Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III
Title: The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark
Related Series: The Stuff of Legend
Authors: Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III
Publisher: Villard Books
Studio Website: www.th3rdworld.com
Rating: 5/5 star
This is a reread for me, as I just picked up the third volume in the series, so I'm catching back up on what's gone before. Even knowing what was coming, this is still a fantastic story and thoroughly worth reading. I'm just posting up my review from before, as I still stand behind my thoughts about the story.
The writers waste no time in getting into the story, as the boy (who I think remained nameless throughout the book) is kidnapped by the Boogeyman within the first 4 pages of the story. Eight of his toys decide to rescue him, as they feel this is their duty to him. The boy's dog, Scout, accompanies them into the Dark, where the toys undergo an amazing transformation, becoming the real, "living" counterparts to their toy selves (for instance, the boy's teddy bear Max because a fierce grizzly bear). The toys are victorious against the Boogeyman's army in their first battle, but suffer a grave loss afterward in the form of a possible traitor in their midst.
The story does move along a little quickly, but it doesn't detract from the actual storytelling at all. There is real emotion in this book. It is a dark tale, but ultimately one that has a redemptive value that I think is rarely seen in this type of story. The only unfortunate aspect of the story is that it is being published in periodical form (this is a collected edition of the first two issues of the comic books), so there is going to be some wait until the next edition is released.
The art is beautiful as well, rendered in duotone pencil illustrations and presented to look like the pages of an old scrapbook or photo album. The transformation of the toys into their new selves is impressive, and I loved how the Boogeyman is drawn. He's both beautiful and horrible, all at the same time. It is simply an overall gorgeous presentation, and I am quite delighted that I stumbled on this in the bookstore. Now, just to wait for the next volume to be released so we can find out what happens next!