There’s been some rumblings in the fan press about this title. It deserves the attention. New from Th3rd World Studios the first issue has sold out, with a sceond printing available from September 17. Now I’ve never heard of Th3rd World, but this series looks to put them on the map.
If Tim Burton made Toy Story, The Stuff of Legend would be the result. It immediately subverts any pre-conceived notions one might have about a book starring talking toys. The owner of the toys is a young boy who is taken by the tendrils of The Boogeyman and dragged in to the darkness. Then it’s up to the toys who secretly come alive when out of human view, to rescue him. This is a 56 pager with no ads and is equally enchanting and dark.
Set in WWII, it means the toys are archetypes – the unsure pig, the brave soldier, the excitable Jack In The Box, the proud Indian princess and so on. They rally themselves and travel to the shadowy lands. It is here that slight Narnia tones creep in, with betrayal, and loss made evident.
Some may see comparisons with other films, or books they’ve enjoyed but writers Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have crafted an original tale that feels dangerous and full of foreboding. It’s quite violent but not gratuitously so, and The Boogeyman is creepier than the Joker.
Charles Paul Wilson III’s art brings this story home. With his sepia tones printed on old textured paper, it looks like a family heirloom. Praise must go to Jon Conkling and Michael DeVito for their bold design choices, and the decision to go with the landscape format. As a complete package, it’s all handled very wisely.
If you want to know more about this unique title, Th3rd World’s blog has some great insights and artwork, and you can read the first half of the issue here as part of it’s slightly re-formatted Free Comic Book Day issue. Get in on the ground floor of this one. I can already sense a film adaptation with a mixture of CGI and puppets on the way.