The 15 Years of Zenescope panel at C2E2 2020 didn't include any announcements of upcoming books or insights into future projects. However, it featured the co-creator of the company Ralph Tedesco and his insights into how the publishing company got its humble beginnings 15 years ago. Additionally, the panel featured the Zenescope and Marvel cover artist David Nakayama, the Zenescope artist Jason Merclalf and questions from both the audience and Zenescope' social media marketing specialist Allison Ray who moderated the panel.
Ralph Tedesco said that when Zenescope printed the first Grimm Fairy Tales trade, it was their first six issues collected. "We printed 10,000 copies of our first volume and Diamond was like 'what are you doing?'. We're never gonna sell 10,000 copies. We had a pallet of books delivered to one of our friends' houses. He had this huge house in New Jersey. And they just dropped the pallet in the street of 10,000 copies of our books." These were Zenescope's humble beginnings 15 years ago in 2005. More recently, Zenescope has been able to publish a trade that's sold over 200,000 copies, Tedesco said.
When asked how Zenescope got its name, Tedesco suggested he doesn't believe the story is particularly interested. He said, "Joe [Brusha, Zenescope's co-founder] and I were throwing around names. And he really gets stuck on this idea of doing 'scope,' 'something-scope'. I don't know why. I think it was based off of, like, Interscope, the record company, if I'm not mistaken. And we were just thinking 'what's a cool word?' And I was like 'Zen's cool. Zenesceope!' And then Joe's like 'that's it!' And I'm like 'really?'. And he's like, "yeah". And I'm like "alright". It's kinda like the idea of Zen and then 'scope'. And it stuck."
At the Zenescope panel, Tedesco also talked about Zenescope's relationship with television. "We have a TV series on the Syfy Channel based on Van Helsing. If you guys read Van Helsing and then watched the TV series, you would go 'there is nothing alike. These are nothing alike'. But when we pitched it, they did love the idea of a female Van Helsing character, and got very altered throughout the process as we started talking to the TV guys." Tedesco said. The 5-season show is still inspired by the Zenescope character Val Helsing. Tedesco said it was "a fun thing to do" and a good, first breakthrough into the world of television.
Regarding Zenescope's publishing comics based on existing IPs, Tedesco said, "Charmed was a pain. Se7en was awesome. New Line Cinema let us do whatever the hell we wanted."
According to Tedesco, Zenescope printed 10,000 copies of a hardcover collection of their Se7en comics and it sold out. However, they can't ever reprint it because they no longer have the licensing.
When asked why he described publishing Charmed as "a pain," Tedesco said that there weren't many instances of Zenescope feeling like their ideas were being suppressed. "It wasn't like we wanted to do anything that was so outside the box," he explained. "It was just, like, they were very particular about reviewing the story lines and the script. So, it really was a challenge to get the books out on time. Because they would review them and have their notes. And sometimes the notes were so picky, and you'd be like 'alright, can we spend this up?' Or they'd put in a little thing about a cover or something. So, it was a lot. There were a lot of little notes that they'd give us that they'd give us that I felt like – we could streamline this a whole lot faster. So, that was the challenge. It wasn't necessarily the story."