|Written by||Barbara Randall Kesel|
|Illustrator|| Hedi Arnhold & Max Kim|
Jae-Hwan Kim (cover art)
Legends of the Dark Crystal is an original manga series based on the world of The Dark Crystal. The story is a prequel to the 1982 film, and showcases many of the established Dark Crystal characters - including the Skeksis, the Mystics, the Garthim and Aughra. Legends of the Dark Crystal also introduces many new characters - including the gelflings Lahr, Neffi and Kelsee; the Mystic monk, urSen; the Skeksis collector, skekLach; Whouf; and the Mounders.
It's after the Golden Age of Gelflingdom, at the start of the long dark time that leads to the era of Jen and Kira. The story focuses on two Gelflings - Lahr, a mounder herder, and Neffi, a weaver. After their villages are attacked and destroyed by the Garthim, they join together and eventually rally another nearby clan to take a stand against the monsters.
The graphic novels were released by TOKYOPOP, with story by Barbara Randall Kesel and artwork by Heidi Arnhold.
The first volume, "The Garthim Wars", was released on November 13, 2007. Originally, the second volume was planned for the spring of 2009, with a third to follow thereafter. In of February 2010, TOKYOPOP confirmed a release date of August 3, 2010 for the second volume, as well as announcing the series was reworked to be only 2-parts.
Another original comic book series based on the world of The Dark Crystal, and set as a prequel to the 1982 film, is being developed by The Jim Henson Company and Archaia Studios Press with Brian Froud.
Volume 1: The Garthim Wars
UrSen, the Mystic monk introduces the tale, which takes place 200 years prior to the events of The Dark Crystal. We then meet Lahr, a simple herder and music maker. He is a peaceful young Gelfling content to watch over his herd of mounders with his doglike companion Whouf.
While watching his herd, Lahr spies a troop of Garthim descending upon his village. But by the time he reaches the village it is too late. Devastation, destruction and disaster have fallen on the clan. His friends and family - including Gar, Mikka, Ineth and Mineen - have been taken by the Garthim. Lahr's resolve is soon put to the test when more Garthim move through the area. In a head to head struggle, Lahr fights for his life. He saves himself by killing one of the Garthims – a feat that amazes even him. But amid the struggle his flute is broken, and so is Lahr's innocence.
Lahr wanders the village and remembers all the good times. He can feel change taking place in his life, and declares that "a tremendous song will come out of this adventure; if there is anyone to sing it for." Lahr, along with Whouf and the herd, leave the devastated village behind to search for survivors.
Lahr soon meets Neffi, another surviving Gelfling of the area. The two dreamfast to share the stories of their past. Neffi was a weaver from Greengrove. Neffi made tapestries with Lolly. Neffi drew the designs and spun the yarn while Lolly did the weaving. Everyone from the village helped, especially the little ones. But soon the Garthim descended upon the village. They took everyone - everyone except for Neffi, that is. Her friends and family were gone, and her village destroyed.
Lahr comforts Neffi. He shares his food and the two take off in search of other Gelflings. Neffi is exhausted and so she naps on the back of a mounder while Lahr and Whouf lead the herd onward.
The pair reach Namopo Valley where they meet Kelsee, a Gelfling. She tells them that the village is in hiding inside the caves of the valley. She takes Lahr and Neffi to meet the others. While Neffi entertains the little ones with her yarn tricks, Larh talks with the elders. The elders are discussing what to do about the garthim attacks. Belleg thinks the tribe should stay put, while Vhant wants the tribe to move. When Larh tells his tale and how he killed a garthim, the elders are shocked. They did not know the garthim could be killed. Belleg tells about how his village was destroyed by the garthim and how he won't let such devastation take the Gelflings here. Smeeshun, a very young Gelfling in the crowd, speaks up (much to the amusement of the elders_ and says he could battle the garthim. After much debate, the elders decide to bring the decision of whether or not they should stay or leave to vote.
Over in the Castle of the Crystal, the emperor skekSo and the general skekVar are talking. SkekSo reveals that he is aware of many plots to overthrow him. While skekVar predges allegiance to the emperor, when the emperor begins to choke the general reaches to take the scepter. The true intentions of the general are revealed to the emperor, much to the amusement of skekSil who is watching the events through a hole in the wall.
Meanwhile in caverns of Namopo Valley, the vote of the council is underway. The gelflings place colored stones into a pot to cast their vote - a light stone for leaving and a dark stone to stay. Just as the voting is finishing in the caves the scouts above spy garthim coming toward the valley. And as elder Vhant prepares to reveal the results of the vote a scout rushes in to inform the others of the impending attack - she knocks the pot over, spills the stones and ruins the votes. Panic breaks out in the caves. Soon Lahr speaks up and helps calm everyone down. With the help of Neffi, Lahr develops a plan - stay and fight.
Guest Art Gallery
Volume 2: Trial By Fire
Lahr and Neffi travel to the crystal castle to rescue their friends and family, encountering the Collector Skeksis and others. With the Lord Chamberlain's secret assistance, the Gelflings escape, but Lahr must agree to a terrible price.
Editor Tim Beedle spoke of what to expect in the second volume in an interview, stating:
“We use the Skeksis and Mystics sparingly in this first volume, but that changes with the second. Our first volume focuses largely on Gelflings, but if you're really itching for more Skeksis and Mystics, they're coming.”