Thus Spake the Raven

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Raven Gregory is living the fanboy dream. He’s the writer of the wildly popular and successful comic The Gift. The Gift follows the Ancient One as he finds people worthy of his gift. Some people use it for good, while others, well, I’ll let you find out for yourself. I caught up with Raven over AIM and we talked about the highly anticipated issue 13.

Broken Frontier: What’s been the best part of being in the industry for you?

Raven Gregory: Being able to create the comics I love. There's nothing else like it.

BF: Nearly ever issue of The Gift deals with completely new characters. Where do you get the ideas for the stories?

RG: The ideas come from everywhere. Whether it's from being fired from a job (issue 6), or going on a road trip with the family (issue 7), or dealing with being cheated on (issue 11). I try to pull from all facets of my life. I think readers really like that aspect of the story, how easy it is to relate to what the characters are going through because it's real life issues.

BF: You seem to cover many different walks of life. It's definitely accessible to many readers.

RG: Yeah, if you read it long enough one character will pop out to you and you'll think, “HEY I know someone just like that!” or, “That is SO me.”

BF: Yeah. That was the feeling I got from reading it. I was able to connect with the characters or they reminded me of friends. So do you have an end planned for The Gift?

RG: I'm writing issue 25 now and I know the series will end around the mid 30s.

BF: The most notable thing we’ve seen from you so far is The Gift. Do you have any other projects in the works?

RG: I have a few projects planned for release next year. One is The Waking which is a new take on the zombie mythos. It's a cross between CSI meets Dawn of the Dead. After that I have another horror title called The Tide that I am working on with Taki Soma. I also have a few short stories coming out this year as well. One is Like a Machine with Ed Sharam, and I also wrote a story in DEAD @17: Rough Cut Vol 3 that will be penciled by superstar artist Josh Howard. I'm really excited about that last one as I'm the first writer he's chosen to work with. The story is going to blow people away and leads into the new DEAD @17 series. I also want to do some Marvel and DC stuff but we'll see who bites first.

BF: So I've always said you're one of the hardest working creators in the business. Most comic con flyers have your name on them. Is all the traveling a pain in the ass?

RG: Kinda. It sucks being away from my family so much, it gets hard at times. But being able to spend time with so many people that love and enjoy the same thing I do, that makes it worth it...that and the alcohol.

BF: So who are some of your major influences, in and out of comics?

RG: In comics I'd say JMS, Bendis, and Peter David. Out of comics: Rod Serling, Stephen King, Ryan Murphy (creator of Nip/Tuck), Joss Whedon, Robert McKee and Hitchcock.

BF: So there’s been a lot of hype surrounding The Gift #13. Why is this such an important issue for the series?

RG: Besides all the controversy that surrounds the subject matter we’re dealing with in this issue it also introduces readers to the character, Lucius Sephar that will become a major threat to the Ancient One and everything that he has planned. It's a lot like the Spider-Man story without the responsibility and spider powers. It's the story of what would happen if Spider-Man just stopped giving a f##k and really let out all the rage he has pent up. Keep in mind we are talking young picked on Spider-Man, not JMS Spidey.

BF: You have been having some crazy stuff going on in your life in the past year. How has that affected your work?

RG: It's been great. Really. It's one of the most f##ked up tandems about being me. The worse life is, and the more f##ked up things that happen to me, the better the stories. When life is all peaches and cream I can't write anything. I draw on my own pain a lot. I use it as my therapy to get through stuff that I normally couldn't even imagine dealing with. So while it’s nice being me...it sucks being me.

BF: I've been told the best fuel for writers is oppression and depression.

RG: Ain’t that the truth. But when the stuff is actually happening it kills the writing. It just puts everything, even breathing, on hold. But after some time has passed and you can look back on it, that's where the really good stories start to creep to the surface.

BF: So how did you hook up with Richard Bonk?

RG: He inked issue 7 and I visited his site and was just blown away by his art. His work on #13 is just amazing. No one captures the emotion of a character more so than Rich. I really hope I get chance to work with him on another project.

BF: Are you hoping to get a permanent penciller for the book? Or do you prefer to switch them out from time to time?

RG: I like the variety. It's nice to see all these talented artist and their take on this universe. But I am hoping to keep this one for some time.

BF: Now that you have pulled off an impressive feat, a successful independent series, what else do you hope to accomplish in comics?

RG: Spider-Man! Please give me Spidey. That and The Darkness would make my millennium.

BF: Well that wraps it up. Thanks so much for the interview Raven. Everyone here at Broken Frontier wishes you lots of luck in the future. I can't wait to get my hands on issue 13!

RG: Trust me when I say, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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