Return to the Labyrinth volumes 1 through 3

September 17th, 2009 by


I have known about and avoiding this manga sequel from TokyoPop to the classic Jim Henson movie the Labyrinth, for a few years now.  The Labyrinth is one of those special movies that I have watched many times since I was a child, and treasure as much now as then.  So when, around  five years ago I stumbled across the listing on Amazon for the first volume, I was taken aback.  I could not help but be worried that the people producing this series would miss the charm and wonder of the original.  I did not even want to take the chance that it would disappoint, so I left it alone.  I am not sure what made me check if the library had them now, but I am glad I did.  No, author Jake T. Forbes has not quite created a story as brilliant as the movie.  He has crafted a narrative that pays homage to the original, while cutting it’s own path through the Labyrinth. This time it is Toby, whom you may remember as the baby that heroine Sarah had to rescue from the Goblin King, who is the teenage hero. He finds himself pulled into the Labyrinth and makes friends both new to the audience as well as familiar ones.  His adventures in the first volume while not boring, do feel a little like a retread. However  it is as the story progresses and we learn of King Jareth’s designs for Toby and his motives and also as we get a broader view of the world he inhabits that I found my self truly invested in the story.  Volume 3 took the plot in a direction I was not expecting, and of course left us with quite the cliffhanger.  There is one more volume  in the works however it looks like the books have been released at least two years apart and number three  just came out last May, so I will be waiting for the conclusion for a while.  I especially appreciated that the author planted references to other Jim Henson fantasy works, such as the Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock and the Story Teller.  Jim Henson’s work from the Muppets and beyond, was my very first fandom and it is still my most favorite.  Sorry Joss, I love you too!  I am really glad my fears for this project were completely unfounded.  If I have a small complaint, it is that the creatures that were created just for the manga don’t look like they were created by the same person who created the creatures for the film.  And of course they weren’t, Brian Froud designed the firies, Ludo, and Hoggle for the film, while Chris Lie is the artist on the manga.  It also would be nice if the series was in color, but then it would take even longer to be published.  The series has it’s own website and forums at

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5 Responses to “Return to the Labyrinth volumes 1 through 3”

  1. Florence Says:

    Thanks for the review! I want to read more, after starting the first volume at your house, but now I want to wait for the final volume to come out.

  2. Martin Says:

    Very cool review. I had no idea these existed. Like Florence, I think I’ll wait for the final installment, but now I’m definitely intrigued! I wonder if there are Dark Crystal comics… OMG, there are! There are two of them, even. An adaptation of the movie (sounds like it was even reprinted in TPB in 2007) and a prequel called Legends of the Dark Crystal. Crazy.

  3. Jake Forbes Says:

    Just came upon your review — thanks for giving the books a chance. I’m glad you enjoyed them! It’s true, volume 4 won’t be out for a while, but it’s definitely not 2+ years between volumes — 14 months, and 19 months between previous volumes, and the final one shouldn’t be as long. Sometime in mid 2010. I’ll be sure to list the date on once it’s nailed down.


  4. Susie Says:

    Wow the author commented on my reveiw! Welcome. Glad to hear the next volume will be out sooner than I thought. I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  5. Jaclyn Says:

    I read the first 2 volumes on the internet and I don’t have the money to own them. If there is any way that i could get a website where i could read the other two I would be so thankful. I grew up watching Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and I admit that I had forgotten about it, but i started having memories come back to me about it. Which may sound strange, but I do love strange. I thought hard about what it could be called and I finally figured out what it was called. Once I bought it, I watched every night about midnight before I went to bed. I even learned the words in just a few days time. Please if somebody could help me out.