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Mike Raicht talks STUFF OF LEGEND


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?

Mike Raicht: 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 that choice.

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?

Mike Raicht: 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, Mike DeVito.

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?

Mike Raicht: 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?

Stuff of LegendMike Raicht: 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 to come.

Christine Caprilozzi: Where can our readers find out more about The Stuff of Legend?

Mike Raicht: Go to 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?

Mike Raicht: 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 want that.

Christine Caprilozzi: Thank you for your time, Mike! We look forward to reading The Stuff of Legend comic.

Comment on the Mike Raicht - Stuff of Legend Interview.

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Published on: 2009-02-20 (8858 reads)

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