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Inside Wild Blue Yonder with Writer Mike Raicht

Wednesday, Apr 24th, 2013

Hello again, IDW fans! Today we have an exclusive interview with one of the creators of the new series Wild Blue Yonder! Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has taken to the skies, Wild Blue Yonder tells the story of a unique ship with an equally unique crew as they sail the air doing their best to evade their enemies. Mike shared with us where his inspiration for the story and gave us an exciting glimpse into the excitement we can all look forward to when Wild Blue Yonder comes to stores in the near future; you don't want to miss out on this book!


What kind of inspirations did you draw from while creating the world of Wild Blue Yonder?

I wanted to do something post-apocalyptic. Movies like the Road Warrior and Terminator were huge influences on me as a kid. More recently the movie/novel The Road also inspired me. I wanted to take those post- apocalyptic worlds and place them in a new environment. I had images of dudes with jetpacks, hopping from plane to plane, fighting with axes and crowbars 15,000 feet in the sky in my head. They live in a world where everything is falling apart, or has already been lost. There is no more industry and people are surviving on the remnants of older generations, fighting over the scraps that have been left behind.

But like a lot of things I work on, I wanted the main characters to be a part of a family striving to survive when everything is against them. I love to push and pull the family dynamic to see what comes out. I don't think you can get much more family then being the third, fourth, or fifth generation living together on a flying air barge protecting it with your lives.

What was the process like working with Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel? How has their art and coloring enhanced the stories you've written?

Zach is one of the best artists in the industry. I am the luckiest guy in the world to be working with him. He has had a huge part in creating the world. He's designed every aspect of it. Zach, Austin Harrison (our story guy and creative partner) and I have all been really working hard to create a fully fleshed out world together. Something that feels like it has been around for a long time. Zach is the creative force behind the design of the world and the look of the characters. He's done an amazing job taking his thoughts and merging them with ours. And what has come of it is way cooler than we could have imagined.

Nelson is a dream to work with. I have a feeling he never sleeps in between art chores on Judge Dredd and coloring our book. He and Zach kicked butt on The Cape and that continues here. They have a great synergy. Nelson's really setting the tone and mood of this world perfectly.

How closely did their art match up with the images you had in your head when you were writing Wild Blue Yonder? Were there any changes you made to the story that were influenced by their designs and input?

They are way better than anything I could have imagined. I'm just a good typist.  I always change things based on design. That's something I've always tried to do. If I see something that resonates with me, since I'm a huge comic book reader, I assume it will resonate with other people. This book, just like Stuff of Legend, is creator owned so we can cut loose on periphery characters from time to time. Scram, while he wasn't really periphery, is a character whose role has really expanded based on Zach's kick ass design on him.

Usually, once the characters and world are fleshed out it just adds to the storytelling possibilities. Zach is a huge believer in trying to create science fiction that is plausible. That adds into the realistic and gritty feel of the book and it pushes me to make sure the scenes and moments between the characters reflect that realism as best as I can.

The first issue gives us merely a brief introduction to some of the crew of the Dawn; what can you tell us about some of the crew members you haven't introduced yet?

We meet a lot of the main players in the first issue, but there are some more. We kind of see most everyone in the first issue except maybe one or two. To be honest, there aren't many people left on board. Some notable characters are: Lace, who we see during the first issue battle, is a deck sweeper. She protects the Dawn with her sword and flame thrower. Texas is a 10 year old who shadows Scram's every move. Brick is the other pilot on the Dawn. He's a pretty straight laced and by the book. And Big Cola, who is Cola's dad, is an old pilot who taught Cola everything she knows about flying. He's a cool cat.

 What exactly is so important about the Dawn, and what kind of plans do the Judge and his Wraiths have in the event that they acquire the ship?

The Dawn might be the only air barge in the sky that does not run on fuel. They run on a combination of solar power, hydrogen and magnets. Most of the other fleets run on fuel. Those reserves and refineries have begun to run dry.

The Judge needs the Dawn to save his people. He believes in survival of the fittest and his fleet is the most fit in his eyes. He is fighting for his family, just like the crew of the Dawn is fighting for theirs. How far both are willing to go to take care of their own is where the drama lies.

What can you say about the relationship between Olivia and Cola? How did you tackle writing a mother-daughter relationship set in a post-apocalyptic background?

I have two step-sisters. One of them, when she was 17 and 18, used to get in some pretty great knock down drag out fights with my step-mom. I just placed that relationship in a post-apocalyptic setting and imagined the mom was not only mom but also her commanding officer. Sometimes the best tool in writing is taking something you know, placing it someplace new, and letting your imagination run with it. The tension just kicks in from there.

Tug is replacing a deceased crewmember on the Dawn; what kind of challenges will this raise for Tug? Will he be able to fit in on the airship, or will he be an outsider?

Tug is going to have to become a warrior and a man at the same time. He is coming from a different background. When we meet him he is stuck on the polluted ground. If anyone below is offered a chance to move into the sky they take it. No matter what the dangers are. It's just better than dying a slow death below.

Once a person is brought onto a place like the Dawn, there is a transition period but once you earn your keep, you are immediately family. There's really no choice in the matter. You either fight to survive alongside the rest or you and those around you die. It is as simple as that. 

Thanks Mike! Check out some other great stuff from Wild Blue Yonder at www.NobleTransmission.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NobleTransmission. Also follow Mike Raicht on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeRaicht. Check back on the daily with IDW for more exclusive interviews, news, and previews on all your favorite comic books at www.idwpublishing.com

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