The Charmed Life of Raven Gregory And Paul Ruditis

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The Charming four Halliwell sisters, Prue, Piper, Phoebe and, later, Paige have ventured outside their world of television and into the world of comics. Enter Zenescope!

The adventures of these main players of the Charmed television show on good witches and bad demons will finally continue and at the helm of this excitement are none other then Raven Gregory and Paul Ruditis. Zenescope fans will know Raven from his writing chores on the Wonderland series, as well as his creator-owned series The Gift and The Waking. Ruditis, however, is most likely to be recognised as the writer of Charmed novels and this co-writing team thus indeed makes for a perfect team and this interview...the perfect introduction!

BROKEN FRONTIER: The cat is out of the bag - Charmed the comic! How excited are you both?

PAUL RUDITIS: So excited. I’ve missed writing these characters. The last Charmed novel I wrote came out in 2007, so it’s been three years that they’ve been out of my life. It’s a bit like revisiting old friends… and making them do whatever I want them to do. 

RAVEN GREGORY: I can’t wait. Loved the show and the characters and something like this only comes around once in a lifetime. And the story Paul came up with… this is gonna be big. Really big.

BF: Raven, you especially had a hard time keeping it to yourself (proof: Facebook). How do you feel about it now?

RG: Well, I’ve known about it for some time now. I knew it was in the works for the last year or so, but only just recently became attached to it to co-write with Paul. While I love the series, I wasn’t really sure I could do the story justice.

Then Paul came in with this wonderful pitch and we got to talking and brainstorming and shooting things back and forth and his story really got me excited. It got me thinking that, man, we could do this and it could be really something special. So once Zenescope put me and Paul together, I was literally bursting at the seams to spill the news. 

BF: Now that the silence is broken, can you tell how you are going to be approaching the Halliwell sisters?

PR: Very carefully. They could kick our asses. Oh, I slay myself. But seriously, we’re approaching them as the writers approached them for the show, with maybe a bit of what the fans wanted the writers to do as well. 

RG: The great thing about writing for this kind of story is the characters are so fleshed out already. They have their own voices, so it makes writing them that much easier. 

BF: Why did you choose these three girls over the original setting? Does that mean you will continue the story after the ending of Season Eight of the TV series?

PR: We were given the parameters that the comic books would take place after the series and focus on Piper, Phoebe, and Paige. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to exploring the rich history and including some characters from the earlier seasons in the stories.

We are kind of approaching the series as if it’s a ninth season for the show, but we did give The Charmed Ones a little time to enjoy some of their happily-ever-after with their families before we came in to continue their story…

RG: …and throw them right back into the mess of things. Warlocks, demons, and monsters. Oh my!

BF: It was said that some powers (like telekinesis) of the Halliwel sisters were sanctioned off due to budget constraints, but we all know that comics are the ultimate SFX. Are you going to play around with that?

PR: Absolutely. Issue #1 is filled with magic and imagery they never could have done on the series. The show established early on that the power of The Charmed Ones would grow as they got older. We haven’t forgotten that. They’re not suddenly going to be flinging fireballs for no reason, but not being contained by a budget will let us have some fun with that. At the same time, we’re not going to be coming up with stories just for the whiz bang factor. We’ll also tell more personal stories as these women live their complicated lives with magic. 

BF: That all sounds exciting! How will you tackle the first storyline, making it both accessible for Charmed fans as well as for comic fans?

PR: By walking a very fine line. There is a lot of history in the first storyline, but we’re writing it in a way that opens it up to a wider audience. It also helps that we have an issue #0 that tackles a lot of that history for the newbies.
BF: What is happening in the first storyline?

PR: Let’s just say there is bit of a return to innocence… or Innocents, to be precise. 

RG: There’s also something really big brewing in the underworld and The Charmed Ones will learn first hand that vanquishing all that evil is not without its consequences. 

BF: Will the story also expand on love relationships (Cole, for instance) or marriages/births that happened in the TV series?

PR: The Charmed Ones’ relationships and families will always be an element of the stories we tell. Sometimes they will be the focus while other times they might be more in the background. But your question seems to ignore the fact that Phoebe is currently married to Coop. Whatever makes you think we would do anything to jeopardize that marriage?

RG: Gasp!!! We would never do anything like that. Shame on you for thinking such things. [Laughs]

PR: Although, now that you mention it... 

BF: I just loved Cole's character and guess I was indeed fishing! Paul, how is writing comics different for you?

PR: In the core ways of creating a story, it’s very much the same as writing novels. The characters have the same motivations. The story has the same basic structure. Writing for comic books is much more concise than for novels, but at the same time it is also more expansive. You have a limited amount of words and page space to tell the story.

At the same time, you’re working with an artist that takes that space and makes it unlimited in terms of what can be told through the artwork. It’s much more like screenwriting than traditional prose. Having studied screenwriting definitely helps when I’m working on a comic book script.

BF: How does co-writing work for you both?

PR: I think we have a great writing partnership. We’re very much on the same page about what we want from this comic series. Even though we sometimes have very different ideas for how to get there, we’ve been really good at merging them together into something new and, I think, exciting. We’re in two different states so getting together would be a challenge, but our last phone call ran about two-and-a-half hours if that gives you some idea of what the process is like.

RG: It really is a blast and by far the most fun I’ve had working in comics. The dungeon gets lonely at times, so it’s fun to have someone to bat around ideas with.

BF: I gather that an interior artist as well as a cover artist will have to have their art approved by CBS. Was it hard to find artists for this book that, indeed, were approved?

RG: We had quite a few artists testing out for the series and of them all Dave Hoover was our pick as well as CBS'.

BF: Dave apparently came through with flying colors! How does he charm you?

PR: Very much so. This is the first time I’ve seen my words translated into artwork and I couldn’t be happier.

RG: Dave is such a wonderful storyteller. His images just leap off the page and I think when people see his latest work it’ll be something to get fans talking for some time to come.  

BF: Zenescope announced that #0 will be set for a June release. And, since zero issues in Zenescope tradition have been noteworthy, can you tell some about the treatment Charmed #0 will be receiving?

PR: We intend to give the fans a little slice of Charmed history for their very own.

RG: Hmmm? You know what would be really cool, Paul? What if the issue zero was our own personal Book of Shadows

PR: That might be very cool, indeed.

BF: Another Zenescope tradition is the use of variant covers. Are their already plans ready to be spoken off?

RG: Stay tuned!!

BF: Before we sign off, the two of you are good to go with Charmed, but just out of curiosity; do you have some more projects you want to tell us about?

PR: I'm working on some fun licensed novels and hope to have news regarding an original teen project soon, but I can't say anything yet.
RG: I have a story coming up in Red Sonja #50 that's a really fun play on the little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as well as a new creator owned book called FLY with Eric J from Rex Mundi and JSA.  It's a brand new take on the superhero genre that I think will have a lot of people talking for some time to come.  We're also launching a brand new Grimm Fairy Tales series that will be announced later this year as well as finishing up The Waking in May.

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