Avril Brown Presents:
THE CWR INTERVIEW: RAVEN GREGORY--
RG: I've always been fond of reading and telling stories since I was much younger. I think I chanced upon the whole comic thing in that I had always loved comics growing up and finding that telling a story in that format became something of an obsession only worked toward helping me find an outlet for something I always wanted to do.
AB: You said you read comics growing up. Which were your favorites?
RG: I did but I got heavy into it around high school. I was given a box of comics by someone and discovered some real gems. House of Mystery, Man-Thing, Swamp-Thing, House of Secrets...and a little title called Uncanny X-Men. From there I got into Hulk and from there it all kind of spun out of control until there was very little on the shelves that I wasn't picking up.
AB: I think I've heard of that Uncanny X-Men book...but in terms of your work, you’ve recently authored the WONDERLAND series, which are several comic books detailing a darker, more dangerous version of the Lewis Carroll mind-trip fantasy world. Were you a fan of his books growing up? What made you decide to create such a twisted version of Wonderland?
RG: It was one of my favorite stories growing up and one that I always thought had a much darker theme lying right beneath the surface. The idea of a world that just doesn't make sense, where essentially all madness and insanity are birthed from just felt like fertile ground to play in. Putting a character in that kind of setting and watching as it not only affected her but how those effects would ripple out to her eventual family. It just felt like a story worth telling and made sense as to what would happen to a person after experiencing such insane things...if they were real that is.
AB: Definitely a story worth telling, but certainly not for the young kiddies, the WONDERLAND books touch on such themes as rape, suicide and murder, to name a few. Did you find it difficult to write such dark scenarios?
RG: Some places it did, just in the sense that the story kind of took over and once in a while I had to stop and say, hey, is this going too far or does this make sense in the sense of where the story is taking us. I was very lucky to have two great co-creators (Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco) who I could bounce things off of versus the liability of working in a void by myself.
AB: That sounds helpful. Which characters were your favorites to write?
RG: Love writing Johnny. He's just so damaged and tragic. Broken in so many ways that regardless of what "thing" he does next you "get" where he's coming from. You don't agree but you get why his head is so wrong. And the Cheshire Cat. I'm not sure if it ever came across the way I intended but if you read him carefully you see he is never presented the same way twice. He is very much every fucked up personality rolled up into one and you were never supposed to know which cat you were getting which day.
AB: I ADORE the Cheshire Cat, both the mad Disney version and your own dark kitty. Both are deliciously disturbing. Are there any other famous ‘childhood’ worlds you wish to see the NC-17 version of?
RG: I think this might be it. Nothing else really jumps out at me. I am looking forward to Neverland as it's like Wonderland but much more of an adventure type book.
AB: That sounds like a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, you are also the author of the upcoming mini-series entitled THE WAKING, which is about murder victims rising from the dead to seek vengeance on the person who killed them. Without giving too much away about the book, WAKING seems to be the antithesis to most standard zombie stories (zombies targeting the guilty, un-killable until they achieve their goal, they don’t spread infection, etc.). How did you come up with this idea?
RG: A lot of the old zombie mythos like Poe, EC comics, Frankenstein, even Dracula to an extent feature creatures brought back from the dead in search of revenge over those who wrong them or beings controlled by another as the use to an ends to a means. This was before Romero did his Night of the Living Dead movie and kind of cemented the idea of the mindless zombie into the media consciousness that we know and love today. So while it's new take it's also kind of a throw back to those stories I initially grew up reading as a young boy.
AB: Touche. Sounds like I need to brush up on my classics. Are there any plans for a sequel to the series? Can you give us a hint on any other upcoming projects?
RG: I have one in the works that feels a lot like my first series THE GIFT but it's too soon to say anything yet.
AB: Fair enough. I ask this of all writers I interview: do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
RG: No one is ever going to believe in you. You have to go out, and MAKE the world believe in you. Show them what only YOU can do and no one else. No one else is going to do it for you. No one is going to discover you and make all your dreams come true and give you the opportunity to do what you love. You are the one, the only one. You are going to have to go out there and crawl and scrape by one story at a time until no one can deny you what it is that you want. To write.
AB: Wow. Those are certainly wise words to live by. And now for the random wrap-up question: You are out to eat at a restaurant anywhere in the world, with anyone, living or dead, as your companion. What kind of food, what city and who is your dinner date?
RG: I recently ate at the same restaurant as in Forgetting Sarah Marshall with my wife on our 10 year anniversary. It was on the beach in Hawaii on a clear cool night with all the stars out. I can make up ideas and imagine all the stories and scenarios in the world but I don't think I could ever come up with a more perfect moment in my wildest dreams. So I'd have to say there.
AB: I am one of the premier hopeless romantics, and THAT might be one of the most romantic things I've ever heard. Your wife is one lucky woman. Thank you so much for taking the time to share a bit of yourself with the readers of CWR, and we're all looking forward to what else you and Zenescope Entertainment can come up with!
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