“The Dark Crystal” was an alien fairy tale for a generation of children raised on Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars. Some were enchanted, others terrified — most were probably both. The film’s fandom has never died. On the contrary, news of a new prequel series coming to Netflix — “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” — suggests that it has grown even stronger in the almost 35 years since its big screen premiere.
Want to jump in? Here are a few offerings that fans, old and new, might enjoy.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Shadows of the Dark Crystal
by J. M. Lee, with illustrations by Brian Froud and Cory Godbey
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Song of the Dark Crystal
by J. M. Lee, with illustrations by Cory Godbey
J. M. Lee’s series of young adult novels are set years before the events of the film. Shadows of the Dark Crystal is the story of a young gefling woman who sets out to discover the truth behind the disappearance of her brother, who has been accused of treason by the Skeksis Lords. Is he really guilty of the crime for which he has been accused, or did he stumble upon something he wasn’t mean to see? In the sequel, Song of the Dark Crystal, song teller Kylan of Sami Thicket and his friend Naia are forced to go on the run after they uncover the Skeksis Lords’ sinister plans. Dodging Skeksis underlings every step of the way, Kylan and Naia flee into a dangerous and unknown land.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: The Novelization
by A. C. H. Smith with illustrations by Brian Froud
Novelizations are par for the course when it comes to the movie industry, but as common as they are, they’re just about impossible to find once a movie has come and gone. You have your exceptions, of course — the Star Wars novels come to mind — but good luck finding most of the rest. This “The Dark Crystal” novelization is an exception to the rule, thanks to the good people at Boom Studios. They’ve reissued a very nice edition of the original spin-off novel, written by playwright A. C. H. Smith, featuring illustrations by Brian Froud. If you absolutely have to have the original edition then you can trawl the second-hand market, but my opinion is that this is probably your best bet.
The World of the Dark Crystal
by Brian Froud
Like the original novelization of “The Dark Crystal”, the first edition of this book went out of print many years ago and is now hard to find. This reissue is an absolute beauty, and well worth your money if you’re a fan of the movie, or even just a Froud devotee.
Comic Books and Graphic Novels:
The Power of the Dark Crystal
by Simon Spurrier, with art by Kelly Matthews, Nichole Matthews, and Jae Lee
The Power of the Dark Crystal is a 12 issue miniseries set years after the events of the movie. Gelflings Jen and Jira have ascended to the thrones of Thra, but have lost their connection to the Dark Crystal. Thurma, a member of a secretive race of subterranean creatures known as the Firelings, and a band of friends set out to claim a shard of the legendary crystal and bring its power to her land. This series is still ongoing, and the first issues are out of print, although you might be able to find them in a comic book store. if you’re an e-reader, then you’re in luck: You can purchase all of them now via Comixology. Otherwise, you can wait until October when the first graphic novel comes out.
The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths
by Joshua Dysart, with art by Alex Sheikman, Brian Froud
The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths is a trilogy of graphic novels set in the distant past of the world of the film. Together, they tell the story of the crystal’s formation and the upheaval that surrounded it. You’ll find some familiar faces here, among them the seer Aughra. A word of caution: volume one appears to be out of print. That said, you might be able to find it online or in a local comic book shop. I’ve found that there’s just about nothing I can’t find given enough patience and a willingness to spend a little (or a lot!) above sticker price.
Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below.