(The Vintage Tempest)
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Ghosts anthology is the spiritual successor to Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts from two years ago. Both involve dealings with the occult and both offer a valuable lesson to be learned. In what makes reading both titles a delight is that the horrors to be revealed are not limited to a specific culture. We have fantastic reinterpretations of nearly forgotten legends and lore from other cultures.
Although the series of the same name only lasted a year (1987), I’m glad Archaia Entertainment is continuing the tradition. The fact this latest series is all about ghosts was all I need to say hit me with your best shot.
The tales from the first two issues (of four) is chilling enough to make me wish for more. Here, I got to look at some not so well known spooks from Sweden and Cambodia. The Myling is a ghost of an abandoned child and Krasue is a floating head of a woman who got more than she bargained for when wanting to do evil, but she does not pay the necessarily dues. Both figures are tragic, and to read about their plight is not without pity.
Series writers and artists handle the folkloric aspects well. Márk László‘s work in issue #1 stands out as more haunting in its delivery than the second. Jennifer Rostowsky gives readers an ambiguous look about LGBT rights. I’m confused because Cambodia was not progressive enough in their feudal years when compared to now. The timeline is made vague so I don’t know when in history the story took place. As far as the terror, it’s as good as an episode from Creepshow. Had this tale been made into a television episode, with practical effects to animate the floating head, I’d be gleefully ecstatic over the possible effects used.
Sadly, only two issues remain. One will see the legend of the Banshee fully explored. Everyone knows about how hearing her wail will bring about death, but not everyone knows how capturing one can have one’s fondest wish fulfilled. The final issue will bring Weles, the Slavic God of Death, attempting to prevent a ghost from coming back to life. If only this series was ongoing, there are plenty more legends to select from. I’d love to see a tale from African traditions.