Debuting in 1998 to 7.7 million viewers, Aaron Spelling’s show Charmed became a huge hit with fans of supernatural and family-oriented stories. Starring Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and Holly Marie Combs as Prue, Phoebe, and Piper, sisters who discover that they are the prophesied Charmed Ones, witches who must band together to fight against evil, the show eventually became the longest-running hour-long series featuring all female leads.
Charmed thrived for eight seasons, even in the face major changes to the cast, as Shannen Doherty left the show at the end of season three and Rose McGowan joined the cast as the Charmed Ones’ long-lost sister, Paige, in season four. When the show ended in 2006, Charmed still drew 4.49 million viewers–and left all of them wanting more!
Now, thanks to Zenescope, they have it: Zenescope Entertainment is publishing a monthly Charmed comic book series that picks up where the television show left off, telling the continuing stories of the Charmed Ones, written by Charmed novelist (and writer of the official episode guides) Paul Ruditis, with Raven Gregory!
Read our exclusive Zenescope Month interview with Ruditis below, where we attempt to discover whether or not Prue will return, as hinted at the SDCC Zenescope Charmed Comics panel, and check out preview images from Charmed #3, out today!
TFAW.com: Hi Paul, welcome to your TFAW.com interview!
Paul Ruditis: Thanks for having me. I know how much many of our readers love your site so I’m very glad to be here.
TFAW.com: Why don’t you tell us how you got involved with Charmed in the first place?
PR: I started out as a fan of the show, watching it like anyone else. Then a few years into the series, the company I worked for took over the product licensing. So for a brief period of time I oversaw the editorial duties for the studio on Charmed book line along with the spectacular editors at Simon Spotlight Entertainment.
A few years after I left my job, the editors at SSE were looking for someone to co-write the first official episode guide for the series and they came to me. I suspect the reasoning had as much to do my previous relationship with the show as it did with the fact that I’m in L.A. and I could drive to the set for interviews. From there I got involved in writing the novels based on the series, which eventually led me to Zenescope.
TFAW.com: What do you think attracted people to the Charmed TV series?
PR: I think the actresses and the fact that it was a Spelling TV show probably brought in the viewers in the beginning. Then the relationships between the characters is what kept them coming back. Sure, the magic and the villains were fun, but anyone that has ever watched the show talks more about the sisters, their family, and the relationships.
TFAW.com: How do you feel those aspects of Charmed translate to novels and comics?
PR: The novels were great because they allowed us to get into the character’s heads more. The writers could be more intimate with how the characters felt and how they interacted. As for the comic books, it presents an interesting challenge. You really have to focus on the core of the relationships and emphasize the moments in the story between the characters. The fight against evil will always move the stories, but the family and relationship threads will have to weave through everything we do.
TFAW.com: What are the biggest challenges (and the nicest benefits) to bringing the Charmed Ones to comics?
PR: The comic books are a more condensed form of storytelling, but they’re a way to actually see the adventures again beyond just the imagination. The best part is that we can expand on the visuals and the magic of the show, but still tell those smaller, family moments.
The challenge is that TV moves visually one way and comic book pages move in a completely different manner. We have to translate action that the fans are used to seeing onscreen to the page. This can’t always be a direct representation, but I think we’ve come up with some really great adaptations.
Our colorist, Milen Parvanov, has been really great at creating the orbing effect that Paige uses and the frozen rain to illustrate Piper’s power in issue #2. Milen has done some beautiful special effects to enhance the drawings even more.
TFAW.com: What would you say are the most interesting personality traits of Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige?
PR: I feel like this is a test. If I give the wrong answer the readers are going to be mad at me. But here we go . . .
Prue was the typical big sister. No-nonsense and determined. But with a softer side and some insecurity deep beneath the surface.
Piper’s an easy answer. Her mom referred to her as the heart of the family and that’s exactly what she is. She’s the glue that keeps her sisters together, especially in the early years.
Phoebe was very much the free spirit earlier in the series. She lost a bit of that in the later years when she became so focused on her vision of her future daughter. Now that she’s got that daughter, I think we’ll see some of that back, but it might take a little help.
Paige is the rebel. Of course, all the Charmed Ones have been somewhat rebellious considering the sometimes arbitrary rules they were forced to live under by the Elders. I definitely plan to address that as the comic book moves forward.
TFAW.com: Let’s get right to it: at the Charmed comics panel at SDCC, you guys showed us a photo of Shannen Doherty as Prue. Will she return in the comics?
PR: We’ll see. Or we won’t. Who can say?
TFAW.com: How do you think she and Paige would get along?
PR: Interesting question. Reminds me a lot of the readers following me on Twitter that ask leading questions trying to trick me into revealing spoilers [editor’s note: Who, us?]. Hypothetically speaking, their relationship would probably be awkward at first. As it would be for anyone meeting an adult sibling you never knew before. Then again, we know from Grams that there’s a lot of spectral eavesdropping going on, so maybe Prue already knows a lot about her newest sister.
TFAW.com: Would there be disastrous consequences to having four Charmed Ones instead of three?
PR: I don’t know that “disastrous” is the word I’d use. Though I suspect there would have to be some kind of repercussions. The prophecy was about the Power of Three after all, not the Power of Four.
TFAW.com: The girls now have children and husbands in the comics–how much are you going to focus on their individual family lives?
PR: We’ll definitely be seeing family issues play out more in the later issues. Not so much on the kids, as the series really focused on that with Wyatt during the course of the show. But the girls’ marriages still have plenty of room to explore as far as I’m concerned.
TFAW.com: The girls’ romances were a big part of the Charmed TV series. Do you miss that, now that they’ve settled down?
PR: Your question seems to imply that married people can’t be romantic. Considering some of the extreme situations the Charmed Ones get into, I’m sure there will plenty of times that the readers will get to re-experience the love between them and their husbands as well as the challenges all relationships go through.
TFAW.com: Will Phoebe be regaining some of her powers, or developing new ones?
PR: Well, Phoebe already got one of her abilities back in issue #2. She is levitating at the end of it, after all. As for other powers for Phoebe and her sisters? You might want to check out issue #3.
TFAW.com: It looks like Hogan and Neena are working with an evil force for some nefarious purpose–and that all of the girls’ “innocents,” or people they’ve saved, are in danger. Why are the evildoers targeting them, specifically?
PR: That question will be answered very, very soon.
TFAW.com: What has it been like, collaborating with Raven Gregory for the first three issues? Besides him insisting on dragons (which are extinct, according to Charmed canon).
PR: Oh, Raven never insisted on dragons. That was something else entirely. No, Raven wants to destroy San Francisco. Personally, I feel it’s been done. I mean they had that big earthquake back in 1906. It would be redundant.
The collaboration has been great. We got past the initial awkwardness pretty fast. It’s weird to throw two people together that have never met and ask them to create something together. Raven and I have different approaches to writing, but we meshed really well. Once you get past all the politeness in the beginning and into the nitty gritty the creative takes over and you just kind of flow together.
TFAW.com: From issue #4 on out, you’re taking over writing duties by yourself, correct? What types of storylines do you want to create?
PR: Yes, but Raven’s not going too far. He’s still an editor on the project. The stories we’re creating will continue to build off what we’ve been doing all along. They are going to get a bit more personal in the initial issues after this arc. We’ve got a special one-shot planned focusing on Phoebe. It’s a sequel to the second season episode “Morality Bites” and will explore more of her character: who she is, who she’s become, and who she could be in the future. But the show has always maintained a balance between the sisters and I will continue to make sure that is reflected in the comics.
TFAW.com: Will you bring back any other characters from the TV show, like Billie?
PR: Of course. Issue #3 has one of their past innocents on the cover. But if you mean more of the recurring characters, I’d say that we’re definitely open to that. There are a lot of great characters in the series. The challenge is that you’ve already got so many leads with the three sisters and their husbands that it’s difficult to insert the recurring characters into the story without it feeling like they’ve been added randomly. For the most part any characters that return will be woven into the story in a logical way, but I’m not opposed to a random cameo or two just to give the fans a taste of what’s going on in everyone’s lives after the show ended.
TFAW.com: Is there someone you never want to bring back–a character you can’t stand?
PR: Not that I can think of. If anything, I’d love to bring back some characters that I thought may not have worked so well so that I can have a shot at writing them myself.
TFAW.com: Now that you’ve gotten a taste of writing comics, would you want to tackle any of the other series you’ve written novels for, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Alias?
PR: That would be great. I love working on media tie-ins. It gives me a chance to play some small, tangential part in my favorite shows. Now that I’ve got a taste of this writing style, I’d also love to create some original comics as well. Who knows? I’m open to anything.
TFAW.com: What’s it been like working with Zenescope?
PR: Zenescope has been terrific to work with. I’m incredibly impressed by what they’ve done building up their company and making a name for themselves in the five years they’ve been in business. This is such a difficult industry to succeed in and the fact that they’ve grown and now have ties to a popular series like Charmed is pretty impressive. I hope to do more projects with them in the future.
TFAW.com: You also write a lot of young adult novels, such as your DRAMA! series. YA literature has been getting a lot of attention lately: what do you like most about writing for this audience?
PR: They’re not as jaded as the audience for adult books. And this has nothing to do with age. I know a lot of adults that read YA and I’m including them when I talk about the audience. It’s a totally different mindset. Even some of the darkest young adult books have some element of hope about them. There’s a sort of wide-eyed willingness to believe that things will get better. A lot of characters in books for adults have this sort of “been there, done that” attitude that just doesn’t interest me. Not to say that all books for adults are like that, but there are a lot of them.
The Charmed audience is actually very much like a YA audience in that respect. Again, this is regardless of their age. The elements of the show that they gravitate towards are very much the same elements that I find most interesting about young adult books.
TFAW.com: What else do you have coming up that you’re excited about?
PR: Since you mentioned the DRAMA! series, I have to say that is the most exciting project at the moment. My publisher is bringing the first two books back as a special single bound edition in December. DRAMA! is one of my favorite projects I’ve ever written so I’m thrilled that it’s been given new life.
Beyond that, the publishing industry moves so slowly sometimes. I have some really fun projects in the works that I’ve been teasing for almost a year now, but I still can’t talk about them because they’re at that point where they may or may not happen. But Zenescope’s been keeping me busy and I’ve been developing my own original work so I hope to have some announcements before the end of the year.
Are you a Charmed fan? Have you read the comics yet? Post your comments below!