Q & A with Charles P. Wilson III: Artist, The Stuff of Legend
Posted September 7, 2009on:
A few weeks ago, we picked up The Stuff of Legend on a whim. To our delight, this outstanding book has become a surprise hit; with many shops selling completely out of Issue #1, “The Dark”. Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have crafted a truly haunting original story that turns the toys-coming-to-life theme completely on its ear – and the artwork is striking to say the least. We recently conducted a little Q&A with the artist, Charles P. Wilson III, on The Stuff of Legend, comics in general, and high five etiquette.
High Five!: My favorite real-live version of the toys from Stuff of Legend is the Jack-in-the-Box. He honestly looks kind of psycho. How did you go about character design as far as translating the toys to “real life?”
Charles P. Wilson III : Jester’s one of my favorites too. Mike Raicht and Brian Smith did a great job putting together a well rounded ensemble cast of characters in the story. Each one has a unique role to play with a level of depth to each of their personalities, developed when they were toys in the kid’s bedroom. They carry those personalities into The Dark, the realm created by the Boogeyman, and while the transition may be beneficial to some, it has disastrous consequences for others.
As far as character design, each of the characters were based on toys that had to exist in or before 1944, when the story takes place. A lot of toys back then were made from materials like lead, wood and cloth with little-to-no articulation, so the toys were relatively simplistic in design. A lot of the real-life counterparts, or Dark versions, of the toys were drawn up first and then translated to toy form, like the Jester. I tried to give most of the characters some kind of pattern unique to their look so the reader could make a definite connection between the toy versions and the Dark versions.
High Five!: So what was your favorite childhood toy? And were you the sort of kid who imagined your toys probably came to life while you were gone? What adventures did you think they got up to?
Charles P. Wilson III : Absolute favorite? Before Transformers, G.I. Joe and Star Wars I had a white stuffed bear that looked kinda like the Snuggle bear, and is sort of the basis for Maxwell. From what I can remember, it had a bow, although I can’t remember the color (pretty sure I took it off at some point), and the bear was pretty dirty most of the time due to its color. My brother got a black, bean bag kind of bear at the same time, and I think I remember that was more fun to play with, but I had the bear for a very long time. I don’t remember thinking my toys had any kind of life to them outside the times I played with them, but after seeing Poltergeist (I think it was a clown doll) I didn’t look at inanimate toys the same way again. Same thing with my early phobia of the ocean after seeing Jaws.
High Five!: The Stuff of Legend is your first published gig, correct? What’s it like to find yourself on the other side of the table?
Charles P. Wilson III : This book is my first published gig where I had the luxury of drawing all the interiors and painting up the covers, and Mike Devito and Jon Conkling did an outstanding job putting it together and designing everything around the artwork. Every now and then I like to pick up my copy and imagine what it must be like for a complete stranger to look at and read it for the first time, what they might think of it. Reading through the reviews and seeing initial reactions to the book has been fantastic, and I’m grateful so many people gave the book a shot.
High Five!: It’s a great book! If you were given the chance to draw any cape & tights book right now, who would you draw? And who would you want writing it?
Charles P. Wilson III : Tough to say. The first book I ever picked up was a Superman book, so it would feel right getting a chance to work on one of those as my first superhero gig, but I’d love to tackle a book with Batman or Spider-Man villains, or maybe even The Hulk, and I’d like to keep working with Raicht and Smitty – if they could dream up the stuff behind The Stuff of Legend who wouldn’t want to work on whatever they create for any cape and tights title?
High Five!: So what’s your favorite comic out right now? And what do you recommend drinking with it?
Charles P. Wilson III : Right now I’m heavily in favor of The Walking Dead. Still trying to catch up (I think I’m on issue 60) but it’s immensely satisfying. It manages to pull off what a lot of the zombie flicks haven’t been able to do for me completely, something that I’ve always been interested in, and that’s what the characters do next with pacing that doesn’t make me feel rushed. I think comics are the appropriate medium to pull that off, with TV not far behind it (and wouldn’t you know it, The Walking Dead is going television!). And with this book I’d say a nice, light beer, kick your feet up and let the story pull you in.
High Five!: And finally, if a complete stranger walks up to you with an arm extended aloft for a high five, do you enthusiastically return the gesture or get creeped out?
Charles P. Wilson III: I’d gladly return the gesture! Might have reservations if there are obvious hygiene issues, but I highly encourage any positive greetings if the two people will have a better day for it, and what epitomizes that more than the high five?
Pretty much nothing, if you ask us. Thanks to Charles for chatting with us! Y’all should check out his deviantArt page (pretties!), and follow him on Twitter. And if you’re not reading Th3rd World Studios’ The Stuff of Legend yet (read our review!), the second printing of issue #1 should hit stores this week. Pick it up and add it to your pull lists!