When Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s supremely weird fantasy adventure The Dark Crystal hit theaters in 1982, it didn’t make quite the splash that Universal had hoped it would. It did okay business and got decent-enough reviews, but it wasn’t anything near the cultural phenomena that were E.T. that year or The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 (the latter of which, Oz worked on). Perhaps that’s why its planned sequel never came to be.
However, the years have been kind to the movie, and over the ensuing decades it has steadily built a cult following with audiences as well as respect from critics. And so, a generation later, that sequel is finally being produced as a comic book, and a series of prequel novels are being written by children’s author J.M. Lee, winner of the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest. The first one, Shadows Of The Dark Crystal, was released last June, and its successor is due out this coming July.
io9 was able to get an exclusive excerpt of the forthcoming Song Of The Dark Crystal, and it’s definitely as creepy and strange as the film it’s based on, even if it doesn’t feature Henson and Oz’s otherworldly puppeteering.
They had not gone far when Tavra signaled for them to stop. She proceeded slowly and the others followed, Naia putting her hand on the hilt of her dagger and picking up her pace to join the Silverling at the front. Kylan stayed back with Gurjin, who stooped to pick up a hand-sized rock as a makeshift weapon.
“Slowly now,” Tavra said over her shoulder. “There’s a blockage up ahead. Spiders. If we’re quiet and don’t disturb them, they’ll leave us alone. If we wake them, though, we’re in for big trouble. These are death-sting spiders, and like other spiders they care not for Gelfling one bit.”
The path widened and curved to accommodate a crop of boulders, half a dozen big things that were probably the last remains of an ancient avalanche. Most remarkable about the structure, though, was the frothy white mass of cobwebs that covered it. Had Kylan not heard Tavra say spiders, he might have thought the rocks had grown fur or some kind of mold or fungus. No spiders were in sight, but the boulders had plenty of nooks and crannies for a dark sleeping space.
Kylan had never heard of death-sting spiders, but he could infer enough from the name to be careful. Just to be sure they understood, Tavra added quietly, “One sting will kill you. Don’t do anything stupid.”
Read the full exclusive excerpt on io9.
[Note: io9, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]