Calie’s origin is closely tied to that of Wonderland. In the Grimm Fairy Tales Universe, Wonderland does not exist in the imagination of Lewis Carroll the author that wrote the novels Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, rather Wonderland is a dimension that was discovered in the same period in which he wrote his books (suggesting in this universe that he wrote them from personal experience.) Wonderland existed though as a place long before then which was a dimension of madness and chaos. Over many previous generations of humanity sacrifices had been made in order to keep the powers of Wonderland at bay and unable to enter the dimension of Earth. This changed when Alice Liddle was sacrificed to the dimension. When she went there she found a way out where others had never returned. By finding a way out though she was forced to leave a part of herself behind (in the form of an avatar.) Meanwhile the part of her that escaped was missing an important part of her consciousness and appeared to have lost her sanity to those around her. In fact, her behavior came to resemble completely that of a person with extreme depression, despite the fact that her avatar remained alive and well in Wonderland. She had two children, a son Johnny and a daughter, Calie. Calie’s father coped with her mother’s problems by finding solace in the hands of a dominatrix themed prostitute, while Calie turned to teenage rebellion through drugs and sex, and Johnny allowed his violent tendencies to control him.
Eventually one day Calie has been given the task of watching her mother (to guard against the threat of suicide) but her mother demands that she find a white rabbit which has escaped. Calie searches for the rabbit and eventually finds it in the basement, in a previously unknown hole in the basement floor. She falls through and her own adventures in Wonderland begin.
Calie was designed as the main hero and protagonist of the Wonderland themed series based in the Grimm Fairy Tales universe as published by Zenescope. As with most other heroes in the universe, a female is chosen as the lead character. She was created by Raven Gregory and Daniel Lester and first appeared in the first issue of the Return to Wonderland series.
Calie's journey is compared throughout her various series as that of one paralleling insanity. Her main name and her alias are anagrams of Alice (the other being Lacie) which both pays homage to the original author of Alice in Wonderland as it does show a person struggling to understand themselves. In addition Lewis Carroll is referenced by her full name as with her father's name.
When she tries to escape her past, she dyes her hair so that it takes on a new colour (usually portrayed as blonde) but whenever she ventures to Wonderland her hair always returns to its black colour (as does her costume generally materialize from nothing.) She is the only person who has been able to completely escape the madness inducing world of Wonderland and thus her character also exhibits a fairly common theme in literature (and especially in fantasy and horror genres) in which she as a character is responsible for breaking an ancient cycle which all previous people have fallen victim to. As she becomes pregnant halfway through her ordeal she understands the importance of doing so, not only for herself but also for her daughter.
Major Story Arcs
Other than tie-ins to other Grimm Fairy Tales related series, Calie’s journeys are told sequentially in three series – Return to Wonderland, Beyond Wonderland and Escape from Wonderland.
Return to Wonderland details the events of Calie’s life, as well as to introduce the past of the character’s family, all of which will become important over the course of the three series. With the background set of family discord over dealing with their mother, Calie is thrown into the world of Wonderland. Initially her journey there follows along a similar path to that of the classic novel, albeit with a horror based influence. Thus her first experience in Wonderland, the same as the novel is the room where she is far too tall for the doors. Her only option is to take a drink, which then makes her far too small. A piece of cake subsequently turns her into a giant. Afterwards she discovers the halfway solution and can proceed.
The world of Wonderland does not fully make sense though and so once escaping this bizarre room she finds herself outside while seeking a means of escape. This leads her to a seaside setting and upon venturing into a building finds a carnivorous Carpenter and soon after the feral Cheshire Cat. As with the story from literature she soon after finds as well the cryptic caterpillar, magical mushrooms and a group fo angry ravens. All the while she is aided in her journey by following the white rabbit, which at times is pointed out by a mysterious character.
Many of the characters are quite different as compared to the original novel, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter foremost among them. So as she escapes an attack from the Cheshire Cat, she finds herself in seemingly safe refuge in the house of the Mad Hatter. Unlike in the novel where he is an ally of sorts, here he is a sadistic and twisted murderer that only wants to poison her and abuse her. She fights back though and leaves him impaired and seemingly dead. With her own clothes stolen from her she is forced to take clothes from the Mad Hatter’s house, the resulting costume becoming one of her two most common looks in the three series while in Wonderland. Upon fleeing from this house she discovers a castle grounds, with several playing card guards attempting to paint the flowers red. Calie is caught but the Queen of Hearts arrives in time that she is not immediately harmed. She is invited to play croquet with the Queen, who remarks that Calie reminds her of another girl that had been there before (her mother). The Cheshire Cat returns and attacks Calie, the Queen and her men, as is the top half of the Queen (revealing as much uglier lower half). She then orders the remain guards to kill the Cheshire Cat. The previously masked stranger intervenes once again and saves Lacie. She reveals herself to be the avatar of her mother who leads her to a portal leading out of Wonderland. She hesitates at first as she does not want to leave without her mother, but she is forced through before the residents of Wonderland can catch up to her.
Calie wakes up in an abandoned school room and runs home to discover that her family thought she had run away. That same night her mother commits suicide by hanging herself off of the bannister on the staircase. At the funeral Calie discovers that her brother can also see the white rabbit in its true and grotesque form. When she returns later to visit her mother’s grave, she is visited by Charles Dodgson. He tells her of the origin of Wonderland and implies that because her mother partially escaped that the horrific events of the twentieth century are partially her fault. It later becomes evident that this story is not entirely truthful, though it was in parts.
She is upset by finding this out and runs from him. When she returns home she finds that Johnny has killed their father. Already having found out about the his relations with the prostitute, he had killed her, but with his descent into madness as he becomes more infected by the chaos of Wonderland, he has decided to punish his father for their mother’s death.
Calie realizes that Johnny is too far lost to be saved, and so recognizing that Wonderland requires another sacrifice to close the portal she shoves him through the mirror which acts as the portal then destroys the mirror to ensure he cannot return. She then runs away to her boyfriend’s house, and not yet sure that she loves him decides to run away with him. She soon after discovers that she is pregnant.
In the series Beyond Wonderland, the action picks up in New York City a few months after her the first series. Calie and her boyfriend Brandon have established themselves in the new city, and she works at a diner and calls herself Lacie Tenniel. She works far too much simply to distract her from her nightmares, and Brandon begins to fear for her sanity. Finally after she refuses help of any kind, Brandon decides he must leave her in order that she face her own demons. However, he changes his mind at the last moment, only to be kidnapped by the Mad Hatter through a mirror. Calie now believes that he has abandoned her, as all that she finds is the letter he had written her, and she decides to move in with her closest friend Melody. Melody is soon after murdered and Calie knows that Wonderland has followed her here and found her. Eventually after wandering the city, a man named Howard Phillips encounters her and explains that he is her real grandfather and explains who Charles Dodgson truly is and how he forced Alice into Wonderland in a trade for power and longevity in life. She takes his words to heart and decides to pack up and leave the city behind once again, but at the diner she discovers the scene of a horrible massacre, all at the hands of her brother, who has taken on the role of the Mad Hatter. She fights and subdues the Cheshire Cat and then finds her brother atop the Empire State Building. She fights her brother, beheads him and smashes the mirror which he used to gain access out of Wonderland.
As the epilogue to the story Calie gives birth to her daughter Violet, but she is surprised by Johnny who returns and kidnaps his niece. He is able to get away as he administers a sedative to his sister.
The following series Escape from Wonderland begins at this point. She awakes from the sedative to discover that all of the people in the entire hospital have been murdered. She is committed to a psychiatric hospital but is soon allowed to leave. She returns to her family home where she finds another mirror which can be used as a portal to Wonderland. She has returned to Wonderland much stronger though, and her appearance, abilities and weapons have all been enhanced. She returns to the castle and demands her daughter, but finds the Red Queen there. She subsequently reveals to Calie the direction to the Jabberwocky’s den. On her path she is attacked by a humanoid with a degree of fighting ability as well as a giant beast. She soon realizes the humanoid man is there to help her and he kills the creature. The two then set off to confront the Jabberwocky. In the cave they are confronted by a giant worm that can create hatchlings when hurt and the numbers of attackers make it impossible for them to advance. He opts to stay behind as she heads on for the final confrontation. In a hall of mirrors she finds different versions of herself, all which tried to make her turn back. She smashes the mirrors and behind the final one finds Violet. She attempts escape and traps the Cheshire Cat and kills his companion Lina.
They are now pursued by Johnny, but before being intercepted, she is shoved through a mirror by who she believes to be her mother. In this new reality she discovers the peace that she searched for, but realizes it is all artificial as the family members become more gruesome and as she seeks her daughter and smashes back through the mirror. She confronts who she thought was her mother, revealing it was in fact the Jabberwocky in disguise. After the humanoid man returns he helps her defeat the creature and then reveals that he is in fact Brandon. He is soon after killed by the hatchlings that he had been fighting. The Jabberwocky revives itself yet Johnny is taunted into killing Charles Dodgson, and in so doing weakens the strength of the jabberwocky in the outside world. Johnny decides to murder the Jabberwocky with the Ebony Blade and then turns once again on his sister. She succeeds in grabbing him and forcing him back through the mirror to the real world, where he stalks her and Violet through their house. She ambushes him though and hangs him from the very spot where her mother killed herself.
The epilogue shows Calie some years in the future with a nearly fully grown Violet, debating whether to tell her the truth about her family.
She briefly takes part in the Dream Eater Saga. This is shown somewhat out of the main timeline as Violet is now fully grown but the action is taking place at the same time as the rest of the Grimm Fairy Tales stories (previously it was implied that Calie's story took place contemporaneously, but in this case it would have happened several years before.) In this story the Cheshire Cat has managed to find a way to escape from Wonderland after many long years being trapped there since Calie broke the dimensional portal. The Cat is after revenge and goes to find Calie or Violet but finds Violet first as she is in school. The Cat attacks her classmates while Violet finds refuge in the school bathroom. Calie hears about the incident and tries to return to her daughter. In the meanwhile the police have barricaded the school and the Cat eventually finds Violet, though she is able to escape from immediate danger. As she confonts the Cat outside the Dream Eater shows up and consumes the Cat. Violet jumps in Calie's car and they finally dicuss what Calie's past is as the rest of the scene goes back to as it was before the Cat arrived.
Powers and Abilities
Calie evolves throughout the three series, and her evolution is tied to her own abilities, and especially those in Woderland. Upon her second trip to Wonderland, while seeking to reclaim her daughter Violet, her physical abilities are all enhanced dramatically. Once the portal is destroyed she reverts to her ordinary capabilities as this was a result of her learning that she had control over the dimension by learning she had control over the madness which sought to infect her. In this mentality, she also proves adept with using martial weapons, most often a sword or a battle ax.
It is implied in other series that the land of Wonderland is similar to that of Myst. If that is the case then Calie is likely correspondingly a Wonderland version of a falseblood.
As with most of the other Zenescope series based in the Grimm Fairy Tales universe, the Wonderland trilogy features a female as its main hero and protagonist. Equally as with the other titles, the character is generally depicted in very sexually suggestive poses or clothing on the covers of the individual issues (though this often occurs more commonly on alternate covers) but the interior depiction is that of a very strong and self-reliant individual. This is more pronounced in the Wonderland series which focuses on more horror based elements than the remainder of the Grimm Fairy Tales titles. Additionally the character like many other Zenescope characters is often depicted in iconic poses or poses which would be considered as something of interest to local comic book fans at comic book conventions. An example of this is Calie in a uniform for a local baseball team.