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The Stuff of Legend Book 2: The Jungle Paperback – May 17, 2011
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Update 6/7/17 - returned (had to pay for return postage), received new copy from second order. This one is much better was able to read through without all the page falling apart. So far the binding held up through the first reading.
The quality of the book itself, on the other hand, is positively atrocious.
The binding has broken, and every page was loose when I first received it.
I'll be returning this item, and hoping that I can purchase another, better quality, book to replace this one.
Th3rdworld studios has released the second in the Stuff of Legends series, Book 2: The Jungle. Our toy heroes continue their search for their stolen owner, a boy the boogeyman wants to keep in The Dark, the land of lost and forgotten toys the boy once owned. Those who got into book one knew something was amiss in the opening stanza when the creepy boogeyman used his tendrils to reach out of the portal from The Dark into the boy's room, a bedroom closet door of course, and what bugged the detail oriented gets a great explanation by the end of book 2 - I won't spoil it for the uninitiated. Again Mike Raicht and Brian Smith are the story tellers and Charles Paul Wilson places his considerable talents into the work. There are few Graphic Novels that rival the pure artistry of this series.
The story picks up where we left off in Book One, the Colonel is dead and Max the mighty bear, Percy the treacherous Pig, Harmony the non-violent Fairy, Quakers the Duck, a warrior Indian Princess and a axe wielding Jester, and a real dog named scout are trying to find and rescue the bot. They are pursued by the bogeyman's greatest military leader, the general, and his forces of lost toys. The story lives up to the title, we will go into a jungle where the great stuffed toys - all animal shapes - now call home, and where human shaped toys are not wanted and thought of as prey, but where Stuff of Legend Book 2 really delivers is in enriching the story. WE learn some of the fate of the Boy, taken from his Brooklyn room in 1942 by the boogeyman to The Dark, a place where all the toys take on their true size and continence.
This Toy Story meets Through The Looking Glass tale is so well told that comparisons to similar, and more prolific, fare is quickly set aside. This is a rich environment with complex characters. Each major toy in the story reveals more about their past via well placed flashbacks, and one has to wonder about the other kid in the dark who helps the Boy escape his prison only to be frivolous with their new found freedom. Two hunts occur at once, the big animals against our heroic troop, and the Bogeyman guards against the Boy and his new found friend. Fortunately our toy heroes are befriended by The Boy's very first toy, a cymbal crashing monkey, who has a great deal of knowledge of the history of The Dark.
I hate to give too much away in this wonderfully told tale, grab both Book one and Book two and just dive in - a truly great read, outstanding artistry, and leaves you wanting more! My only complaint was both my initial copy and the one that replaced it were so poorly bound that pages simply fell out of the book - a problem I hope has been addressed in the rest of the print run.
The artwork is amazing, with a classic sepia ink and woodcut feel. Illustrations are simple but rich in detail, thanks to expert use of shading and tones. The World War II timeframe is never mentioned but its influence is felt in every frame of the story; events are so epic that they may only be told in miniature.
The team of "The Stuff of Legend" perfectly captures a contradiction of childhood, that innocent play is so often tinged with a violent, dark side. The toy that is the hero one moment is the villain of the next vignette. What I enjoy most is that the sense of loss and desperation leads to resolution and action by the cast of characters.
As with other reviewers/commenters, my copy was poorly bound and the pages fell out on the first reading. Amazon painlessly handled the return, and my second copy was properly bound and has given me no trouble at all.
Touching, whimsical, heroic, and haunting. One of my favorite graphic novel series, beautiful artwork and epic feel. Highest recommendation.