I’ve been able to get my hands on.
The Labyrinth novelization was written by A.C.H. Smith, and was originally published the same year that the movie was released.
Overall, the novelization is an excellent representation of the original movie. While it does contain some minor differences, mostly slight alterations to some scenes and dialogue, it stays true to the spirit of the movie and is a pleasure to read.
The most recent edition of the book includes the novelization, plus a gallery of goblin concept art created by Brian Froud. The book also includes copies of pages from a notebook in which Jim Henson wrote his ideas for the movie.
While I do enjoy the novelization, I have to admit that I do prefer the movie, and definitely recommend watching it first. One of the things that makes the movie so special is the music, which you just can’t get from reading the book.
Though there is a comic book adaptation of Labyrinth that was created by Marvel Comics, I have not had the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately, the copies I’ve been able to find in good condition are just a bit out of my price range. Fortunately, there are other comics available that are based on the movie…
Created by Simon Spurrier and Ryan Ferrier, along with a number of talented artists, Labyrinth: Coronation is a three-volume collection that takes place during the events of the original Jim Henson film. As Sarah hurries through the Labyrinth to get her brother back from the Goblin King, Jareth begins to tell Toby a story about another woman, named Maria, who tried to win back her child from the Labyrinth’s previous ruler two centuries earlier.
I really enjoyed reading this story, and one of the things I liked the most was the way in which it was told. Maria’s story is told to Toby in pieces, interspersed with occasional pauses where Jareth feels the need to check on Sarah’s progress through the Labyrinth. In some ways, Maria’s story parallels Sarah’s, with regard to friendships made, betrayals, and temptations that are placed in her way. But the story Jareth is telling is also an origin story of sorts…for the Goblin King himself.
Another thing I really liked about this series was the artwork. The artists did a great job of creating characters that look very much like their movie counterparts, especially with respect to the Goblins. The artwork itself is very detailed and beautiful, and the entire series is in full-color. In addition to the comic books themselves, each of the volumes also includes full-page original cover art, as well as character sketches and examples of comic panels at various stages of completion.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable comic book read, Labyrinth: Coronation is a great choice. While it is not an adaptation of the movie, it will definitely appeal to Labyrinth fans who are interested in knowing more about the history of the Labyrinth, as well as the origins of its current monarch.
Labyrinth: Shortcuts is a collection of 12 comic book stories about some of the creatures who live in the Labyrinth.
What I really enjoy about this particular comic book collection is the variety of the artwork and stories. Each story is written and illustrated by different people, which gives them all a unique look.
One of my particular favorites is a story called “Cup of Tea?” This story, which was written and illustrated by Katie Cook, follows the Worm as he travels through the Labyrinth in an attempt to find someone to drop by for tea and sandwiches with him and “the missus.”
While a second volume of Labyrinth: Shortcuts was supposedly released in December of last year, I have been unable to track down a copy. Fortunately, since the stories in volume one are self-contained, and not connected to each other, you do not need to worry about finding the next volume to resolve a cliffhanger.
Ultimately, if you are a Labyrinth fan, you will probably enjoy any (or all) of these books. But if you’ve never had the chance to see the original movie, I highly recommend that you start with it.