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DF Interview: Troy Brownfield gets Grimm with White Queen
By Byron Brewer
An Age of Darkness has descended and the four mystical realms surrounding Earth have merged. Calie, Wonderland's White Queen, is a pawn in the Dark Queen's ultimate plans. And while Calie opposes those schemes, she finds herself in a conundrum as the Dark Queen holds very powerful leverage over Calie, very powerful indeed. Wonderland enters the Age of Darkness ... and nothing can ever be the same!
Written by Troy Brownfield with art by Luca Claretti, this wondrous work hits shelves in February. To discuss it more, Dynamic Forces followed Brownfield down the Rabbit Hole and chatted over tea at the Mad Hatter’s table. Here’s what the scribe told us.
Dynamic Forces: Troy, how did you become involved with the Grimm Fairy Tales franchise?
Troy Brownfield: I started writing for Zenescope in 2010. Raven Gregory knew me from Newsarama and Fangoria Comics (where I’d been Associate Editor), and he approached me about pitching an idea for an anthology annual. I gave him a couple of ideas, and the gang (including Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco) decided that my White Knight pitch would make a great issue of Tales from Wonderland. So that became the first thing that I did. Later on, they came to me about taking on the Grimm Fairy Tales Myths & Legends series; I did 8 issues of that. Since that time, I’ve done a number of mini-series and several issues of the main Grimm Fairy Tales book.
DF: Tell us about this new miniseries on the White Queen. What challenges face Calie?
Troy Brownfield: The White Queen miniseries focuses on Calie during the time of the Realm War/Age of Darkness. As of the Wonderland: Age of Darkness special, the Dark Queen is able to manipulate Calie (the White Queen of Wonderland) because she now holds the power of life and death over Calie’s daughter, Violet. Calie is trying to prevent her daughter from being killed, which of course means that she has to make some hard choices between doing what’s right and doing what the Dark Queen has ordered.
DF: Does this mini spin out of any of your previous Grimm stories?
Troy Brownfield: You can definitely see some threads from the Wonderland: Clash of Queens mini-series in this story. There are also some callbacks to the history of Wonderland in general and to the Age of Darkness special in particular. That said, you don’t have to have read any of those books to enjoy these issues.
DF: Tell us about your perception of the White Queen and some of your other protagonists as characters.
Troy Brownfield: I really like Calie. Calie has had a frequently torturous road, but she always tries to do the right thing. She cares about the people that have become her subjects, and she’s driven to try to reform the madness of Wonderland. Calie loves nothing more than Violet; she would do anything for her. And that’s at the crux of her dilemma.
Also prominent is Dark Chesire. He was once an enemy of Calie, but now he’s her staunch ally. I love that cat. I had a ball writing him in GFT vs. Wonderland and I tried to give him some good moments here. He’s a lot of fun.
DF: Is it difficult to maintain the atmosphere necessary for fairy tales and still create characters that readers will care about?
Troy Brownfield: I don’t think so. I try to write Calie and the rest as believable people. No matter how unreal or unbelievable the situation gets, I want the readers to still be able to identify with the characters and say, “I understood why she did that” or “Hey, I learned something new about this character.” Zenescope has a lot of readers that are already heavily invested in the characters. My job is to treat them with respect and do entertaining things with them while they’re in my care. I do my best.
DF: How was it working with artist Luca Claretti?
Troy Brownfield: Luca’s an incredible artist. He drew GFT vs. Wonderland, so I was already familiar with him. He gets all the beats, be they horror or humor or action. He also has a strong understanding of fight choreography, and comes up with interesting background visuals for the various locations. Luca is a real talent; I’m lucky to work with him.
DF: What is it about the Wonderland characters in particular that fascinate both creators and readers?
Troy Brownfield: Zenescope has put great care into building a universe. That they’ve done it with characters that have been around in various forms over time is clever. You get to meet or challenge or subvert or surpass expectations. At this point, a number of the characters have gathered history and followings, and that says good things about what the various creators have done. I think the biggest point of fascination is when you make the reader ask the question: what would I have done in that situation? Calie and the others face a lot of hard choices. Seeing those choices and how the play out is one of the things that brings the readers back.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Troy Brownfield for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Grimm Fairy Tales: The White Queen #1 is on sale now!
Pre-order your copy of Blood Queen vs Dracula #1 written by Troy Brownfield right here!
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