The Stuff of Legend Book 1: The Dark
Author: Mike Raicht and Brian Smith
Artist: Charles Paul Wilson III
Del Rey/Th3rd World Studios
112 pages (2010 ed.)
The year is 1944. As Allied forces fight the enemy on Europe’s war-torn beaches, another battle begins in a child’s bedroom in Brooklyn. When the nightmarish Boogeyman snatches a boy and takes him to the realm of the Dark, the child’s playthings, led by the toy soldier known as the Colonel, band together to stage a daring rescue. On their perilous mission they will confront the boy’s bitter and forgotten toys, as well as betrayal in their own ranks. Can they save the boy from the forces of evil, or will they all perish in the process? (This edition includes a brand-new story featuring the Colonel’s war journal, maps, sketches, and other original material.)
One of the comic previews I got my hands on this year for Free Comic Book Day was Stuff of Legend, and the preview was enough to spur my getting the first trade paperback release in my hot little hands. I’m glad I bothered looking this series up, because it is currently blowing my mind with how quality it is. It is a dark tale of war and rescue in a world run by a shadowy Boogeyman – and the cast is made up of a little boy’s toys come to life. But this isn’t just Toy Story with the veneer stripped off; it’s something much more than that.
Wilson’s art is vibrant and brings the topsy-turvy world of the Dark to startling life. The world that he illustrates is one in which a child’s old toys have created their own refuge – but it is anything but a safe haven for those who dwell within. One of the most notable sights so far is the town whose daily life and activities center around the game of hopscotch and those who don’t play the rules pay the price, which usually means death by order of the Mayor – who is extremely skeevy and has questionable loyalties, as readers will certainly find out by volume’ end. The entire Dark realm is extremely interesting and I look forward to exploring more of it in following books, as I’m sure will any fan of manga looking to get into U.S. comics.
You can check out more about the Stuff of Legend series at the th3rd world studios site!