Actor, director, and writer Walter Koenig has proven his versatility as a creative mind across multiple industries and genres. In 1993, he created the comic book mini-series Raver –an action tale of a super hero battling his personal flaws with both his powers and his emotions. Now, with Bluewater Productions, he delivers an apocolyptic vampire saga titled “Things to Come” featuring an atmospheric setting, mutants inhabiting the surface of the earth, and soul-searching questions of who should rightfully rule the planet. Comicbookinterviews publisher John Michael Helmer recently caught up with Mr. Koenig to discuss his writing career and his new Bluewater hit: Things to Come…
JMH: Where were you born and raised?
WALTER: I was born in Chicago and grew up inNew York City.
JMH: Tell CBI about yourself…
WALTER: I’ve been an actor most of my adult life. (Star Trek,Babylon5, et. al) I wrote for TV in the seventies and wrote and produced a feature called “Inalienable”, now onDVD. Did lots of theater, taught at UCLA among other places. My wife is an actress; my daughter has done standup and now writes comedy material for various television shows.
JMH: Have you had any formal training in writing?
WALTER: No formal training. A lot of trial and error over four decades.
JMH: Who are your writing influences?
WALTER: My first influence was Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters and Dostoyevski
JMH: How did you break into writing comic books?
WALTER: In the eighties, Marv Wolfman challenged me to write an issue of the Star Trek comic. In the nineties, I created a character called Raver and did a three issue series about him for Malibu Publishing.
JMH: What is the first comic you remember reading?
WALTER: Probably Batman, Superman or Captain Marvel.(The original one)
JMH: Do you read any of the new comic books that are being published today?
JMH: Print versus Digital. Your thoughts…
WALTER: It’s got to be print. I’m too old a hound to teach new tricks.
JMH: Writer’s block. How do you get around that creature?
WALTER: I step away from the keyboard and put my hands and brain in the air.
JMH: You wrote a comic book series called Raver. What worked with that property and what would you like to have changed?
WALTER: I think I did as well as I could at the time. I’m not sure what i could have done even now to make it better. I thought the third issue was the most successful of the three.
JMH: Did your experience writing Raver help with Things to Come? If so, how…
WALTER: I had written Raver about 15 years ago. I hardly remembered the process. It came back to me with time but it was a struggle at first when I tackled Things To Come.
JMH: Where did the idea for Raver come from?
WALTER: I don’t really remember. I know I wanted to create a super hero with flaws both in terms of his powers and his emotional stability.
JMH: Any plans to revisit the character with additional stories?
WALTER: I’ve written a fourth Raver story which will be bundled with the first three and released as a graphic novel in February, 2012. The new story is a bit more whimsical than those that went before. I had fun writing it.
JMH: What is Things to Come?
WALTER: It involves the last of the human species and the origins of a new sentient race that takes its place. The “Things to Come” refers to what is in store for the world with the advent of this new order.
JMH: Things to Come is set in a post-apocalyptic world are vampires. Why is that setting intriguing to you as a writer?
WALTER: I worry that we are no closer to a gentler more peaceful world now than we have been in mankind’s history. And so I pose the question: Can vampires do it better?
JMH: There has been a recent infusion of vampire stories in popular culture. What does Things to Come offer that other vampire tales do not?
WALTER: My story balances the twin features of what vampires do and what they think. These folks want to know why they’ve come into existence, what their purpose is and where they’re heading. There’s a lot of soul(less) searching.
JMH: Do you research your story ideas? If so, how?
WALTER: Not too much in this case.
JMH: What is your writing process like?
WALTER: I work from an outline, usually hand written. I generally do character sketches of the principal characters and their relationships. I make sure that I know going in what the objective in the story is and what stands in the way of the protagonist achieving it.
JMH: Do your stories carry a message?
WALTER: Generally, yes. I can’t seem to get away from it. It’s part of the reason I write.
JMH: Do you feel more comfortable with writing prose or comic book sequential storytelling?
WALTER: If I understand the question properly, this graphic novel – the way I’ve constructed it -is less sequential than the prose I have written in the past.
JMH: What future projects are in the works? With the re-issue of Raver and Things to Come at Bluewater, will fans see additional properties created by you at Bluewater or with other publishers?
WALTER: I haven’t discussed it with Bluewater nor have i given it much thought. I’ve begun working on a short film with another actor. Just an idea I want to see if I can make work as a ten minute movie. We’ll probably shoot it in three or four weeks.
JMH: Where can fans get a hold of your books?
WALTER: Amazon.com seems to be the likeliest source for most things I have written. The separate issues of Things To Come are available, starting in September, wherever comic books are sold, I imagine. The graphic novel version of this story will be carried by Barnes and Noble beginning in January 2012.
JMH: Anything else you’d like to mention that we haven’t covered yet?
WALTER: There are a collection of television series and feature films that were made under the title “Star Trek”. If your fans haven’t come across them yet it might be something they could check into.
JMH: Walter, CBI appreciates your time! All the best!
WALTER: “Live long….” aw, screw it. “See ya”.
About the interviewer –