The holiday time of year always brings with it a certain level of materialism. No matter how disciplined we think we are, there's that one item we want, need, or simply cannot live without. There's that special item we hope lies underneath the wrapping paper. When we find it, when we receive that gift, joy enters our hearts, minds, and fills our words as we blurt out an almost sensible cobbling of appreciation. It's the same emotions Ralphie exudes in "A Christmas Story." From that moment on, the gift preoccupies the rest of our day (or week/month/year) -- that is, until we want/need/simply cannot live without some other bauble or trinket. The previous gift of awesomeness falls by the wayside. It may get revisited, sure, but it never has the same luster as the day it was freed from its paper prison.
Such is the story of the band of misfits looking for their boy in "The Stuff of Legend." The toys are trying to reclaim their boy who was snatched by the Boogeyman. They've been on this quest for what seems like forever, but never seems long enough while reading the adventure.
I've been reading this book since the start, completely content with following the trail of crumbs left for me. On the way through the Jungle, towards the end of this issue, the story provides a glimpse into the origins of the Dark as told by Monty the monkey. We learn of the Zoo - a refuge for discarded stuffed animals - and the revolt that occurred there.
All the way through, Wilson's art is beyond compare. It is exactly what this story needs, able to convert from highly rendered to strongly primal - like cave drawings - without hesitation. Deepening the experience is the celebration of printed material as the book is crafted to look old. The paper is as slick and cohesive as that of any other book on the market today, but Wilson, Conkling, and DeVito have given this book a timeless, well-loved look that dazzles the senses.
There are those presents you just know you want, but without fail, every so often you get a gift from out in left field - something you never saw coming, but something you really, really enjoy once you get it. It's that gift that you just know was chosen after hours of thought and painstaking consideration. "Stuff of Legend" is that gift off of the new comic rack. Get yourself a present this holiday season. Revel in the adventures of a boy's (once) beloved toys.