This April, Pennsylvania-based publisher Zenescope Entertainment will release the horror/comedy title Man Goat & the Bunny Man. Each of the writers behind this wild concept also has a larger role at Zenescope, so today I talked to Ralph Tedesco (co-writer, c0-Founder, and Zenescope's VP of Film & Television), Dave Franchini (co-writer, editor on many of their other titles), and Joe Brusha (co-writer, co-Founder, President) about this upcoming comic, the state of comedy, and more.
THEO DWYER: All right, first up, let's have the quick pitch for Man Goat & the Bunny Man.
RALPH TEDESCO: This is just your typical buddy horror comedy about two misunderstood urban legend best friends who try to do the right thing but never get the credit for being the good guys.
DAVE FRANCHINI: Yeah, exactly what Ralph said, along with cults, monster hunters, hillbilly mutants, satanic rituals, and even a little bit of love sprinkled in there for good measure.
THEO: Readers have come to expect dark fantasy and horror from Zenescope, but interestingly this isn't your first go at comedy. There was Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse, Comic Company, Guardians, Suckers – not many companies are willing to try for a comedy-first comic. With Man Goat & the Bunny Man, as a horror/comedy, does this feel like a risk or something that's a natural fit for Zenescope?
RALPH: Every comic is a risk in some way. But these types of stories are actually right up our alley as far as dipping into our sort of collective sense of humor.
JOE BRUSHA: I don't look at anything we do as risky. We just try to tell entertaining stories and offer products we think our fans will enjoy. Obviously, not everything is going to appeal to everyone, but I don't think that's something you can worry about when you're trying to make an entertainment product.
THEO: Man Goat & the Bunny Man is written by the three of you, correct? How does that kind of thing work? I know some writers working for you have spoken about how you guys have a Writer's Room.
RALPH: Something like this has to be done in a writer's room setting. This was exactly that. We were on a retreat, and Joe threw out this idea he'd been working on, and we all jumped in.
DAVE: This definitely hits on the stories all three of us love to watch or read, and once Joe pulled out the initial idea, it almost wrote itself. I'll speak for myself and say that this was an overall enjoyable experience just working through the story elements together. I remember cracking up laughing with some of the ideas we threw out there.
THEO: Back to comedy – I miss comedy being huge in movies. There was a time, that Judd Apatow era, where comedies were big blockbusters. Now, it almost feels like Hollywood is afraid to joke about stuff. I wonder if the same is true for comics because outside of outliers like, say, Money Shot from Vault, there's not much comedy going around.
DAVE: I can't speak for everyone, but I feel like comedy is kind of like most forms of entertainment, you can't make everyone laugh at what you create, but you can try. It's really just putting out the story that you enjoy telling and kind of hoping other people get it. And I think with this story and the three separate personalities we each bring to it, that we cover enough ground to hopefully entertain a good amount of people—at least three or four handfuls.
JOE: It does seem like everyone has gotten extremely sensitive about what's funny. I guess it's a sign of the times we're living in. Personally, I don't worry too much about who's going to be offended. If you think about comedy, what's funny is almost always something bad that happens to someone. One of the funniest things you can see in a movie is someone getting hit in the nuts or falling on their face. And that's horrible for the person taking the beating, but we all laugh at it. I think a lot of people need to stop taking things so seriously and learn to laugh at themselves. Everyone has flaws that are funny, and it's okay to make fun and laugh at them as long as you aren't mean spirited about it.
THEO: Is this a Grimm Universe title in any way or completely separate?
RALPH: This is totally separate. We usually publish a handful of titles each year that don't fall under our shared Grimm Universe. Usually, the titles outside the shared universe lean toward horror, but occasionally we delve into other genres, or we attempt a genre mashup like this.
THEO: Last time we talked, you told me about the new structure. Longer books, one-shots instead of miniseries. Now, what else can Zenescope fans look forward to as we get deeper into 2021?
DAVE: We still plan for more of a one-shot format for the majority of our books. Stories like The Courier, Man Goat & The Bunny Man, and others outside of our shared Grimm Universe will be done in the three-issue mini-series format, but those issues will be oversized with 32-pages of a story each. As for the Grimm Universe books, we'll still be releasing our flagship title, Grimm Fairy Tales, as an ongoing 22 page monthly series. But all the others will be Quarterly books at 72-pages, Annuals at 64-pages, and our main character one-shots like Van Helsing, Belle, and Robyn Hood will all be bi-monthly 32-page stories.