Grimm Fairy Tales — an ongoing comic book series based on updated and frequently violent and racy versions of classic fairy tales — has been the cornerstone of Zenescope Entertainment’s publishing line since the company’s inception in 2005. A spinoff title, Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends, started in January, and now the Grimm books are headed towards their first-ever crossover, the 12-part “Dream Eater Saga.”
The story starts with April’s Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Dream Eater Saga Prelude, a 22-page one-shot at a cover price of $1.99. Things continue in both one-shots and the ongoing Grimm Fairy Tales and Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends titles, before concluding with Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Ever After: The Dream Eater Conclusion. As you may have guessed by now, the villain at the center of the piece is a new one called “the Dream Eater.”
Newsarama got in touch with Zenescope founders Joe Busha and Ralph Tedesco, plus Raven Gregory — who’s writing all 12 parts of the story — to find out a bit more about the Dream Eater and why they think the time is right for the first “Grimm” crossover.
Newsarama: Guys, first question is a pretty simple one — this is being billed as the "first ever" Zenescope crossover — why is now the right time to do it? What makes this the right story?
Joe Busha: We've established a pretty broad "Grimm" universe and we wanted to tell a story that encompasses all of the realms in the universe: Neverland, Wonderland, Myst and the yet unseen Oz.
Ralph Tedesco: Grimm Fairy Tales #50 was an epic issue where all hell broke loose in the Grimm Universe. Raven had been lobbying for a crossover for some time and we felt that with the events that unfolded in the 50th issue, it was a good time to set it in motion.
Nrama: At the center of the crossover is a character called the Dream Eater. What can you say about the type of threat this character poses, and how does it get the entire Grimm Universe involved?
Busha: Let's just say that no one is safe from the Dream Eater. Its job is to kill any Highborn on earth. This is a creature that doesn't differentiate between good and evil which makes for a very interesting storyline and leads to some unlikely alliances between characters.
Tedesco: The Dream Eater is such a fascinating character. It's in many ways a combination of the antagonists from The Predator, Terminator and The Thing. It has qualities to all three of those characters but we will also get to show how this being evolves as it observes... and as it kills.
Raven Gregory: This entity is the ultimate fail safe for the forces of good to save Earth; basically a metaphorical atomic bomb. But unfortunately, it’s the ultimate killer so all the characters from the Grimm Universe, whether good or evil, are potential targets and victims of this entity.
Nrama: Raven, you're writing all 12 parts, correct? So is it safe to assume that this is the type of crossover where each part pretty much picks up exactly where the last one left off?
Gregory: All 12 issues. It's a pretty huge task but Joe and Ralph are helping develop the story and making sure that I’m not alone on an island with this. As for the format, there are some places where it jumps around a bit and you see the journey of each of these groups, but all in all it runs straight through the whole Zenescope universe.
Nrama: On that same token, how much of the events of The Dream Eater saga build on what's come before? Crossovers are always attractive to people — will new readers be able to jump on with this event?
Gregory: There are a lot of plot threads that have been established over the last five years that have all been building to this, so long time readers are definitely in for a treat. But at the same time we tried to make it very reader friendly in concept so new readers can jump on. It was big events and crossovers like this that got me into reading comics to begin with. I remember reading the Age of Apocalypse and just being hooked into the story. I was so hooked that I had to find out what came before and what would come next. With an event like this you want to give the fans the big pay-offs they have been waiting for and at the same time create a story that can introduce new readers to the universe.
Nrama: Obviously this spans the entire Grimm Universe that Zenescope has been utilizing, but as far as protagonists go, which characters take a lead role in the story?
Tedesco: You'll see a few protagonists over the 12 issues. Obviously Sela is one, but also Belinda, Calie and Baba Yaga. And going beyond that, the Dream Eater as the antagonist will steal the show at points throughout this series and readers are going to love this character because he's so creepy and scary but not in the traditional "evil" way you'd think. He's methodically doing the job he was created to do with no judgment and no mercy but he's doing it in a terrifying manor.
Gregory: Sela is always going to be the center of the universe. As the former guardian of Earth her point of view is the most humanizing view of the story. She's the one who is going to look at the Dream Eater and realize that if this entity destroyed them all that maybe that would be for the better if for no other reason than mankind would be safe from the evil side of the spectrum. Baba Yaga will play a key role in the series as will Belinda, The Piper, Samantha (from Myths and Legends) and Sinbad. So we’re seeing multiple characters take the forefront.
Nrama: Since this is the first Zenescope crossover, in the planning stages of this series, how well do you think the characters and concepts lend themselves to the format of a crossover? Is it a pretty natural fit?
Busha: I think this is the perfect scenario for a crossover. We've already established that all of the fairy tale realms are connected but we've never really shown any of the characters from the various realms interacting with one another. A crossover is a great way to finally pull all these great characters together in a single story arc and build on the mythology of the Grimm Universe.
Tedesco: It's a natural fit in that most of the titles involved were always part of the same Universe and were always meant to intersect in some ways. Plus Raven did a phenomenal job of piecing this together prior to his initial pitch to Joe and me. If he hadn't, we wouldn't have done this yet. But since he did his homework, we were able to collectively build off of those ideas and create a very effective and organic crossover event that didn't feel forced.
Gregory: The history that Joe and Ralph have built is so lush and fleshed out that it leaves the universe always fertile for new ideas and new places to take the mythology that they have established over the last five years.
Nrama: Raven, you've been working with Zenescope for quite a while now, but how is the process of crafting this story unique from what you've written for them before?
Gregory: There's a lot more planning that goes into telling an event of this magnitude. Every character has to matter. You want to throw them all into the pot and get every big moment you'd love to see, but it has to make sense. You can't just throw them in because it's cool, so it's a never ending balance of making sure the character arc is there and that each of these pieces are essential to the crossover. If it doesn't fit you throw it out. I'm happy to say that a lot of it has fit really well.
Nrama: Before we go, Raven, wanted to ask about your creator-owned series on the horizon called Fly — I know it's been in the works for a while (but not much other than that). What can you tell us about it?
Gregory: It's a story about addiction; about a drug that gives people the ability to fly. The story follows a couple whose life is destroyed by this pill. It's a very personal story of mine that I've been working on for more than a few years. It’s a mix of genres: It’s drama, action, thriller and super-hero all mixed into one. But the central theme is about the intense love two people have for each other and how bad things can get when addiction is introduced to the strongest of relationships.