I’m a huge Muppets fan. My parents were too, so they started my brother and I young. So I was shocked the other day when I was at the library browsing the graphic novels section when I ran across Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s Tale of Sand. Before you get too excited, they actually didn’t create the graphic novel. They created a screenplay way back in the day that never got made. So the Henson company decided to release it in the graphic novel format. After reading it, I think this was a wise choice.
Just browsing through the art work, it appears that this is a mash-up between a Western and an Action/Adventure a la Indiana Jones type of plot. Sadly, that’s only the icing on an oh so dry cake. In fact, the plot is a surrealist, nihilistic adventure of a man, we never know his name, being told to run in the desert and trying to reach a specific landmark and comes across all sorts of weird situations that reveal there’s nothing real and you can’t trust anybody or anything. I was disappointed to say the least. Partly because I had set up high expectations, but secondly, but I’m not a fan of surrealism. It’s just not choice for reading.
I’m still trying to decide what’s the point of the book. I feel like my English Teacher side could come up with all sorts of analyses, we’re good at spinning gold you know, but honestly I don’t think there’s a real interpretation. I think that the point of the work is that there is no point. However, because I hate nihilistic literature, I kinda feel like Henson and Juhl were using the surrealism to backhandedly critique Hollywood. If you take each vignette as a movie set, in fact one of them does end up being a movie set, you could read the entire work as an actor’s kunstlerroman and realizing that Hollywood is fake, reality is surreal, and you can’t really trust anybody. So, would I recommend it? Yes. The illustrations were amazing! I was drawn in page after page without much effort. But maybe don’t have too high an expectation for this one.