July 19, 2010

Getting ‘Stuffed’ with the Creators of “The Stuff of Legend”

Last week the highly anticipated second volume of The Stuff of Legend kicked off with the first issue in “The Jungle” story arc. Series writers Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, and artist Charles Paul Wilson III, took the time to answer a few questions regarding their groundbreaking series where a group of toys come to life in order to rescue their owner, a little boy, from the evil clutches of the Boogeyman!

COMICATTACK: What do readers have to look forward to in volume 2 of The Stuff of Legend?

MIKE RAICHT: First off, more awesome Charles Paul Wilson III artwork. We all love seeing that. Story wise, this volume picks up just a few days after the events of the toys’ adventure in Hopscotch. They are still looking for the boy but have had no luck. So they decide on a change in strategy. This new strategy does not please Percy who has ascended to leadership status following his triumph in Hopscotch. We learn a bit more about those hunting our gang, The General and Homer, as well as a peek at some of the other citizens of The Dark.

CA: What are you most excited about with this second chapter in The Stuff of Legend?

CHARLES PAUL WILSON III: I’m excited for everyone to read what I’ve read so far. I think readers are going to like it. Some background characters are going to be brought to the front with interesting stories of their own, previously established characters and their stories will be expanded upon, and we’ll find out how this was all able to happen in the first place.

CA: The title of this second story arc is “The Jungle”. Can you expand a little on what that means for the characters in the book and the plot of the story?

BRIAN SMITH: The Jungle is a unique place in the Dark, it’s the adopted home for all of the discarded or lost animal toys. Eagle-eyed readers will note that we hint at some of the history between the animals and the Boogeyman in this first issue — the ruined zoo is a key part to that puzzle.

CA: How long is this arc going to be, and can you tell us what to expect regarding a shipping schedule?

BS: The Jungle arc will be 4 issues in length, and we’re shooting for a bi-monthly release from here on out. The next issue will hit in September, and so on. We’re as anxious to get the story out to the readers as they are to see what’s coming up next, hopefully this more aggressive schedule will keep everybody happy!

CA: Will The Stuff of Legend continue beyond the 4 issue “Jungle” arc?

BS: Definitely, there’s more Stuff past the Jungle — several more arcs, at least, but it’s way too early to tip our hand. Needless to say, the events of the Jungle arc will drastically alter the playing field for our heroes. Plenty of surprises just around the bend!

CA: Outside of our main cast, there are many different toys who populate the realm of The Dark. Charles, where do you pull your influences from in these character designs?

CPWIII: If the script doesn’t call for anything specific, I try to find antique toys online as best I can – anything kids might have played with or turned into a toy back in the day. Sometimes I don’t think I’ll be able to work with the stuff I find, but that stuff will spark an idea for something else and I’ll go with that instead. Some of the toy designs I’m proudest of are the ones I’ve made up this way, like the manaroo or the clown with the spring neck at the beginning of the first book.

CA: Are there any new characters introduced in “The Jungle” that you can tease us about?

BS: We’ve already shown a few new toys. If you check out the cover to our FCBD issue this year you’ll see a giant cobra and a smartly dressed monkey — but that’s really just a small taste compared to what’s coming. With every new area Max and company explore in the Dark they’re sure to make some allies or enemies. The new characters we introduce in the Jungle will have a huge impact on our cast.

MR: New characters? Sometimes it feels like we barely have enough room for the ones we have! How are we going to fit them all?

CA: Someone’s going to die soon, I can feel it…right?

BS: Sure feels like that, doesn’t it? It’s probably nothing…

MR: It’s always sad to lose a character. The Dark is a very dangerous place. Especially for those who are at odds with the Boogeyman.

CA: The Stuff of Legend is a series that’s marketed to both adults and kids of all ages, yet there are intense, almost graphic moments in the series. Charles, tell us how, as an artist, you tackle the challenge of keeping this series “kid friendly” whilst simultaneously making it enjoyable for adults.

CPWIII: Hmmm… For my part I think back to the stuff I read when I first picked up comics, books, or maybe the movies I could get away with watching back when I was a kid. I remember reading about Captain Hook gutting one of his men in Peter Pan and thinking how dangerous but adventurous that story was, and of course I can’t help but wonder where that kind of violence, the kind that isn’t glorified but seems necessary to craft the grand adventure tale, fits in with children’s literature of today. Occasionally there will be a piece of story in Stuff of Legend that feels it would benefit by pushing a violent visual a little on the far side, but if it serves the story best I don’t think there’s much of a choice. That said, no eyeballs will be popping out of anyone’s sockets and fly across the room into someone’s mouth any time soon. Well, maybe there won’t be…

CA: Can you tell us about some of the feedback you received on volume 1 from both kids and adults?

BS: It’s strange, because we’re all waiting for the wave of negativity to hit — like it’s just too good to be true that the response has been so overwhelmingly positive. We’re all so proud of it and could not be happier with the responses we get at shows, online, at store signings… it feels so good to know that people genuinely like the book. The cool thing is that we get a lot of parents reading Stuff with their kids, and it’s something they both enjoy.

MR: We always hoped this would be a book that everyone could pick up. What’s cool is that we’ve had so many different people come up to us. The hardcore superhero comic readers tell us they love the book and that their girlfriend, who doesn’t read comics, loves it as well. Indie readers have embraced it. Parents have been telling us their kids can’t wait for the next installment so they can read it together. Most importantly for us we’ve been lucky to have a lot of comic stores across the country champion our book and get it into their customer’s hands. That and the amazing reviews online have been a real huge part of our success. The coolest part of all of this support for us is that it allows us to tell a story which we all love working on together.

CA: It’s been a long time since the previous issue of The Stuff of Legend has been released; how does that affect your work schedule? Have you been consistently working on the series all this time?

CPWIII: We had a bit of a break, and I used that to work on commissions and complete other assignments before getting back to Stuff of Legend with an established schedule. And I think the story Raicht and Smitty put together for everyone who have been waiting all this time will pay off. I’m super excited about what we’ve done with Volume II so far, and can’t wait for everyone to see what’s to come.

CA: As you guys mentioned, issues 1 and 2 sold quite well in the Direct Market. So why the price drop from $4.99 to $4.25 this time around?

MR: We lowered the page count a bit in order to get the book out quicker and because of that reduction we lowered the price. Pretty simple. We just really wanted the book to be on the stands more frequently in order to raise awareness and have a shelf presence. It was also pretty daunting for us to have to finish a 64 page book before we could get it out. This way we get to see it out there quicker as well.

CA: What other projects do you guys have slated for 2010?

CPWIII: Aside from Stuff of Legend, I’ve done a few G.I. Joe and Transformers covers for IDW that will be out in August and September. Stuff takes up the majority of my time with its pencil work, and while I absolutely love it I occasionally get hungry to work in a different medium. IDW was kind enough to throw some work my way, and how awesome is it I got to do a little work on two of the things I grew up with! Plus I’m working on a short Superfogey’s story with Brock Heasley, and I’m also excited to see stuff my fellow creators have been working on, like Finding Nemo Raicht and Smitty are writing, Raicht’s Joker’s Asylum II story or the City of Bones graphic novel Th3rd World’s publishing.

MR: Brian and I have a FINDING NEMO arc coming out at the end of July called LOSING DORY through BOOM! which we’re excited about. Solo, I recently had an issue of JOKER’S ASYLUM II come out focused on Killer Croc which should still be available to pick up in most comic stores. I’m also working on a yet to be announced book for Dynamite with Leah Moore and John Reppion that I can’t wait for people to see. Then late this year, early next, I have a werewolf book coming out through Th3rd World Studios which has been a few years in the making. We’ll probably have more info on that once we get a little closer to the release date.

BS: There will be a couple of writing projects shown/announced at San Diego that I had a lot of fun with, more news on that soon. The fourth volume of the Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy! graphic novel series I illustrated for Penguin came out this past spring, and I’m finally getting back to some new creator owned material that will hopefully see the light of day before the end of 2010.

CA: Do you guys plan on attending San Diego Comic Con this month? If so, where can fans find you?

CPWIII: I’m definitely going to be there, and Mike Devito, Th3rd World publisher, co-artist, production artist, letterer, design and idea man, ninja and t.v. show watcher – he does lots of stuff – anyway, he’s going to be there too, but I think we’re just going to be walking around and then we’re going to attend the Eisner Award ceremony.

MR + BS: Not hitting the show this year.

CA: What are you hoping fans will take away from this second chapter of The Stuff of Legend? Any final words?

MR: Hopefully, [fans] just keep enjoying the ride and spreading the word if they are having fun. And, of course, to treat your toys right. You never know when you might need saving from the Boogeyman and The Dark…

CPWIII: Volume II’s first issue hit stands last week with each issue released bi-monthly from then on out. If you’re new to the series, please check with your local comic shop or book store for the 128-page trade of the first volume!

Read our review of The Stuff of Legend: The Jungle #1!

For more on The Stuff of Legend click here, and for everything Th3rd World Studios visit this link!

Andy Liegl



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Getting "Stuffed" with the creators (@mikeraicht @cpwIII) of THE STUFF OF LEGEND!! #comics #awesome @Th3rdWorld […]

  2. Billy

    Wow, does this look/sound spectacular. Can’t wait to read it.

  3. Great interview!

  4. The first volume would look GREAT has a hardcover! just sayin’

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