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Friday, May 21, 2010

"The Stuff of Legend: Book 1 The Dark" by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith Illustrations by Charles Paul Wilson III (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Order The Stuff of Legend: The Dark from Amazon Here

As the Allied forces are fighting over in Europe, a different battle of sorts is starting over in Brooklyn. In a little boy's bedroom, the evil Boogeyman kidnaps the boy and pulls him into a darkish, terrible realm known as The Dark.

It is up to the child's toys, a bear, a soldier, a duck, etc., to try and find and free the boy before it is too late. What is assumed to be an easy mission turns into something a lot more intricate and detailed.

All the young boy's forgotten and used toys appear to have banded together in The Dark and might be working with the Boogeyman. Those on the mission are facing tough choices and may even face betrayal amongst their ranks, they must fight against those forgotten toys to get the little boy back.

The Stuff of Legend: Book 1 The Dark is a Graphic Novel, it stands at 112 pages. It was released by Del Rey on April 27, 2010.

When I first heard about the idea of toys fighting amongst themselves to free their owner from the claws of the Boogeyman, I immediately knew this was a book that I needed to look into. In a heart warming, sometimes scary at times way, The Stuff of Legend: The Dark is a wonderful novel with some amazing illustrations.

As this is a first novel the storyline and characters are all introduced to readers. There are various characters that really stick with readers and others that have yet to truly shine but this is definitely a great start to all of the characters. Another area that is really developed is that of the land and world of The Dark. The combination of the description/storyline and the beautifully drawn pictures the world really is mapped out for the reader.

Although I don't want to compare it to Toy Story, it really is a bit of a wicked toy story feel to it. Imagine Toy Story for adults. This novel has an innocence to it, but at the same time has a few scary parts, and the characters are all facing tough decisions regarding loyalty to each other and their owner, and what they should do when it comes to fighting other toys.

Those readers that like a full resolution to plots won't find it in this novel. This is very much a first installment and the story is definitely deeper then what is presented. While this makes the next installment a must read, if it isn't expected it could leave readers a bit disappointed. However, when all these graphic novels can be read back to back it will be a real treat.

The strongest aspect of The Stuff of Legend is truly the illustrations that are present. While some graphic novels choose to go with the vibrant colors, this one goes with sepia and brownish tones. This choice of colors fits with the setting and the whole novel. The time period of the novel is 1940s, and the representation of the toys coming to battle in the Dark really stands out with this color choice. Beyond the color choice is the details of the illustrations, every time I read this novel I found something else outstanding about the illustrations.

While the illustrations are amazing, don't think that it will overshadow the story because it doesn't. The story and writing is just as lovely and will really pull at the strings of readers hearts while they start on this journey.

In the end, I loved this graphic novel. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment to see what will happen. It's a wonderful start of what looks like a great series. The Stuff of Legend: The Dark is truly a story that is heartwarming with a powerful message.
It's sure to be one of my favorite novels/graphic novels of 2010!


Dennis Sørensen said...

Although an avid reader of all sorts of graphic novels, I hadn't heard about this title before now. Thanks for the review! I think "The Stuff of Legend" is going straight into my basket.

Croaker said...

This is indeed the start of a great comic. The artwork is hugely compelling and the fantastical setting is..err...fantastical. Though the boook is relatively short (just over 100 pages), I find the toy characters are well fleshed-out, which is always a plus.

My only complaint is that now I have to wait to read the rest.

Comics aren't as cheap as they used to be so nowadays one chooses carefully what one buys. Take my word, and Cindy's for it, this one is well worth the money.

Cindy said...

I agree! I was surprised how quickly I became attached to the characters is a "short" book.

Croaker: I was told that the "comic" version will be available this summer :). So if you can't wait for the complete book like this one it'll start coming out in the summer!

Chelle said...

I always forget about graphic novels even though I love them. They don't seem to get enough attention. I will check this one out!

Jim Arroyo said...

I'm definitely intrigued and I've been looking for this book in vain for awhile, but I have to take exception to your "Toy Story for adults" comment considering that the brilliance of Toy Story is that as appealing as it may be to kids, it is even MORE appealing to adults. I think it would be fairer to call it a "darker" Toy Story, than to imply in any way that Toy Story is strictly kids' stuff.


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