Interview with Raven Gregory, Comic Book Writer & Creator
Cover of Return to Wonderland Issue 1
Who is Raven Gregory?
Raven Gregory is a freelance writer who has recently been making waves in the comic book industry. In 2003, Raven began self-publishing his first title. THE GIFT. The book was widely successful for any self-published material, and Raven soon moved on to other projects. Working his way toward comic book legend, Mr. Gregory has scripted such titles as RETURN TO WONDERLAND, SE7EN: Gluttony, DEAD@17 vol. 3 Rough Cut, and more. He is also an editor and working on several short stories and a novel or two.
On Writing Comics: The Beginning
CC: Raven, there a lot of people out there who would say you have “made it.” How do you feel about this? Is it accurate, or is there still a long way to go?RG: Writing is a growing process. You never really make it. You always want to outdo the last thing. Reach the next goal. Tell the next story. I don't know if there is such a thing as making it. For years I always said, I want to get to Image. Then I did. Next I wanted to break the top 200. RTW did that. Wanted to make a living writing comics which I do so now after 8 years of writing. So every time you reach a goal a new one is set. My only true goal that remains true to this day is to be satisfied on some level with what I wrote and to know it has meaning to me. So even though I have a long way to go and many many goals ahead I "make it" every time I finish a story.CC: What has been your most rewarding project to date?RG: I'd say THE GIFT because it lead to so many other things. But Return to Wonderland has been nice as well.CC: When did you start writing?RG: 1999 was when I began THE GIFT but I have been writing stories steadily since I was four.CC: When did you know that you were going to be a writer of comic books?RG: 1999 when I decided to write THE GIFT. I focused on it like nothing else I ever had up till that moment in my life. I had been a fan for years and suddenly it all just clicked and I knew what I wanted to be. I had the answer to that question they ask you in kindergarden. Took a long time to figure out.
Cover of The Gift #1
Comic Influences & Tools
CC: Who or what have been some of your biggest influences?RG: Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, EC comics, Peter David, Brian Michael Bendis, J.M.S, Stephen King, Richard Matheson to name a few.CC: Are there any tools, programs, exercises, or other absolute necessities out there that you would recommend for aspiring writers?RG: For books I'd have to say ON WRITING by Stephen King, STORY by Robert McKee, The complete book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Strazynski, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Fortune and Glory by Brian Michael Bendis, and How to write a comic book the Peter David way by Peter David. For the neo writer - booze does help as most people are self conscious when they first begin but given that it can become a needless cruch I advise against it. Same with drugs and whatnot. Porn is good when used in moderate doses as is going for long walks or drives or anywhere away where you don't have a note pad as that is when the ideas seem to pounce the most. Sex is a great motivator but only helps if you have a wife or girlfriend. And going through shit and experiencing life. Nothing makes better writing that using life and all the negative and positive and turning it into a story.
Cover of SE7EN: Gluttony
Raven Tells the Truth of Writing Comics
CC: Right now, you’re writing RETURN TO WONDERLAND. What else is in the works for Raven Gregory?RG: Beyond Wonderland is coming up in June 08 and is the sequel to RTW as well as 3 Tales from Wonderland one shots coming out next month. Other stuff in the wings but I'll take it as it goes and being the mass attention whore that almost all writers are you'll hear about it sooner or later.CC: Any suggestions for beginning writers and creators?RG: Write. It all starts with sitting down and locking yourself in a room and doing it. It doesn't get done until you make it get done.CC: What’s your biggest pet peeve about the business?RG: That it takes so long to understand why things are the way they are. Read the scriptwriting book. It'll clear up at least 90% of it. The rest is politics and luck. Truly. None of this answer will make sense until you are firmly in the industry.CC: Someone once told me the difference between a comic book writer and a large pizza is the pizza can feed a family of four. What do you think about this?RG: It's true. This isn't an easy business. Keep your day job. I did for 7 years before I could make a living off of it. With that said, I didn't make a living off writing comics until I had no other choice but to make a living off comics. So there's something to be said for jumping out of the airplane without a parachute.CC: Tell us a comic writing horror story—something where everything went wrong.RG: The true answer to this is there is not enough room in this interview to list half of what goes wrong. It's a part of the business. Again insiders know how screwed up shit can get. And there's no way to explain until your in it. It's like explaining how "blue" looks or how "orange" tastes.
Raven Gregory on Breaking In
CC: A lot of writers look at writing comic books as a way to break into the novel, movie or TV scene. Any comments about this?RG: The fuck? Never heard that before. Maybe the other way around. If anyone does this let me know because I have never heard of it.CC: There are people who say breaking into the comic book industry is mostly networking—meeting editors and established pro’s and getting them to like you and your work. Do you think this is true?RG: On some level. But there's a lot of luck and mind bending dedication involved as well. But yes, it is damn near impossible to get a gig in comics if you aren't getting your face and work out there in front of editors and pros.CC: How do social networking sites like MySpace or FaceBook affect this?RG: Don't know. I think it extends the range of which people can contact other people but I have never heard of someone getting a writing job off of myspace before.CC: Bigger budgets for movies, more realistic and longer-played video games, reality television—where are comic books, as a whole headed?RG: Only the strongest and best will survive or either that or the companies with the most money.CC: What is the best way to get someone to read your book?RG: I wish I knew. Then I would do it all the time:)
Return to Wonderland
More Comics and Raven Gregory
The producers of comic books such as RETURN to WONDERLAND and SE7EN. Also, where Raven Gregory currently hangs his hat and takes on editing duties.
- Digital Webbing
Online resource for artists, writers, and all forms of comic creators. Dedicated to offering an online community. Many helpful people in the forums, including pro's and they put out a monthly anthology.
Provides news, interviews and reviews of all things comic book related. An absolute necessity to keep up on the happenings in the comic book industry.
- Diamond Distributors
If you don't get a copy of the monthly PREVIEWS, this site will give you information on what's hot, what's not, and what's coming out. It is not the only distributor.