Friday, August 20, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: 'Star Trek' Actor Walter Koenig Returns To Comics With 'Things To Come' And New 'Raver' Tales

Actor Walter Koenig is best known for playing Pavel Chekov, the navigator for the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" television series and films, but over the course of a career that has spanned more than 50 years of acting, writing, and directing, he's managed to carve out a niche for himself in other areas, too — including the comics world.

The author of Malibu Comics' early-'90s series "Raver," Koenig returns to the comics world next year with "Things To Come," a four-issue miniseries he's scripting that will be published by Bluewater Productions. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which vampires have become the dominant species, Koenig's tale promises to feature a very different take on the vampire stories that have become all the rage these days.

I spoke with Koenig today to find out more about the series, as well as Bluewater's plans to re-issue the original three-issue "Raver" series next year with a brand new story featuring the character.

In "Things To Come," Koenig presents a world in which vampires are searching for identity and purpose in a world destroyed by their human predecessors. They've evolved to withstand the harsh environment, but remain uncertain of whether they're the next step in civilization or the precursor to something else.

"The one intelligent species that can survive in this post-apocalyptic world are vampires, and they are a bridge from what has gone before, which is this self-destruction of the human race, and what will come after," explained Koenig. "They are in pursuit of their own meaning. Why are they there? Why have they been created?"

"There are those among them who think it is an act of god, and those who thoroughly reject that idea," he added.

However, Koenig stopped short of implying that any of these vampires will be "good guys" by standard definition.

"I don't know that they're good guys," he said. "They evolve as circumstances dictate. They do things that offer the promise of being good, but there are those who are more bitter and they see themselves as doomed to a terrible, soulless eternity."

According to Koenig, the real question posed by the vampires and their existence is "What will come after them?" The answer is something he said he's wrestled with over time, and has changed dramatically over the course of the writing process.

"I had one concept about how the story would end and what will come from these vampire species, but as I grew closer to the end of the story I found myself changing it," he said. "So now it's a different ending than I had initially thought."

Koenig added that the public's current fascination with vampires hasn't gone unnoticed, though he plans to offer a very different take on the creatures than anyone is accustomed to.

"As pretentious as it sounds, I don't want to mimic what has gone before," he explained. "My purpose isn't to capitalize on a theme, but inject it with some fresh ideas. That's what makes writing fun for me. It's always been what makes writing fun for me."

And while some authors shy away from presenting their comics work as a potential prelude to a big- or small-screen project, Koenig indicated early on in the conversation that "Things To Come" is indeed the product of a feature film treatment he'd written over many years and hopes to bring to theater audiences. Before that happens, however, we'll also see a reissue of "Raver," a project he admitted to liking a lot more than he anticipated when he chose to revisit it.

"The 'Raver' comics were better than I thought they were," he laughed. "I remember them less endearingly than I actually felt when I went over them once again. He's a complex character and he has a lot of stuff going on. He's a character who must vanquish the enemy with powers that only mirror the antagonist."

Koenig said he plans to author a brand new story featuring the series' hero, who travels through nightmare worlds manifested by his own psychotic episodes. Almost 20 years separated from the last issue of "Raver," Koenig said he hopes to bring the character back with a new, "more topical" story that offers a "metaphor for our involvement in foreign lands."

"Things To Come" is planned for a Spring 2011 release, with the reissued "Raver" also hitting that year.

Bluewater Productions has provided Splash Page readers with the exclusive first peek at the cover to "Things To Come," featuring the art of GMB Chomichuk. Interior art will be provided by Nathan Ooten. Bluewater has also provided the new cover to the "Raver" collection, featuring art by Gregg Paulsen.

Things To Come