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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

"Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - Scott Allie Update

Scott Allie

Saturday 7 July 2007, by Webmaster

I was going through some old mail, and came across this email. Edited for secrecy . . . ! We were making plans for Tales of the Vampires, even as I was wrapping up the original Buffy monthly.

From: Scott - Date: July 7, 2003 4:01:59 PM PDT - To: Joss - Subject: Tales of the Vampires & Buffy


Hope you had a good 4th of July. I spent it with hillbillies, so of course it was great.

You should have received a package of art samples by now. Please note the paintings by Eric Powell (The Goon, Arkham Asylum) and Ben Templesmith (Criminal Macabre); both of these are guys I’m considering for covers. Your feedback appreciated ...

Also, I would love to get some input from you on what to do with the regular Buffy comics series. My (modest, attainable?) dream: You give me one page telling me where to go after the conclusion of Season Seven. I really want to move beyond the TV show, but I don’t want to do it without your approval and a little of your guidance. I could have said my dream is you writing this for me, but I’m trying to be realistic. I would of course do whatever you wanted with the damn thing, and would really like some direction. What do you say?


Note the date. July 2003. That was the first time I asked Joss to guide the comic beyond the show. We wrote back and forth a couple times that day, and his immediate response was that it sounded good, but not that he’d have any more involvement than what I suggested. It was another email, two years later, when he first used the terms "Season Eight" and "exec produce."

I seldom go through old email, but we’re working on the Buffy Panel to Panel art book, which includes Tales of the Vampires, so I was doing some digging. I no longer have the email when Joss sent Season Eight #1, but as you can see, this email, four years old, set those wheels slowly in motion. It was more than two years before I had the first script-lo and behold, from Joss himself-and so much more than a page of direction.

When he first used that term, "exec produce," in October 2005, I didn’t think much of it. I never know what people mean when they apply film terms to comics. "Cinematic storytelling"? For a lot of people that just means panels that are wider than they are tall. "The comic writer is the director"? Then who’s the writer? I think I’ve seen people use the Executive Producer credit in comics, and usually it’s either been the editor (who should more accurately be called Best Boy, Caterer, or Assistant to Mr. Bonaduce), or the Editor in Chief or Publisher, or maybe the rights holder. Joss is actually none of those things on the Buffy comic.

He’s the Executive Producer.

The job that Joss did on the TV show, there’s no perfect parallel in the world of comics-just as no title in comics is exactly the same as "director." Hell, even "writer" in comics doesn’t really mean the same thing as it does in film. He was the boss, to whom everyone had to defer-including any writers, directors, or Assistants to Mr. Bonaduce. He guided the creative direction. Executive Producer can mean different things, and involve different tasks, but in Joss’s case on Buffy—comics or TV—it means that the overall story comes from him, that the individual stories are worked out directly with him, and that each script goes through him. All talent is hired under his direction. Just the other day, we sent the script for Buffy #10, written by Joss, to artist Cliff Richards, my old buddy from the old run of Buffy comics. But it was Joss’s idea to hire him. I offer opinions, sometimes Joss even asks for ’em, but it’s all up to the big guy. Another advantage—with an Executive Producer like Joss on board, Fox gives us a pretty open field to play in. There’s no better way of doing a licensed comic—because the studio has no desire to interfere with the guy who gave them the thing in the first place. Thank god.

Joss has years of experience of making great stories while working with talented writers. That was his job on every episode of Buffy, though he shared it on Angel and Firefly, and later season of Buffy. He knows how to give those writers the room to do their best work, while making sure that everything stays true to the vision and style. But just as Jane Espenson’s episodes of Buffy (or Angel or Firefly) were usually the funniest, you can expect her contribution to be a crackup—and Brian K. Vaughan’s Faith arc, starting in September, will absolutely read like a BKV comic.

I mean, why else would the Executive Producer have approached him?