After telling a trilogy of original stories built around the world of "Wonderland," writer Raven Gregory and Zenescope are going back to where it all began. Alice in Wonderland, a new mini-series telling their version of the story, is finally on its way.
The trilogy of Beyond, Return, & Escape told the tales of Calie, Alice's daughter, as she fought the madness of this other world, and the madness she feared she may have inherited from her mother. It took a creepy world and twisted it further, turning the Mad Hatter into a psychopathic killer and the Cheshire Cat into a flesh eating monster.
For details on the new series, why they're going back to the source material now, and what makes Alice special, we spoke with Raven Gregory, who also brought along some exclusive preview art.Newsarama: With Calie's story ongoing… and seemingly still being a bit open for the future, why was now the time to go back to Alice?
Raven Gregory: We'd been talking about doing the "Alice" story for quite some time but we all agreed we'd only do it if we had a really good story to tell. After how well the trilogy turned out the last thing we wanted to do was to run this thing into the ground. So a lot of us deciding the only way to do it was waiting for the right story to come along that would be able to stand on its own merits yet also play into this massive mythology we've developed over the last five years. We also had some time since Escape From Wonderland came out and the conversations began turning more and more toward Wonderland. We (Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco) all started chatting it up and the next thing you know we found a story that we all think new readers and long time fans of the series will both really enjoy.Nrama: We've seen other "Dark Alice" stories… what makes this unique? What can readers get from this and nowhere else?
Gregory: That's really tough because any answer I give is going to sound egotistical and biased, but I really do believe that the story we're telling is special. I feel our tale has always been very character driven. If you're a long time fan of the series you know what's waiting for Alice at the end of her yellow brick road journey. You know that it doesn't end well. But knowing what happens left open a lot of unanswered questions. Questions of who she really is and how things ended up the way they did. It's a tragic story of sacrifice and determination to survive in the face of some pretty honorific events and it's that part of the character...this broken shattered psyche yet still not giving up in the face of all these things that makes this story all of its own.Nrama: Fans of the series know already not to trust characters like the incredibly creepy Cheshire Cat. How do you make a character like that new while acknowledging what big fans already know?
Gregory: I've thought about this a lot before going into the series and it's not easy. If you're new to this series you're in for a cool different take than you've ever seen on the Wonderland mythos before. But for long time fans we're taking these characters that you know to a whole other level. There are some really cool relationships that we've never seen before. Just because you've seen the Cheshire Cat before doesn't mean you've ever experienced the Cheshire Cat the way you'll see him here. This is pre-Calie so the characters you've met before are not the same ones you'll be meeting in this series. There is a lot that happens between this series and Return to Wonderland that makes the characters who they are. It will also bring to light one of the biggest questions that has been floating out there since we started the trilogy...during RTW where was the Jabberwocky? The answer to this question is a big part of this series that will change the way readers look at the whole trilogy.Nrama: What makes Alice different from Calie?
Gregory: For fans who read Tales From Wonderland Volume one you know a part of Alice, her sanity, grew up in Wonderland. Even with the way time twists and turns in that dimension you have a child that basically grew up into an adult in a realm of pure madness. So while Calie was only a prisoner of Wonderland for a short time, Alice's experience of that place is much more intense than the things Calie went through.
Nrama: We already know that Alice is going to wind up… um… f*#%ed right up. Is there something special about the journey that makes it worth taking?
Gregory: So much so. When you see the reasons behind why Alice made the choices she made it puts the Wonderland story in a much different light. One that is much darker than you might expect.
Nrama: Have you read all the original Carroll stories? What makes them endure for you?
Gregory: They all have this enduring quality. This pure sense of fantasy with an underlining darkness that is the backbone of all of the best fairy tales. There's something about that perfect combination that can grab you as a child and stay with you long into your adult years.Nrama: We've talked before about horror and comics. In this particular case, what is it about the Alice legend that makes it more fun as a horror story?
Gregory: It's Wonderland. It doesn't make sense. As human beings all we ever do is try and make sense of the world around us. Our lives are defined by this. There's where the terror lies. In a world where nothing makes sense is anything ever truly really safe? If anything that sounds like the definition of pure horror to me. And once you get past the monstrous Cheshire Cat, and deviant mad hatter, what's more terrifying than watching insanity given form and placing an innocent character right smack dab in the middle of it?
Nrama: Is there anything about this that stands out to *you* aside from the base story? Is there a particular element that keeps you coming back?Gregory: I've always been drawn to flawed characters. The more damaged they are the more I want to write them. Not only because they feel more real and human to me but because the chance of them finding redemption and overcoming the odds is that much harder and therefore that much more fulfilling if and when they get there.
Nrama: Give us a tease – what part of the Alice story can't you freaking wait to give your spin on?
Gregory: I just wrote Alice's initial descent down the rabbit hole and it's one of those things I'm always going to be proud of writing. Not so much in the scene itself but because we've come up with some out of the box ideas for how to visualize a scene that readers are really gonna flip for. Seeing the big part that the Jabberwocky played in all this is also something else I'm really looking forward to getting to. If you thought Wonderland was crazy before you ain't seen nothing yet.