Dark Crystal Comic-Con News: Panel, New Fan Site with Production Images

Worldcon Fantasy Convention in Chicago, September 5, 1982 [left to right]:  Jim Henson, Brian Froud, unknown and Gary Kurtz present at the convention (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

September 5, 1982: Another time, another con. Left to right: Jim Henson, designer/artist Brian Froud, unknown and producer Gary Kurtz present at the Worldcon Fantasy Convention in Chicago, (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

San Diego International Comic-Con is here, and, like for many companies and entertainment properties, the con is the time to announce news and give fans sneak peeks of new product. In the case of The Jim Henson Company, that news relates to the reboot of The Dark Crystal franchise.

Last month on this blog, I talked about a new Dark Crystal book contest, wherein writers send their ideas for the “first book in a new young adult series based on the world of the classic fantasy film.” The winner receives gets a $10,000 contract to write the book.

This weekend at Comic-Con (on Saturday from 3:00pm – 4:00pm in Room 28DEat, to be precise), there’s a panel called “Dark Crystal Author Quest: All You Need to Know.” Lisa Henson (CEO, The Jim Henson Company) and Cheryl Henson (Labyrinth, The Muppet Show), and representatives from the publisher, Grosset and Dunlap, will all be on on hand to discuss the contest.

The Jim Henson Company also chose this weekend to launch their new “official Dark Crystal fan site” featuring all kinds of goodies about the 1982 fantasy film co-directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The site includes backstory on the world of The Dark Crystal; a comprehensive encyclopedia; info on Dark Crystal‘s invented languages; and a fan forum with ways to share fan fiction, videos and even a “meme generator.” There’s also info on the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest.

I’ve poked around on the site and have to admit it’s pretty cool, especially “The Making Of…” section. Click that tab and you’ll see a detailed timeline of the film’s roots, as well as sample concept and production artwork, behind-the-scenes stills of the shoot, Jim Henson’s notes and outlines, and other photos and ephemera.

Here’s a selection that provides a peek into the making of the film, as well as Jim Henson’s creative process.

February 6, 1978:  Jim Henson, snowed in at the Howard Johnson's at Kennedy International Airport, writes the basic story of The Dark Crystal.(Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

February 6, 1978: Jim Henson, snowed in at the Howard Johnson’s at Kennedy International Airport, writes the basic story of The Dark Crystal. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

October 17, 1978: Short test film is made in Bedford, NY, plus concept sketches of the creatures.

October 17, 1978: Short test film is made in Bedford, NY, plus concept sketches of the creatures. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

screenplay

May, 1979: The Dark Crystal screenplay is written by David Odell and Jim Henson. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

February 10, 1981: Tests for puppeteers in London.(Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

February 10, 1981: Tests for puppeteers in London. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

April 15, 1981 The first scenes shot are: Mystic Valley, Dying Emperor and Crystal Chamber.

April 15, 1981: The first scenes shot are: Mystic Valley, Dying Emperor and Crystal Chamber. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

September 11, 1981 First unit finishes Dark Crystal shooting.

September 11, 1981. First unit finishes Dark Crystal shooting. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

April 19-30, 1982: Jim Henson works on changes to the script. See Frank Oz's note to Jim at the bottom.

April 19-30, 1982: Jim Henson works on changes to the script. Note Frank Oz’s note to Jim at the bottom. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

Ethan Gilsdorf

About Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, critic, poet, teacher and 17th level geek. He wrote the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gilsdorf writes regularly for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Salon.com, BoingBoing.net, PsychologyToday.com, Washington Post and wired.com. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, op-eds and reviews on the arts, pop culture, gaming, geek culture and travel in dozens of other magazines, newspapers, websites and guidebooks worldwide. He has also published dozens of poems in literary magazines and anthologies. He is a core contributor to the blogs "GeekDad, "Geek Pride" on PsychologyToday.com, and Boston NPR affiliate WBUR's Cognoscenti blog. He is also a book and film critic for the Boston Globe, and is the film columnist for Art New England. He and author Noble Smith geek out and wax nostalgic about D&D and other nerdy pop culture relics at Dungeons & Dorkwards. He is a lover of ELO and a hater of littering. Sometimes he wears a tunic and chainmail, or these grampy pants. More info fantasyfreaksbook.com or follow on Facebook fantasyfreaksbook

Ethan Gilsdorf

About Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, critic, poet, teacher and 17th level geek. He wrote the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gilsdorf writes regularly for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Salon.com, BoingBoing.net, PsychologyToday.com, Washington Post and wired.com. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, op-eds and reviews on the arts, pop culture, gaming, geek culture and travel in dozens of other magazines, newspapers, websites and guidebooks worldwide. He has also published dozens of poems in literary magazines and anthologies. He is a core contributor to the blogs "GeekDad, "Geek Pride" on PsychologyToday.com, and Boston NPR affiliate WBUR's Cognoscenti blog. He is also a book and film critic for the Boston Globe, and is the film columnist for Art New England. He and author Noble Smith geek out and wax nostalgic about D&D and other nerdy pop culture relics at Dungeons & Dorkwards. He is a lover of ELO and a hater of littering. Sometimes he wears a tunic and chainmail, or these grampy pants. More info fantasyfreaksbook.com or follow on Facebook fantasyfreaksbook

3 thoughts on “Dark Crystal Comic-Con News: Panel, New Fan Site with Production Images

  1. Regarding your photo caption on the first photo: I think that was at the “World Science Fiction Convention” (Worldcon), not the “Worldcon Fantasy Convention.” There is no “Worldcon Fantasy Convention,”

  2. thanks for the comment. that’s the info that the Jim Henson Company has on their website so sounds like they must be in error.

  3. I’d be happy to contact them as well, but I can’t find the specific photo on their website. Can you point me in the right direction of the source material? As Chairman of the World Science Fiction Society’s Mark Protection Committee, I’m always interested in people using “Worldcon” (a registered service mark of WSFS) correctly.

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