Raven Gregory's name is quickly becoming synonymous with the horror books being produced over at Zenescope Studios. His tradition continues with his upcoming four-issue mini series, The Waking. Raven talked to Newsarama about the new project, the reasons why it took so long for it to see the light of day, his inspirations that he drew from, why writing is his therapy.
Newsarama: Raven, you seem like a nice enough guy...where do you get the ideas for such horrific imagery?
Raven Gregory: Most of the stuff that floats around in my head comes from my desire to explain or deal with fears or personal issues that I otherwise would have no way to express. Some people watch the news and shake their heads at how horrible the world is. Some people write a story.
Nrama: Is The Waking a product of such methods?
Gregory: In a lot of ways, yes. 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. That's the kind of thing that inspires me to tell a story. A burning need to express the idea in the form of a story. It's my version of cheap therapy.
Nrama: So, that's where the inspiration came from, very gripping if you ask me, but what is "Waking" about?
Gregory: 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.”
Nrama: Who are you teaming up with for the art?
Gregory: Vic Drujiniu is the artist on the series. We worked together previously on Grimm Fairy Tales #30, Tales From Wonderland: Alice one shot, Tales From Wonderland: Hatter Part Two and I just love his work so much. He just has a great sense of story telling and his attention to detail is just breath taking. He's already finished all four issues and is really going places. The colorist is Mark Roberts who has done some work with Vic in the past as well as a few zenescope books as well. He has a really great sense of setting the mood with his colors and turns in some of the most beautiful pages.
On covers I've been very lucky to score the immensly talent Dave Finch (Ultimatum) who did a painted cover for issue one and my good friend Eric Basaldua aka Ebas (Witchblade) who did one of the most incredible covers I have ever seen in my life for the alternative cover for the first issue. J. Scott Campbell (Spider-Man, Danger Girl) did a cover for the second issue as well as my pal Eric J (Justice League 80 Page Giant, Rex Mundi) who did a very Wrightson-inspired image that really nails the tone for the series.
All in all I could not have dreamed of a better line up in bringing The Waking to life.
Nrama: How long has Waking been in the works? It seems like you've got a lot of on your plate over at Zenescope.
Gregory: The Waking is a strange beast in that I wrote it back when I was writing The Gift, which was about six years back. So the guy who wrote it (had one kid and now I have four) was very gung-ho. Very much wanting to take on the world and kick ass and take names and show my stuff to anyone willing to take a look. 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 stuff that goes into getting your work out into the world.
But things kept happening that would derail production. Originally, Rich Bonk (Ascension, The Darkness) 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 this story. 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.
So it seems like a lot but in reality the story has been written for some time now. Mostly now my focus is on finishing the Wonderland series and the occasional spin-offs that come out of that universe. There's another big series coming up soon that I can't really mention other than to say to keep an eye out for Grimm Fairy Tales #50. The guys at Zenescope has some big things in store for the readers that think are going to really knock their socks off. Especially for fans who have been following the series from the beginning.