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Spike : The Devil You Know

Bill Williams - "Spike : The Devil You Know" Comic Book - Buffyfest.blogspot.com Interview

Monday 12 April 2010, by Webmaster

(Spoilers) Exclusive Interview with Writer Bill Williams on ’Spike: The Devil You Know’ Spike is the character that almost every writer, fan or otherwise, dreams of writing for. He’s a poet, he’s a fighter, sometimes he’s romantic, sometimes he’s a cad, and sometimes, just sometimes, he’s crazy in a basement; but he’s always cool, always compelling and, arguably, he’s always the most clever voice in the room. Is it any wonder that IDW jumped at the chance to give him his own story in the midst of Angel: After the Fall?

With Brian Lynch’s Spike ongoing still in the planning stages, it would be a crime to risk letting Spike simply be part of the Angel Investigations team and so, Bill Williams and IDW teamed up to bring us Spike: The Devil You Know, a mini series that puts Spike center stage and gives him a whole new cast of characters to bounce off of. No team, no prophecies, just an angry, blue demon and a dream. Here now, we talk with writer Bill Williams (with a little help from editor, Mariah Huehner) about this new series and why fans are still chomping at the bit to see more from the man who brought us Happy Meals with legs.

"[This] piece of art is from the second issue when Spike and Eddie are trying to track down the location of the new improved Hellmouth. Spike was in the habit of signing out cars from Wolfram & Hart (under Angel’s name of course) so he has a stash of classic cars to drive around in LA. Lucky for him that branch of the firm imploded and no one is looking for the stolen cars." - Bill Williams

Buffyfest: How did this book happen? Were [IDW editors] Chris [Ryall] and Mariah [Huehner] looking for ideas or did you pitch "The Devil You Know" to them first?

Bill Williams: During one of our first phone calls with Mariah, Willingham mentioned that I wanted to get more pages for Eddie and based on that conversation, I wrote up the pitch that would become Spike: The Devil You Know. I was a few months into the Eddie Hope back-up series in Angel when I got the project okayed by Mariah after she chatted with Chris. Those four pages a month break down to about sixteen panels which is not much storytelling real estate. I wanted to wedge Eddie into another series somehow without stepping on what Willingham has planned for Eddie in the main Angel series. Angel has mini-series all over the place, but there was a lack of extra Spike material in the pipeline. I proposed the story as a Spike mini-series with a special guest-star... Eddie Hope.

I originally pitched the mini-series as ’24 with vampires’ because there is a ticking Hellmouth out there and Spike is racing around Los Angeles trying to make sure that is does not open. By the time I finished the script, it was more like 48 Hours. As you can tell from the cover, the ‘buddy cop’ vibe is pretty strong. I write a lot of projects that revolve around crime, so more of that detective angle is in this series.

Buffyfest: What’s the timeline of this story? Is it post-After the Fall? How does it coincide time wise with the upcoming Brian Lynch series?

BW: Eddie Hope was a regular guy who was transformed during the events of After the Fall, so this story is after that one. This mini-series more or less runs parallel with the Willingham run on ANGEL. Specifically, it fits between the Eddie stories in Angel #32 and #33 so it’s before Gunn but after Electric Gwen. The Eddie part of it is pretty easy to place because he hits another name on his list in the first part of the story. The adventure unfolds over the course of two nights so that it will not step on what Brian Lynch has planned for the upcoming SPIKE series. In the narrative, Eddie is on his vengeance- fueled shooting spree, trying to rub out another terrible person who revealed the depths of his inhumanity in Hell-A. And as in the television show, our two lead characters cross paths as Eddie has a guy in his sights that happens to be trying to help kill Spike.

Spike has a problem, a long lost and legendary vampire that was sired by The Master has been hired to open a new kind of Hellmouth under the city. Miss Tansy Fry has been running a monstrous crew that has been opening mini-Hellmouths for a variety of clients across the world. She has set up shop in Los Angeles to open a new portal to a dark place.

Buffyfest: Chris Cross referred to the book by a different title, Spike: Family Feud. Titles change all the time but, we’re curious, why was the story originally called "Family Feud" and why was it changed to "The Devil You Know"?

BW: I wanted to put a reference to our new favorite devil, Eddie in the title. The Family Feud angle comes from the fact that Spike and Tansy have a common ancestor in The Master who was Tansy’s sire. If my math is right, The Master was Spike’s Great-great-grandsire. The project was called a few things as I worked on the pitch and batted it back and forth, but the current title is the one that stuck. It is the most descriptive.

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