Very recently I had the pleasure of doing a text interview with Raven Gregory, comic writer extraordinaire and Executive Editor from Zenescope Comics.
I have been a fan of your books at Zenescope for years now, thanks for talking with Thepullbox.
Eric: The Waking is described as an “innovative totally original” take on the zombie story, can you fill us in what is the new spin on the The Waking?
RG: The story follows four detectives, in New York City, investigating two random murders as they begin to discover clues that the victims of these heinous crimes may actually be returning to avenge their own deaths. Now, in a race against time they must discover those responsible for the murders and uncover the supernatural source behind the “wakings.”
The twist on the zombie mytho actually comes from the zombies themselves. Before Romero made Night of the Living Dead, EC Comics, W. W. Jacobs (The Monkey’s Paw), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Lovecraft, and Poe all did zombie stories that were more focused on these beings who’s soul was not at rest. Tortured creature with a need for vengeance against those who placed them into their current state of existence. Or beings forced to do the purpose of someone who had the power to control them to be used as an end to their own means. In that way, the zombies in THE WAKING are much more similar to their descendants versus their modern day counter parts. These are people coming back in search of the people responsible for their death’s and nothing will stop them from getting their revenge. The bigger mystery though is who and what is behind these “wakings” and how the police plan to stop it…or if it even can be stopped.
Eric: Would you say this story is more horror, action / adventure, or thriller?
RG: While there are definitely horror elements I liken it moreso to a thriller than anything else. It definitely has a SEVEN-ish feel to it. But the horror is definitely there especially when the cause of the “wakings” is revealed.
Eric: While you have already told some incredible stories, would you consider The Waking new country for you?
RG: THE WAKING is a strange beast in that I wrote it back when I was writing THE GIFT, which was about six years back. So the guy who wrote it (had one kid and now I have four) was very gung-ho. Very much wanting to take on the world and kick ass and take names and show my @#$% to anyone willing to take a look. I was really inexperienced but my enthusiasm was at its peak and it was all about the writing because I didn’t know about all the other shit that goes into getting your work out into the world.
But stuff kept happening that would derail production. Originally Rich Bonk was going to draw the series, then Marlin Shoop, but circumstances would happen and the book just never got done. So for years I would look at this script and polish it here and there and make changes. Then Wonderland went really well and Zenescope was willing to try out THE WAKING. So I polished it again and made changes to it based on the more experienced writer I am today. So with THE WAKING you kind of get the best of both worlds. The writer I was and the writer I am today.
Eric: Is this book connected with other books in Zene-verse at all?
RG: Not really. It’s set in its own universe. I thought about throwing Calie in there working at a diner but decided the story should really stand on it’s own and hopefully that’s exactly what it does.
Eric: Fans might argue over what their favorite Gregory story is (from Zenescope or not), do you have a favorite that you have worked on? Most fun to develop?
RG: THE GIFT will always hold a special place in my heart as that is what got me my start. I had no censorship at all. It was completely pure. If I wanted to write a story about a girl who smoked a joint and turned into a smoke demon, then that was the story I wrote. If I got fired from a job I wrote a story that worked out those issues. It was really theraputic. Same with the first issue of Se7en. But if I had to choose one it would probably be Beyond Wonderland. With that series me, Dan Leister, Nei Ruffino, and Crank all brought our game to another level and Calie really came to life for me.
Eric: Has there ever been a story that you have wanted to work on that got stopped either by higher-ups executives? copy write laws?
RG: I only been censored once while working at Zenescope. In issue one of Return to Wonderland I wanted to put something on the table that related to one of the many reason why Johnny is so screwed up and Zenescope said no. In hindsight it was the right decision but at the time I really thought it would work. Other than that they have been immensely supportive in everything that I have wanted to do.
Eric: Grimm Fairy Tales is a huge fan-favorite, but your Wonderland trilogy has brought a great deal fans to Zenescope… Is this really the end of Callie’s journey? The end of Wonderland? Or could there be something else in store for both her and the reader (more prequel books or something industry drive like Wonderland: Final Crisis ;))
RG: Yes, this really is it for Calie. We’ve all agree that this is it. We might play with a prequel story, or perhaps further one shots like the Tales From Wonderland series but after Escape the tale of Calie will come to an end.
Eric: Any other future / present projects we can shamelessly plug here?
RG: There is a big announcement coming but for now my lips are sealed. What I can say is to keep an eye on Grimm Fairy Tales #50. There are big things coming.
Eric: Thank you so much for your time!