The year is 1944. An allied force advances along a war-torn beach in a strange land, outnumbered and far from home. Together, they fight the greatest evil they have ever known. Never ending waves of exotic enemies come crashing down on them, but they will not rest. Thousands of miles away, the world is on the brink of destruction. But here in a child's bedroom in Brooklyn, our heroes, a small group of toys loyal to their human master, fight an unseen war to save him from every child's worst nightmare.
We spoke with writer, Mike Raicht, about Stuff of Legend.
Christine Caprilozzi: How did you come up with the concept for Stuff of Legend?
Mike Raicht: After my son was born I started to really think about coming up with a story
that I created specifically for him. A story I could tell him at night when
he was older. Something magical and different.
Sitting in his room I kept looking at his stuffed animals and toys which
were already situated in a way that it looked like they were looking over him.
It got me thinking about how those stuffed animals might be looking out for
him. And what might they be protecting him from.
As usual, since I grew up on horror movies and Stephen King novels, my
imagination strayed a little dark. I started talking with Brian Smith about the
idea. Brian is an amazing writer and artist and we had worked together at
Marvel Comics as editors. We had been working on some other things together and he
always has great ideas.
Like I mentioned, eventually the story took on a little bit of a darker turn
with the Boogeyman being added in, but I think the basic story is still
there. A boy and his relationship with his toys.
Christine Caprilozzi: It's interesting how you took something as innocent as children's toys and
made them evil with the forgotten toys going over to "The Darkside" and
fighting for "The Boogeyman". Is there any sort of symbolism there?
Since we set the story during World War II we were definitely attacking the
themes of that era. Good and evil. The boy's father is off at war so it would
only make sense that the feelings and fears of that time, the German War
machine, would seep into his toy's lives as well. Overall, World War II made a
perfect backdrop for our story. So in that sense, I would definitely say we
are setting the boy's toys up as the good and the Boogeyman's army as the evil.
But those lines will eventually gray. In the eyes of a boy waiting to hear
from his father off at war, things can be very black and white. But the
reality of fighting and surviving are not so clear cut.
The main thing we were trying to accomplish though was to humanize all of
the toys. We wanted to look at them and their "lives" and really give them a
reasoning and a purpose behind their actions. They essentially live for the
boy. As the boy grows up, some toys are kept and others are discarded. If you
were a favorite toy, that would be a heartbreaking scenario. To go from
something that is played with every day to a forgotten toy would most likely produce
some bitterness, especially in things that have known nothing different.
Essentially, The Boogeyman is offering these forgotten toys a place in his
world. It probably seems like a pretty nice offer. Faced with being forgotten
and put in a box or continuing to live your life in a different place, I
think we would all choose the latter without worrying about the consequences of
Christine Caprilozzi: The idea of "The Boogeyman" is classic, here you have him pretty demonic,
with a full army. What went into his character development?
Mike Raicht: The Boogeyman is a pretty complex character. He has his army and his realm,
The Dark, seemingly under control. He is the ruler there. While we wanted
something very frightening, we also wanted to sprinkle in some other qualities.
He obviously has convinced a lot of toys that they should join him so he has
to be manipulative. He also has to be a master of darkness, which gave us the
look that Charles Paul Wilson III, our artist, developed.
Who he is and what he wants is something that will reveal itself throughout
the story. I think his story is one of the most interesting of all of our
characters and I'd hate to give too much away.
Christine Caprilozzi: The artwork is amazing. How did you hook up with Charles Paul Wilson?
Charles was really the key component to the whole book. Like all comic
books, the art is really the entry point for most readers, and we completely
lucked out. Charles was brought onto the project by Th3rd World Studios publisher,
Christine Caprilozzi: What was the creation process like with him?
Mike Raicht: We gave Charles some character descriptions and we asked him to do some
sketches. What he sent back completely blew us away. He nailed it. He researched
the era and throw in touches that were specific to 30s and 40s toys. Giving
us not only the toys after they cross over into the Dark and become real, but
also what they looked like in the real world. I hope people recognize how
great he really is.
Brian and I will sometimes be checking out the backgrounds of battle scenes
and be like, we should have a story arc for that character. It's just very
cool and completely collaborative.
Christine Caprilozzi: A preview edition is being given out on Free Comic Book Day 2009. When can
our readers expect the full issue?
The actual first issue hits in July. It will be in previews when our Free
Comic Book Day preview hits. That way, people who check out the preview and
like it can let retailers know. We're hoping it really gives retailers a chance
to see how people react to the book. So if you get the book on FCBD and like
it, tell your retailer to reserve you a copy and that you think other might
want to check it out as well.
Christine Caprilozzi: How many issues are planned right now?
Right now, the first arc is 2 issues at about 50 pages each. But we have it
planned out through at least 3 or 4 limited series arcs. We hope to be doing
this book for a long time. We have lots of worlds and stories we want to
explore. Hopefully others will want to do that with us. Regardless, we will get
to the end, whether it is sooner or later depends on the response from the
readers. Hopefully we get to tell stories about these characters for a long time
Christine Caprilozzi: Where can our readers find out more about The Stuff of Legend?
Mike Raicht: Go to www.th3rdworld.com and check out the
link for The Stuff of Legend. And while you're there, check out all of the other
cool books they have. I really think they are an up and coming publisher.
Christine Caprilozzi: In closing, what would you like to say about Stuff of Legend?
All I can ask is that readers and retailers give the book a chance.
Especially the Free Comic Book Day preview. It is free after all! Brian, Charles,
Th3rd World and I really believe in the project and want people to check it
out. It is something I think we are all very proud of.
Besides, if you don't The Boogeyman may come and get you. And none of us
Christine Caprilozzi: Thank you for your time,
Mike! We look forward to reading The Stuff of Legend comic.
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