Raven is Waking Up!

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Raven Gregory is currently the Executive Editor of Zenescope Entertainment and also the writer of the Wonderland trilogy that Zenescope put out as well as the long-running maxi-series The Gift (via Image Comics, with Tyler Kirkham on pencil duties). This Wednesday, the 25th of November, marks the moment that his new creator-owned project sees the light of day. Broken Frontier talks with writer Gregory about the end of Wonderland, as well as the beginning of his new series to be released to the general public.

BROKEN FRONTIER: you are finishing off the end of your Wonderland trilogy (for Zenescope) right now, right? I thought I remember you saying somewhere that you had a hard time finishing up writing issue 5. Is that true?
RAVEN GREGORY: Yup, it's officially in the bag.  I finished the last issue last Friday and everyone seemed pretty happy with it.  I had been having trouble with the last couple issues for a while.  I think alot of it had to do with me being afraid of dropping the ball.  There's almost an unspoken expectation that if you are going to do a trilogy that the last one better not suck.  And that pressure just blocked my creative output for a bit.  But I worked through it and now I couldn't be happier with how the story came out.

BF: How was the experience of Wonderland for you?
RG: Really great.  Joe Brusha, and Ralph Tedesco (my co-creators) were extremely supportive and really let me tell the story that I wanted to tell.  And some of the ideas they came up with really took the story to another level.  Same with my partners in crime, Dan Leister, and Nei Ruffino.  The pencils and the colors those two did made me look much better than I could ever have possibly on my own.  It's been three years since we all started this and I really can't think of a single thing I would have changed.  It's been an amazing ride.  One that I will always remember.
BF: How did you even get the idea and did it change troughout the years? Was it an organic process?
RG: Very much so.  I worked from a loose outline for the first series.  I threw the outline away for the second and the third I had no idea where the story was going or how it would get there.  It's one of the first projects I have ever worked on where I'd wake up and start writing and basically spend my day following these characters and listening in and jotting down whatever I could on the page.  The one thing that never did change though is, regardless of the misconceptions some people have about the series, it's always been about the internal and external struggles of a family that has been broken apart and is trying to stay together.  To me, that has and always will be the heart and soul of the story.

The Waking 01BF: Now that Wonderland finished, you are gearing up for The Waking, which is your own project. It has been in your hands for years now, is that not right? I remember you talking about that in 2005 I believe! To the non-infested people out there, can you tell a bit about The Waking and what it is all about?
RG: The story follows four detectives 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.”
BF: Reading this suspense/detective story (with zombie-parts to add some spice) I cannot help but think you are combining your own (icky) imagination with real-life situations as well as your emotions on topics such as family life and social stances. Am I presuming correctly or did I get your vibe?
RG:  Correct.  It's a very personal story for me that I was able to put a lot of myself into.  I don't want to give too much away, but as a father of four kids, one of my biggest fears is losing one of my kids.  There's just so much danger out there in the world.  Strangers, accidents, drugs, illnesses, serial killers, guns, abuse, kidnappers, pedophiles, domestic violence, mental sickness, just a smorgasbord of bad shit that you do your best to protect your kids from.  But largely, you can only do so much.  And getting to that place where you can let go and sit back and say okay, I've done my part, I have to let my kids be kids and pray to God nothing horrible happens, is a really tough place to get to.  So a lot of the story has to do with that.  With dealing with the fear of losing a child and what that would do to a person.  To a parent.  And I can see that even with all the love, and sorrow, that the anger would drive a person, take them to places they never thought they might go.  It could destroy them or save them.  There's something about that idea that just grabs me.  It's also my version of cheap therapy.

The Waking 02 Campbell VariantBF: On a personal level The Waking must be close to your heart, being it a creator-owned project as well as years in the making. Did the concept and/or story change during the years and - more to the point - did your new daddy-hood play a part in the story as well?
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.  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 shit 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.  

BF: There are a lot of characters in The Waking. Very different characters, living or undead. With which character in The Waking do you sympathise the most and why?
RG: I think I can relate to Jonathan the most.  It's really his and his daughter's story even though at first it seems as though they play such a small part.  Having been writing since early 2000 I can easily relate to the idea of becoming obsessed with something to the point where it can completely consume you.

The Waking 01 Basaldua VariantBF: Or are they all part of your own persona?

RG: I hope so otherwise I'm in a world of trouble.  That and the whole cheap therapy thing would totally go out the window.

BF: The artist (Vic Durichio) is doing some very nice work on the title. How and when did you come across him? How did the artist contribute to your personal view of The Waking?
RG: I had worked with Vic previously on the Alice one shot, and Grimm Fairy Tales #30 as well as the recently release Mad Hatter partt 2 issue and have always loved how easily his art can immerse you into a world.  He has such energy in his work and can really convey the mood of the story that is necessary to really pull a reader into the story.

The Waking 03 Ale Garza VariantBF: There are some awesome covers coming up. Your Finch cover to issue #1 is just haunting. Your Ebas cover is menacing and your Garza is equally sad, mesmerizing and icky. How do you approach artists with your idea on a cover?

RG: Some times the covers come from key points in the story, some of them are of a more iconic nature of a powerful image that I want to convey.  Each of them come about differently in their own way but they all share the same sense that regardless of the image it needs to convey a feeling or emotion that can reach across the space between itself and the reader and really grab them and take them home.

BF: After the four issues of The Waking conclude, can you then relax or is your muse already giving you dreams of a second volume?

RG: The ending is a bit open but definitive at the same time so I couldn't really see coming back to do a sequel.

BF: How would you persuade all the mainstream-reading people out there to head out to the comic shop and get your comic instead?

RG:  It's zombies like you've never seen them before.

BF: After The Waking is done you will have a very nice tracklist, that started with The Gift and was truly established with Wonderland.  In conclusion to this interview a simple question comes to mind and hopefully will give way to a detailed answer: What is next, Raven?

RG: I'd really like to do a Marvel story one day.  It's been a life long dream I have always had.  But until then I'm more than content being able to tell stories that I love and care dearly about.  There's not much more you can ask for.

BF: And for the readers Raven gave BF these exclusive previews of some interior colored pages. Let us know in the comments what you think of them!



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