Exclusive Interview with Zenescope’s Raven Gregory!

Beyond Wonderland #2Alice left Wonderland years ago, but Wonderland stuck with her.  And in the years that follow, Alice Liddle has grown as twisted as the land past the rabbit hole.  She’s gotten older, but mentally ill to the point that she’s tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists.  She’s constantly in a living sleep, her only companion a creepy white rabbit that…well, it may actually be dead.  She has a husband who has a thing for hookers, and two teenaged kids, Johnny and Calie.

Johnny’s a creepy kid who seems to treat pictures of dead animals like internet porn, and Calie drinks, takes drugs, and parties with her boyfriend, dreaming of the day that she can leave her depressing home, and her mother’s mental illness, behind.  However, Calie gets dragged into Wonderland, where she meets the cannibalistic Cheshire Cat, the rapist Mad Hatter, a crazy Carpenter, and a maniacal Queen of Hearts.

She escapes just in time to find out her family’s dark history (no, I won’t tell you here!) and just what her brother has been doing at nights.  Still, Wonderland demands a soul, and to save our world, she sacrifices Johnny to the looking glass.  She leaves her home behind and runs to New York, where she assumes the fake name Lacy.

After learning she’s pregnant, Calie starts to think that something from Wonderland may have come back with her.  She’s being stalked, her friends are starting to disappear, and this fake life that she’s tried to make her reality is quickly unraveling.

One of the diabolical men behind this twisted take on Wonderland is writer Raven Gregory.  Raven gave us a little of his time recently to answer questions about the upcoming final issue of Beyond Wonderland, the middle part of the larger Wonderland trilogy from Zenescope Entertainment (it’s true…he says so below!), as well as some of his upcoming projects.  Check out our exclusive interview after the jump!

Hey Raven!  Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, and what you do for Zenescope?  What did you write before coming to Zenescope, and what attracted you to joining in on what they had going on?
Hiya, I’m a staff writer and one of the editors over at Zenescope.  I oversee the creative process of helping with the production of all the monthly titles, as well as help with conceptions of new storylines, and do most of the staff writing for all the Wonderland titles.  Occasionally I write an issue of Grimm Fairy Tales here and there but mostly my biggest contribution are the various Wonderland series we release.  Before I came to Zenescope I did my own creator owned book called THE GIFT that was later picked up by Image Comics.  I think the fact that we both love the old school horror comic Twilight Zone feel is what drew me most to the kinds of stories Zenescope was telling.

Beyond Wonderland #6 CoverSo, issue five of Beyond Wonderland was just released last week.  With the sixth and final issue of the series coming soon, tell us a little bit about what’s happened and what’s coming up for the finale of the series.
Calie, who now goes by the name Lacy, has finally come face to face with the truth.  Johnny got out of Wonderland and has been stalking her all this time.  And he’s more powerful than he ever was before.  He is her great white whale and she’s going to have to deal with him one way or another.  As for what’s coming up in issue six anything I say would ruin the surprise that is waiting for the readers in that issue.  Suffice to say only one person is going to be walking away from that confrontation and it’s not who you think it’s going to be.

Wonderland #6, Cover BWhen Return to Wonderland ended, there was a pretty spiffy hardcover, and a collection of the various covers for the series.  Are there similar plans for Beyond?
There should be a hardcover coming out in a few months.  As well as a cover gallery.  David Nakayama is doing the cover for it as we speak and it is coming out amazing.

When can we look forward to seeing the Wonderland Annual: The House of Liddle?  I know you’re not the writer for this book, but how does it fit into the overall Wonderland series?
The story is written by Sinbad writer Dan Wickline and the basic plot of the story is what happened to the family that moved into the Liddle house after Calie left it for New York.  Keeping in mind that the mirror is still in the basement and that this house has been the scene of some pretty tragic events.  There’s still a lot of bad energy floating around that place and how it effects a new family was something I really wanted to explore.

Beyond Wonderland definitely reads like the darker middle part of a larger storyline.  It’s been hinted in other interviews that there is possibly a third piece to the “trilogy” coming.  Is this storyline planned as more of a trilogy, or something more ongoing?
It’s been mentioned and the original intent was to keep it all a big surprise but yes, there is a final part to the Wonderland trilogy that will be announced shortly.

Alice LiddleOut of the stories that could have been chosen for a spin-off from Grimm Fairy Tales, very few have taken more than one issue to tell.  What is it about the story of Alice in Wonderland that inspired you to give that storyline its own mini-series, rather than housing it in the Grimm Fairy Tales ongoing?
Some stories just are too big to tell within the regular series.  Wonderland, and a few others coming up later this year fall into that category.

Obviously, the tale of a darker Alice in Wonderland is something that writer’s have been trying to do for years, with varying degrees of success.  Still, the Wonderland series from Zenescope is the definite standout, even amongst other series processed at the same time.  What steps did you take to differentiate yourself from the rest?  Have you checked out any of the other takes?
I remember reading a bit of the Image HATTER M series just to make sure the tone of our story was vastly different from what they were doing and the American McGee story since that is also a well known dark take on the subject matter.  But mostly the story just came from watching this dysfunctional family that we created interact with one another and how this other worldly dimension kind of tears them apart.

The Cheshire CatYou occasionally write Grimm Fairy Tales, and have contributed to the Giant-Size specials and the Annuals.  Obviously, the two series, while sharing similar themes, have a very different feel.  What are the approaches you take to writing the different series?
The guys at Zenescope very much let me do my own thing on the Wonderland series.  It’s the kind of story where I can rarely take it too far.  Whereas Grimm is much more PG-13 and while we can still tell some amazing stories we try to keep it at a level where it doesn’t go overboard as well as Joe and Ralph have a bigger thread story taking place through the series that you always have to be considering when your writing parts of the series.  It all has to fit even if the reader hasn’t seen the pieces yet.

It’s been hinted that the universes of Beyond Wonderland, Arabian Nights, and Grimm Fairy Tales are shared, with the Arabian Nights/Grimm Fairy Tales explicitly explained.  Are their plans to crossover the two titles, or are these more “easter eggs” for loyal readers?
You’ll see, but yes, there are Easter Eggs galore and all the universes are indeed intertwined in a way that will be more explained in GFT 37.

How did NYCC go for Zenescope, and for you personally?  Any plans for attending upcoming cons?  Sure would be great to see you in the lineup for Heroes Con in Charlotte in June…
I’d love to come out to Heroes Con this year.  It’s a great show but with my writing schedule as it stands now I might only make it out for Philly and possibly Chicago.

Dang….So what’s next for you?  Anything in the works?
I have a new creator owned book that has been long in the making coming out called THE WAKING.  It’s the story of four detectives racing against time to discover the identities of the murderers whose victims have risen from the dead for revenge against their killers and if the police should stop them from killing them or just let justice be served.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
Good speaking with you as well.

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You can pick up the first Wonderland series, Return to Wonderland, the Tales from Wonderland series, and any of the Beyond Wonderland issues at your local comic shop, or at the official Zenescope store!  And, as mentioned above, don’t miss Grimm Fairy Tales #37 to find out how Wonderland pieces into the Grimm Fairy Tales mythology!

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