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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

*~

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

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


Slayalive Interview Steve Morris

31 October 2011 Leave a comment

Exclusive Interview with Steve Morris, Buffy Season 9, Angel & Faith Cover Artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covers for Angel & Faith #1 (left) and Buffy Season 9 #1 (right) by Steve Morris

Hey Steve. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. We all know that you’re the current main cover artist for Angel & Faith and Buffy Season 9, and had previously done covers for Dollhouse and Serenity.

But let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start: When did you decide that art was going to be your life?

Steve: There wasn’t a time where I didn’t plan on being an artist. I always drew and by later in grammar school was using watercolors, then on to acrylics and oils from junior high and high school.

How did you start in the business? What is your artistic background like? Did you go to school for sequential or fine art?

Steve: In junior high I discovered kids would part with their money for fantasy drawings or paintings of their favorite metal band on the back of their denim jackets. By high school I started to get very focused on portraiture and that interest has continued to this day. But along the way I’ve bounced to photography, semi abstracted figurative art and everything in-between. I was a fine art major in college…which was like paying for four years of study hall, but being around a lot of other creative people caused me to experiment more with mediums and styles, so it definitely had its value. Toward the middle of college, I wanted to create art that would be mass producible, because I felt galleries weren’t really a way to reach people. And thus began my slow descent into computer art and the comic book world.

What was your first major project?

Steve: Right after college I was hired to illustrate a children’s Christmas book called Silver Berries and Christmas Magic. They needed 20 paintings completed in 3 months…I was totally out of my element both in subject and time frame. It was a grind. I was living in NYC at the time and when I went home for the Christmas holiday, I brought some of the paintings with me, so I could continue to paint… I made the deadline.

Blessed Thistle by Steve Morris
You were the winner of Dark Horse’s 2004 New Recruits contest, which led to the publication of your creator-owned original graphic novel, Blessed Thistle. How long did you work on that project?

Steve: It approached a year of time I think. I did everything on the book, including lettering.

How would you describe what the story of Blessed Thistle is about in a quick sentence or two?

Steve: It’s a suspense/horror graphic novel, containing four interlocked stories, which deal with themes of God’s relationship with man, free will, consumption and the parent-child relationship.

Covers for Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale (left) and Dollhouse: Epitaphs (right) by Steve Morris

As mentioned above, you had also previously done covers for other Whedonverse projects (Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale and Dollhouse: Epitaphs). Did those projects naturally transition into landing the Buffyverse gigs?

Steve: I’d imagine so, I think they were happy with my ability to render likenesses as well as the manner in which I interpret story content beyond the surface.

Covers for Angel & Faith #6 (left) and Buffy #5 (right) by Steve Morris
Since we’re on the topic of the Buffyverse, I wanted to first commend you on the beautiful covers for both books so far. Your cover for Buffy #5 and Angel & Faith #6 are my personal favorites so far. Could you explain the design concepts for both the covers?

Steve: Thanks! I can’t explain the juicier parts of A&F #6 (the Giles and spiky hand imagery) without risking a pummeling from Dark Horse. I can say that I’ve always been fascinated by nesting dolls or objects splitting in half or housing other objects… it carries into metaphors about secrets, inner worlds and/or past-present relationships. I repeat this motif from time to time; I used it to similar effect on A&F #3 with Angelus split in half around Angel.

With the Buffy #5, I had pitched a few different ideas, although the dress one was my favorite. I wanted to put Buffy in a dress that she might ogle at in a magazine, with a pronounced sigh, but never have any practical occasion to wear…considering her on-the-slay life style. Also, The dress’ Pucci-esque pattern would lend itself to morphing into disturbing and hellish imagery, which was a plus.

Are there any covers you’re really proud of coming our way? Any hints as to why it’s a personal favorite?

Steve: Buffy #3 is one of my favorites, but also A&F # 7 (which hasn’t been seen yet), mainly because both are very much like portraits and have a personal mood about them.

While Buffy #5 is your last Buffy cover (for now, at least), it sounds like you’re the permanent main cover artist on Angel & Faith. Can you confirm that?

Steve: Yes I’ll be on for all of Season 9 of A&F as well as the trades for the title.

So what’s the process like for you when designing covers? Do you pitch a few concepts, and Dark Horse picks one, and you run with it? Are there instances when there’s a very specific design requested for a cover?

Steve: I’m not often given a script, usually they’ll tell me who needs to appear on the cover and I’ll ask them questions about the general thrust of the story, motifs, locations or any tidbits that I can use to build a more interesting image. Sometimes I’ll show Dark Horse several sketches, while other times I’ll have a single strong idea and only provide one sketch.

Dark Horse doesn’t normally make specific requests; they’re very generous with allowing me an open playing field to develop ideas. There are occasions, like on Buffy #2 or A&F #2, that I was asked to draw combat scenes, and in those cases I didn’t meander from the request… I did however try to make it more interesting by using weird angles and more extreme or cartoony poses than I’d normally use.

So far, all your covers for both books have had a very painterly quality to them. Will you be experimenting with different styles at any point, or will you be sticking with that style for all the covers?

Steve: I do want some covers to be less heavily rendered, A&F #8 is much softer, more stylized and maybe a little more cartoony than other covers, and I’ll do more like that when it feels right for the image.

You’re currently pretty busy with Dark Horse projects, doing covers for The Strain, House of Night, The Occultist, and Falling Skies as well as the covers for Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith. Which book are you having the most fun with? Any challenging aspects to any of the covers?

Steve: The Occultist was a fun project. Being that it wasn’t a licensed property, I could get wackier with style, and also draw wider angle compositions, since I didn’t need to keep actors’ likenesses front and center… Which leads to your next question about challenges…

Although I’ve done a lot of portrait painting, creating likenesses for Buffy and A&F is a totally different animal. With portrait painting, I’ll paint a single portrait over a period of time, using a single photo (I took) as the basis for the pose, with closeup photos for detail, and then some live sessions to finish. When I draw a likeness for a comic, it’s an amalgamation of several photos and stills and a bit of guesswork. Sometimes my guess work is better than others…and taking into account my rapid pace on the covers, I often couldn’t see problems until after I had turned the cover in. To remedy that situation, I’ve started working slower and taking more breaks to get a fresh and objective perspective.

So, other than sequential art and cover work, you have an Etsy store that sells small prints and you have some larger formats for sale on your site.
Can you tell us more about the collection of prints you have on there? What was the inspiration for these?

Steve: I gravitate towards complicated art styles. My “Butterbroda” series of prints was an attempt to stay simple and have some fun, rather than get bogged down with heavy rendering and details. The tone of the series came from my love of Krampus postcards. Krampus , being Northern Europe’s iron-fisted counterpart to St Nick. The first few pieces were funny images of kids getting chased/threatened by monsters to which I attached purposely overwritten titles…mostly because they make me laugh. Over time I’ve expanded the subject matter to encompass myths, legends, or even simple animal portraits, but all sticking within an “Old World” time frame.

Giclee print designs by Steve Morris available on Etsy

Your “Butterbroda” series “juxtaposes beauty with decay and innocence with danger, creating a narrative which allows the viewer to create their own story.” Is there a particular narrative you had in mind when you designed those pieces?

Steve: No, I don’t think too deeply into the action of the picture and I haven’t planned to connect the pictures into a single “universe” or umbrella story. I prefer to leave them open-ended.

I noticed that some of the prints were also described as having subject matter that is based partially on a graphic novel that you are working on, although some images only follow the spirit of the graphic novel and not the direct story. Can you share with us some details about this project? What will it be about? Where are you in the creative process with that book right now?

Steve: Hmm, I really need to do some updating to that text lol. There was a time when I was attempting to use this style in a sequential form… I was determined. I took months of fiddling to finally admit that a book of bright red sequentials wasn’t one of my better plans. Since then, I’ve slowly been altering the first couple of pages (which are all that exist) into a completely different style, at least in terms of coloring…the underlying drawing is still very similar. The final appearance has a Russian/Japanese/Golden Age-ish feel. The book is fully written, I just need to find the time to continue with it.

One of your designs was picked for a Topshop extremely limited run project. How did you get selected?

Steve: A Senior Buyer from Topshop contacted me through Etsy, out of the blue. It was a really great opportunity, and the timing was perfect, as I had started looking into ways of expanding “Butterbroda” into mediums beyond paper.

Alrighty, last question, and this one’s pretty easy. How can we best keep up with your work? And let’s pimp some of your wares: for those interested in particular pieces of art from you, what is the best way to obtain them?

The best way to keep up with me is through my blog (http://blog.stevemorrisart.com/ ). Prints from my “Butterbroda” series can be bought at my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/morrisetsy), while larger versions of some of those prints are available through my own site (http://stevemorrisartprints.bigcartel.com/).

Thanks for doing this, Steve. We look forward to seeing more stuff from you.

Original Interview at Slayalive

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