The Magician and the Snake: Mike and Katie Mignola (2003).
In honor of the Hallow E’en, he’s some Mike Mignola for you all. Well, in truth, the story was by his daughter, Katie. She won an Eisner for Best Short Story for it, too, making her by far the youngest recipient of the award. Runs in the family, it seems. Here’s an interview with the then-7-year-old on the Dark Horse website/blog:
"I don’t remember much about how I came up with the story other than that I painted a picture of a snake yelling at a bunch of shapes. I didn’t put any more thought into it until my dad asked me what I did at school that day and I told him about the picture. I made up the entire story on the spot and my dad said that he would like to use it in a comic. Over the course of a few months my dad drew the story, changing small details as he went such as the monkey king, which wasn’t in my original story. There were a few things that I wouldn’t let him change such as the magician’s style (he wanted him to be a parlor magician and I wanted a classic stars and moons magician) and the death of the magician. My dad suggested that the magician turn the snake into a lion so that he could eat the shapes and save the magician but I, for some reason, said that the magician had to die at the end."
Beautiful story, beautiful artwork.