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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 

Zack Whedon Flips Star Wars and Serenity With Comic Book Resources

26 December 2011 Leave a comment

ZACK WHEDON FLIPS “STAR WARS” AND “SERENITY” FOR FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

by Shaun Manning, Staff Writer

Wed, December 21st, 2011

For the next Free Comic Book DayDark Horse is giving readers a taste of two major licenses with its “Star Wars/Serenity” flipbook. Both stories are written by “Dr. Horrible” and “Terminator” writer Zack Whedon (whose brother Joss created “Firefly”/”Serenity”), with the “Star Wars” tale illustrated by Davidé Fabbri and the “Serenity” story featuring art by Fabio Moon. Comic Book Resources spoke exclusively with Whedon about the free comic, his fannish relationship with “StarWars,” and how Mal Reynolds and Han Solo might get along.

After playing around in the “Terminator” universe where he introduced new elements to the original moviestoryline, Whedon now has the chance to write another, perhaps even more famous, set of iconic characters in Han Solo and Chewbacca. “There is definitely something scary about it,” the writer told CBR. “These two characters are loved by, well, everyone. So you don’t want to screw it up. I care about these guys a lot, so that makes it easier. I can be a good gauge for what a fan would like and dislike since I am one myself.”

Whedon said that up to now, his “Star Wars” fandom has followed a familiar path. “It’s pretty much the same as most people my age (32), which is to say that I grew up watching these movies. I had all the toys, I dreamed of being Luke Skywalker, I’d have lightsaber battles with discarded wrapping paper tubes, I’d reenact over and over the moment where Han runs after the Stormtroopers firing his blaster and screaming and then turns around and runs back screaming. On cold winter nights I’d cut open the bellies of Tauntauns and stuff my friends inside,” Whedon said. He added that he’s engaging in some not-atypical “Star Wars” obsessiveness. “In all seriousness, a few years ago, outraged that I couldn’t get the original trilogy sans CG but with good sound, I bought a laserdisc player and the laserdiscs which have THX sound but no CG. Ultimately, the flipping required in laserdisc viewing takes more away from the experience than Han shooting first, so I gave in and bought the blu-rays. I know, I’m weak.”

With the vast canvas of the “Star Wars” universe, which Dark Horse has had a large hand in expanding, CBR asked Whedon why he honed in on Han and Chewie for his story and why he chose this moment in their careers. “Well, this is before they met Luke and Obi-Wan, which is when their life took a turn for the epic/problematic/Jedi-heavy,” he said. “They’re still small time smugglers just trying to get by at this point. I didn’t want to mess with any of the major storylines. I just wanted to write about these guys bumming around the galaxy. It’s a light story, so I didn’t want them dealing with heavy subjects like rebellion, fate and absentee fathers.”

Whedon went on to say that the Free Comic Book Day tale is “sort of a day in the life of these guys who are always on the wrong end of every deal, which means staring down the barrel of a gun much of the time.” “It’s about how they work together, how they don’t, how they talk to each other after being alone together on a spaceship for days on end,” he said.

“Serenity” has some affinities with “Star Wars,” but Whedon doesn’t see Han Solo and Mal Reynolds getting along. “I think if they could get past their initial misgivings — Mal with Han’s shifty, smooth-talking nature; Han with Mal’s stoic soldier routine — they’d have a lot to talk about. But I think it’s more likely they’d butt heads, possibly literally,” said the writer.

Whedon is working with long-time “Star Wars” artist Davidé Fabbri for the Han and Chewbacca story while Fabio Moon provides the visuals for the “Serenity” tale. The writer said he did not know which artists would bring his stories to life while he was writing them, but he has “seen the pages for both and they’re astonishing.” “They bring so much life to the pages and fill in millions of details that I could never think of,” Whedon added. “They’ve both done some fantastic character design work in these stories as well. I’m very excited about the art.”

Whedon has told a few “Serenity” stories in comics before, notably “The Shepherd’s Tale” graphic novel, revealing Shepherd Book’s checkered past, and a short for DH:HD on the “USA Today” web site. For the Free Comic Book Day Story, Whedon wanted a unified feeling with the “Star Wars” story on the other side of the flipbook. “I wanted to put Han and Mal in similar situations and through their reactions, see how they are different and how they are the same,” he said. “The one thing that these two ‘loners’ are never without is their loyal friends, so that’s part of it. I really focus on Mal but you get a taste of some other folks. [There’s] not as much Jayne as I would like, but there’s only so much you can do in ten pages.”

Having tackled both very short stories and longer works like ‘The Shepherd’s Tale,’ CBR asked Whedon about the fun or challenges of the very-short format. “The challenge with a short story like this is obviously real estate. You don’t have a lot of panels to tell your story,” the writer said. “That was part of my decision to have these be stand-alone stories that don’t effect the greater mythology of these characters. I didn’t want to do a disservice to a larger, course-changing story by cramming it into ten pages. I just wanted to have fun with these characters and shine a light on some of their unique qualities.”

As to whether readers will see more “Serenity” from Whedon in 2012, the writer said that he’d like to tell the story of “where they headed after the movie.”

“I’m having some pre-pre-pre-preliminary discussions with Dark Horse about that.”

“Star Wars/Serenity” arrives on Free Comic Book Day, May 5, 2012.

Original Interview at Comic Book Resources

Nerdist Writers’ Panel #17 with Zack Whedon

14 December 2011 Leave a comment

Nerdist Writers Panel #17: ZackWhedon, Jeremy Carver & John Rodgers

Zack Whedon (Fringe; Deadwood; Rubicon); Jeremy Carver (developer, Being Human); John Rogers (creator, Leverage). Recorded September 25, 2011

Listen to the panel at Nerdist


Scott Allie Talks Buffy and Angel and Faith with TFAW

20 November 2011 Leave a comment

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

 

Interview with Scott Allie from Insert Geek Here

13 November 2011 Leave a comment

NYCC ’11: Interview with Dark Horse Editor Scott Allie

Posted by @Wilderowens

The Whedonverse is very precious to me. It kept me sane as a teenager, and Buffy: Season 8 was my gateway drug into comics. So when the chance to talk to Whedonverse editor Scott Allie, I lost my cool and went total fangirl. Luckily, I got myself together before I met him at NY Comic Con.

I was desperate to talk with him about Buffy, so I immediately asked about what challenges he wants to see Buffy take on in Season 9. He responded that she needs to figure out what the next stage of her life will be. As he puts it, “Her life was on this trajectory that was kinda up, up, up, up and now all that’s behind her. She just has to be a girl living a life in San Francisco, and it’s like the epic scope of that part of her life is behind her, and she just has to figure out how to move forward.”

Then I asked him about the pressures of dealing with such dedicated fans. As he puts it, there are many differences between each fan groups. Even the Whedon subgroups are radically different. Then he gave me a great quote….

“There have been challenges that I have publicly not done a great job with, which is part of the learning curve. You are ever aware of this very driven fan group….But if you spend too much time thinking about it, you can’t do your job.”

I asked a question for my inner fangirl about if we were going to see more Sugar Shock. Allie said it was on Joss’s to-do list, but nowhere near the top. Allie did tell me that he feels like Sugar Shock is perfect just the way it is, so he doesn’t think it needs to continue. He did concide that there are places to take these characters but it is such a high energy comic, which is hard to recapture. While part of me agrees with him, part of me also pushed him to bring it back in Dark Horse Presents, where it debuted.

He did confirm that Joss wants to write some of Buffy Season 9 as soon as Avengers is finished. They also want to dedicate time to Serenity projects but Joss is just too busy!

I had reached to our fans on twitter to ask for questions. The first one came from the infamous One True B!X. He asked for details about the Star Wars/Serenity flip book. Free Comic Book Day will have one book featuring both series. While Allie couldn’t tell me too much, here is what I did find out. They have a great writer, are still confirming an artist, and overjoyed about cover artist that he had been wanting to work with. For the story I got a little bit more so…..

SPOILER ALERT!!! For Serenity Comics Continuity SPOILER ALERT!!!!

The Serenity side of the story is focused on a particular aspect of Mal, as the most loveable rouge in the galaxy. I pried about where in the Firefly/Serenity timeline this will take place and it is still in discussions. Right now, it will definitely take place after Shepard’s Tale. It is “likely” that it will take place after Float Out, so we will see either pregnant Zoe or even new mom Zoe! The story has already been pitched to Joss, and hopefully they will add Baby Washburne in!

Spoilers Are Over, It is Safe to Read Again.
he other fan question came from @JDianeAbela. She asked about Allie’s involvement with the Dr. Horrible comics. It surprised me to learn that it was actually Allie’s idea to do the Captain Hammer story in Dark Horse Presents. This was the first comic that Zack Whedon wrote. With the success of that, it was so easy to decide to do a Penny story.

On his end, Allie has been busy writing as well as editing. He has been working on B.P.R.D., and Star Wars. I was hoping for some more independent work, but nothing coming up. He did hint at something called Lightrail, that he just can’t find the time for it. When it does come to “light”, it will be with artist Todd Herman.

All in all, it was a really fun chat. He was interesting to talk with, and while I probably didn’t get all of the info I should have, I am still so excited I got to meet him!

Original Interview at Insert Geek Here


Buffyfest Interviews Scott Allie at NYCC 2011

27 October 2011 Leave a comment

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