Growing up, you likely read the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland and were either frightened silly or fascinated by the bizarre imagery and stories Carroll cooked up. Talking rabbits who are always late. Killer tea parties. Cats with big smiles who disappear at will. Then, of course, there's the Mad Hatter.
This May, writer Raven Gregory (The Gift), under the banner of Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales, is bringing readers a modern day re-envisioning of those stories with his upcoming series Return to Wonderland. Gregory took a few minutes to talk with CBR News about his journey down the rabbit hole.
Return to Wonderland focuses not on Alice Liddle, but her daughter Carroll (Calie for short). Calie journeys into the mythic realm of Wonderland to discover the truth of its dark existence, and uncovers the reason behind her mother's madness, Gregory told CBR News. While this story does pay homage to the original Lewis Carroll tale with a much more modern day take, there's also that sense of a continuation of the story that makes it more along the lines of a darker sequel of sorts.
Mostly I've stuck with re-envisioning the original characters from the novels and giving them a sense of darkness that corresponds with the age we're living in now instead of the innocent times when the story was first conceived, Gregory continued. But there are a few new characters that do play a major role in the series in revealing the true nature of what Wonderland really is.
I've been a fan of 'Grimm Fairy Tales' since it first came out, and Zenescope's president, Joe Brusha, was a fan of 'The Gift,' said Gregory of the genesis of the project. We had been talking off and on for a couple years while running around the con circuit. I was given the shot to write the first issue of their new 'Se7en' series, and either myself or Joe had mentioned doing some of the bigger fairy tale stories as offshoots from the regular flagship title. 'Return to Wonderland' came to mind instantly and I began pitching my ideas to them over the next few months until everything was laid out.
It won't just be the book itself that Gregory draws inspiration from. As Alice in Wonderland has been adapted into numerous mediums, Gregory will be looking at all of them to draw inspiration. From the novels and films down to the creators and the story of how the original tale was created, to the tale itself and various subliminal and symbolic symbolism that runs through the stories, it all became fodder for this tale that adds even more to the wonderland mythos. And working with Zenescope has been a dream come true. They really get behind their creators and believe in the story that they are trying to tell.
Providing the visuals for these fantastic tales is artist Richard Bonk. Me and Rich worked on 'The Gift' back when I first got into the business and we were looking for an artist for the series and he was the first name that came to mind, Gregory said of his collaborator. I've always wanted to work with him on another project and this one happened to come up. Working with him is always a blast as he can take my ideas and make them even bigger and better than I ever imagine. He's an incredible talent. Some of the work he's done so far on the series has blown my mind.
Return to Wonderland is not the only Grimm Fairly Tale Gregory is trying his hand at: I'll be writing the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice,' which I'm hoping will raise the bar visually more so than any story I have done before.
And would the author partake of a mysterious beverage with an attached note reading only Drink Me? If you asked me that question before I stopped drinking I'd have said 'sure thing,' but after writing 'Wonderland' and becoming clean and sober, I'm not so sure, Gregory said.
The first issue of Return to Wonderland hits stands on May 5th.
|"Return to Wonderland" #1, special convention cover, cover A, cover B and cover C|
|"Return to Wonderland" #2, cover A and cover B|
|Return to Wonderland's Catepillar, Chesire Cat and Mad Hatter|
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