Interview with Comic Legend Raven Gregory
Ok, so we (Krys & my main comic reviewer Gord) caught up with Raven Gregory. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s because you’ve been reading the wrong comics, (and by the way, shame on you). But chances are if you’ve ever picked up anything by Zenescope you know the name pretty damn well. He’s not only their executive editor, he’s also the creator of the “Return to/Escape from Wonderland”, “The Waking”, co-wrote the out of print “Se7en” series that follows the exploits of John Doe instead of the investigators, “Fly” currently in print, and the up and coming “The Theater.” To say the least, he’s a real busy guy which conveniently enough leads me to my initial question….
Krys: Are you the only guy working at Zenescope? We often joke here that you ARE Zenescope, and trust me we aren’t complaining. No offense to any of the other talented people working there, but are you the driving force behind that label or what?
RG: I wouldn’t call it “driving force.” That’s Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, but I do tend to write a lot of books so sometimes it seems that way.
Krys: With your Gluttony entry into the “Se7en” comic did you find it hard, getting inside John Doe’s head? The movie focused more on the victims and less on his overall psyche. I ask because that comic as a whole was perfect.
RG: It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be which is kind of a scary thought. The journal excerpts helped out a great deal.
Gord: When was the last time you got the shit scared out of you?
RG: My first real childhood fear had to be seeing a movie called Trilogy of Terror. There was a doll that came to life in that movie that terrified me for years. Whenever I would go to a video store I would go out of my way to avoid the horror section for fear of seeing the cover to that movie.
As an adult it was coming home late one night to find my door open and my oldest son, who was two at the time, gone. I searched the whole house and ran through the neighborhood at 2 in the morning yelling for my son, and was about to call the police when we found him sleeping under our bed. To this day nothing has scared me as much as that.
Gord: What was the last good horror movie or comic you watched/read?
RG: Big fan of Paranormal Activity. The first one really got in my head. As for comics “Echoes” by Josh Fialkov is pretty fucking impressive. Also a huge fan of Joe Hill’s “Locke & Key.”
Gord: Who were most influential writers and/or artists on your career? What was the most influential comic?
RG: Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Peter David, JMS, and Bendis are the writers who I’ve followed since the beginning. As for comics, the old EC Comics and “House of Mystery” series played a big role on the kind of stories I like to tell. But the story that got me hooked on comics was the crossover “Age of Apocalypse.”
RG: I want to say the initial idea came about after realizing how terrifying the original book and Disney movie were when you took a step back and really looked at it. At some point in the story you really want Alice to get out of Wonderland because the madness is just so overwhelming. That and seeing a giant caterpillar talk to you sounds pretty horrific to me.
RG: I’m a big fan of the old school zombies from the EC Comics day before they were turned into mindless flesh eating creatures. Combine that with being a big fan of “CSI” and working out some personal parental fears lead to the idea that became “The Waking.”
Krys: Speaking of which; I’m uber-excited to see that “The Waking” is getting a sequel (it made my top 40 horror comics list, coming soon). But my only complaint was that it ended too soon. Is it getting a revisit for this reason? And why was it cut so short?
RG: This is one of those things where I really blame the fans. Everyone kept asking for more, and I said there wasn’t anymore. The way the story ended was on a pretty definitive note so I didn’t really see a need to return to the story, but fans kept asking, and finally an idea crept up that made a lot of sense. My thought had always been that with murder gone, it’s kind of a perfect world, but then I kept thinking it through, and something came up that really worked well within those confines. So yeah, there is a sequel coming. I have the first issue written so it should be out later next year.
Krys: Since “Fly” seems to be your only superhero comic why the jump? I happen to be a huge fan of it so far. As it seems to me you focus more on the dark side of fantasy and horror, will “Fly” go into even dark depths as we’ve seen with your other titles (fingers crossed)?
RG: It’s probably the darkest most personal story I’ve told yet. It just hasn’t gotten to the dark stuff yet. I really never look at any of these stories as a jump, to me they are all essentially horror in some way or sort.
Krys: Even though “Fly” probably answered this already, if you could have one just one superpower what would it be? And how would you exploit it if you were let’s say a super-villain?
RG: It’s flying. I just love the idea of flying. As for exploiting it I’d probably be too busy flying everywhere to even get that far.
RG: Eddie and Calie have a lot of me in them. Eddie is broken and guilt ridden, and really a product of his past. The guy is in love, or at least used to be in love, with a girl who was his everything only to watch that relationship fall apart around him no matter how hard he tried to hold on. With Calie there’s a sense of just how far she will go to hold her dysfunctional family together. It’s like no matter how bad it gets she really thinks things will end well if she just never gives up.
Krys: Speaking of never giving up; what are some dream projects you would like to be involved with?
RG: Hulk. I’d love to write the “Hulk.” No idea what I’d do with it, but there’s still an angry little boy inside me that would love to vent on that book.
RG: It’s definitely different than anything I’ve done before. It does have the same dark twist as the horror stuff I’ve done in the past, but in a very unique way. “The Theater” is the story of an old-fashioned movie theater which holds a dark secret that threatens the lives of those who dare enter it. And when an unsuspecting couple decides to visit the old movie house to watch some horror films, they soon find that something full of horror is also watching them.
Krys: I have to ask because I am a little sick in the head, and this is a question all comic book geeks ask each other, what comic character would you bang, if you could bang a comic character?
RG: Supergirl. I have a thing for blondes.
Krys: Me too!! Especially when they’re drawn by Michael Turner!! Outside of Zenescope, What are you top 10 favorite comic series?
RG: Locke and Key, Ultimate Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Green Lantern, The Walking Dead, Uncanny X-Force, Morning Glories, Deadpool, Avengers, and Chew.
Krys: Who are a few writers and illustrators you would like to see come over to the dark-side that is Zenescope?
RG: John Layman, James Patrick, Jeff Zornow, Ryan Stegman and a few others off the top of my head.
You hear that, you guys?! Especially you Layman!! Get on that!! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us!! We know you’re probably swamped over at Zenescope what with being the “driving force” there (just kidding, just kidding), so we really do appreciate the glimpse “behind the curtains.” For more on Raven & the excellent titles being released by Zenescope, check out Zenescope.com