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Although artist Brian Froud‘s never done actual comics per se, his work falls neatly within the ideaspace of comics in terms of genre, tone and artistry. His work is best known through the movies Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, and he’s based his career in that kind of work doing art books based on various supernatural characters and groupings. In September, Abrams is releasing a new Froud artbook, this time showcasing the English artist’s designs for trolls in a book titled, fittingly enough, Trolls.
In the preview copy Abrams provided, I quickly learned this is more than just a collection of artwork but is an exploration of trolls through art as well as writing, in terms of their culture, mannerisms and personalities. Brian, along with his puppetmaker wife Wendy (who created the original Yoda puppet), really develop an encompassing world for the trolls here — like something you’d see done as a history text for a real life race of creatures. And Froud, well … through the book he almost convinces me trolls might be real.
Trolls goes on sale Saturday in bookstores and online, and is a great buy for fantasy fans or someone who just likes trolls. Here’s a sample of what’s inside:
Let me try to expand upon them a bit.
The first in a planned trilogy of original graphic novels, Creation Myths certainly lives up to its name.
Brian Froud, the creature designer who was integral in the creation of the 1982 film is credited with “Concept, character designs and cover,” and he also pens an introduction. Brian Holguin writes, while the talented Alex Sheikman and Lizzy John provide the art. Prose encapsulations of several of the stories follow, so that different versions of the same “myths” co-exist between the covers.
The work is all fine, but I found it lacking a relevance or urgency, due perhaps to how far it is removed from what I know or care of the setting and premise of the original film (a drawback that might fade in succeeding volumes) and to a more insurmountable deficiency of the medium: Comics can’t capture puppetry, the jolt of sheer wonder that accompanied seeing such bizarre creatures move so naturalistically across a movie screen that proved the film’s greatest and most enduring virtue.