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Scott Allie: Interviews

22 January 2012 Leave a comment

Scott Allie – INTERVIEWS

2012:

13 Jan: Comic Book Resources – Scott Allie Talks Buffy’s Big Changes 

Slayalive Q&A with Scott Allie for Angel and Faith #5

3 January 2012 Leave a comment

Q&A with Scott Allie for ANGEL & FAITH #5

Hey all.
Welcome back to our Q&A sessions with Scott for ANGEL & FAITH. Everyone is free to submit ONE (1) question at a time.
As before, we’re going to limit the Q&A to a total of 30 questions this time. I’m going to collect 15 questions, and then close the session until the answers come back. I’ll then reopen the session for new questions, or follow-ups if deemed necessary.

As before, since we only have 30 slots to fill, I’d prefer that questions not be squandered on spoiler-baiting. While I understand that it’s hard to resist, I reserve the right to not include those, if spoiler-baiting seems to be the only function of the question. An example of a spoiler-baiting question would be “When will Connor show up in A&F and will he and Angel have a long and heavy talk about how Angel could be willing to leave him on a dying world while he and Buffy traipsed off into paradise?”

I’ll also be selective about clarification questions. Too often, this has become a fan exercise in demanding answers for things that are meant to be interpreted, and the material is there for that. An example of a topic done to death would be “Does Angel remember ordering the execution of the “spike” guy in “Retreat”? Can he be held accountable for the massacre on the Tibetan mountainside, pitting depowered Slayers against soldiers?” Such questions are better asked in the relevant discussion threads, as they’re provocative and discussion-worthy. These Q&As are not meant to be tools to help you prove a point.

As usual, rudeness will not be tolerated. Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to seeing your questions. I’m also accepting questions and questions about questions at wenxina[AT]slayalive.com.

1. Bamph: What do you think makes Angel heroic?

Scott: He wants to do right, he wants to help people, he wants to confront evil where he sees it, and he’ll put his life on the line to do it. He doesn’t ever mean to put himself first.

2. FangedFourLover: Whose idea was it to make Drusilla come to the “Angel and Faith” world in the next arc as opposed to “Buffy”, yours, Joss’, or Christos’?

Scott: I can’t remember. I don’t think it was Joss’s. Pretty sure it was Chris’, but it might have been mine or Sierra’s.

3. AndrewCrossett: I have a question about the “zompires” and the mechanics by which they are created. In Buffy #3, Willow says “When someone becomes a vampire, a demon possesses their dead body. But without the Seed, demons can’t pass into this world. The demon has to possess the vampire’s body from another dimension.” I took the last sentence to be Willow clarifying that the demon had to come into this world from another dimension and now couldn’t, so the zompires are simply people transformed physically into vampires, but without any demon spirit to provide intelligence and purpose… they’re just non-sentient monsters.

But a lot of people took that sentence to mean that the demon now controls the vampire body while remaining in another dimension, like remote control. This seemed to be supported by the latest issue of Angel & Faith, where Angel talks about the demon control being like “faint radio waves.” But I was under the impression that with the Seed gone, no travel or communication at all was possible between this world and other dimensions. Otherwise, I’d have thought Aluwyn would have made contact with Willow somehow by now.

So, could you clarify the real explanation behind the zompires (at least insofar as the characters understand it at this point)?

Scott: The demon has a very loose connection to the person, because the portals are all either closed or nonexistent. The mystic realms are all still there, of course, earth is still here, and so while the passageways are all messed up, Season 9 will explore ways in which the different realms remain at the very least side by side with us …
This season has also led to a lot of conversation about the metaphysics of the demon/vampire/human connection, and we have some varying theories. Joss doesn’t want it nailed down in a scientific kind of way, so we try to make sure that what we do loosely works within a few differing ideas for the metaphysics of it. We think that giving the readers something to ponder in terms of the nature of these characters is more interesting than explaining it.

4. Sosa Lola: Hi, Scott, loved the Harmony issue, so funny! In the issue, Harmony wants to start a campaign to fix Angel’s image, twisting the truth by saying that Angel was going to take the good humans to Twilight and leave the bad ones to burn. Angel says later, “But that IS what I was going to…” Was he talking about “creating a new universe and leaving the current one to burn” or “taking the good people to the new universe he created and leaving the bad ones.”?

Scott: He meant both. I want to do an issue of Angel drawn by Bob Sikoryak in the style of Charles Schulz in which Angel keeps trying to explain what he was thinking in Season 8, but Faith repeatedly pulls the football out from in front of him, and no one else will listen to him, and every page ends with him saying, “Good grief!” Twenty-two pages of that, at the end of which, still no one knows what the hell he was thinking.
Angel was manipulated into taking point on a very bad plan that he never fully understood because he never bothered to understand it, too wrapped up in the idea of doing an ultimate good deed. 

5. Vampire in Rug: So Connor is going to appear in the upcoming issues. I can’t wait! I think things might get a bit tricky for the writers regarding Connor and Faith though. Faith and Connor have met each other in season four of Angel. However, when Angel signed on with Wolfram and Hart, he altered the memories of everyone who ever met Connor so that nobody remembers him. Presumably this would include Faith. During season five, the magical box containing Connor’s old memories got smashed which shared the memories with everyone in the room: Wesley, Angel, Illyria and Connor. So Connor now has his original set of memories as well as the happy fabricated memories that Angel made for him. Faith wasn’t in the room when the box got smashed, so in short: Connor would remember meeting Faith but Faith should not remember ever meeting Connor. In “After the Fall”, W&H shared Connor’s identity with all the demons and vampires in HelL.A (to make Connor a target). But this wouldn’t affect Faith because (a) W&H didn’t share the memories with the humans of LA and (b) Faith wasn’t in Los Angeles at the time.

Having Connor knowing who Faith is but having Faith not know who Connor is kind of puts you guys in a tricky spot, right? When they meet each other in the comics, it should be the first time they have met from Faith’s point of view. Any plans on how you’re going to deal with that one? You could reintroduce them to each other in a funny/awkward way. Or you could say that after the Seed of Wonder got destroyed everyone got their original memories back, but that opens up a can of worms because then everyone who has ever met Dawn would know she’s a product of fake memories. And Connor’s adoptive parents would be pretty freaked out too if they found out their son has only been around for a few years. I guess you could say that Angel explained to Faith about Connor off-screen or off-the-pages. Have you thought about how you’re going to tackle this weird situation when Connor shows up and meets Faith (again)? Also, are there any plans to talk about the new powers IDW gave Connor? Would be neat if he still had them. Or again, you could just say that the Seed-breaking made him normal again. I must be the only person who actually liked seeing Connor on the show, so I can’t wait for him to show up again in the comics!

Scott: I’m excited to get Connor into the series, because it lets us deal with things we couldn’t get to sooner, which is this messed up relationship between father and son. As for Faith, she definitely knows who Connor is. We will skip the scene where Faith says, “Hi Connor, I know you know me, but I shouldn’t know you, except I do because your dad and I have talked about you a lot while we’ve been trying to get our shit together in Jolly Olde.” So we won’t say that Angel explained all this to Faith off-panel; we’ll just assume readers can figure that out, and that it wouldn’t be very interesting to read, not as interesting as the untangling of the relationship between father and son, especially in the wake of the Drusilla arc.

6. Morphia: Angel’s admission that it was his plan all along to take the ‘good’ people to the new world with him when he was Twilight and leave the evil people to die reminds me of when he locked the lawyers in the wine cellar with Darla and Dru in season 2. – ie. he’s playing God, choosing who gets to live and who dies. It seems to me you guys are really hammering home the message that Angel still hasn’t learned from his past mistakes. At the same time, because we’re mostly seeing him through Faith’s eyes, we don’t have much idea what’s going on in his head so we don’t really know how self-aware (or not) he really is.

My question is, was this a deliberate choice, agreed between Joss, yourself and Mr Gage, to make what’s going on with Angel more mysterious (and frustrating), or will the POV between the two title characters be swapped on a regular basis?

Scott: I think you’ve put it pretty well here, Morphia, and I don’t think he’s terribly self-aware. He’s definitely repeating old patterns, and I hope that he does learn from it this time, and that we see him move forward once and for all. Chris deals with Angel’s relative lack of self-awareness pretty nicely in the Connor arc. We continue to favor Faith’s point of view, but Angel finds more opportunity to express himself, not always perfectly well, as people confront him a bit more about his decisions.

7. Moscow Watcher: Great issue: witty, bouncy sense of humor; priceless jabs at pop culture; dialogues to frame and put on a wall. Christos Gage hit his strige here, and the issue is pure delight from the first to the last page.
Question: when you were working on the issue, especially on the panels where Harmony talks about grooming Angel’s public image, did you and Gage talk and maybe joke about parallels between Harmony’s PR team and Dark Horse team, who also has to work hard to reestablish Angel as a hero?

Thank you! Happy New Year!

Scott: Yeah, definitely to some degree. We wanted to wink and to nod at some of what’s gone on. But we’re not trying to say that Angel is a perfect hero, and you should ignore the things he’s done. That was Harmony’s idea for him, but I think the story is all about his shortcomings as a hero, and how his poor choices and his heroic aspirations come into conflict.

8. Dorotea: Do you think Harmony is right – i.e. ‘letting go’ of the past and not burdening one’s consciousness with guilt is what benefits the individual – and by extension the humanity – the most?

Scott: I think Angel could use a little letting go of the past. You gotta take responsibility for what you’ve done, trying to atone for it is good, but in this way, yeah, I think Angel could learn a little from Harmony. I think Faith has learned this already, and is better off because of it. We’ve all got regrets, we’ve made mistakes, probably none of us so much as Angel. But if you make every day be all about the things you’ve done in the past, it’s a pretty bad way to live.

9. Menomegirl: Hi, Scott. First off, I’d like to say thank you for continuing to do these Q & A’s. Secondly, I’d like to say that I’m enjoying these Angel & Faith comics quite a lot. For the first time, I feel like I’m reading a story that’s truly worthy of the Angel series itself.

My questions are: how much whitewashing of Angel’s character is there going to be? By that I mean, is everything Angel did as Twilight going to be handwaved away (the same way the bad things he did on the series were)?

Scott: I don’t think we’re trying to do that. Is that what Moscow Watcher was getting at above? I don’t read it that way, but I’m curious what readers are seeing. In my comment above, about letting go of the past—that’s not meant to be whitewashing either. Letting go a little isn’t saying it never happened, it’s just syaing that there’s more to life than what already went by. Angel can’t seem to do that. A guy who’s obsessed with redemption, with making up for his sins, who’s hated by a lot of the people around him—how is that whitewashing? Who’s saying Angel didn’t screw up? Not us. Not Faith. Certainly not Nadira, who’s meant to be a sympathetic character. When a sympathetic character views one of the protagonists as a villain, that’s not whitewashing.

10. Wenxina: Can you confirm that one of the upcoming 5-issue minis you mentioned at NYCC is going to be Willow’s story? Along those lines, can you officially state when that project will drop?

Scott: I cannot confirm that!

11. spuffyspangellover: Hey Scott! Season 9 has been incredible so far. I especially loved issues #4 of both Buffy and Angel and Faith. Which issue of Angel and Faith has been your favorite thus far?

Scott: Aww, I can’t say. Thank you, but I don’t know. I’ve been enjoying what we’re doing, I’m proud of it, I love the teams we’re working with, including the fill-in guys. But I don’t have a favorite issue at this point. Maybe when there are more completed, but right now it’s all just a blur of good times and deadline nightmares.

12. Lone Wolf: Hi, Scott. In After The Fall Wesley was last seen saying he’ll be watching over Illyria, what happened to him? Do you think he is still under contract with Wolfram & Hart or has he moved on to the spirit world? Has there been any discussion to revisit his character in someway in A&F?

Scott: I don’t want to address Wesley’s ultimate fate, but as of right now, we don’t have plans to use him this season. That could change.

13. Skytteflickan88: I’m still very confused about the Twangel deal, but figured another general “WTF was Angel thinking” question wouldn’t add to the discussion. So I’m going to ask specifically about something that’s been bothering me ever since I read it. When Buffy and Angel are still in the Twilight world, and Buffy rips open a portal and they see Xander and the others fighting against the demons, Buffy wants to go back, but Angel wants her to leave her friends to fight on their own. He actually seems to not understand why she wants to go back, almost like he doesn’t get that she can’t leave those she loves to fight for their lives. Why is that? Why does it seem like he’s forgotten what it feels like to be willing to die for those you love? Did he think they would actually be ok on their own? Did he simply not care about the outcome? Was Twilight possessing him?

Scott: Yes, he was somewhat possessed at that point, but he was also just so caught up in this mission he was committed to that it was the only thing that mattered. He believed that if he followed through on Twilight, it’d all be all right. I know some people are frustrated with the “somewhat possessed” concept, but that’s how this works. There are times when he’s outright possessed, a puppet, and others when he’s heavily influenced, and still others when it’s simply his own imperfect judgment buying into the Twilight idea and taking him down bad paths. He believed that what they were doing would bring an end to the fighting, and he believed their friends would be okay—”They’ll survive. They always do.”—but you can see his resolve breaking down in #35 as he and Buffy talk it out.

14. Menomegirl: Thank you! I’ve read both your reply to me and to Moscow Watcher; you’ve definitely given me something to think about as the series progresses.

I would like to pose a question that asks for your opinion, rather than a question about the comics, if I may.

Do you think it’s redemption that Angel’s actually seeking? Or is it absolution that he craves?

Scott: Well, if I understand the difference, I’d say he wants redemption. Absolution would just be forgiveness, and I don’t think that’s what he wants. Redemption is more objective, more of an actual feat or accomplishment, and that’s what he wants. For his current actions to cancel out his previous actions. Also, Absolution is a fine comic written by Christos Gage for another publisher.

15. zamolxis: Hello, Mr Allie and Congrats on Buffy going digital.

This came from Buffy #4, but I think it applies to both titles. We saw Buffy and Spike being sucked out of their powers with no consequence whatsoever, both remaining still slayer and vampire.

It looks like a no-limit source and probably some former witches/warlocks/demons will figure it out that magic can be extracted and start enslaving vampires, slayers or other mystical creatures for their Duracell properties (similar to exploiting the Mohra demon)

Is this correct? Did Buffy and Spike remain unaffected magically after being temporarily drained? Are we going to see magic harvesting farms?

Scott: Excellent question. We will see some people harvesting power in different ways. In terms of the Siphon, had Spike or Buffy been fully drained, it would not have been temporary.

16. Bamph: Georges suggested this type of question might be more for you in his latest Q/A. The next arc of Buffy is two issues,#6-7. Will the arc following ‘On Your Own’ be a short one or a more traditional 4-5 issue arc and will Angel & Faith have any two issues arcs coming up after,”Daddy Issues” or is it sticking to the more normal formatting of one-off and 4 or 5 issue arcs?

Scott: Arc lengths will vary, always adding up to 5-issue trades. 

17. spuffyspangellover: Scott, what do you think makes Angel(us)’s relationship with Drusilla so captivating?

Scott: She’s unrepentant, but her whole existence is one of the things Angel needs redemption for. She’s one of the worst things he’s ever done, and yet she remains one of our only unrepentant main-character vampires. There are a lot of other things I find interesting about Dru, too, and you’ll see a lot of it explored in the coming issues.

18. KingofCretins: Scott, there’s a little inconsistency so far (although reasonable, since they are different books, such things happen) between how “zompires” are depicted in “Buffy” and “Angel and Faith” — in the former, they pretty explicitly evoke zombies, brainless flesh-craving, useless eating machines. In the latter, they appear to be sort of a “mook” class of vampire, capable of following instructions and so on. Are they generally going to be more one than the other? How much intelligence would you say they have, compared to the greater fictional lexicon of zombie/alien/monster things?

Scott: I think the difference is partly in the fact that Chris writes Angel & Faith a bit like a crime book, and his criminal monsters use the zomps as thugs; in San Francisco, we’re not dealing with a structured monster class, no order or organization, so the zomps are running around like zombies. We’ll see a little more of the unorganized zomps in A&F, probably not any of the ordered zomps in Buffy. In terms of intelligence, I think they’re a little more intelligent than what we normally think of as zombies, but not much more.

19. Matrim: How is it possible for Harmony to “reform”? We had seven seasons where it was repeatedly stated that vampires can’t do that. Spike needed a chip, support from Buffy and he still had to go get a soul. And now suddenly not just Harmony but apparently tons of other vampires just decided to stop killing as if this is no big deal? Don’t you think that’s a bit inconsistent? And shouldn’t Angel, Faith, Buffy and the rest of the principal characters ask themselves how is that thing possible and what are its ramifications as far killing vampires (as opposed to refusing to kill even the vilest of humans) goes?

Scott: The vampires are following Harmony’s rules so they can get by in society. They’re getting their blood in other ways, and probably a lot of them are continuing to do it the old way, and still doing it in secret. There is a lot of conflict or the main characters in terms of what they’re supposed to do in this new world order. It’s not the total focus of the story, but it’s in there, and you’ll continue to see it come up in dialogue.

20. AndrewCrossett: Are there any plans as of yet to “check in” with any of Buffy’s close associates in the Slayer Army last season — such as Satsu, Leah, Rowena, Vi, etc.? It would be interesting to get an update on what they’re doing and how they feel about Buffy.

Scott: We’re going to see some of those girls in #11. We’re tempted to push more of them into the story, but we don’t want to force it, or cut away from the main characters.

21. Sosa Lola: Hi, Scott, I’ve seen this asked somewhere else and figured it’ll be fun to hear what you think: Xander came up with the name “zompires” in #3 of BtVS, how did Angel know about it?

Scott: Xander did coin it, and it spread virally through a certain social networking site that will go unnamed for now …

22. Moscow Watcher: Hi again, Mr.Allie,

I’m sorry if my previous question sounded like concern about the possibility of whitewashing. I asked about your awareness of certain parallels because I’m curious about the creative process, and how much fandom reactions influence the final product.

My question: on the eve of the New Year, could you tell fans what to expect in 2012? And what do you expect from us in return?

Thank you for answering our questions!

Scott: I just want to understand the notion of whitewashing, because it seems like it’s a topic among readers. I’ve gotten a few emails about it, and the word was used in someone’s questions yesterday. I’ve had emails this week saying that we’re either condemning him, trying to destroy him as a character, or whitewashing him, which I think reveals the strong perspectives in the readership. In terms of the new year … there’ll be some shocks and surprises, some fury directed at us, and some announcements about side stories that I think will be exciting. At this moment, we’re working on the collections of the first arcs, and the first hardcover collection of Season 8. So I’m gonna have an increasing stack of books I’m proud of, and we’re going to get a lot of input from readers.

23. Dorotea: I would like to ask about Whistler and his role in S9, besides being the most irrelevant and badly dressed Big Bad the verse had ever known. With him being stuck in England – are we to assume that his fixation on ‘setting things straight’ with Angel is his personal obsession, or is this more of a general ‘juctice always finds its mark’ thing? I mean – he used to be a prominent figure in BtVS verse, why is he currently only concerned with Angel’s end of things, when it was really Buffy who ended Twilight?

Scott: Whistler has a complicated agenda that’ll be revealed over time. But I think he’s always been more interested in Angel than Buffy.

24. Wenxina: Hey Scott. Other than the FCBD flipbook, can, or should we expect more ancillary projects in the vein of the MDHP shorts for Season 9/Angel & Faith?

Scott: We don’t have any plans for more short stories, actually—something might come up that we decide to do in DHP or something like that, but for the most part the stories will be told in the two monthlies, and in side miniseries under their own title.

25. Morphia: Hi Scott

In view of the fact that Faith is keen to get Angel to put his past behind him, and you say that we’re not likely to see them talking about Connor, can we hope to see any scenes where they discuss Angel’s past in some fashion?

I ask because I really enjoyed the panel in 5 where Faith says she can’t think why she gets called the slutty one given that she seems to be the only one who hasn’t slept with Spike, and Angel looks all guilty and embarrassed. That was fun, and because Mr Gage writes Faith’s dialogue so well, I would love to see more of her putting Angel’s past into perspective with her unique view on things.

Scott: Sorry, I misspoke if I said they’re not going to talk about Connor. And I got an email from someone that makes me think I really garbled my answer on that—I understand that Connor and Faith met in the Angel TV series, and I also know that there is a complicated situation around Connor’s history and what characters remember of it. We’re going to skip over all of that, because there is a very simple and obvious explanation: these things have been covered in conversations we the readers are not privvy to. If we were to write a conversation in which Angel explains to Faith that he has a son that she met but doesn’t remember meeting … this would be excessively boring, bad drama, inside baseball. So they’re not going to have that conversation. But as Chris has said, Connor is going to feature in the upcoming arc, and there will be a lot said dealing with Angel’s relationship with his son, said by Faith as well as other characters. I love what Chris has written about it so far, and I think it will please readers.

26. Maggie: Hi Scott,

Faith keeps drawing parallels between her and Angel — but their falls are actually quite different. Will that difference become part of the story? Or are all redemption stories more or less the same?

Scott: Yeah, their sins are very different, but I think the more important difference is their redemption and where they’re at now. You’re totally right, Maggie, absolutely, but the story is about the differences in where they’re at now. In the upcoming arc you get some of what you’re asking about, but it’s more about redemption than the sins themselves.

27. janas: Hello, Mr. Allie

This is the first time that I have submitted a question. I’m happy to know that Connor will be in London with Angel and Faith, and I can’t wait for him to show up again in the comics.

Is there a remote possibility of seeing Connor in San Francisco too? I remember that before Season 9 began, you have spoke of this and to me it was an incentive to follow the comics, but Mr. Andrew Chambliss said recently that for now there are no plans to bring Connor to Buffy, and that’s a disappointment.

My question is simple:
Will Buffy meet the son of Angel in Season 9?

Scott: No plans for that to happen. Possible, but the plans for Connor are all about his interaction with his father and the people he’s traveling with. Sorry. I think my earlier comment that you might be refering to was the potential in Season 9 that any character from either show can take on a role in either comic. There will be some mixing and matching, but maybe less than you’d like to see. One of the complaints with Season 8 was that we were dragging in too many supporting characters—in Season 9 we’re definitely only bringing in characters that are essential to the story being told.

Thanks, all, and happy new year—
S

This concludes the final Q&A session of 2011! Thank you all for your continued interests, and we hope to continue doing these in the new year, time and availability permitting, of course.
Happy New Year, and thanks again, Scott, for continuing to do these sessions with us!

Original Interview at Slayalive

*~

Slayalive Q&A with Georges Jeanty for Buffy Season 9 #4

3 January 2012 Leave a comment

Q&A with Georges Jeanty for Buffy Season 9 #4

Hey all!

Rules are simple: Post up to THREE (3) questions per member until I submit your questions to Georges. I will post a note to let you know when I send off questions to reopen the floor.

Keep it clean, keep it civil. Simple right? Entries are welcome until I post a closing post.

This is a whole new era so be creative with your questions. Within reason, of course. No questions that are meant to simply further your agenda (especially in shipping!). Everything else is fair game, but be respectful of each other AND the artist who’s gracious enough to take your questions. Please also remember that Georges is the artist and not the writer; he may not be the best person to ask editorial or writerly questions.

Anyone who’s reading this and not a member, I’m accepting questions at wenxina[AT]slayalive.com. Feel free to send me your questions and I’ll add them to the queue with credit to you.

Alright… GO!

1. hann23: The art in this issue was fantastic. You really captured the quick pace nature of the dialogue. I particularly loved the sequence of scenes where Severin is siphoning power off of both Buffy and Spike. Can you give us any more information about how you decided to draw those two scenes of Spike’s face while he is presumably starting to/really is losing his powers?

Georges: As it was written by Andrew Chambliss who has written the Buffy world ever so capably, this is the climax of the arc. It would have been fun to draw it out even more, but the tension is very high. My job as an artist is to make sure the script is translated visually. When I read that passage, I was taken by how much Spike would be willing to sacrifice for Buffy. No hesitation, no pause on his part and that’s what I wanted to show with Spike. Say what you want about him, that guy cares for Buffy, sometimes to his detriment.

2. Bamph: What are your thoughts now that the first arc of season 9 is concluded as far as your art in “Freefall”? Any easter eggs from the first four issues you want to point out or anecdotes?

Georges: I was ecstatic to have Dexter Vines come in and ink the first arc. If anyone upped my game, it was him. Of course it was great to have the first issue written by Joss. This arc felt like I was coming back home. I was on very familiar territory and it was nice to still feel wanted. Any hidden gems? I never intentionally set out to put something in, it always happens organically if someone else hasn’t already suggested it. Hmm, Buffy’s hair at the party in issue one is her tribute to Satsu. The pool area in Buffy’s apartment is kinda inspired by Melrose Place the TV series. The ‘Nomed Realty’ that Spike goes to is really Demon spelled backward (kind of a cheat, I know).The shirt that Xander wears ‘Human See Human Do’ is a nod to a friend of mine who lovesPlanet of the Apes. The shirt Xander wears in issue 4 is a School House Rock one. The shirt on one of the Zompires is a music group called Fishbone which is a personal favorite of the inker. That’s about it, unless someone else catches something I missed.

3. Bamph: I think it’s clear now that Severin is the guy in the glasses from Buffy #40. Back when that issue came out, I think I remember you saying that at the time you knew nothing about that mystery character. So when did you find out that Severin was the guy in the last issue of season 8 and knowing what you and we know about Severin, would you of approached his cameo and how he was drawn any different?

Georges: You’re right. I probably would have had him glow a little or have static lightning coming off of him. As it was, we reverse engineered him, suiting him more to what he was in issue 40 and using that in Season 9. You haven’t seen the last of Severin.

4. Bamph: I’ve got to say I love your cover for Buffy #6 with The Tomb Of Dracula #10 homage. I was waiting for a first comic cover homage this season and you delivered a fun one. We know the issue has Robin Wood and Nikki Wood factoring in so it’s very easy to see how this cover works and why. But how did this cover come about? Was it you ,Andrew Chambliss or Joss who came up with doing this homage?

Georges: I have to take credit for this one because some of that issue takes place in the 70s and that’s when Blade was created and I was a big Tomb of Dracula fan, but as soon as I did that cover I was kicking myself for not doing it years ago when Buffy teamed up with Dracula. Really, it would have been so cool to do the same cover but with Buffy. Oh well. It was a good substitute regardless. I loved that issue and thought Andrew really outdid himself. I always felt Robin was underused in Season 8 so it was a joy to have him come in for a whole issue. I really hope he makes it into the Angel & Faith book. There is a lot of unresolved stuff between him and Faith in my opinion.

5. cheryl: Hi Georges, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. As always, nice artwork.
The hint that Buffy’s spark is somehow different…is that a new concept into the story or something creeping back in from the past?

Georges: I’m not sure I know about the spark. Thanks for the compliment!

6. cheryl: Can we expect to see Buffy reflect on her feelings regarding the loss of Giles or Angel anytime soon?

Georges: Yeah, I was wondering about that. We are led to believe that there has been some months between Season 8 and 9. I’m sure it’s nothing that Buffy will ever get over and just like reality, will hit her at odd times, so her feeling toward Giles will always be on the fringe and surface from time to time.

7. cheryl: The Scooby dynamic is pretty much MIA at the moment, do you think it’s too much to hope for that it will be found again?

Georges: You’re right, it is MIA. And it’ll be that way for some time, but sometimes you gotta go away in order to come back. Life does take over and the Gang does have their own lives at this point, but the great thing is that they are always there for each other. But things are different now.

8. Tennyo_elf: Thank you for your hard work, you are doing a fantastic job with season 9 and I’m looking forward to more! Also, I loved the Dalek in Xander’s apartment! Thank you for adding that for us Doctor Who fans!

Georges: Oh yeah! Daleks! Everyone behind the couch! I forgot about that. Glad you like. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little blue box happen to show up somewhere…

9. Tennyo_elf: You mentioned before that the new characters are loosely based on real people. I’m curious who you referenced for Robert Dowling? (He’s such a really sweet cop, I’m enjoying his character so far, and Koh too!)

Georges: I think that might be a better question for Andrew. I hate to admit it but Dowling is more a generic character. I didn’t have anyone in mind at the time and he showed up so infrequently that I never got around to referencing him. He is a good guy. I hope he survives…

10. Tennyo_elf: So far, who has been your favorite new character to draw and which character do you have the most creative freedom with? Are you looking forward to drawing anyone in particular?

Goerges: It’s really great to draw more of Spike. The new guys are fun to draw but there are no favorites just yet. It was great drawing Robin Wood. There are some other characters which were on the the series that I’ll get to draw soon so that should be fun, no spoilers!

11. Tennyo_elf: I do really like your fashion for Spike! Will you be able to experiment more so with his wardrobe in the future? And was it specified that Spike should be wearing light colors instead of his usual black? (I loved Spike in Green, since that’s my favorite color!)

Georges: Now that Spike is living on the Ship it’s easier to experiment with his threads. The jacket is a mainstay, but everything else is fair game.

12. zamolxis: Hi Georges, I absolutely loved the Spike and Koh’ boat trip, the Dalek in Xander’s flat and the cynical heavy machinery loading corpses at the end.
A lot of Severin’s magic in #4 is colored green (opposed to #3 yellowish only) and so much green reminded me of Twilight griffin. Is there any connection between Twilight and Severin or is the green just a means to describe bad people’s magic?

Georges: Thanks, by the way, and the green of Severin’s power was more due to intensity. I don’t think it’s related to Twilight in any way. Although there was a comic once where the residential Mage proclaimed that magic was green, so maybe you’re right.

13. zamolxis: So Severin was revealed to be the “red glasses guy” from issue #40, but why was he covered in blood there and not at all now? Was he killing a Slayer?

Georges: Officially the answer might be that Severin was at his work for a while and that pic in issue 40 was just a glimpse of him as some point. Realisticly as it has been stated, Severin was created before it was certain what function he would serve. Joss had an idea about the character, but not the details. We covered most of it pretty well so far.

14. zamolxis: In the panels where Severin is drawing power from Buffy and Spike, to whom is Buffy saying “don’t..” (Sev or Spike)?

Georges: That’s a good question…

15. Morphia: Hi Georges.
Interesting issue. I especially liked the Eldre Koh/Spike scene.
In the scene where Severin is draining Buffy and Spike, you drew a tear coming from Spike’s eye. Is this significant in any way of something deeper going on, or just comic book shorthand for showing that Spike is in a lot of pain?

Georges: It was something I added, reasoning that as Spike was getting back his humanity the guilt was also coming back seemingly overwhelming him. I don’t know this for fact, but it’s what I was thinking when I drew it.

16. Morphia: In the Xander/Dawn scene, their body language seems rather stiff and closed off. Was this to show that they’re still having relationship troubles?

Georges: That’s what I was thinking. I didn’t know if they’ve gotten over their little tiff or if it’s from an entirely new tiff, but that stiffness was on purpose.

17. Morphia: Could you say what Spike is actually doing in the final panel he’s in? He’s either jumping off a roof or running away, but as I’m not clear where he and Koh are standing (on a level with Buffy? Above her?), I can’t tell which it is.

Georges: It was written that they are on a roof top not far from the action. Maybe I should have done more of an establishing shot of them to make that clearer. When Spike leaves he’s jumping off the roof.

18. Moscow Watcher: Congrats with another strong issue. The art in the issue is very expressive and faithful to the characters. Thank you for great work.
On the panels where Buffy and Spike think that they’re dying and say each other’s names – how the script described them? I feel a real connection between them. Am I supposed to feel it? Or it’s just a fantasy of a fan who cares about them too much?

Georges: I think at this point it’s safe to say they care for each other. No ambiguity needed. There’s a scene in issue 7 which will solidify that if nothing else. Besides that, it’s always a dramatic devise when there is the threat of mortal danger, characters will call each other’s names.

19. Moscow Watcher: On page 8 Spike sends group text messages about Siphon. On page 14 Xander and Dawn haven’t got it yet. At least they act like they haven’t. Has it something to do with the plot? For example, Spike didn’t include them into the group message? Or maybe somebody (you, or writers, or editors) decided to move Xander and Dawn panels further away from the panels of Spike texting — for keeping the momentum of the action scenes?

Georges: I think their service was Verizon, they’re always slow!

19. Moscow Watcher: In the scene where Buffy’s roommates discover her slayer arsenal, the stuff on her bed looks too neatly laid out. Plus, there are hand grenades – something very un-Buffy-esque. How this panel is described in the script? Are we supposed to wonder if somebody is framing Buffy?

Georges: The way that I read it is that Anaheed laid out all of the contents of Buffy’s chest, and only after seeing it does she then call Tumble. Those weren’t grenades, they were supposed to be bottles of holy water.

20. spuffyspangellover: Georges, your art continues to astound me. I tweeted Andrew Chambliss this, but both of you completely nailed issue #4. That page when Severin is zapping both Buffy and Spike is arguably the most intense and emotional page of any comic I’ve ever read. It reminded me of how emotional I got while watching the television show, and if reading the comic can remind me that much of the television show, then I know both you and Andrew have done your job in leaps and bounds. In my opinion, it has never been a better time to be a Buffy fan and I could not be more excited to see what the rest of Season 9 has in store

Your new characters have always been fantastic (Detective Dowling, Anaheed, etc.) but I especially love Eldre Koh. It’s nice to see that someone is there that Spike can confide in. Who has been your new favorite character to draw and why?

Georges: I think we covered this, but Koh is a good start. He’ll stick around a while and I’m still artistically getting to know him. I love drawing all of the gang and Andrew is providing some great stuff to go from. He really is the breakout star of Season 9 in my opinion.

21. spuffyspangellover: You’re obviously a fan of Buffy. Did you get overtly emotional when drawing the scene when Severin is zapping Buffy and Spike? If I got as emotional as I did, I can’t imagine the artist! That page is the most memorable page to me since the Buffy comics have started. It is so haunting, beautiful, heart-breaking, tender, intimate, dark and morbid. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that.

Georges: I have to say I didn’t think about it as much as some of you did. I did treat it like it was, the climax. And if you’re ever going to grab a reader it should be at the climax. I’m so happy that this came off as effective as it did. I do feel vindicated that I have done my job. I still love the Buffy universe and I’m always affected when I read the next script, I’m glad I carry that effectiveness on to you the reader!

22. spuffyspangellover: If you don’t mind me asking, how far along are you with the art in Season 9?
Thanks for your time and keep up the incredible work! It’s issues like this that keeps my obsession for Buffy alive and strong.

Georges: I am now doing issue 11. This book will be coming out every month with no breaks this time around, so we have hit a fever pace. In theory I’ll be done with the series about 5 issues before it actually ends. It’s a wild ride as I’ve said before. I hope you guys are along for the long haul!

23. Bamph: The next arc is two issues,#6-7. Will issue 8 be drawn by you or is it another one issue story like next month’s #5 with a guest artist and do you know if the arc following ‘On Your Own’ is a short one or more normal sized?

Georges: Wow, so many questions at once! Maybe these are better questions for Scott. He’s got to be around here somewhere… yo, Scott!

24. Bamph: Relating to the above question,are there any major differences in drawing a two issue arc like the upcoming,’On Your Own’ vs. a normal four or five issue arc from the artistic prespective? Or even a one issue story and which format do you enjoy dealing with more?

Georges: There is no difference when drawing one issue or 4. It’s all about the flow of the story. The only thing I concentrate on is telling the best story I can. I love the character stuff. If there is more in an issue with that, then great.

25. Bamph: Buffy and Angel & Faith started going day and date digital with this month’s new issue. DC started it with the New 52 in August. Marvel soon followed with many of their big books. Dark Horse is now doing it with Buffy Season 9 and their other books and just this week IDW announced day and date digital. As a creator, I’m very interested in your thoughts about day and date digital publishing both for the Buffy franchise and the industry as a whole? Also do you have a preference on which way to read comics?

Georges: I have to say, I’m old school. I like to hold my periodicals, but that’s not the only way I read stuff. I also read on the computer or on my phone. I don’t see digital taking over, just supplementing paper. I have a crap load of long comic boxes full of books and I can tell you that paper is heavy. I enjoy the idea that every thing I’m interested in reading I don’t have to buy and keep in a box that just gets heavier. The stuff I really am interested in and want to keep and collect I like to physically have. I am a supporter of anything that gets the material in a customer’s hand whether paper or digital. So while I understand that paper is on a decline it won’t disappear all together. The was a lot like the iPod. I must have had literally hundreds of CDs and when I was first told that I could have access to all those CDs in the palm of may hand, I scoffed. I felt like I had collected all this music over the years and these CDs were a personification of that, but in reality I bought the CDs to listen to the music and that is what the iPod was giving me. The collectable aspect was secondary and I did keep some of my CDs, but when I let go of the physical I realized all I wanted was the music. I didn’t need the CDs. That’s what I feel about books and the such. Digitally the enjoyment is there.

26. Moscow Watcher: Whenever Severin siphons vampires, he sparks mostly green. In Buffy’s case it was mostly yellow. At those 3 panels that he was siphoning both Buffy and Spike his power was sparking yellow mostly. And when he is almost ready to kill Spike, he sparks totally yellow instead of also green. Then the detective shoots him, he lets go of Buffy and Spike, and he starts sparking green again trying to heal himself.

Was it specified in the script that both Buffy and Spike should spark differently (yellow) when Severin zaps them?

And – thank you again for replying our questions.

Georges: I wanna say I suggested that, but I’m not sure. I know it was done because Severin was syphoning Slayer power so it should be a different color. When Buffy stabs him earlier the point of impact is also a different color. We really wanted to get across that this was a power that was affecting Severin, and not coming from Severin himself.

27. Sosa Lola: From their expression and body language, Xander comes off as angry and resentful while Dawn comes off as worried about Buffy. Can you tell us what was said specifically in the script about how they should be drawn?

Georges: They are both concerned for Buffy, but they’ve both been down this road before. I wanted to get across that maybe these guys were growing up a little and that Buffy and her antics were wearing a little thin. The script just said that they were sitting in the living room watching the TV.

28. nmcil: Just want to say how very much I love your close-ups of Buffy when you are showing her emotional state, particularly her extreme emotional stress. I also really like how you are drawing Spike and with this issue you have equaled your quality with the Buffy emotional close ups. The panels showing them being drained are outstanding. Also loving your Eldre Koh.

I was wondering if you were thinking of the often used expression that the eyes are the reflections of the human soul for these panels.

The simplicity of using such little amount of words, the one tear drop, the shift in eye color, the same darkening of the eye area. Were those visuals used to convey emotional content specific to the event or did you intend to show their emotional state beyond just this encounter? Sorry if I am being simplistic but I really am very interested in how you approached the treatment for these panels.

Georges: When I read the script I am always aware of how I’m feeling. I really try to portray that emotional moment as I felt it when I draw. I’m always thinking what would this have looked like if it was an actual filmed episode. I’ll lay out the whole scene in little sketches just to see how the it plays out. I’ll spend a lot of time at this stage looking at how the scene is staged, what shot looks better, how many panels would work in the. Lots of little things. A good way to see if you’re doing a scene justice is to look at it without the words added. If you can get the gist of what’s going on, chances are you’re doing a good job.

29. FangedFourLover: Hey Georges! Amazing job so far. I can’t imagine Buffy having any other artist

My question is, have you read “Angel and Faith”?

And do you, Christos and Rebekah ever email back and forth?

Also, what’s your favorite season of the TV show “Buffy”?

Thanks!

Georges: Yes I do read the Angel & Faith book. I love it. It’s a part of the Buffy universe that I have no part in creatively so I can read it like a regular person. I go every month to my comic shop and pick up an issue. It’s really very good. Christos is a great writer who has found the voice of the characters. I do talk to those guys once in a while. I’ll certainly see them when we’re at a show together. Rebekah is doing a fine job. She has certainly upped my game on Buffy.
I know I’m in the minority here but my favorite season of Buffy is Season 6. It was the season of change. I love how all the characters grew up in this season. I absolutely love Willow going all dark! That is drama at its best!

30. Jasmin: Hey Georges!
My question: Why does Willow only care about the loss of magic? The loss of Giles she has never mentioned.
Thanks!

Georges: Again, when we get to Season 9 a few months have gone by. Most of the grieving over Giles has already happened. The loss of magic is still an ongoing issue for Willow. I’m sure Will isn’t over Giles’ death and we will see some private moments for her coming up but getting back the magic is what’s ahead of her. Also, magic has always been Willows comfort zone. If she can get it back she knows she can make things right again…

31. Wenxina: Hey Georges. Just wanted to know if you knew in broad strokes where the season is headed and if you had to sum it up with a word, what would it be? Or three words.

Georges: How about 5 words? You can’t go home again.

Original Interview at Slayalive

Karl Moline Talks Buffy Season 9 #5 with Comic Book Resources

3 January 2012 Leave a comment

KARL MOLINE PENCILS “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER’S” FUTURE

By Shaun Manning, Staff Writer

Mon, December 26th, 2011

Karl Moline, the artist perhaps best known for his role in bringingJoss Whedon’s future Slayer “Fray” to life, returns to the Buffyverse with a tale of prophetic dreams and friendships on the edge of breaking. Moline, who also illustrated the “Time of Your Life” arc and a Willow one-shot during “Buffy Season 8” and more recently provided art for “BPRD: The Dead Remembered,” joins series writer Andrew Chambliss for a single-issue story“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9” #5, coming in January fromDark Horse.

Following the events of Season 8, magic has been banished from the world and decisions that Buffy took to save the world have alienated her from the Slayer army and, more significantly, from her closest friends. In the early episodes of Season 9, Buffy has established herself in a new environment — San Francisco — and resumed patrolling for vampires, a role which has drawn increased scrutiny now that the bloodsuckers are revered as near-celebrities thanks to Harmony’s reality television program. Meanwhile, a new player called Severin is on the scene, who seems to kill vampires by reverting them to human form — dead rather than undead.

Comic Book Resources spoke with Karl Moline about his latest engagement in Buffy’s world, as well as a look back at his contributions to the Slayer mythos.

Looking back to his work on “Fray,” Moline said he worked with Whedon to create a future city based on a logical progression of architectural design and societal progress. “When I started working on the look of Fray’s world, I remember Joss describing a desolate dirty future landscape, where all of the major cities in the world had grown up and out, becoming impossibly high and connecting with other cities, forming major mega-tropolises. I think he cited ‘Blade Runner’ as a specific source of inspiration,” Moline told CBR. “I started there, and while there was some really interesting architecture in the film, a lot of the look of the movie comes from these very vague, hazy, smoggy shots where the breadth of civilization is suggested by lights alone. I found myself with only a little reference and making up the rest. So I just tried to put myself into the shoes of the city designers. If I were trying to expand a city without knocking down all of the existing buildings, how would I build? I found myself trying to create layers of architecture that became more technologically advanced as I moved vertically and I tried to tie all of the buildings together with walkways, etc., to lend structural support and keep them from all falling down.”

Character design in “Fray” was also accomplished with Whedon’s direct input, though Moline said there was even more discussion in this regard — particularly with regard to the heroine’s appearance. “With Fray it was more of a back and forth, collaborative effort. Joss started with a description of a tough as nails late teen who was both beautiful and modestly built. More of an athlete than a supermodel, as most comic heroines tend to be,” the artist said. “I would supply some designs and he would come back with the qualities he liked or didn’t and I would re-adjust again. After a few rounds, we had the beginning of the character, but truthfully, that initial jumping off point is a far cry from where she ended up. As I got to know her better and as my own talent evolved, so did she.

“As for Harth and Erin, they were just the initial impressions I had when I was presented with the characters,” Moline added, referring to Fray’s twin-brother-turned-vampire and the twins’ older sister, respectively. “They popped in my head that way and that’s how I drew them. I have come to realize that Harth pretty much looked exactly like me. I didn’t mean for him to but that’s how it is when you use yourself for a model long enough. I even wore those signature glasses for a while, years later.

After the “Fray” miniseries, Moline returned to the present-day Buffyverse in Season 8’s “Time of Your Life” story arc, which also saw Buffy navigating Fray’s future timeline and butting heads with the far-flung Slayer. CBR asked Moline whether the five-plus years that elapsed between the two assignments had changed his perception of what Fray’s future should hold. “My ideas about the world hadn’t really changed at all. I had longer to think things through and I had spent a bunch of years working on ‘Route 666′ for CrossGen Comics, which was based in 1960s America, so a lot of that design stuff had worked its way into the new Fray stories,” he said. As to whether it was fulfilling to work with Buffy in the future environment he had created, Moline said, “I think I would enjoy drawing anybody or anything in that environment — it’s basically a living, breathing character all by itself and its personality is as wide and varied as my own.”

Although he now has a full “Buffy” arc under his belt, as well as Willow and Riley one-shots plus shorts starring the vacuous vampire Harmony for “Dark Horse Presents” (not to mention non-Slayer titles like the aforementioned “Route 666,” “BPRD” and more), Moline said that Fray remains his most requested sketch. “I think Joss did such a good job infusing her with class and sass that everyone wants to know her or be her,” the artist said of the character’s appeal. “Everyone who reads that book falls in love, me included, the same way they do for Joss’ other characters. Basically we’re all just falling in love with the man himself. I think there’s a ton of his own heart in each story he creates.”

Like his one-shots “Riley” and “Willow” during Season 8, Moline will be lending his skills to a one-issue story in “Buffy Season 9” #5. Moline told CBR that these shorter stories centered on a specific character allow him to “switch gears and learn someone new.” “The way they look, the way they carry themselves is always very specific and figuring that stuff out is scary and fun at the same time,” he said. “It’s like going to a new school or working at a new job. The first few weeks are full of brand new emotions and experiences and your senses are all on high alert trying to take it all in. Willow was a little different since I had some time to play with that character in the ‘Buffy’ books and had already come to know and love her. I really enjoy drawing her as her face is such an interesting blend of awkward and beautiful simultaneously.”

Buffy’s environment and cast has changed a bit since “Time of Your Life” with the army of Slayers disbanded and even the core Scoobies keeping their distance from the series’ lead. Though Season 9 has already introduced several new characters, such as Buffy’s roommates and the mysterious un-vampirizing Severin, Moline said he’s on more familiar ground for his issue and “only worked with the new characters long enough to exchange pleasantries.” “My issue focuses more on Buffy and Willow,” he said. The changed environs, however, did take some getting used to. “San Francisco is a really pretty city, very charismatic and very difficult to draw,” Moline said. “With all of the immense hills, perspective drawing is a nightmare. I think with more time to get the feel of it, I could really come to love it, though. The small amount of exposure I had was enough to make me want to visit, at least.”

Moline was coy about giving away details to issue #5’s story, which follows the conclusion of Season 9’s first arc, but teased that, “like every good story, nothing will ever be the same again.” The story finds Buffy experiencing apparently prophetic dreams and visions that seem to suggest the magic-less world will soon grow even darker. “I actually feel very lucky that I was the one who got to draw this issue, as I think it will be a landmark in years to come,” Moline told CBR.

With prophetic dreams suggesting forward-looking theme and Moline being so strongly associated with Fray, CBR News asked whether fans might expect the future Slayer to appear. “All I can say is that you should definitely expect the unexpected,” the artist said. “There is a long-lost Slayer who comes back to say nothing at all, and Buffy’s life will change forever.

“Cryptic enough? Good. I hope you enjoy it. I know I did.”

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” #5 is on sale January 11.

Original Interview at Comic Book Resources

Scott Allie Talks Buffy and Angel and Faith with TFAW

20 November 2011 Leave a comment

Andrew Chambliss Dishes on Buffy and Dollhouse to TFAW

13 November 2011 Leave a comment

Andrew Chambliss Dishes About Writing Buffy & Dollhouse Comics

Written by Elisabeth@TFAW

Nov 4 2011

When Dark Horse Comics launched Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 in 2007, it was a game changer for comics–and television–that’s still impacting the entertainment industry today. A direct continuation of the hit television show, executive produced (and sometimes written) by series creator Joss Whedon, Buffy Season 8was a quantum leap forward for licensed comics and as popular (and as polarizing) as the original show.

Buffy Season 8 was big. Huge! Not only did it swell far beyond its projected 25 issues (topping out at issue #40) and feature 10 different writers, but it cast Buffy as a leader of an immense slayer army, facing off against cosmic foes, ending with a gigantic climax that featured an earth-shattering reunion, a monumental death, and, oh yeah, the destruction of a mystical seed that got rid of most of the magic on Earth. You know those comic book events that promise to “Change everything forever?” Buffy Season 8 actually did it–in spades.

So Buffy Season 9 is a different animal. Smaller. More human sized. Buffy’s on her own once again, fighting baddies while trying to balance the rest of her life–and figure out her tangled relationships with her loved ones. When she’s not avoiding the subject, of course (the more things change . . . ). Plus, this time out she’s in the hands of just two writers: after Whedon penned the first issue, he handed the reins to Dollhouse writer Andrew Chambliss.

We chatted with Chambliss about Buffy and Dollhouse: Epitaphs, which concludes November 9, as part of Dark Horse Month–read on for his insights into Buffy, Alpha, and more! Plus, check out our four-page preview of Buffy Season 9 #3 and a three-page preview for Dollhouse: Epitaphs #5.

SPOILER ALERT! CONTAINS SPOILERS!

TFAW.com: What was your experience like, writing for the Dollhouse TV series?

Andrew Chambliss: Writing for Dollhouse was a dream job. First off, I was lucky enough to get to work for Joss on a show whose premise thrilled every part of my geeky brain. Secondly, I got to work with a bunch of other really talented writers, many of whom I’m still good friends with and have worked with since (Jed and Mo, Craft and Fain, Steve DeKnight, just to name a few). Aside from the short-lived Bionic Woman, Dollhousewas my first television writing gig and I couldn’t think of a better group of writers to learn from.

TFAW.com: How did that lead to writing Buffy Season 9?

AC: I was writing the Dollhouse miniseries with Jed and Maurissa, and we were halfway through scripting that run when I got an e-mail from Joss. He said he had heard good things about my work on the Dollhouse book and wondered if I’d be interested in working on Buffy Season 9 with him. It took me all of about two minutes to write back with a resounding yes, and before I knew it I was going to a Buffy writers summit at Joss’ house so we could brainstorm ideas for the season with Dark Horse and other Whedonverse writers.

TFAW.com: Were you familiar with the Buffy TV show and Season 8 comics before you took the job?

AC: I’d always been a Buffy fan and was very familiar with the show. I had read some of Season 8 while I was working at Dollhouse, but I got pretty busy on the show and working on other projects so I got a bit behind on my reading. Within a couple days of getting the e-mail from Joss asking me to work on Season 9, I caught up on Season 8 and cracked open my Buffy boxed set so I could immerse myself in the show again. Even now that I’m caught up, I still re-read Season 8 and I’m always re-watching the TV series–just to keep myself in that world and keep the characters’ voices fresh in my head.

TFAW.com: Buffy’s in a really interesting place right now: during Season 8 she was the big leader who everyone respected, with a giant army at her command. Is it anticlimactic for her to be on her own, working as a waitress by day and patrolling by night?

AC: I don’t think it’s anti-climactic for Buffy to go from being a general with an army at her command to a waitress who patrols the city at night. In a way, I think that’s the fun of Season 9. It’s what makes it interesting. Buffy was so used to being able to focus entirely on the mission that she got pretty rusty at all those other pesky things that come along with life. When she’s juggling a job, roommates, and Slaying, it’s not as easy as turning to Satsu or Kennedy and ask them to take care of it. She’s got to figure out how to do both. And that’s what’s exciting for me about Season 9. I think it’s what a lot of people in their 20s end up having to figure out when they get out of school and realize they’re adults who have to balance family, work, friends, paying the bills, etc. Now imagine throwing patrolling into the mix on top of all that other stuff.

TFAW.com: Buffy’s disappointed a lot of people in her life: most of the “Slayerettes” hate her, her relationship with Willow is strained, and Xander and Dawn are distancing themselves from the “Scooby gang” for a more normal life. Buffy seems to be plugging along and avoiding dealing with this–how long can she keep it up?

AC: If it were up to Buffy, I think she’d be more than happy to avoid dealing with all the fallout from the events in Season 8. Usually life is just easier when you let things coast by. But that doesn’t mean Buffy’s friends (not to mention enemies) are going to let her to continue to pretend like the world hasn’t changed. Buffy’s got a wake up call coming very soon, and it’s going to be a big surprise to her.

By issue #4 or #5, it’s going to be pretty clear to Buffy that she can’t avoid this stuff any longer. However, the one person she’s not going to avoid dealing with is Willow. With everything Buffy’s going through early in the season, Buffy needs her best friend, and she knows the only way to make that happen is to set things right with Willow. Of course, the one thing that will make Willow happy is regaining her ability to use magic, so mending thing between Buffy and Willow isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world.

TFAW.com: At the end of Buffy Season 9 #2 (spoiler alert!) Buffy meets up with a mysterious individual who can turn vampires back into (dead) humans. As a longtime Whedon fan, I automatically think this isn’t as good as it looks on the surface. Am I right?

AC: Severin’s power to turn vampires into dead corpses is definitely loaded with surprises. I don’t want to give them all away, but I will say that the thing that really intrigues me about his power is how, on the micro-level, it mimics what the seed did to the world. Severin’s power isn’t about adding magic to anything; instead it’s another instance where magic is getting sucked from the world–in this case, it’s affecting vampires who up until now seemed to be somewhat unaffected by the destruction of the seed.

TFAW.com: Everything about Season 8 was big, but Season 9 is more a return to the roots of the TV show. What elements are you focusing on?

AC: The focus of the season is really on the characters. For Buffy, it’s really about her coming to terms with what it means to be living a normal life and being a Slayer. She didn’t die saving the world and she never really thought about how she would live a life beyond that. What kind of job can you keep when you’re up patrolling all night? How do you break that news to your roommates? These are the kind of questions that remind me of some of the coolest arcs on the TV series, so these are the types of questions we’re going to ask this season.

The other thing that’s a big focus of the season is rebuilding Buffy’s family. With everything that happened with the destruction of the seed (Slayers turning on Buffy, Willow giving her the cold shoulder, Dawn and Xander starting a normal life), Buffy’s trying to figure out how her friendships work again. Who’s going to be there as a friend? And who’s going to be there as a Scooby? Will the old gang stay intact as some characters try to have normal lives?

TFAW.com: So far, it seems everyone (except Willow) would welcome a more “normal life”–Xander and Dawn are already moving in that direction, and Buffy jokes that she’d be fine with being “put out of a job.” Do you think ANY of these characters can really go back?

AC:I don’t think any of these characters, short of having their memories erased, can ever truly go back to being normal. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try to settle into normal lives. Some of the characters are going to be more successful at building regular lives than others–and that’s definitely going to lead to conflict as those with normal lives try to maintain friendships with those who are still immersed in the supernatural. We’re already seeing it a little bit in issue #2 when Xander and Dawn don’t quite understand why Buffy didn’t just try to work things out with the police. And we’re going to see more of this conflict as Buffy makes alliances with some of the new characters we’ve introduced so far in the season.

TFAW.com: Can you hint at any future developments with Buffy Season 9?

AC: Pretty soon, Buffy is going to realize that she and Willow need to repair their friendship, and Buffy’s going to accept the fact that it might mean letting Willow go off on her own for a little while. Buffy’s also going to realize that there’s a new kind of vampire that’s being sired because the seed was destroyed. This is going to lead to an interesting relationship with the SFPD, once Buffy figures out a way to no longer be a fugitive . . .

TFAW.com: I re-read Dollhouse #1-4 last night, and I’ve got to say–it’s really, really interesting! How is writing this affecting your perceptions of identity and personal autonomy?

AC: One of the things that always fascinated me on Dollhouse was the question of how much a personality is affected by your personal history, your physical biology, your neurochemistry, etc. If I put my brain into someone else’s body, would I still be me? Or would I be fundamentally changed by being in another body? Likewise, if someone else’s brain was put in my body, would parts of me shine through? Or would their physiology take control?

It’s pretty heady stuff, but I suppose that was the point of Dollhouse. I do think a lot of these questions are a lot more present in my mind as I go about my daily life than they were before I worked on Dollhouse.

TFAW.com: Since this takes place before “Epitaph Two: Return,” you do have some limits as to where the story can go. Does it feel restrictive?

AC: We intentionally wrote “Epitaph Two: Return” in a way that left a lot of backstory unanswered. We wanted there to be a lot of blanks left to fill in case the series ever continued (either on TV or in comic form). Characters had undergone changes since “Epitaph Part One,” but we didn’t explain a lot of the how or why of these changes. That openness actually made it a lot of fun to write the Epitaphs miniseries because it meant we got to fill in those details. For instance, in the series finale, we never explained how it was that Alpha went from being the villain of the show to an unlikely ally. That gave Jed, Maurissa and I the space to create an arc for Alpha in the miniseries.

TFAW.com: It looked like Alpha was getting it together, but after his attempted imprinting, he’s back to killing–and making deals to justify it, like an addict. What’s it like writing for this very fractured, flawed character again?

AC: Writing Alpha is blast because he’s so unpredictable. Even when I sit down to write an Alpha scene, I’m often surprised with the direction a scene can take. The only time I actually got to write Alpha during the series was in “Epitaph Two,” so I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the chance to write for that character for an entire miniseries.

TFAW.com: I think my favorite part is the multiple Ivies and all of their issues and interactions. Was this a scenario that came up while you were working on the show?

AC: The multiple Ivies was something that Jed, Maurissa, and I came up with when we had a brainstorm dinner to talk about the miniseries. Ivy was always a fun character to write, so she seemed like the natural choice when we were trying to decide who to have inhabit the bodies of multiple characters. In a way, I think the multiple Ivies is an outgrowth of the Victor/Topher character from the TV show.

The idea of having two Ivies make out with one another is something I pitched way back on the show. Joss sent us home one night to think of the weirdest fantasies a Dollhouse client could ask for. I came in the next day and pitched the idea of a client hooking up with himself, and I just got blank stares from everyone. Apparently, that was a little too weird, even for Dollhouse–well, I guess not too weird for Dollhouse in comic book form.

TFAW.com: Are there any plans for future Dollhouse comics, after #5?

AC: Jed, Maurissa and I have spoken about ideas for a continuation to Epitaphs with Scott and Sierra. Right now it seems like the thing that’s limiting us is time. We’d all love to work together, but at the moment we’re all pretty busy and finding the time to all get together to break stories is a bit of a challenge. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Jed, Mo, and I have a strong connection to the Dollhouse characters and would love to explore what was going on with some of the characters we didn’t touch on in the miniseries. We’ve talked about a really cool idea for a Dominic/Adelle storyline, and we’d love to go back and explore Tony and Priya’s relationship.

TFAW.com: Scott Allie has said on several occasions that it’s much easier to make the shift from screenwriting to comics than from prose writing. How has the learning curve been for you?

AC:I think that’s a fair assessment. TV and screenwriting is such a visual medium that it seems much closer to comics writing than any other kind. There was definitely a learning curve, but the Dark Horse team helped me through it (and continues to do so). I think the biggest challenge in going from screenwriting to comic writing is to think more like a writer/director than just a writer. In a TV or film script, there are lots of things that I would leave up to the director to fill in, but in comics I end up being much more specific.

TFAW.com: Have you gotten the comics bug? Do you think you’ll embark on some creator-owned comics in the future?

AC: I think I got the comics bug the first time I opened up the file that had the pencils for Dollhouse #1. There’s something really cool about seeing a talented artist create a world, especially something as crazy as the Dollhouse apocalypse. I would love to embark on some comics of my own, but that will probably have to wait until I’m further along with Buffy Season 9.

Our thanks to Chambliss for the stellar interview! You can find all of the Joss Whedon-related comics, graphic novels, statues, and more you crave right here at TFAW.com–and save 10-50%!

Original Interview at Things From Another World

 

 

Scott Allie: Behind Buffy Season 9 from Comic Book Resources

13 November 2011 Leave a comment

BEHIND BUFFY SEASON 9: BUFFY ENTERS “FREEFALL”

Thu, November 3rd, 2011

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” #s 1 and 2, in stores now.

You can’t keep a good slayer down. Back in comic shops full time from of Dark Horse’s is the canonical continuation of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season” – a story comprising the “BTVS: Season Nine” series as well as “Angel & Faith.”

And CBR News is back with BEHIND BUFFY SEASON 9 – a monthly column featuring interviews with the creators and staff behind the creation of Buffy’s latest two comic series. Going behind the scenes for an in depth look he future of the entire Buffy franchise, this week we welcome “Buffy” editor extraordinaire Scott Allie to discuss the start of “Season Nine” proper in issues #1 and 2.

With the first comic written by Whedon himself and part two the first effort from incoming scribe Andrew Chambliss (and both drawn by returning artist George Jeanty), the comics comprise the start of the inaugural “Freefall” arc. And as Allie explains, Buffy’s new life in San Francisco holds plenty of new friends, new foes, new dangers and classic character-driven moments to kick off “Season 9.”

CBR News: Welcome back, Scott! It’s been a few long months since we last saw Buffy in comic shops, and a busy time for both you guys and Joss. What’s it like to finally have “Season 9” underway? Has the launch been what you’d hoped, and what’s the reaction been like from readers?

Scott Allie: Yeah. It’s been great. The reaction’s been really positive so far. Our first issue came out right in the middle of the whole New 52 thing, and that was kind of a bummer that the whole industry was focused on one event when our biggest event of the year was happening. But the fan response has been good. Sales have been good. And mainly I’m really happy with the team. The new writer on the book Andrew Chambliss has been great. He’s been really good to work with, and he’s really busting it to keep doing this while he’s working on a TV show “Once Upon A Time” right now. That keeps him pretty busy, but things are going good.

Let’s talk about the new “Freefall” arc. Right from that name is really telling because the end of “Season Eight” from the reveal of Angel as Twilight to the death of Giles was so big that the whole bottom of Buffy’s world kind of fell out from beneath her. How did you and Joss talk about starting this with such a focus on the lives of the cast?

We wanted to be able to make it more about their real lives and where they’re at personally. So in the first issue, there’s a lot of the main plot points for the season twisting up around Buffy and the rest of the cast, but we wanted time for them to interact as people and take their relationships to the next level. Everything’s changed for everyone in the wake of “Season 8.”

Joss scripted issue #1, and I think if I pointed out every little detail and line of dialogue that jumped out at me in his story, we’d be on the phone for three hours. It seems on every page there’s a nod to past stories or great specific character moments. Was the plan for him to really set up the core of where everyone is before Andrew moved forward with the bigger adventure?

Yeah. Plotwise and storywise the pieces were in place based on our various meetings about the book. So this was more about Joss setting a tone and establishing what she’s acting like and how that’s affecting everyone else. A lot of this series is just us looking to execute the plan laid out, but what Joss did was show Andrew and all of us “this is the tenor of the humor we’ll have” and “this is the vision for the series.” And also, there were some little things in the script that weren’t so much surprised but were things where we had to go “What’s up with that, Joss?” and he’d let us know what new things had occurred to him while writing that hadn’t come up in our overall discussions previously.

What’s the process been like comparing “Season 9” to “Season 8”? Has everything been structured as much as the arcs last time, or are you running more loose?

It’s different because the truth is that in “Season 8,” Joss was running a show to such an extent that we didn’t know where the story was going sometimes. I came in to co-write the finale with him, and at that point I was still learning things he hadn’t said to us as well as things he was still working out as he went. I wouldn’t say one was more or less laid out than the other, but I would say in “Season 8” that Sierra [Hahn, the book’s other editor] and I knew less of the plan while in “Season 9” we were there to help create the plan and will be controlling the rollout. He’s so tied up. So with “Season 8,” even in a comic Joss didn’t write, he was the editor on the script. I’d never see anything before a second draft for most scripts. He did a series of notes with the writer and then he’d send us their second draft. I guess it was Jane Espenson’s arc where she started sending scripts to me before she did to Joss, and then Brad Meltzer sent them to both of us simultaneously. But with “Season 9,” we’re editing the scripts while Joss is doing the more high level planning and talking things through with Andrew. But when a script comes in and needs to go to an artist, that’s coming to us.

Looking at the page, we meet Buffy’s new roommates Anaheed and Tumble. Instantly upon seeing them, I thought back to the show and how we’d meet someone like Oz as a social friend of the gang who would then slowly be pulled into the craziness of Buffy’s world one way or another. What can you say about the role these two will play in the stories as they mesh with the gang some?

Well, the thing is that the gang isn’t very enmeshed. You see this big party in issue #1, but the gang isn’t as tight as they used to be. They’re not as intimately and constantly involved as they were before. So don’t expect that to happen. Don’t expect Anaheed and Tumble to get absorbed into a group that doesn’t totally exist right now.

And is there any significance we can make that Tumble’s real name remains a mystery?

[Laughs] The whole thing happens where Dawn’s trying to get more about his name, but don’t expect too much more information on that front. I think his name suits him pretty well.

The issue is framed by the morning after the party as Buffy tries to remember what happened the night of. That makes the story stand on its own very well, but it also kind of lets Joss’ part stand free from the rest of the arc as Andrew writes it. Will we see a more stand alone feel across the series issues like that?

I think that is partly the reason why Joss wanted to write the issue – the opportunity to do that weird structure. There’s also a pretty weird structure to issue #5 and how Andrew tells that story, but #2 through 4 is pretty much straightforward action adventure storytelling.

Part of the build to that is this feeling of dread that Spike has, but I get the feeling here that this isn’t just a gut reaction thing. There’s still a vampire community he’s engaging with. How strongly will that play into the series?

There is one. And I think you’ll see that in “Angel & Faith” too – the way the natural underground continues to exist and work together with [society] or the two against each other. In the “Angel & Faith” book that’s more what the story is about than in “Buffy,” but without saying too much, the greater community will be an important part of where Buffy’s story goes.

We also get our first glimpse of this hunter villain who’s introduced in a scene where he’s breaking through some portal. The big question after the Seed was destroyed in “Season 8” taking magic away from the world is how much magic is left. Does this villain show us there’s still a connection to the world of magic, or is everything we’re seeing here pretty much earthbound?

In that scene we are somewhere on earth. It’s kind of irrelevant where, but as one of the demons says, the spells that bound him have weakened. We talked about this a lot, and we thought it was okay to be a little vague on when exactly this two-page scene happens. Did it happen a few months ago? Did it happen right after the Seed was destroyed? Whatever the case, it happened sometime after the Seed was destroyed so the spells were weakened and it allowed this creature named Koh to break free.

He very much feels like a villain from the show. I can imagine a guy decked out in the makeup and stalking Buffy around town. A big part of “Season 9” for Joss was taking the size of things down a notch after “Season 8” was so big. Does a villain like that fit in with that conception?

It’s funny. Nobody knows quite yet what’s happening as far as Koh is concerned, but we’re still telling a Buffy story here. Even though we’re smaller than “Season 8,” we still got to throw some players on the table. Koh doesn’t lead a giant army of demons or anything. He’s not the next great Apocalypse necessarily. But like you say, he’s a singular demon character who shows up, and it’s going to be a bit more personal than Buffy against an army of demons.

Of course, artist George Jeanty is back with the book, and I think his standout page from this issue is the party montage where Buffy of the next morning floats mid-page. She’s so removed from what happened to her the night before even as she remembers it in pieces. What’s it been like to have Georges back and what he brings to the series and characters?

I feel like Georges is really given us his A+ game again. And it hasn’t slacked off. I’ve got pencils through issue #6, and he’s not backing off of any of the detail or the life he’s giving to this. That particular page you mention, there’s just so much storytelling and so much happening in different ways there. Georges is uniquely suited to pull that off and bring so many characters to life. I love what happens on that page with Buffy looking so pouty at the same time you’re seeing her have a blast.

The final question on this issue is in regards to the idea that we’re really introduced to a mystery through its structure. We want to know what exactly happened and who Buffy was with, and it turns out she meets the unseen neighbor whose name is Heinrich. When will we learn more about this guy?

There are a great number of things that I can’t say anything about right now, and that is certainly one of them. [Laughter] It’s rewarding and fun to watch speculation that things like that turn up. And the point is to throw out a number of things that’ll have people scratching their heads. Nobody knows right now what the Big Bad or big challenge or theme of this year is. But there’s a number of things floating out there that different readers are focusing on and saying, “Ah ah! We need to know about this!” And some of those things are absolutely essential to know, and some of them are, for right now, maybe just there to mess with you.

Let’s talk a bit about issue #2 then. One thing that stood out to me jumping in to this scene where the demon is chasing Buffy down for her student loan payments is how it synched up with Anaheed’s line in issue #1 about how she went through four years of grad school to be at age 30 working as a fact checker for a website. Overall, it feels like the story is shaping up to be about a whole new phase in the life of Buffy and the cast. In the TV show, we had them in high school and then transitioning to college and 20-something life. How much did you guys talk about this being a phase of life that’s reflected differently than the past?

Part of the challenge as we were trying to shape up this season was that when “Buffy” started, it was entirely about the changes you go through in high school. And there’s a way in which for you or me or anybody else, you look back on your high school years with a kind of mythic reverence that doesn’t necessarily apply to the other years of your life. There’s a heightened drama and a falsely heightened sense of conviction to what’s going on in your life. That was a big part of what the show was when it started, and then when they went to college, there was not that same mythic aspect in the way that your identity is shaped in high school. So what we had to do was talk about what a similar metaphor was that you could come up with for in your life – a similar mode of expressing what this post-college moment is. What point in Buffy’s life is she at that people can really relate to and that we can explore through the kinds of stories we like to tell?

The thing you referenced about Anaheed and the state she’s in or Buffy facing down that student loan…they just show how there’s a way we have to decide who we are in our 20s that will take us into the future. I think these days a lot of people put those decisions off into their 30s even, but in your 20s there’s really an aspect where you’ve got to figure out what your life is going to be. That’s a pressure that isn’t on most of us when we’re teenagers or even necessarily in college. Even though you pick your major, you know as well as I do that most people when they reach 45 or 50 aren’t doing the job that they trained for in college. In college, you think you’re making decisions about the rest of your life, but it’s really “Eh, I don’t know.” But into your 20s, you are making decisions about what your life is supposed to be.

And Buffy always thought that he adult life was going to be cancelled. She thought she was going to die. She had to either save the world or fail to save the world, and that was going to be everything for her. But now maybe Twilight was the final Apocalypse she had to put off. Maybe she really won and succeeded in that Slayer existence that most girls never got through. She won and she survived. “Oh shit. Now what?” In my mind, that’s what a lot of us are facing when we’re 24 or 25. You go, “I’m not apparently a rock star or the president or whatever I thought I’d be to change the world. I’m just me dealing with my crap. What does that mean?” That’s where Buffy’s at.

You mentioned the gang being very much on their own right now, and one of the standout scenes in issue #2 was where Buffy tries to crash at Xander and Dawn’s to realize the couch was made up for Xander and not her on the lamb. Will we continue to watch the other characters develop on their own, or will it be more through the prism of Buffy crashing into their lives?

Well, that is kind of Buffy’s M.O. [Laughs] But there is this thing evolving with Xander and Dawn, and within the first five issues you’re going to barely get a glimpse of it. It’s just because with the amount of room we’ve got to use to tell Buffy’s story, the supporting cast’s stories will move along a bit slowly. But there’s major developments for Willow before issue #6. You won’t see too much transpire with Xander and Dawn until further into it, but there’s a really cool storyline cooking with those two that doesn’t have much to do with Buffy. That will develop on its own a bit more while she’s dealing with her own terrible crap.

The other big plot point for this arc is that Buffy has been caught by the police slaying – some might say at long last – and while we saw a lot about vampires in the public eye in “Season 8,” is this story with the cops a sign that we’ll continue to learn about how the magical world intrudes upon human lives?

A little bit, but not that much partly because we want to stay focused on the main characters, and the main characters aren’t run of the mill humans. The vampires went public before the Seed was broken, so society has changed a bit. One thing you’ll see through our characters and these San Francisco cops is that the cops have to figure out what to do with vampires. If vampires are an accepted part of society, how do you deal with that? How do you deal when you have a bunch of murderous vampires and a girl kills them, but there’s no evidence left behind? What do you do with that? How do you process that crime scene? One could make the argument that the vampires came out months ago, so shouldn’t the cops have figured it out by now? Yeah maybe, but we’re going to see them figuring it out. We’re going to tell that story instead of just saying it happened, and we’ll tell that story through Buffy and Spike and some other various interactions.

Finally, I have to ask about this new guy with this new kind of Slaying ability. I’m sure everything around him is secretive, but my question is whether we can assume that’s he’s been around a while or whether the Seed breaking has affected who he is and what he can do?

The breaking of the Seed has something hugely significant to do with his origins that you’ll find out next issue. He’s been at this only a very short time. The ability that he has emerged very recently, and he’s just kind of figuring it out. But the way in which it emerged has a lot to do with vampires going public and the destruction of the Seed. In issue #3, he reveals a lot about that.

Be sure to check out “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9” #3 in comic shops next week and stay tuned for more “Behind Buffy Season 9” on CBR!

Original Interview at Comic Book Resources

 

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