He Wasn’t Always the Goblin King…
Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Daniel Bayliss (Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons, Kennel Block Blues) present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued.
This is the untold history of the Goblin King.
We spoke with Simon Spurrier to get an idea of what drives him through this epic journey and into the land of Jim Henson.
What does Jim Henson’s Labyrinth mean to you personally?
It’s been a huge influence on me. First as a kid, lost in a new world of mischief and grotesque wonder, with farting swamps and cockney worms. Later as an adolescent, resonating delightedly with the movie’s ultimate point: that the march towards adulthood doesn’t have to mean putting away one’s fantasies. And then later, as a writer, determined to dance between the boundaries of conventional genre, while perversely enjoying the ambiguities of where the Real ends and the Imagined begins. There’s a little of the Labyrinth in almost everything I’ve ever written.
Why do you think Jim Henson’s work, particularly Labyrinth, continues to resonate with so many people after all this time?
In the case of Labyrinth, I think because it speaks so directly to such fundamental, mythic themes. Even bulging tights, copious hairspray, and eighties synth can’t make an anachronism out of a fable—especially one with humor and creative ugliness. A child being stolen away by trickster forces is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous folk traditions there is.
As a broader point, I think Henson—like so many of my creative heroes—saw very little distinction between the fantastic and the real, and certainly saw no point in condescending to children. Adults love childish things, just as children love grotesque ideas and chunky themes. Whether it was pugnaciousness or ingenuousness on the part of Henson (see also Roald Dahl, Hayao Miyazaki, etc), we see again and again that fiction which can be enjoyed by all ages truly is—well—ageless.
We’re exploring Jareth’s past in this series. What can fans look forward to seeing?
A whole new sort of Labyrinth, built from a web of crisscrossing canals and bridges. A very different sort of heroine, on a very different quest. A dark and dreadful king. And the worst goblin bandit ever.
Are we going to meet any of our old friends from the Labyrinth movie in this new series?
One or two, yes indeed. I’m saying nothing more than that. And of course our framing narrative means that we’ll be getting plenty of time with Jareth—the Jareth, all grown up and gorgeous—as well as delving into his distant past…
Which character would you want to help guide you through the Labyrinth and why?
The worm. Always the worm. Everyone needs tea when lost in a maze, and I reckon his missus is probably a bit more forthcoming than he is when it comes to directions.