Alice Liddle. Red Riding Hood. The Little Mermaid. You can now add Peter Pan's name to the list of characters Zenescope adapts into their popular Grimm Fairy Tales line. Zenescope is so excited about the new series, they recently announced a retailer guarantee, meaning retailers can return any unsold, undamaged copies that they order. The series also stands out as a new fantasy series amongst an expanding line of science fiction and more straight horror in 2010 for the publisher.
Newsarama talked exclusively to the writer of Neverland, Joe Brusha and what his take on the classic story entails in this seven issue mini-series.
Newsarama: How long has this been in the works?
Joe Brusha: This was one of the first stories ideas I had for the Grimm universe. I originally wrote it and did the research a few years so I can't be sure that every character from the original made it into this re-imagined version. But I don't think I missed any of the characters. Tiger Lilly, John & Michael, the mermaids and the Croc are all here as well as some new characters.
Nrama: Can you tell us a bit about those new characters?
Brusha: The main new Character is Johnathon Cross who is the hero of the series. He has elements of Hook from the original story, but basically he's a brand new character. As a boy he was abducted by Pan and taken to Neverland becoming the only victim who was ever able to escape. But he left behind his kid brother and the guilt over having to do that has pretty much destroyed his entire life. He gets a shot at redemption when he returns to Neverland to try to save Wendy's nephews John and Michael.
Nrama: Elements of Hook? How so?
Brusha: He has an actual hook and his hand was also bitten off by a crocodile. In the real world he has resorted to a life of crime and become a petty thief which is kind of like being a pirate. And when he's in Neverland he looks like a pirate.
Nrama: Can you tell us if popular Grimm Fairy Tales antagonist Belinda is involved somehow?
Brusha: Neither Belinda or Sela appear in this story. I actually wrote the first draft of Neverland a couple of years ago, before Belinda was even conceived as a character. Neverland is a very similar to Return to Wonderland in structure and while it ties into the Grimm universe it's a self contained story.
Nrama: What were some of the inspirations that went into the character design?
Brusha: Mostly from recent fantasy and horror films. Films like Lord of the Rings, Pan's Labyrinth and Pirates of the Carribean. For Pan I was thinking of a cross between an elf from Middle Earth, like Legolas, and some kind of Vampire. For creatures like the Croc and the Mermaids I wanted them to have a real monster/horror movie feel.
Nrama: Speaking of the art, can you reveal anything with the artist on board for this title?
Brusha: I can't right now. We had an artist assigned to the project but it hasn't been one hundred percent finalized yet. We should make an official announcement in about a week.
Nrama: This seems more like action/adventure than having Zenescope's brand of horror, were you aiming for that?
Brusha: There may be a little more action in this series than in some of our other Grimm Fairy Tales stories but not much. It has a good blend of horror and fantasy and it fits right into the Grimm universe without moving too far into a different genre.
Nrama: Would you consider this a great book to pick up if you aren't familiar with Grimm Fairy Tales and its history?
Brusha: I would but of course I wrote it so I'm partial. I think much like the Wonderland series this is a story that can be enjoyed even if you know absolutely nothing about Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland or even if you aren't that familiar with comic books as an entertainment medium. One of our goals as a company is to bring new readers and fans to the comic book industry and we've had a lot of success with that with our Grimm Fairy Tales books. I've had a lot of people tell me that Grimm or Return to Wonderland is the first comic they ever read. One of the good things about re-inventing classic fairy tales is that they are universally recognized which I think helps people to take a chance on them.