52 Pick-Up Week 24:
My thanks to PoP! regular Peg Leg Pete for turning me on to the topic of this week’s installment. Since his recommendation, I’ve had this book waiting for me, but I’ve put off reading it time and time again. I can’t honestly say why. Part of me regrets having put it off – or not found it sooner – as I could have read and re-read it multiple times by now. Part of me is glad I waited, however. Book one of the second volume – The Jungle – hits stands in July, so I’ll be able to jump right in in no time.
If you can’t tell, I loved this book. It’s what I feel Joe the Barbarian wanted to be. Imagine a carefully blended cocktail of Toy Story, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Indian in the Cupboard, but with Tim Burton directing. A heady mix, to be sure, but one executed to absolute perfection by the creative team. In reviewing a book, it’s my job to find a way to describe it. I’m not sure I have the words.
Visually, this book is beautiful. The emotive faces Wilson manages to conjure, the dynamic motion… all give the book a quality of immersion seldom found in 4-color printing. It’s impossible not to be drawn into the conflict of the tale – to fear for the protagonists in their most dire moments and cheer for their victories when they overcome the odds. The use of sepia tones and shading convey both the era and essence of the tale, creating an appropriately somber backdrop to the events as they unfold. And the story’s villain? Imagine the Void and the Shadow King had some sort of crazy psychic lovechild that only lives in the Dark. ::shudders::
While the art could easily stand on its own and carry the book through subpar writing, Raicht and Smith deliver anything but. Nothing is overwrought, nothing is underdeveloped. Every character is its own, gets its due, and adds to the story in its own particular way. The threat our heroes face feels very real, and I quite simply defy you not to care about each and every one of them. There’s really nothing else I can say.
There is nothing about this book I don’t intensely love after just one read. 5 out of 5 corrupt mayors of a boardgame just isn’t enough to convey the awe and excitement I felt as I read on. This simply may be my favorite book. Ever. Period.
I honestly cannot thank Pete enough for suggesting this book, nor the folks at Th3rd World Studios enough for having created it. The Stuff of Legend is a joy to read and a treasure to be savored. Now if someone can get me an action figure of the hatchet wielding Jester, complete with removable wooden mask, I would be ever so grateful.