In childhood, bedtime can be the worst. Before sleep, enduring the darkness. Alone. What might be lurking under the bed? Or behind the closet door, slightly ajar? The Stuff of Legend, written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith explores this fantastical territory. Its brave readers can venture into the darkness, to the furthest reaches of the imagination, a scary place, but also magical.
It begins innocuously enough. Night. A boy’s bedroom, with all the usual trappings – toys, trophies, and the like, this boy and his puppy all tucked in for a night’s slumber. The puppy, Scout, begins to growl as black tendrils reach out from the closet, but the boy, unaware, scolds and hushes him. By the time Scout bares his teeth, the boy has been dragged, entangled, into the depths of the netherworld. One puppy, brave and loyal as he is, is no match for the Boogeyman.
The boy’s toys come quickly to life and action, and a rag tag recon team of the Boy’s Loyalist Forces, led by the plastic Colonel, embark on a courageous rescue mission. In The Dark, as the Boogeyman’s world is known, the toys must face their fears. And the truth…
And this is where it gets really good. These now animate objects prove to be complex characters, led, sometimes, by emotion. Percy, for example, the piggybank, is high in intellect, but low in self-esteem … a perfect candidate for a deal with the devil, or, in this case, Boogeyman. He knows his ultimate fate is to be smashed into pieces by the very boy for whom he has reluctantly undertaken this journey. Is he truly a traitor, though? The Dark is riddled with discarded toys and forgotten favorites. There is much to be learned here.
Charles Paul Wilson III’s illustration work is of the highest quality. Working in warm greyscale, his drawings achieve nostalgia, doom, and everything necessary in between. The cinematography, if you will, keeps it visually stimulating – even hundreds of pages in, one cannot help but to study each individual panel.
As they should be. The Stuff of Legend is an epic story, rich with complexity and detail. Omnibus One collects six issues in two volumes. A solid beginning. This reader is hooked.