Artists: Michael Allred, Mark Buckingham, Jonathan Case, Katie Cook, Benjamin Dewey, Cory Godbey, Gustavo Duarte, Faith Erin Hicks, Mike Huddleston, Frazer Irving, Rebekah Isaacs, Joëlle Jones, Roger Langridge, Tula Lotay, David Mack, Dave McKean, Steve Morris, Dustin Nguyen, Ramón K. Pérez, Eric Powell, Aaron Renier, Jeff Stokely, Craig Thompson, Jill Thompson, Steve Morris and more!
Labyrinth Artist Tribute is a collection of work honoring the 30th Anniversary of one of Jim Henson’s most iconic works, and my favorite movie. It is one collection that I knew I had to own as soon as I saw they were creating it. A beautiful and imaginative take on an enchanting world of Goblins, Fireys, and junk ladies, the book offers a return to the thrilling world Jim Henson and Brian Froud created. The collections of art are divided by short statements from each artist about what the movie meant to them. The statements are heart felt and reminded me of all the reasons why Labyrinth is so near and dear to my heart. So, rather than try and pretend for one moment that I am any kind of art critic, I decided to follow suit.
I cannot tell you about the first time I watched Labyrinth. That world has been a part of my heart for longer than I can possibly remember. I do, however, have memories of belting out Dance, Magic Dance with my aunt and pretending to be Sarah at the masquerade as the world fell down around me (I for one would have stayed wherever Jareth was for as long as he wanted me). For me, Labyrinth was a story about dreams coming to life. To this day, even thinking about the film makes my heart skip a beat and my eagerness to revisit the Goblin Kingdom once again skyrockets. While I always felt Sarah was a bit too ungrateful for the adoration of my beloved Goblin King, we were kindred spirits in our love for worlds that were not our own and attachments to childhood trinkets and stories. The idea of being swept away into a land of my own imagination was one so beautiful to me that seeing Sarah return to the real world would almost draw tears (Sarah and I also shared a tendency for dramatic flair). I wanted to see more of the labyrinth’s puzzles and the Goblin City’s treasures and all of the beautifully wacky creatures that resided within them. So of course, looking through the stunning artwork quickly moved my longing heart.
The wonder of Labyrinth, like all of Jim Henson’s work, is its ability to transport you back into the sensation and spectacle of childhood. It is a coming of age tale in its barest form, but the film is also so much more. Within its story are lessons on overcoming vices, escaping trials, learning trust, a measure of friendship, empowerment, a love story…I could go on and on. Just as Dave Goelz, Sir Didymus himself, explains in the introduction (much better than I will, let me add), “the genius of Labyrinth is that it distracts you while it works on you at a deep level. It’s possible to love it and have no idea why. And it’s also possible to collapse in tears at the profundity of it.” That is the true beauty of the movie, and why the fans have cherished it for thirty years, and will continue for countless more. Labyrinth is a magic takes the watcher on a journey completely unique to them, and the art within this tribute allows you a glimpse at that journey through the eyes of the artists.