Recently, I had a chance to talk to Raven Gregory: writer and editor over at Zenescope Comics to talk about the new chapter in the Wonderland series, "Escape from Wonderland".
Shotgun Reviews: For those out there that have no clue what it's about, can you explain Wonderland in a nut shell?
Raven Gregory: Return to Wonderland is the story of a mentally sick Alice, now an adult with a family of her own, who's teenage daughter, Calie Liddle, travels to wonderland to discover the source of her mother's insanity and discovers what wonderland really is. While Beyond Wonderland follows a now pregnant Calie, as she goes into hiding in New York City unaware that something has followed her beyond wonderland and is stalking her and those she holds dear.
Escape From Wonderland, the final part of the trilogy, deal with Calie, now determined and no longer running from her destiny, go back to wonderland intent on saving her newborn child from the madness of that world. But if you're asking me what Wonderland is...It's another dimension tangent to our own. A place that is the source of all madness in our world. Once every generation a sacrifice must be made to wonderland to keep the madness of that world from pouring into our own. But as we learn in Beyond Wonderland that may not actually be the case.
SR: Of all the "fairy tales" out there, what made you think of re-envisioning the Alice in Wonderland stories?
RG: For me, I think a big part of it was the underlining horror of the story. That behind the children’s story there was something incredibly terrifying lying beneath the surface. Reading the book, and watching the films and other adaptations of the novel I always thought how scary this would actually be if it happened to a real person and how that person would react and it all comes across as almost a descent into madness with this disguise on, so that duality really drew me to the story.
SR: Speaking of horror stories, were there any horror movies that influenced the style and look of the book?
RG: A couple big ones that had some influence on the look of the story were "In the Mouth Of Madness", "Nightmare of Elm Street" (the first one), "Poltergeist", to name a few.
SR:That would make sense, especially with the dream motif. Now the series is now a trilogy. Was that your original intention?
RG: I always knew there would be something after the first series. I believe [President] Joe Brusha and [Editor in Chief] Ralph Tedesco were always thinking trilogy but I really didn't know where the story was going at the time. I knew it would involve Calie's daughter but wasn't sure exactly at what period in their lives it would take place. I think Joe was the major voice in deciding when the next story (Beyond Wonderland) took place and where it would end and from there everything just fell right into place.
SR: Comic book properties are hot commodities in Hollywood, it seems you more and more properties are being bought up. If your story arc was considered for a major motion picture, would you object or go along for the ride?
RG: I'd be fine with it. Whatever brings more attention to the story is good with me. Getting a movie made in Hollywood is very much like playing the lottery. No matter how sure you are you might win there's no guarantees. So if it does happen you really would have to enjoy it for what it's worth.
SR: Now that the trilogy is over, without giving too much away, is there a chance for you to return to these places and characters for some sort of new arc?
RG: Still have to get through the last part of the trilogy, "Escape from Wonderland", but once that's over I think it's over. There might be room for a prequel of sorts but the ending we have in mind is a very closed ending.
SR: Now, this series has done incredibly well, are there any other literary classics you'd like to add your take on? Or perhaps a horror classic you'd like to dabble on?
RG: There's a few that I'd like to play with, but not for a little while. I've always wanted to play with "Lord Of The Flies", or a Dracula story but I have a couple creator owned things I want to work on first and then we'll see where the ball drops.
SR:What was it like having a modern master like J. Scott Campbell doing a cover for your book?
RG: It's probably one of the coolest things I've ever had happen in my career. He's just such an amazing artist and I remember following him from his first Nintendo Power pic to "Gen 13" and "Danger Girl" to everything he does today. I'm really grateful he took the time out to do a cover for us. I've been extremely lucky to have such high profile guys like him and [David] Finch, and Eric "Ebas" Basaldua grace the covers to the series.
SR: Why should readers and new fans alike pick this story up?
RG: It's a great story that has come a long way so for fans they get to see exactly what happens to Calie and Johnny and for new fans they get a cool new take on wonderland with plenty of back story to pick up on as both trades (Return to Wonderland, Beyond Wonderland) should be available once "Escape" hits the stands.