Over the weekend, Steven and I attended the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). There were plenty of comic book vendors, artists and publishing companies on hand for the three-day event. One of the publication companies in attendance was Zenescope, whose titles I often review here on the site. They were easily noticeable with a huge banner of their main female characters like Leisel Van Helsing and Robyn Hood. There were even two cosplayers dressed as Robyn and Leisel who gave fans the opportunity to shoot a picture of The Mad Hatter in the diamond of his necktie to win a trade paperback. Every participant did get a free copy of a Jungle Book issue just for playing along. Zenescope artists drew Chicago-inspired prints and variant covers exclusively for C2E2. I had the privilege of interviewing John Lyons, the director of sales and marketing for Zenescope. He gave great insight into what Zenescope is and has to offer. Without further ado, I present my interview with Mr. John Lyons.
Joe Grodensky: Thank you for taking the time to talk about Zenescope and what the company has to offer. How long has Zenescope been doing C2E2?
John Lyons: We’ve been doing C2E2 I think about five years now. We’ve got our classic stuff that we bring, our Grimm Fairy Tales, our Robyn Hood, bringing some newer characters. We’ve got a bunch of new releases that we’re showing off. Here we have Hellchild coming up, we have Satan’s Hollow, Red Agent. You can see on our backdrop here we have Death Force coming up, Steampunk just released. so we’re bringing a bunch of new stuff to fans and everyone really seems to be responding. We have some art prints here that we’re selling out of like Chicago Blackhawks so it’s a lot of fun.
JG: I’ve actually seen them on the website and you guys are doing great work.
JL: Thank you.
JG: I review them and I can’t say enough about Zenescope. The characters and I got to say, Wonderland.
JL: (laughs) Is that your favorite?
JG: One of. How would you describe Wonderland in Zenescope’s world?
JL: Wow, Wonderland is a dark and twisted version of Alice in Wonderland where Wonderland has just become completely chaotic and Alice’s daughter Calie has to go back to Wonderland and set things straight and non of the characters are who you think they would be. Even in Wonderland terms it’s really beyond Wonderland which is why we call it that.
JG: Wow. I just reviewed Grimm’s Fairy Tales with the video tape. How did that come about, the Tales of Terror?
JL: Ah. Well, the Tales of Terror…people love Tales of Terror because it has a real retro look. It hearkens back to Tales from the Crypt and we have all new products actually here at C2E2 for Tales of Terror. We do well at Halloween and fans really respond to Tales of Terror. We started writing it, we just released some hardcovers because the response has been great. So you know, fans are really responding to it.
JG: That’s great. It’s a lot of good stuff. So now we see Robyn Hood’s coming to an end and is there anything going forward with her in terms of bringing her back for something?
JL: Yeah you’ll see Robyn she’s not going away. We have some neat things planned that you’ll see later this year. We’ve got the Robyn Hood annual. In that issue we have a wedding to celebrate.
JG: Oh wow.
JL: Yeah, so you guys will be surprised with all of that stuff.
JG: Cool. Hey, weddings are good. We like weddings.
JL: Yes, yes. (laughs)
JG: At least no characters are dying so that’s good.
JL: (laughs) yeah.
JG: What will be going on with Steampunk?
JL: Yeah so Steampunk is an alternate reality universe. It features Van Helsing who’s becoming very popular for us and you’ll also see Robyn Hood in that issue. They tackle some new adventures together in a steampunk universe. It’s fun to read.
JG: I noticed there’s actually a take on Captain Hook in the first one.
JL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The thing I love about the Steampunk stuff too is the intricacy. We have a couple of prints, E. Bass did one. They’re really just…the artwork is really intricate. it’s just really fun to look at.
JG: It is. It’s amazing.
JL: That one was fun to read and fun to do the artwork for.
JG: That’s cool and I notice it’s great work you guys do on everything and it’s really cool.
JL: Thank you.
JG: You’ve got some good writers. You got Pat Shand in there, Ralph Tedesco. It’s just great talent behind you.
JL: Yeah, we’re really happy. We feel like we’re in a good spot because we have all of the classics that everybody enjoys but you’ll see us moving forward. Our titles are diversified a little bit. We’re doing things that we haven’t done before. Escape From Monster Island recently released and it’s gotten great, great feedback from fans. We’ve sold out of numerous variants for it really quickly. People are excited about the different things we’re doing.
JG: I noticed one of the variants is almost like a Tomb Raider-type cover.
JL: Yeah, that’s really neat. The fans are really enjoying it.
JG: The first thing I thought of was Tomb Raider. It was just great.
JL: We’ll have in the next few weeks if you take a look at our Facebook page, we’ll be showing some artwork over the next couple of weeks that I think fans will like.
JG: That’s great. I’m looking forward to it. Are there any new fairy tale characters you’re working on?
JL: New fairy tale characters not so much I would characterize it like that in the Grimm universe. I think really the most exciting one is the re-invention of Red Riding Hood as Red Agent. Red Agent 1 and 2 are out now and that’s a really fun series to read and we’re going to do some things with Red Agent. Brittany Waters is an international spy a.ka. Red Riding Hood and the storyline’s really cool.
JG: Wow, that’s some cool stuff. I’m looking forward to it.
JL: Alright man.
JG: Thank you for your time.
JL: Thank you.
Once again, thank you Mr. John Lyons for a great interview and a great experience with Zenescope at C2E2. Zenescope is a great company that has so much to offer in the comic book world. I am excited to hear of and see all the new material they will be releasing going forward.