While attending last year’s COMIKAZE Expo, I was able to sit down and speak with legendary creator, Ralph Tedesco.
You know him best for Grimm Fairy Tales and the recently launched, Hit List!
Without further ado, sit back and enjoy this verbal barrage!
UTF: So Zenescope just wrapped up its Unleashed event, how do you feel about it? Did it get you more or less readers? Was it a large enough universe change to really make it worth while in the end?
Ralph Tedesco: I mean I don’t know if in terms of garnering more readership. I hope it did. I think it definitely was an effective event. We try to do something big every year. Raven Gregory, and Pat Shand actually came up with the idea and pitched it to Joe and I last year. They had some story ideas that we really liked a lot and then some that we wanted to tweak. So we all kind of came up with something that in the end we were happy with. So from there it was easy. We thought we were telling the right tale at the right time for Grimm. But it’s always tough when you come up with an event because you can’t alter the universe completely.
So I think to answer your question, it had the effect it was supposed to. And now we can now focus: Grimm #100. And leading up to it, the Age of Darkness.
Which is sort of the end of the Grimm Universe as we know it.
UTF: Well it definitely sounds interesting. I know when I recently talked with Troy Brownfield he did highlight the fact that there are some terrible things on the horizon for Sela.
She’s going to be going through quite a little gauntlet leading up to that 100th issue. Is there any kind of tease that you want to give ?
Ralph Tedesco: No. [laughs]
Yeah, there is going to be a gauntlet. There’s a lot leading up to it. The Age of Darkness is going to surprise a lot of people with how we are setting it up. It’s not a crossover by any means so people don’t need to worry about extra issues.
It’s just an event that’s going to reach across all of our Grimm titles. So the Age of Darkness leads up to that 100th issue and how the Grimm Universe is going to exist oppose to how it used to. So all the other realms are going to be affected by the Age of Darkness. So if you’re reading Wonderland that will tie into the Age of Darkness as will Grimm Fairy Tales as will Neverland, and all the other books we’re coming out with.
UTF: All right well that sounds great. I can’t wait to read and review this stuff.
Ralph Tedesco: Well the good thing is you don’t necessarily need to pick it all up. You’re not going to get confused over ‘I need to pick up Neverland to understand what’s going on in Grimm 95‘ etc.
UTF: So in other words you guys as independent publisher learned the lesson that DC and Marvel are still attempting to understand. Which is more or less, make it accessible on several levels. Allow them to buy the main book, the main arc and if they want to they can pick up the extra meat.
Ralph Tedesco: It’s tough. I mean, yes, we’ve learned – or are trying to learn our lesson but you know at this point in our companies history we’re at a juncture where we have a lot of different titles. We have this huge universe that keeps expanding upon itself so it’s growing and growing. It’s very tricky to try and balance everything. To come up with new titles that tie into the main without missing something you know? So we try to be as accessible to new readers as possible. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. You just have to accept that and move on and try to get it right next time.
UTF: Moving a little bit away from Grimm, I want to talk about the fact that I have noticed in he recent years that you guys have embraced new IPs that have nothing to do with Grimm Fairy Tales, like Fly. Are there any other titles in the future that might do their own thing and go away from GFT?
Ralph Tedesco: There are. The Grimm Universe is of course our main brand, you know doing all the Grimm Fairy Tales spin-off titles is what we’re known for. The dark horror supernatural elements but we want to continue to publish non Grimm books as well. But that’s a slower process because they’re not as easily marketable. Publishing comics isn’t easy. So we try to do it but we try to do it smart and not over saturate the market with new titles that don’t have to do with Grimm. But we do have, for example, Hit List which has nothing to do with Grimm. It’s a whole other animal.
We also have a new title coming out called Guardians,which is a supernatural comedy.
UTF: Sounds good.
Ralph Tedesco: We’ve also done things digitally. We did a release for an all ages book called Family Pets, which was written by Pat Shand. It was a creator owned book, which turned out to be a very big seller for us . Then we’re doing something called Suckers which is a digital release with vampires. It’s a dark comedy about vampires who are sick of being portrayed in the Twilight frame. So they go on a killing spree.
You know it’s South Park-esque. So we’re doing things like that. Things that we’re also passionate about that’s not tied into that Grimm Universe. But again, it’s just a matter of balancing it all.
UTF: With Hit List, I was wondering where did you come up with that idea?
Ralph Tedesco: My head. My brain.
UTF: [laughs] There you go.
Ralph Tedesco: It was sort of like a hodgepodge of stuff I like.
I love Breaking Bad. The Sopranos, Dexter. Properties where you have an anti-hero that you root for but sometimes you’re like ‘shit should I be rooting for this guy?’ I’ve always been fascinated by assassin movies and TV series. Anything to do with contract killers. So I kind of wanted to combine these elements with an ensemble cast, a bunch of anti-heroes that you’re kind of like ‘Should I be rooting for these guys?’, and make some of them borderline evil and some of them just happen to be doing this job. What better way to do that than to have them going against, you know, a neo-Nazi gang that deserves what they get. They’re kidnapping girls. It’s human trafficking. which you don’t see touched on very much. Well actually I guess we saw it touched on in Taken.
UTF: The only other comic I can think of that has actually attempted to even speak on that, is Scarlet Spiral from Marvel.
Ralph Tedesco: It’s a dark subject. And not only the world but this country, we don’t talk about it a lot. It happens. So I thought, I’m not sitting there telling you I’m creating anything that’s going to help the problem but I thought bring it to light. There’s stuff out there that’s scary. I wanted the threat to feel real enough and I wanted there to be a reason, a motivation for these people to go after this gang. There to sides to this. ‘Ok these guys are contract killers and maybe they’re doing something evil but what’s more evil than that.’ So that’s sort of how the idea came about.
UTF: I want to ask just one more question. If you had anything you could say to your fans right now about the coming months at Zenescope something to help them prepare for the big changes on the horizon for Grimm what would it be? Are there any Arcs from the past that they should be paying attention to, maybe revisiting in preparation for what’s coming?
Ralph Tedesco: Well I will say that if you’re a fan you should start re-reading, especially after issues 15 and 16. Get re-familiarized if you want to catch up in case you forgot some things. But yeah just let it happen, enjoy it. We do have some exciting new titles coming. Grimm Fairy Tales presents Tales of Terror and I’ll be helming it. That’s going to be sort of like a Tales From the Crypt type series that’s going to be very cool.
Just enjoy the ride, that’s the best thing to say.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Ralph Tedesco for the excellent conversation, it was a blast and I can’t wait to read what he and the rest of his crew have up their sleeves as 2014 rolls on.
But what did you guys think of the interview? Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!