Preview: The Stuff of Legend: Book Two – Out This Week!
Posted October 20, 2009on:
My love affair with The Stuff of Legend might be a little overwhelming. After picking the first issue up at random this summer, I couldn’t stop gushing – which led to interviews with 2/3 of the creative team; artist Charles P Wilson III and writer Mike Raicht.
In Book One, our walking talking toy heroes ventured into The Dark to rescue their owner, the Boy, transforming into ‘real life’ versions of themselves. Max, the teddy bear, became a growling grizzly. The Colonel, a toy soldier, became a real live officer. And Jester, the jack in the box, became a lanky, somewhat crazy, double axe wielding…jester.
All of the toys are singularly devoted to their goal of rescuing the boy, except perhaps Percy, the piggy bank. He’s a real pig now and he knows what the Boy will do to him in Real Life once he’s full up of coins.
“He breaks me.”
Of the entire delegation, Percy is the only toy who stands to lose anything once the Boy is rescued and they return to the real world. Taking advantage of Percy’s fear of being broken, the evil Boogeyman tempts and appears to buy Percy’s loyalty in Book One.
As Book Two opens, the toys have ventured much further into the Dark, stumbling upon the town of Hopscotch in search of a lead on the Boy’s whereabouts. In Hopscoth, the hapless citizens are forced to play a neverending board game based on rules that constantly change with the whims of the town’s diabolical Mayor – and it doesn’t take long for our heroes to break a rule.
The need to escape is immediate and each toy reacts to this desperation in a radically different way – most of all Percy. Book Two of ‘The Dark’ is fairly static compared to the push forward in the debut issue, but in this case it’s a good thing; the Hopscotch interlude takes a moment to expand upon the psychology of these toys-made-flesh and the decisions they make in light of their history with the Boy and the significant amount of free will they’ve gained in the Dark. Can Max control his temper? Is the Jester psychotic, or brilliant, or both? Will Percy pull a Judas and betray them all?
And, once again, the artwork is over-the-top gorgeous. The Stuff of Legend feels more Dark Crystal than Toy Story, reminiscent of the old Claymation storytime movies on PBS. (Seriously, does anyone else remember those?) So far, The Stuff of Legend has begun carving itself a place amongst the greats of childrens’ sci-fi/fantasy stories, thanks in large part to Charles P Wilson’s fantastic art.
The Stuff of Legend leaps solidly over the sophomore slump hurdle. My only complaint is that we’ve got at least six months to wait for the next installment.