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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:

Grace Randolph is a multi-talented creator. She started out making her name as an improv comedian and video artist, but lately she’s been coming on strong as a comics writer to watch. She recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Marc Mason about her current projects in comics (Boom Studios’ MUPPET PETER PAN - in stores September 16th!) and online.

MM: You're a writer, actor, video artist... when did you find the time to start writing comics?

GR: Well, I'll tell you, it's a long hard road to break into comics and if you DON'T have something else to do you'll go crazy! And I think that's true of a lot of careers, especially those that are freelance and/or entrepreneurial in nature. That's why a lot of people in the arts wear several hats, as a successful career is more of a quilt than just one security blanket.

MM: Were you a comics fan as a kid? What did you like to read?

GR: I sure was! My father got me started on comics buying me Archie, Calvin & Hobbes, and Scrooge McDuck comics. Then, one day - and I remember it very clearly - the grown-ups section of the comic book store caught my eye. Up until then it had been so mysterious! I read those until about junior year in high school when my parents told me I was getting too old for comics. But then I went to film school and everyone read comics, so I picked them back up and haven't stopped since! As for what I read now, I read mostly DC, Marvel and Vertigo titles, plus anything written by Alan Moore or Grant Morrison. I also enjoy the Muppet/Pixar line at BOOM! and I'll be picking up the Archie comic where he (supposedly) gets married.

MM: We've seen your work in mainstream comics like JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, and in manga (WARCRAFT). Obviously, you have some depth of knowledge about comics as a whole. Do you have a favorite genre?

GR: I don't have a favorite genre to write, just as I don't have a favorite genre to read. If it's a comic - mainstream, manga, indie, etc - I want to read it. I just really enjoy the artform.

MM: What did you take from those gigs as you moved into seeking other comics work? How does that breadth of experience help you when you pitch editors at this point in your career?

GR: It's a great feeling to suddenly realize you're a "professional". Not just as writer but in anything. You know how to get the job done. And that's a status you can only gain through experience, which luckily I have. As for how it helps me in pitching to editors, it means knowing how to submit a professional pitch. But I still do what I've always done which is pitch stories I want to read. I think that being an avid reader of comics makes me a better writer of comics.

MM: Your new project is MUPPET PETER PAN. Did the concept originate with you? Or was this a concept where Boom asked for pitches and yours won the day?

GR: BOOM! asked for pitches for their new Muppet Fairytale book, and so I submitted Muppet Peter Pan. They liked it, and Disney liked it. Yay!

MM: Were you a Muppets fan growing up? If so, does that makes this one of those proverbial "dream come true" projects? Do you have a favorite Muppet or aspect of the show?

GR: Every time I write a comic, it's a "dream come true" project. To be able to contribute to a medium I've enjoyed for so many years is very important to me. I take every single job seriously because I feel a big responsibility to the reader. Like I said, I also read comics and I know how crummy it is to read a crappy comic. With the Muppets, yes I was a huge fan growing up! My favorite Muppet movie is "A Muppet Christmas Carol" and I'm hoping that Muppet Peter Pan lives up to that wonderful piece of entertainment.

MM: How closely were you able to work with your artist, Amy Mebberson? Did you know each other prior to the project or was this a collaboration built on the spot?

GR: I never met Amy Mebberson before this project, but when I told my fellow Muppet writer Tim Beedle (Muppet Robin Hood) that Amy had been chosen for Muppet Peter Pan, he couldn't stop raving about her. And when her pages started to come in, I saw that he wasn't exaggerating! Our work process is that I write the script, finalize it with my editor and Disney, then it goes to Amy. I'll say that one of the nice things about Amy as the artist on the book is her ability to sell a gag visually. I come from a comedy background so I put in a lot of jokes, but also a lot of physical gags and reactions. Amy does them justice.

MM: After this series, what comes next for you in comics?

GR: I have a story in TOKYOPOP and Blizzard's Warcraft Legends: Volume 5, which comes out September 1st. It's actually a sequel to my story "Warrior: Divided" that was in Warcraft Legends: Volume 2, and it's the first manga sequel that Blizzard has ever greenlit, so that's very exciting.

MM: Your web series BEYOND THE TRAILER takes a humorous look at whether or not those two and a half minutes really translate into something worth watching for two hours. How did BTT come about?

GR: As I mentioned earlier, I have a comedy background and started out doing sketch and improv comedy around New York City. But after I'd moved my show to top clubs like Gotham Comedy Club and The Comedy Cellar, I started to feel I'd taken that route as far as I could. At around that same time, I'd met some people who were getting into internet content and was invited to pitch a show for a new internet content distributor. So I took two of my favorite things - comedy and movies - and came up with this show called RevYOU. I was able to build it into something pretty good but unfortunately, after a few months, the distributor went under. But by then Next New Networks had noticed the show and wanted to distribute a similar version under their Indy Mogul brand, so I created Beyond The Trailer. The show comes out every Friday (or Wednesday, depending when the week's movies are released) and between RevYou and BTT, I haven't missed a week since September 2007!

MM: Do you enjoy the "woman in the street" approach the series uses? Does it allow you to exercise your improv muscles?

GR: Yes, it does! My improv really comes in hand keeping the interviews fresh and fun, and to giving the interviewee (who is often new to this kind of stuff) a nice experience. I absolutely love talking to people every week about movies, and we even have some regulars! I think Hollywood really underestimates audiences and thinks of them as just these rabid or apathetic fans, and has no idea how smart the average moviegoer really is. Although I will say, I get quite a few twist endings ruined for me, but that's cool - I don't mind at all! Knowing the end of a movie doesn't lessen the experience for me.

MM: Improv comedy is a big part of your background, and you've led improv troupes. At what point in your life did you get interested in performing? Was there something in particular that gave you the bug?

GR: I went to NYU's undergrad film school but when I got out, I realized that making movies was REALLY expensive. So I turned to live theater which is much cheaper to put on, especially in New York City. As for improv, a couple of people had been telling me for awhile to get into comedy so on a whim I signed up for an improv group - and discovered I really enjoyed it! From there I started my own improv group and kept going until I hit the internet.

MM: Are there ever moments when you feel overwhelmed by the number of projects you have working and lose track of which "hat" you're wearing?

GR: Not at all! In the beginning of this interview, I said a person in the arts needs to wear a lot of hats. I find that my different gigs actually bleed into each other and help one another. Plus I keep VERY detailed notes of what I need to do each day so I don't lose track. That really helps.

MM: Is there an ultimate plan for expanding and building the Grace Randolph Empire? You're conquering stage, comics and computer screens- what next?

GR: Haha - the Grace Randolph Empire?! I don't know about that, but I really love what I do and I hope that I can continue along these paths. I look forward not only to what the future holds for me, but for entertainment in general! Let me tell you, the internet is taking us places, even comics....

MM: Thanks, Grace!

GR: No, Marc, thank YOU! 

MUPPET PETER PAN hits shelves September 16, 2009!

Marc Mason

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