Zenescope Month is in full swing, and we’re starting off the week with an exclusive interview with Raven Gregory, one of Zenescope’s most inventive and productive writers. Here, he gives us the scoop on Charmed, explains the origins behind The Waking, and tells us what’s in store for Grimm Fairy Tales!
TFAW.com: Hi Raven, thanks for taking some time out of your schedule for us.
Raven Gregory: Hey guys. Thanks for having me.
TFAW.com: How did you start writing for comics? What inspired you?
RG: It’s actually a pretty silly story. Me and some buddies were hanging out drinking and my pal said we should create a comic. I went home that night and began writing The Gift. Ten years later here I am. I had always been a huge fan of comics and had always loved writing, so it was serendipity that the two found each other.
TFAW.com: When did you start writing for Zenescope? What was your first story?
RG: The first book I wrote for them was Se7en: Gluttony sometime back in 2006 or ’07. I had met them at some conventions on the circuit and saw a press release about them publishing Final Destination. I wrote them and with no ego at all told them I was born to write that book. They responded back and told me it was already written but asked if I’d be interested in writing the prequel to the movie Se7en which is one of my favorite movies of all time. That book led to Wonderland and so on and so on.
TFAW.com: You are definitely one of the most prolific writers Zenescope has, with Charmed, Grimm Fairy Tales, The Waking, and Wonderland on your plate. How do you handle writing so many titles at once?
RG: It’s actually a little magic trick I’ve managed to pull off. I’m a pretty fast writer, and when I have to get a script done I can get one done in a day or two. I’m very lucky in having the feedback from both Joe and Ralph in keeping me from sucking more than I would, given that I don’t enjoy writing fast unless the story is just flowing. But in most cases, like with The Waking and a few of the other stories, they’ve been done years or months in advance, giving me plenty of time to polish them–but when they actually come out, they all come out at the same time.
Next year is going to be even more insane, as it’s going to look as if I am writing anywhere between four to nine books per month. I’m not even exaggerating here. Lucky for me most of these stories are already done.
TFAW.com: The Charmed comics have been hugely successful–there are a lot of happy fans out there. How did you prepare to launch the series?
RG: We really tried our best to get the word out to all the Charmed fans out there. The actresses themselves were cool enough to tweet about the series on their Twitters and I think that helped a lot. But mostly it was just getting the word out. The rest was the fact that Charmed fans themselves passionately love the series, so it was a pretty easy sell to get fans to come back and follow the adventures of their favorite witches.
TFAW.com: Were you a Charmed fan before you signed on as co-writer?
RG: Of course. But I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. My wife watched the show faithfully, and after a while I had no choice but to watch. I really enjoy that beyond the powers and monsters and demons it really is a story about family, and that’s what gets the writer in me.
TFAW.com: What can you tell us about Charmed #4?
RG: HE’S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TFAW.com: What has it been like collaborating with first-time comic book writer Paul Ruditis?
RG: It was a lot of fun. We didn’t always agree on where the story should go, but everything that came out of those discussions led to a better product in the end. Paul’s on his own now, but I still love what he’s doing on the series.
TFAW.com: Do you have a favorite sister or character?
RG: It’s a toss-up between Phoebe and Prue.
TFAW.com: Will Prue come back? Tell us!
RG: Prue? That’s not a name I’m familiar with. 🙂
TFAW.com: With The Waking, you added a new twist to the zombie genre: the zombies are people who were murdered, back to get revenge on their killers. What prompted that idea?
RG: I’ve always been a big fan of the old EC horror comics and shows like the Twilight Zone, and it just felt like the original premise of the killer zombie had gotten lost once Romero sunk his teeth into the genre. So it was a mix of my love for the old horror comics, where zombies were a vehicle of revenge, mixed in with my love for CSI . . . another show that my wife watches endlessly that I have also fallen in love with.
TFAW.com: While this is a horror comic, there’s a huge focus on the power of love–can you elaborate on that?
RG: For me, I think, my best writing comes from dealing with personal issues. One of those, as a parent, is losing my kids. So taking the idea of a parent who loves their child so much and just can’t let go, to the point where their hatred for the person who has taken their child from them actually becomes the embodiment of death given life was a story that I just had to tell.
TFAW.com: At the end, not to spoil anything, but you seemed to leave things open for a sequel. Is that in the works?
RG: I was asked this question over and over again and I always said no, that’s it. The story is done and I wrote it in a way that it’s open but still pretty clear cut and closed. But I met a fan at one show who said something that made me realize that maybe the story isn’t over. There’s a germ of something out there but for now it’s not at the forefront of my mind. But . . . you never know.
TFAW.com: With The Walking Dead and the Zombie Survival Guide, there’s a big focus on zombies right now. What do you think of the genre as a whole?
RG: It’s in a better place than it’s been in years. No longer is it the same-old same-old. Now it’s all about finding the new twist and raising the bar on what a zombie story can be, and I think that’s just great for creators and readers alike.
RG: Anything I say here will be a spoiler, but I will say that we have a lot of fun in the story giving cosplayers a shout-out, as well as taking a stand that vampires should not glitter. 🙂
TFAW.com: Is this a Twilight parody? What do you think of Twilight mania?
RG: You ever play that game who would win in a fight? Try that with vampires and see where the Twilight vamps end up on the totem pole. But, again, with that said, I get why the story is so popular . . . because my wife made me see them. 🙂
TFAW.com: The Wonderland series has had some epic stories involving Alice Liddle and her daughter, Calie. Will future stories still center around the Liddles?
RG: Most of the current stories we’re doing now focus on the origins of the Wonderland characters themselves or victims of the looking-glass mirror, but . . . there may be one or two stories left that tell the story of Calie . . . and her daughter Violet.
TFAW.com: You’ve taken a lot of childhood favorites and added an adult sensibility with both sex and violence. What’s the reaction been?
RG: It’s like anything else. Some people love it. Some . . . not so much.
TFAW.com: What other types of stories would you like to tell?
RG: I want to tell a kids story. Something I could give my daughter to read. Maybe one day when scheduling isn’t so hectic. Also want to do a straight comedy, as it’s my weakest strength.
TFAW.com: What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
RG: Grimm Fairy Tales Myths and Legends is going to be huge. We’re bringing back Red Riding Hood in a big big way, and setting up the GFT universe in a way that I think will have people talking for some time to come.
Our thanks go out to Raven for a great interview! Make sure to check out all of Raven Gregory’s comics and graphic novels, including The Waking, Charmed, Wonderland, and Grimm Fairy Tales!
Do you think Prue will be back? What do you think about Zenescope Month thus far? Which comic book publisher should be cover next? Post your comments below!