Current Reviews


Stuff of Legend: The Jungle #1

Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010
By: Matt Spatola

Mike Raicht & Brian Smith
Charles Paul Wilson III, Michael Devito & Jon Conkling (c)
Th3rd World Studios
EDITOR's NOTE: Stuff of Legend: The Jungle #1 will be in stores Wednesday, July 14.

The critically acclaimed series from publisher Th3rd World Studios returns in a new four issue series, Stuff of Legend: The Jungle. After catching lightning in the bottle with the first series its great to see the publisher come back for another round with the creative team intact.

For those unfamiliar with the premise of the series the set up of the book is as follows. The year is 1944 and in a typical Brooklyn home a boy is kidnapped, pulled through his closet and into the mysterious realm known as the Dark. A group of his toys set out into the Dark to rescue their master from the Bogeyman. The toys get involved in a long battle that frees the town of Hopscotch but still continue their quest to save the boy.

That brings us to this issue which opens with a scene involving the boy trapped in the Dark and realizing that he is indeed a prisoner in his own nightmare. From there we get caught up on the toys and where they are not just in their drive to rescue him but in their own relationships.

Raicht and Smith introduced us to such interesting characters in the toys and they continue the characterizations here without missing anything. Not wanting to give away too much of the plot this issue delves further into the motivations of all the main players, including the Bogeyman himself. The writing is very tight and concise and at times is emotionally raw.

But now letís move to the art. I think it is safe to say that the unique look of the series is one of the major selling points. Wilson and Devito combine their talents for a beautiful look, unlike anything else on the stands. Itís classic and unique at the same time. I can only describe it as a dirty sepia toned nightmare, grotesque at points and mesmerizing in its beauty in others. Itís like your looking at the illustrations in a turn of the century novel that at the same time evokes the emotions and storytelling of modern comics. Wilson was nominated for a 2010 Russ Manning award following his debut in the original Stuff of Legend series.

It is easy to draw parallels between Toy Story and Stuff of Legends, especially this summer when new versions of both are available to compare. But while Toy Story has that Disney sheen of joy and happiness on it, Stuff of Legends counters by instead showing a grim, dirty, violent world of these toys. Wilson shows that clearly in the tweaked appearances of the toy characters from when they are at home and in the Dark.

Last year Stuff of Legends was one of those books I always directed new readers to who wanted to see something different past superheroes. When the trade collections came out I used them as examples for readers new to comics as a whole. Stuff of Legends: The Jungle continues that high standard.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!