Labyrinth Issue #1
Adapted by Sid Jacobson
Breakdowns by John Buscema
Finished by Romeo Tanghal
Published November 1986
“Give me the child! I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back what you have stolen!”
If there were ever two films to haunt me in my childhood they were Gremlins and Labyrinth. Both dark 80s films filled my imagination (and horror). Unsurprisingly, despite terrorising my dreams for years each has become a favourite of mine. David Bowie and a very young Jennifer Connelly were the stuff made of dreams in Labyrinth. When I came across a comic adaption of the Jim Henson film on NewKadia, I scooped it up without a second thought.
The Marvel adaption came out a few months after the film’s release in June 1986. It follows the film almost exactly. A bratty young girl named Sarah spends her days running amok in parks wearing costumes and reciting strange lines from fantasy books while dreaming of being in a mystical world. One night, she is stuck babysitting her baby brother, Toby, while her father and “wicked” step-mother are out.
Sarah scolds the baby for having one of her stuffed toys. As Toby cries and carries on being upset, Sarah wishes the Goblin King would take the baby away from her – a wish she is granted. The goblins take her brother away, and the young girl is visited by Jareth, the Goblin King, who tells her that he has a gift: a crystal that will show her her dreams.
When she rejects Jareth and decides to save Toby, the king tells her she has thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth in order bring her brother back. If she fails, the baby will remain in the castle forever. She immediately sets off and stumbles into a number of colourful characters including the grumpy Hoggle and an excellent tea-loving worm.
Issue one stops as Sarah sets off on her adventure through the Labyrinth’s maze – leaving (I hope) more Bowie appearances in the next two issues. Because if it’s following the film exactly issue one stops right about… here:
I’m the youngest child, so I suppose I can’t really relate, but if David Bowie took my baby sibling and gave me the choice to see all my dreams, I’d probably agree to stay exactly where I am. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Goblin King is a total babe. Call it a weakness of character. Sorry, imaginary kid. You won’t blame me when you’re older.
Because, come on, it’s David Bowie. Like you’d complain about living in a castle with him?
The comic does quite a good job of adapting the movie. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, of course, but the images look so good in drawn form. There was a sequel done in manga form that was released by Tokyopop from 2006-2010 called Return to Labyrinth that followed Toby as he returns to the Labyrinth.
Manga is definitely not my thing, but I think expanding the world is quite a good an idea. Sarah is definitely a handful, but she is a bit changed by the end. Her character is so worth exploring, it is a shame the manga sequel skipped over her for Toby. I’ve read that Archaia were in development to make a prequel about Jareth becoming the Goblin King, but it is still to come to fruition (minus a small free comic for Comic Book Day in 2013).
This was the first time I have read a comic-book adaption of a film. The art and humor made this a great little read. While it is missing the music, it makes up for it with plenty of luscious 80s fantasy atmosphere.