Interview - Ralph Tedesco (Zenescope Comics)

Omnicomic made its way to Wizard World in Philadelphia and while there had the fortune to interview Ralph Tedesco of Zenescope Comics. Check out the interview below to find out about new properties from the publisher that knows a thing or two about fairy tales.

Omnicomic: Let’s talk about ongoing projects. What stuff does Zenescope have on tap for the near future? What’s coming up?

Tedesco: We have stuff. Right now for this year we’re debuting two new projects at San Diego. One’s called Merc, one’s called Agon. We’ve started to doing more sci-fi stuff like with Stingers. Merc takes place in the near future and there’s these mercenaries that sacrifice their bodies where they’ll have limbs removed and weapons grafted in their place. Almost like a Robocop, but more gritty. They don’t tell these mercenaries that in 10 years they’re done, so we pick up with this guy Sonny Grissom who’s been a mercenary for 10 years now and how he’s at the end of his rope.

Picture Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. But then there’s these chemical injections that are similar to steroids, however he’s not on them. When he’s not on his steroids he can barely do anything. The surgeries have taken a toll on his body and he knows he’s dying, even though he’s 35 years old. This is his one last chance for redemption. He encounters this girl that has a cure to the virus, so he has to find and protect her.

Agon is really awesome…it’s like Gladiator meets Aliens. Basically, it’s about this intergalactic planetary battle. Imagine tomorrow that you wake up and these alien beings show up and say that you have to pick the planet’s 10 best warriors to go up against other planets’ warriors. All these planets are basically in this war without choice. And it’s not just picking the strongest warriors, because you’re fighting individuals from all sorts of planets where brute strength alone won’t work. You have to be smart about who you pick.

Omnicomic: Those two books seem like they’re taking Zenescope into a really cool and somewhat new direction. Where do you draw inspiration for this new direction?

Tedesco: Well Stingers just hit me one day. Merc was an outside writer brought the IP to us and we liked it. Agon was just a concept brought to us. We liked the general concept and we decided that we should flesh it out. When we started Grimm Fairy Tales we were just doing a dark twist on fairy tales. And we actually have a new spinoff called Mercy Dante, following the Mercy character from Grimm Fairy Tales. She kills a little kid that kind of got us a lot of grief, but come on this is a comic book. But we have a whole miniseries dedicated to that character.

Omnicomic: Merc, Agon and Mercy Dante, are they all going to be ongoing?

Tedesco: They’re all currently five-issue miniseries. Those three are brand new, and later in the year is our dark Neverland spin. We started talking about why these worlds blend in Grimm Fairy Tales #36 I believe (they all start blurring together), and this is a part of that. You have Wonderland and different realms, and Neverland is one realm that ties into that bigger realm.

Omnicomic: So it’s kind of like taking all this fairy tale stuff and creating a mythos?

Tedesco: Grimm Fairy Tales encompasses its own world, but Return to Wonderland ties into it. So we are trying to create a sort of bigger picture of the Zenescope universe.

Omnicomic: Are you feeling good about the debut of Salem’s Daughter?

Tedesco: We’ve got a lot of great reviews. We had some really great cover artists that definitely helped it be successful…of course having a good-looking girl helps too. But people start reading it and it seems that people start getting it. Hopefully it continues to do well. We have a five-issue story arc going right now. The plan is to make it ongoing, and we have the five issues as a standalone story that can be a miniseries.

Omnicomic: Can you comment on the overall arc?

Tedesco: The zero issue is a preview issue, and issues 1-3 are just sort of showing how Anna learns about her powers. And also introducing the other main character, this gunslinger who happens to be working with Anna against someone seeking her power. The next two issues kick off the first sort of incident where the two of them go into a small town to investigate the Jersey Devil.

Omnicomic: So will each issue sort of focus on a different creature in American mythology?

Tedesco: Yeah. Each mini-series will be based on her powers, where she gets visions about something wrong and they investigate. We want to bring that American mythology into it. And there are all different things you can play with; we don’t want to the same old story. I mean, everyone has done werewolves before, but we want to do it in a new way with a fresh take. We want to do it in a cool way.

Omnicomic: It definitely seems like Zenescope has a way of doing things cool

Tedesco: Yeah definitely.

Omnicomic: Can you be specific about what happened with No Quarter?

Tedesco: Ha. On the record, we both sort of went our separate ways.

Omnicomic: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview.