Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I present a candid conversation with the one and only Mike Raicht! Yes, the creator that brought you The Stuff of Legend (Th3rd World Studios) now brings you a horror book that he and I think you’ll absolutely love called The Pack! It will ship this October through Diamond Distributors under the Th3rd World Studios banner. Check out the super cool preview pics Mike sent along and enjoy this ComicAttack.net special presentation.
ComicAttack: In terms of character and plot, what is The Pack all about?
Mike Raicht: It’s a werewolf-teen angst drama with werewolves that tear you apart and are not really all that pretty to look at. The story kicks off with the murder of a local high school sports star and examines what happens to a high school and the people in it when the Alpha Male of the school is taken from them. It follows two main characters. The extremely uncool David Lassiter and his belief that there are werewolves in the school killing people and the ascension of Greg Jordan from new kid in school to high school stud. These stories dove tail together and it all ends rather bloodily.
CA: Why choose to do a horror/werewolf book at this point in your career?
MR: I love all things horror. It’s not healthy but it’s the truth. I know it won’t be the last horror book I put out. And truth be told, this book started about 6 years ago. It’s something that Th3rd World and I have wanted to get out there for awhile. Now with Daniel Faccilongo on board we’re finally able to get it out there.
CA: Considering some of the violence and language in The Pack, whom do you personally believe your target audience to be?
MR: The audience for this book is me as a 13 or 14 year old. I still can’t believe how lax the local video store in town was about me renting anything I wanted back then. Seriously though, the book does have some language and violence issues that probably skew it a little older. I think it would compare with your typical hard PG-13 or R-Rated feature. It’s definitely not a kids book. I really love horror stories that delve into the personal relationships of the characters and then bring the horror angle on. Sometimes in some movies the horror overrides the characters. I’m just not into those types of stories so I try not to write them.
CA: Did you feel any added pressure with this series because of the success of The Stuff of Legend?
MR: You always want every book you do to be well received and enjoyed by people. I think that’s what everyone is striving for. The pressure I put on myself isn’t necessarily because of the success we’ve had with Stuff of Legend, but probably more due to the fact that I want people to come back and keep reading stuff I’m involved with. You don’t want to disappoint people because they might not come back. That’s what drives me. I’d like to say I write for me, but that’s not the case, Probably not the healthiest answer but that is the truth.
CA: What was your inspiration for The Pack?
MR: The Pack is my attempt to combine two things I loved as a kid in the mid-late 80s. John Hughes movies and the teen horror craze of that time. I loved the teen angst movies and movies like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Lost Boys. Our book is about what happens when you inject the horrible, scary world of teenagedom with werewolves that want to tear everything to shreds. Imagine going through high school with animal impulses that get so crazy near the full moon that instead of just talking behind someone’s back you went after them to try to rip their throats out. Those are the good time dynamics I’m hoping to play with.
CA: Can you talk about your relationship with Th3rd World Studios as far as how much latitude they give you as a writer?
MR: Th3rd World is great because not only do they give me latitude but they also give me feedback when I ask for it. Mike DeVito and I talk about storytelling quite a bit. They are also so involved in the design and coloring of the book that their fingerprints are all over the project. They’re heavily involved in every step but I feel like I have the final say on things. At the end of the day we all want to have a good story out there.
CA: How long has this book been in the works?
MR: Since 2005. We’ve had a couple false starts due to some artists moving on to Marvel and DC but in the end I think we more than lucked out finding Daniel Faccilongo. He was born to work on this book.
CA: Tell us a little about the artist, Daniel Faccilongo, and why you decided to bring him on the title.
MR: Daniel and I hooked up with the help of Unknown Soldier and Godzilla artist Alberto Ponticelli. This is Daniel’s first American work and he is doing some amazing stuff. I think people will be able to see he is someone to watch. He initially showed us some amazing Hellboy and Batman sketches that blew us away. We knew if he could bring that dark, foreboding edge to this story we’d have something very cool for people to check out. I think he’s more than delivered.
CA: Why did you set this story in the past?
MR: I liked the idea of having a story set around the time of when I graduated. This is a werewolf book but it is also a little personal for me. I set it in my hometown, Marcellus as well. I just felt I could relate to these characters and bring some personal experience into the piece. The early 90s also removed cell phones from the pockets of all of my main characters. Cell phones were not as common as they are now back then. Horror was much easier in the 80s and 90s.
CA: Was there any trepidation on your part going with a horror story set in a high school atmosphere (comparisons to Twilight)?
MR: Now there is, but back when we started this that wasn’t really something I had even thought of. I think the high school landscape is ripe for all sorts of stories. It has been for years. Twilight is certainly good but it’s not the first movie to delve into the love lives of teens with vampires and werewolves involved. Hopefully we’ve found our own little niche. Movies like Ginger Snaps, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street are probably better things to compare The Pack to.
CA: Are you afraid of any backlash from that angle?
MR: Not really. Hopefully people will give it a try. This is very different from Twilight. The Pack‘s world is very squarely set in the horror realm. I think we are trying to bring as much horror as we can to this small town high school tale. That being said, I think any people who like horror, werewolves, teen angst stories, etc. will find something to like here. Especially if we do our job right.
CA: How about the school and guns dynamic?
MR: I hadn’t really thought about it. I’m hoping people know this is fantasy and not reality. It’s always tricky but we’re in the business of telling fantastic and sometimes gruesome stories. Guns are going to be involved. We have included a Mature Readers tag in Previews and on the book.
CA: Anything else you want to add on The Pack or your work in general?
MR: Just that I hope people give the book a chance. If you are interested, make sure to tell your retailer. They have thousands of books to choose from every month and if stuff like The Pack is something you want to see on your comic shop shelves more often you need to help retailers out and let them know you will support it. That goes for any independent title. We are in a great industry where fans and retailers interact. We should all take advantage of that.
Thanks to Mike for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with us and get the word out about The Pack, coming in October! Ask your local comic shop to get a few dozen copies or order it from your online store! Check out some of the cool preview artwork Mike sent along, as well! Personally, I think The Pack looks like it’s gonna be a good one, and with a track record like Mike and Th3rd World Studios have, it should be a slam dunk!
Click images to enlarge