THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3 by Tyler Jenkins
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
In THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3, Tyler Jenkins's familiar-feeling plot featuring fairy-like creatures with the ability to hurt or help humans places readers into a folklore world they may think they know. Still, his gorgeous jewel-toned artwork, emphasis on female friendships, and intriguing depictions of Hawaiian Menehune set this fairy tale in a place and time sure to captivate even long-time lore lovers.
90 %
Short and sweet

In THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3, based on Jim Henson’s classic THE STORYTELLER TV series, author and artist Tyler Jenkins carves out a compelling new space within the well-trodden world of fables and folklore. His gorgeous yet low-key artwork welcomes readers into the unique world he has crafted. Once there, they experience a tale that in some ways offers an alternative to a typical Western fairy tale. Jenkins highlights strong female characters and the importance of resolving conflicts rather than prolonging them. He also depicts a form of Hawaiian “fairy” unfamiliar to many readers of the Brothers Grimm: the curious, mythic Menehune.

THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3: Art That Enlivens and Invites

From the start, Jenkins’ art lures readers into an exotic realm not commonly depicted in fables: Hawaii. He employs a luscious, jewel-toned color palette to showcase the beauty this world has to offer. His art is a study in variety. Here, nothing is one-note: Jenkins grants every scene and every character great detail in their shading and tones. The skies are not pure blue, but a lovely watercolor gradient running from turquoise to purple.

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In contrast to many Western fairy tales, set within dark, grim forests and villages, THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3’s setting is instantly appealing and inviting. For instance, Jenkins populates each scene with colorful reminders of nature’s richness and constant presence, from flowers to birds to towering palms. In fact, it is a brightly colored flower that sets off the entire story. The tale’s narrator invites us into the story when a lovely pink flower sparks memories of Hawaiian folklore.

STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios

Further, Jenkins welcomes readers into his world with a casual drawing style that overlays the vibrant backdrops. His invitingly loose, sketchy drawing style makes us feel part of his tale. It is almost as if we’ve stepped into a story that is still being created. When a character is feeling very stressed, the background art becomes a blur. Forests and mountain range devolve into lines and swirls; these changes seem to reflect a character’s anxiety. In these subtle ways, Jenkins helps readers place themselves in the narrative.

A Folktale that Celebrates Feminine Strength

In addition, throughout THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3, Jenkins highlights the importance of strong female characters and friendships. In this case, the powerful friendship between two women from battling groups prevents their divided community from continuing a path of needless death and destruction. Throughout the tale, Jenkins characterizes these friends as the most level-headed and loyal of all. While their mothers were friends as well, it is their fathers and brothers who continue to fight a needless war that even they have grown tired of.

STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios

Within this unique world, a belief in magic is a pragmatic skill that assists the women. Their acceptance of “Menehune,” or ancient spirits with the power to help or harm humans at will, shields them to some extent from the spirits’ wrath. Additionally, the Menehune agree to assist them with ending the war within their community only because the former Queen had believed in them as well. Jenkins makes these two strong characters central to his tale. In many old-fashioned fairy tales, a female’s sole purpose was to find a husband. In contrast, in this case the women inevitably assist in ending a brutal, long-term war.

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An Apt Alternative to a Western Fable

In the end, Tyler Jenkins has not reinvented the wheel with THE STORYTELLER: FAIRIES #3. Instead, he has both drawn upon and added to a long history of fairy tale narration. As within many fairy tales and fables, and given the brevity of the story, many characters remain sketched out rather than fully realized. Still, Jenkins has crafted a tale that crucially spotlights atypical forms of storytelling. The centrality of female relationships, the depiction of a largely-unknown Menehune lore, and the rich art and setting, breathe fresh life into an ancient genre. This tiny tale is sure to charm even the most seasoned of folklore readers.

This title will be on sale starting February 21st. Find it here.

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