Midtown Comics Book of the Month Club – The Stuff of Legend

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On Friday, March 30th, the Midtown Comics Book of the Month Club welcomed Mike Raicht and Charles Paul Wilson III creators of The Stuff of Legend. Our hosts Thor (@ThorParker) and Zoe (@bookishbelle) sat down with the creators to discuss Volume One of this unique and well loved series.

Here’s a bit about The Stuff of Legend for those of you not fortunate enough to have been following this series. From Th3rd World Studios:

“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.”

It was the first Midtown Book Club I had been able to attend and boy am I glad I made it. It wasn’t packed but that just made it more fun and relaxed. Zoe and Thor ran the event really well, they both have a knack for keeping it interesting and putting their guests and audience at ease.

Mike (Raicht) and Charles (Paul Wilson III) were great, very personable and fairly relaxed. They answered all questions put to them, and were quite entertaining too!

When asked where the idea originated for this series Mike replied that after the birth of his son he spent a lot of time watching the children’s shows and was quite disappointed at the lack of drama. Having grown up on classics like Watership Down and The Secret of NIMH  the Disney-fication children’s stories didn’t work for him.

When they pitched the book to Vertigo they didn’t get exactly get a rave reception. Mike still looks ticked off when he talks about one of the editors telling him to lose the dog. The editor just didn’t like dogs, and he told Mike the dog just wasn’t necessary to the story. Needless to say Mike was very upset by this. My guess is he that editor didn’t really read the script.

So after moving on from Vertigo they came upon Th3rd World Studios which not only picked up the title but gave the green-light for at least 2 volumes. Since the outline was originally written all the way to the end of the story having 3rd World promise two volumes meant getting the chance to wrap up to story if necessary.

One of the great things that came from Vertigo passing on The Stuff of Legend was that Charles came on board. His contribution of character designs based primarily on descriptions from the writers and research conducted on toys from the 40’s really the book a lot of it’s appeal.

Th3rd World was definitely a godsend for our intrepid creators. They were able to use the square format they preferred meant to evoke the feeling of a “found storybook”. The coloring was a process, lots of styles were considered. Using sepia tone was another decision to help continue the found storybook feel.

Charles has had a lot of influence on the story, besides creating the main characters he also comes up with all the characters you see in the group and fight scenes. Mike made sure to mention that when he writes a fight scene he doesn’t tell Charles to put in 3 Cowboys, 2 Romans etc. In fact when they ran into a slight miscalculation in page count Mike wrote a conversation between two bad guys and Charles came up with Homer. Homer, a baseball player based on a toy bank from the 1940’s, was used many more times after that.

When asked why the 40’s was chosen as the setting Mike and Charles shared that they thought older toys weren’t packaged with an entire story leaving room for the child to put his own personality into the toy.

It was a great night and so many more things were discussed which you’ll definitely see here in the future, sooner than you think. Both Mike Raicht and Charles Paul Wilson III have agreed to be interviewed right here on What’cha Reading!

So hold on tight for the interviews. I’ll be asking questions on Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of The Stuff of Legend. Since Volume for is in production now I’ll do everything I can to get some inside info on the upcoming storyline…

And as for the Midtown Comics Book of the Month Club? You missed a great one in March so what are you doing in April? April’s book of the month is Severed, and the guest is co-writer Scott Tuft! I’ll post the details to follow as soon as I have them.

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