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Buffy The Vampire SlayerGeorge Jeanty - "Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - Popcultureaddict.com Interview
Saturday 1 December 2007, by Webmaster
May 20th, 2003 was one of those landmark days in pop culture. It is one of those days where thousands of people worldwide will remember where they were and who they were with. That was the day that we watched a death, a murder, a war and a victory all in a nicely wrapped up hour. May 20th, 2003 was the day that Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired its final episode, ending an amazing seven year run as one of the most popular, and beloved, cult television series of all time. In those final moments leading up to the nine o’clock hour battles were won, characters were killed, fan favorites were turned to ashes, evil was defeated and Sunnydale was decimated into one giant crater. With an army of thousands of potential slayers world wide ready to be found and trained, Dawn asked Buffy "so what do we do now?" And that was the question that haunted a legion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. Saying goodbye to characters that we cherished like friends was hard enough, but it made it even harder when there was obviously more story to tell.
So when Buffy’s creator Joss Whedon announced in late 2006 that he was personally bringing Buffy and the Scoobys back in a brand new series from Darkhorse Comics, which would be titled Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, you can imagine that for the masses of Buffy fans it was a dream come true. Making its debut in March 2007, Buffy Season 8 has proved to be a rebirth of the Buffy franchise, overlooked by the man who could make sure it’s done right - Joss Whedon. It has proved to have the same quality as the original series, and is being written not only by Joss, but is slated to feature other guest writers, including script writers from the show as well as some of the biggest names in todays comic book industry.
However, there is one lucky man that gets to read the adventures of Buffy months before the rest of us do. That man is artist Georges Jeanty. Coming fresh from his stint on the critically acclaimed mini-series The American Way, Georges Jeanty has the task of drawing Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Dawn, Faith and the rest of Buffy’s friends and foes so that we can get our Buffy fix each and every month.
I had a brief encounter with Georges in May 2007 in Toronto when he did a quick sketch of Michelle Trachtenberg’s character Dawn Summers for me. As Georges drew and talked with fans I was struck by his sense of humor, his big personality and much of the inside information that he seemed to hold. So believe me that it was exciting when Georges agreed to talk to us at Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.
So sit back as we talk about Georges struggle to reach success in the comic book field, his stint on The American Way, and of course, what its like, both as a professional and as a fan, to be working with Joss Whedon to create another chapter in Buffy history as:
CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT PRESENTS:
A CONVERSATION WITH GEORGES JEANTY:
THE MAN WHO DRAWS THE SLAYER
I reached Georges Jeanty via telephone in September 2007 at his studio in Atlanta, Georgia:
Georges Jeanty: Hello?
Sam: Hello. Is this Georges Jeanty?
Georges: This is he!
Sam: This is Sam Tweedle from Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.
Georges: Oh. Hi! That’s right. We’re going to do an interview.
Sam: That’s right.
Georges: Well while we’re doing this interview I’m finishing up the cover for issue 11 of Buffy Season 8.
Sam: Can you tell us what that cover looks like?
Georges: Yeah. Sure. Buffy’s on the cover and that’s about it. (Laughs)
Sam: That’s all you can tell us?
Georges: Buffy’s with Satsu, one of the other slayers that’s been introduced in the comic just sort of flying over a cityscape which really tells you nothing because this is an issue that Joss Whedon has written himself. This is one of his stand alones and he wanted to get this little bit of a story out that is going to be very important to the whole timeline.
Sam: And after that issue what writer will be taking over the book?
Georges: After that will be another four issue arch, twelve through fifteen, and they will be written by another series writer as well, Drew Goddard who wrote a lot of the episodes of Buffy and Angel.
Sam: Very cool. Well let’s go back and my first question for you is what your personal history with the comic industry is. Were you always a comic fan since a kid or is this something that snuck up on you later on?
Georges: Oh yeah. As a kid I can’t remember anything else but being a comic book fan. I gotta say. I was there through all of the major happenings in comics, big and small. I was a rabid fan through my whole life so I was picking up Fantastic Four and Swamp Thing when Bernie Wrightson was doing it. This was the mid 80’s was when I was in high school so, oddly enough, when boys are just getting out of comic books, I seemed to at that time to be getting more into comics. So it was a great time, I always talk to these people who come up to me and say "Oh yeah, I used to collect comics but I just stopped after a while" and I notice that it’s usually around their high school years, but oddly enough for me I never stopped. It was something I always loved and I just never saw a need to leave it alone I guess.
Sam: Do you find the older you get, the more excited you get about the industry?
Georges: I find the older I get the more discriminating I get. I get a real...I don’t know if it’s a bias, but I’m really pained by books that aren’t very good. Back then, and I’m sure a lot of your readers will say this as well, when they were growing up they would collect anything. Anything that had Wolverine on it. It didn’t really matter as long as that character, or whoever, was on it. But nowadays I find that you really got to give me more then just my favorite character. If it’s not a good read then I’m probably not going back to the next issue.
Sam: I totally know what you’re saying. I picked up a giant lot of comics from the late 80’s/early 90’s this summer and it was a lot of stuff I was reading in high school and it was amazing to me how I found most of it unreadable now.
Georges: I used to manage a comic shop and I would see these guys that would come in every week, or maybe every month, and they would just buy everything. And I’m sitting there going, "Dude, there is no way you even have time to read all of this, much less pick up every X-Men issue." At that time, when I was managing a shop, the Image explosion had just started so, needless to say, everything that was Image was selling like gangbusters and as I was reading, and that was around the time that I was trying to break into comics, I was reading what Image was doing by enlarge and, honestly, it wasn’t my style and I didn’t think it was very good literary wise and every Wednesday I would feel a real lump in my heart because I always thought I was never going to break into this business because if this is what’s popular I thought that all I could ever do was hope for a Vertigo title at some point.
Sam: Now you make a living at drawing comics. Now I’ve talked to people who make my head hurt by saying that they don’t care about the stories as much as the art.
Georges: Yeah. I got to say back then, and with the Image stuff, and I think Eric Larson said it publicly, for their line writers need not apply and I would think nowadays, looking at that in retrospect, for a while, they had great art but I couldn’t tell you what happened in half of them as opposed to Mage by Matt Waggoner. And while the art work was nothing like the Image stuff, and the artwork wasn’t the strongest suite but the story was great and I found myself coming back to it every month eagerly because it was just such a good read and I think that in itself suggest that early on that people will sacrifice art work if it’s a good story.
Sam: I totally agree. I’m a fan of Chester Brown’s work, although I don’t really care for his art work at all. However his words and his story and his style is so powerful to me that I buy everything that he puts out.
Georges: I never really liked the art for Cerebus the Aardvark. Well, it was okay, but obviously I felt that the forerunner here was the writing because you could put so much more writing on this book then the writing.
Sam: Now do you feel as an artist that it is important to be working with a good writer?
Georges: Now as an artist take everything I just said and throw it away. That is my stock and trade and, mind you, I have illustrated quite a few books which I felt, story wise, was not that strong. So this is a business at the end of the day and whether its a great story, or a good story, or a bad story, as an artist you are called upon to illustrate that book and I like to think given a bad story or a not so good story that I am competent enough as a story teller to at least elevate it one letter grade.
Sam: How did you break into the industry?
Georges: I took the slow route. I wasn’t one of those guys like Art Adams who went to San Diego and got discovered and got work from there and went home and said "Wow, this is easy." I wasn’t part of a raffle or a contest or anything. I started very small. I grew up in Florida. In Miami and there was a couple of local publishers there. Very very small stuff and they were just looking for people and little by little I went on and a friend of mine was working for Caliber comics and they were putting out a superhero line at that time that was also on the Images boom, so this would have been the mid 90’s. He had an opening for me and I took it, and from there I jumped over to London Night Studios and Techno Comics and Defying Comics and I went through all the small press publishers. Essentially I was telling people that I played in the minors until I was good enough to play in the major league. DC’s Green Lantern #91 was the first professional major league work that I got.
Sam: Was that the Kyle Raynor years?
Georges: That was the Kyle Raynor years.
Sam: Then I didn’t read it.
Georges: Yeah. He’d been there for a couple of years and Ron Marz was the writer was a really good friend with Dave Johnson who I was sharing studio space at the time and it was one of those really fortuitous things that Ron was talking to Dave one day and was saying "Yeah, we’re kind of up against the wall and we need a fill in for the regular artist" and they were looking for someone and Dave was nice enough to say "Hey, I’m in a studio with a friend of mine and he’s looking for work." So from there, Ron talked to his editor, and they looked at my work and they said sure and I think it was more that they were up against the wall and they really needed somebody and I was halfway competent so they said "Okay. Let’s go. We’re going off running."
Sam: And after that did they continue using you on different titles?
Georges: After that, the same editor was also the editor on Superboy and there was about five issues that they needed a fill in for so I, of course, lobbied for it and I got it and did those five issues and I was on top of the world. Five consecutive issues of work! That just bowled me over. So I thought I had made it. But then I don’t think I saw anything after that for a while. I did a couple of Superman things which sort of lead me to a Wonder Woman, that Maureen McTigue was editing at the time, so it was very fortunate that I knew people and really developed a relationship with them that I got more work into the business.
Sam: So you started at DC, and then you went over to Marvel?
Georges: Yes. From there I spent a few more years at DC doing some more Green Lantern and did a few of their One Million issues and a few of their Tangent issues and then at that time I became a part of Guigen Studios and when I got in their I think it was the Superman Family. They were going to restart that and I was doing that particular issue as I joined Gaijin and from there I knew that I didn’t really have anything else to do so I started to ask a lot of the Gaijin guys and they were like, "Yeah, well, start calling Marvel. We know a couple of people there.” So I cold called quite a few people and a one person who did call me back was a guy named Jason Liebig who was an editor for the X-Men line for a while and he was telling me "Hey, I got this Bishop series that we’re going to start up" and of course my eyes just opened up because, wow, a series! A series meant on-going and that meant steady work. So I said, "Yes, please" and I had to actually try out for that book. He said "If you wouldn’t mind I’d like you to do three or four pages of sample work just because you’ve never done anything for Marvel and I don’t know your work as much and I’m not as familiar so I hope I’m not insulting you" and I said "Of course, no no, let’s do it" because he had a couple of people in mind, apparently, that he wanted to consider. So I was in the running with two or three other artists that he had, and of course, I ended up getting the gig and Bishop went on for fifteen issues and I stayed on for fourteen of those. I subsequencialy did all the covers which I was pretty proud of.
Sam: Now is there a different feel for working for DC then working for Marvel or is it just all business?
Georges: No. It’s interesting because a lot of the guys that were at Marvel used to be at DC and vice versa so it was more of an interchangeable thing where, it’s like a car manufacture. We all make cars so some people work here and other work here and some people just sort of go back and forth so it wasn’t much of a difference work wise. Really, it came down to characters because I was a little more excited about working at Marvel because I grew up with Marvel. I was never much of a DC reader as a child and I knew and was more familiar with the Marvel characters growing up, which is ironic, because when I got hold of the Marvel characters at that point they had changed so much from what I remember reading that they really weren’t the characters. Bishop is probably a great example. He has changed so much from when he first started that you could argue that he wasn’t the same character anymore. I became a DC fan when I started working for them because I got a chance to read all of these books and it wasn’t because I didn’t think DC wasn’t any good. DC was to convoluted, which is ironic, because I think Marvel, now, is way too convoluted, but DC was always too convoluted because they had Earth 1 and Earth 2 and Flash was on this Earth and Green Lantern was on that Earth and there was too much history there that I could not follow. I couldn’t sustain that.
Sam: Now how I first discovered you work was when you did The American Way. I have a comic rack in the living room, and I rotate the books, but The American Way is one of the only books that I don’t put away because it was one of my favorite series last year and we featured it heavily on PCA, plugging it and trying to get people to buy it because at my comic shop I was one of three people buying it.
Georges: Yeah. That book was titled "The Best Book Your Not Reading."
Sam: Yeah. Well, how successful was it and is there any chance of a sequel? I mean, you guys got me wanting more.
Georges: Well all that praise and the glory goes to the writer, John Ridley, because he was the brainchild. That was his concept that he brought to Wildstorm. He had written The Authority right before that and was friendly with the editor who said to him, "If you want to pitch something we have a creator owned line as well" and John said "Yeah, I just happen to have this superhero based on the sixties idea". The editor, Ben Abernalby, was also my editor on Majestic, and from there he basically said "I have this eight issue gig that doesn’t have any characters that you recognized. It’s not by a writer that’s really well known in comics and it’s done in the ’60s." So from there the pitch didn’t leave me to think that this was going to be an amazing read. It was more like, "Oh. Really. Oh, you’re trying to peddle this book off and nobody wants to take it." But I agreed to read it, and all the issues weren’t actually done, but John had done up a sypnosis of what he had proposed to do in eight issues and when I read that I thought "Oh my god, this is going to be amazing. If he can pull this off, even if I don’t draw it, I would love to read this myself." And I was too good to pass up. Even though I could go over and get some more Marvel or DC stuff this was just too good to pass up so for about a year of my life I was devoted to The American Way.
Sam: Did you design the characters?
Georges: John had descriptions that were pretty good but in terms of visualizing them he didn’t. For example, Fraya who was...
Sam: The big Amazon type character.
Georges: Yeah. He wrote "I enliken her to one of the Norse gods and she carries a battle axe and, yeah, that’s what I got." What’s funny is from there I went back to the old comics that I like and you’ll notice not a passing resemblance of Fraya to Jack Kirby’s Big Barda from his Fourth World series.
Sam: Of course! Now that you mention it I totally see it.
Georges: For pretty much all of those characters. I would have to sit down with you and look at them again. It’s been a while since I really focused on them but they were all done from some iconic established character already with some little switch to them.
Sam: Well the Secret Agent kind of looked a bit like the Spirit.
Georges: The only description that John had about him was that we never see his face. He was the guy who you never saw his face. He is sort of like the "men in black" that we know of from folklore. That one was pretty simple but he became a really interesting character because you didn’t know where he was. Just because they were part of American US sanctioned heroism, that didn’t necessarily mean that they were good, case in point was the Burning Cross.
Sam: He was the redneck, white trash racist.
Georges: Yeah. And a lot of those guys were just looking at it as a job. They were just there and were, in some cases, willing to be an experiment by the government or, in some cases, actually came to them with powers and said "I could do this." It was very interesting, and I’m always a big fan of just because their good guys doesn’t mean their good, and just because their bad guys doesn’t mean their bad.
Sam: Is there any talks of a sequel?
Georges: I was just talking to John a few months ago and, yeah, he would love it and Ben Abernalby is also so jazzed about a sequel. And John says if he did it, it would probably be a sequel where it would be ten years later and it would be the early seventies and he said that the thing that would appeal to me the most is where would these guys have gone in the last ten years because so much would have gone on in those ten years. You would have the Viet Nam war and the race wars and equality and all the things that happen in the late ’60s.
Sam: I would love to see the continuation of the New American.
Georges: At least for that character because an interesting footnote is that at the end of his arch he is all in black and he is a precursor to the Black Panthers, Because the Black Panthers didn’t officially take off until ’66 or ’67 and this was ’63 so you kind of wonder where was the New American’s mindset when all that did take off and how would that have reflected around him because John was trying to suggest, with both of his costumes actually, because if you notice when the New American first comes out he sort of has a space costume and this was seven or eight years before they put a man in space and that costume, I could only assume, was still on the drawing board, and of course that’s why the government, which sanctioned this group, could go "Here, this is a costume we’re kind of fooling around with. Let’s get him to wear it." So it would be an interesting thing to see where that had gone too, and then, of course, when he has the Black Panther type costume which we can only assume that Huey Newton was getting together his ensemble was looking at the New American and said, "Yeah, that’s the kind of cat I want to emulate." I said I think a sequel would be great and I told them many times that I would love to be a part of it and if it does it probably wouldn’t happen for a few years. I’m pretty much devoted to Buffy for forty issues and that’ll be a couple of years in the making but after that I think the doors are wide open for something like that.
Sam: Well let’s go right into Buffy then because; let’s face it, that’s why people are going to read this.
Sam: Now were you a Buffy fan before you became involved on the book?
Georges: That’s a really interesting story because no I wasn’t. The editors are Scott Allie and Joss Whedon, of course. Scott had been the editor for the Buffy books originally and there were fifty or so Buffy books that had come out in the past few years. And apparently, this is what Scott told me, was that when Frey had came out Scott was editor on that and it was Joss’ first time writing comic books and they enjoyed their relationship extremely well and from there Scott said "We really want to do something else. Let’s keep this ball rolling" and, of course, it took a few years and that ball was rolling a bit slower but when it did Joss was like, "Yeah, I really want to continue this Buffy stuff because it looks like the movie’s not going to happen so I really have all this stuff here that I want to get out. I don’t want to leave it there” and of course Darkhorse and Scott are like "Well, hey, let’s do it. What are you doing? Let’s stop sitting around!" And Joss was like "Yeah, yeah. Let me get back to you. I definatly want to do this." And Scott tells me that another year or so goes by and all of sudden Scott has a script from Joss Whedon and says this is the first issue of a four issue arch of what he was going to entitle Buffy Season 8. And of course from there everything sort of took hold and originally it was going to be twelve issues and just get in and get out and thank you very much. From there it sort of grew into twenty four issues. And from there Joss sort of enjoyed what he was doing so much and realized ”Hey, you know what? I can take a whole issue and it doesn’t even have to be about Buffy. I can do something obscure that I liked about that universe but could never do as a B plot on the TV show but I can deal with it in the comic book. This is great!" So from there this brainchild became more of a forty issue extravaganza that Darkhorse said is, yes, Season 8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and if you like your slayer you’ll be liking it for a couple of years.
Sam: Well I know, as a fan, it was like a dream come true when I heard about this project. To have Buffy back, by Joss Whedon, and not have something cheap or cheesy. To have the same quality of the TV series. So if you weren’t a fan, did you get up to speed and are you a fan now?
Georges: Oh, I was quickly. As soon as I got the gig, which is kind of funny because I actually had my trepanation about actually, doing this. I thought, "Oh, alright, maybe I’ll do four issues and then, well, okay." But I wasn’t thinking that was something I’d want to stay with because it’d be huge. Darkhorse was nice enough to send me Season 6 and 7 of the series and of course once I got the gig I got educated pretty quickly and was watching one or two episodes a night on DVD and quickly getting caught up. From there I thought, wow, this is actually very very good and I thought to myself that this was something I wanted to continue. From there I went out and bought Seasons 1 through 5 and started watching them so technically my final episode of Buffy was the end of Season 5, so I knew already what happened in Season’s 6 and 7 because of the comic book and what I needed to be prepared for. But as a fan my final images of Buffy is her dying which is sort of poetic in a sense.
Sam: Okay, fan boy to fan boy, what’s your favorite season?
Georges: You know, its funny, but I for some reason get this a lot. Season 6 is just such a strong season and it sort of ranks up there. There is just so much growth and unacceptability that you just don’t see half of coming and it just really matures the series as a whole.
Sam: Now that’s the season with the nerds and Dark Willow, right?
Georges: With Dark Willow and Tara being killed and Buffy going with Spike. I think people just hate the idea of her and Spike hooking up.
Sam: I actually think the addition of Spike to the cast added a lot to the series.
Georges: I would think that after seeing Seasons 1 through 5, and don’t get me wrong because I love Season 3 because of the introduction of Faith and Faith is such a great character, and there was so many cool things that they did in Season 3 but I just can’t look at Season 6 and not feel so emotionally moved and if a show can do that to me then they deserve what escalates.
Sam: How close do you work with Joss Whedon?
Georges: Well, Joss is, well, man, that guy totally surprised me. When I first got this gig I wasn’t really familiar with the Buffy stuff but I was familiar with Joss. I had actually watched Firefly on television and I had seen the movie and I knew of this guy Joss Whedon and how big he was in the industry and when I first met him it was through the e-mail and I thought that the code is the writer and the artist develop this relationship since they are going to be working together and with Joss I was wondering who I was going to have to go through. Maybe I was going to have to deal with his secretary or representatives or what. So I e-mailed him passively saying "Well Mr. Whedon if I can ever talk to you let me know when’s a good time because I have questions every now and again and I like to get a feel for what the writer is thinking" and he writes me back with a message that says "Dude, here’s my phone number at home. Here’s my cell number. Call me whenever you need and if I can’t talk to you then leave a message and I’ll definatly call you back and we’ll go from there." I was like, okay, you don’t want me to talk to your secretary or something and he was like, "No no. Give me a call." I was like, “Alright. Okay...Joss. Sure thing!” So he very much surprised me because I think all of us layman have this idea of what these movie star types are like because its all that stereotype that we have within us and Joss is so counter to that. Joss is one of those guys who you don’t think of as "the great Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy." Your going, "That’s the guy at the comic shop. Yeah, I’ve seen him there." He’s just so very approachable and very genuine and all of that star struck thing fades quickly and you think that you’re with a regular guy and he’s a very cool guy.
Sam: Now I was looking tonight at the list of writers that you have coming up on the book and you have Brian K. Vaughn, Brad Meltzer, Jeph Loeb. You’re working with a really heavy group of writers here!
Georges: Yeah, that was another thing that editor Scott Allie impressed on me which I didn’t get at the beginning. He as like, "dude, don’t leave because we’ll be getting a lot of good writers and, yeah, you’ll be drawing Buffy for a while but you’ll be working with so many high caliber writers that it’s going to add to your resume and, I have to say, in hindsight he was correct because this is a really great gig for anybody to establish themselves in the business because I get to ride on the coattails of all these great writers which I have no problem whatsoever.
Sam: Now back to your art. I have a bit of a love/hate for comic books based on TV series. I collect some of the older ones from the ’60s.
Georges: What do you have? The Star Trek Dell comics?
Sam: I have some of those. I have some of the Dark Shadows ones, and The Mod Squad and one of my favorite guilty pleasures is The Partridge Family and David Cassidy comics. Now specifically I’m thinking of The Partridge Family comics, the art is horrendous. It’s almost like the artist took publicity shots and traced them and added dialogue. And then in the Dark Shadows, for the exception of Jonathan Frid or David Selby, none of the other characters resemble the actors at all. Now the stuff your doing on Buffy isn’t like any of this because it’s absolutely beautiful and you seem to capture the look and the personality of the characters and their resemblance to the actors that portrayed them. How hard is it able to take a real person and put them into a panel and make it possible for me, the reader, to recognize them as being Willow or Xander or Buffy?
Georges: It was really hard at the beginning because I had never drawn these characters before and I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I had to draw and redraw. When I do a page with the Buffy stuff in particular, it takes me thirty percent longer then if I was drawing a regular superhero page because that thirty percent is devoted to the likenesses. I’ll be the first to say that I don’t get it right all the time but there is an effort made there of taking that character and making sure that you can tell the difference. It may not look spot on like Willow or Buffy but can you tell, in that page, that this person is supposed to be Buffy and that person is supposed to be Willow and if I can accomplish that in some small way when I’ve done drawing I feel that I’ve done justice to the character because I don’t just sit around and draw a facsimile of what I think they might be. I subsequently taken so many photos of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Allison Hannigan and everybody else involved that I got a notebook of just all of these face in rows. Eliza Dushku and Anthony Head and everybody. This is how I like to approach my drawing. I’ll draw a face our first with whatever their supposed to be doing, like Buffy is shocked or surprised and then I’ll go through my little catalogue of photographs and look for a picture of Buffy in a similar pose. It’s never an actual pose but I want to find something where she is similarly surprised, and from there I’ll try to render on the page more to what it looks like to that character. I’m not a big fan of just tracing over the faces because, in all honesty that would take a lot longer because then we’d have to find exactly that expression and exactly that size and that perspective and how that character is looking that it would just take too long. So from there I feel that I’ve developed enough of a short hand for the character, which is ironic because I really had trouble with Eliza Dushku as Faith in this four issue arch which is out now because, just as I finish her arch, I finally thought that I know how to draw Faith. I know how to draw Faith solid and she’s gone and after these four issues we’re going back to Buffy and Dawn. If I had another four issues with Faith she would be dead on.
Sam: Will Faith be back eventually?
Georges: Well when you read it you’ll see that it’s set up...well, obviously in the Whedon universe people kept coming back and forth and with this comic, yes, as you can see with Joss in the first issue arch, Amy and Warren have come back, so, yeah, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Faith but I don’t know when she’ll be back with so much attention based on her.
Sam: Now you’re talking about characters weaving in and out. Now with IDW do the Angel books, how much of Angel and Spike will we see in this series? I head that Darkhorse couldn’t get the rights to use the characters; although we already saw Spike and Angel in a very graphic and disturbing way already that I can only hope to eventually wash from my mind. But on the other hand I’ve heard because Joss owns them he can issue them to anybody at anytime.
Georges: Well I believe that 20th Century Fox officially owns the characters so if there is any official title going to they have to go through them but, yes, I would dare say that Joss Whedon has a very big influence on what the characters can do and where they characters can go. Yes, it is true that IDW does have the Angel franchise and with that the use of their characters probably wont come up in the Buffy title but since Joss has such an influence over this I think that if he were, and this is what he did with Angel and Spike as they appeared in issue #2, he himself said to IDW "Hey, this is what I’m doing. I would like to use these characters" and of course IDW, not being stupid, saying, "Yes, sure, you can do that because we would love to be working with you too Mr. Whedon." So on that level it can happen; just I don’t think that since the properties are in two separate places that it’s going to happen often.
Sam: Have you gotten any feedback from any of the actors from the series?
Georges: Interestingly enough, the only one I’ve actually talked to and had an occasion to speak with was just recently at Dragon Con here in Atlanta. James Marsters and Juliet Landau were down and someone had mentioned to James in his panel if he had seen the new Buffy comic and he said he hadn’t and they told him that there was a very graphic image of him, Angel and Buffy and, of course, he was outraged and asked who would even think to do that and who wrote that issue and someone yelled out "Joss Whedon wrote it" and he said "Oh well, okay, if that’s the case, that’s what Buffy and Spike and Angel are doing." And then when I met him and I told him I was the guy who was drawing the book the nice thing that he had mentioned was that he really liked the art work. I heard that James had written, or co-written, a book for Darkhorse and apparently wasn’t too happy with the artwork. But James said that he really liked that one image and I said, of course, "If you ever want to work together let me know because I’m a big fan Mr. Marsters." Other then that I haven’t heard from anybody and I honestly don’t know why I get that question asked a lot because, when you think about it, these are actors. They play the part that was four years ago now and they are on to other things and I totally get that they aren’t sitting around going "Oh, well, there’s my character again." I’m sure they would have a passing familiar but I honestly wouldn’t expect to hear from Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Sam: The reason we all ask you is because we are whores for information.
Georges: Mind you, I’d love to get a call from Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Sam: Well let’s talk about calls for a second here. You know Joss Whedon, right.
Sam: And you have his phone number.
Georges: I do.
Sam: And Joss Whedon, we can assume, has Michelle Trachtenberg’s phone number.
Georges: Yeah. This whole six degrees of separation thing, it is so much closer now.
Sam: Yeah. Well can you get me Michelle Trachtenberg’s phone number?
Georges: Do you think I could personally get it for you? Well you know, you’d have to stand in line because I’d want it first and maybe after I made my call maybe if things didn’t go as well as I’d like.
Sam: Well, uh, I wasn’t serious just in case that sounded really creepy.
Georges: No. Not at all. I was serious. I actually talked to Joss and I said, "Dude, I really got to hand it to you, you know how to pick out the most gorgeous women!"
Sam: Well I may be in the minority, but I am a huge Michelle Trachtenberg fan.
Georges: Yeah, I know what you mean. You know, Dawn got the short end of the stick because it seems people think of her as the obligatory whiny hostage character. And I think, man, that’s really unfair because most of the criticism I hear is that oh well, Dawn is so whiny. Why is Dawn a part of the Buffy universe and all that stuff and I think, “Don’t you guys get it? Don’t you see her as an important part, as a Willow or a Xander or a Giles?” I don’t see why people treat her as the butt end of the Buffy universe.
Sam: Well I find that Dawn really added a new dimension to the series that the show really needed at that time. You see, we had just come out of that terrible season with Riley and Adam and the military guys...
Georges: Not the strongest season...
Sam: Right, and I was even pretty cynical when I found out they were adding a "jump the shark" kid to Buffy but I felt that when they introduced Dawn to the series that somehow Joss managed to bring the series back on track. I mean you had the beautiful chemistry between Dawn and Spike and really enhanced the series for me. But I think that fans still see her as nothing but the "Cousin Oliver" of the series.
Georges: I can understand that if she was thrown into the mix, but for me, Dawn was already part of the Buffy universe when I started watching it so Season 5 was when I finished watching it. But I think that idea of "We need to hide something and we need to hide something with somebody who will take care of it and what better way for them to take care of it then have them feel that this is part of their flesh." Well that’s a great idea once it was revealed and poor Dawn the character had to have that "Well I have to be the antitheses of the character so I have to be her foil in a lot of cases because I’m the younger sister and, yes, to a certain degree to make it an interesting dynamic.” Because, once you get into it, that’s exactly what Cordelia was and that’s a lot of what Anya was when she got in there and you need those dynamics to actually establish a character down the road because in Season 5 you don’t really see who Dawn is. A lot of who Dawn becomes is in Season 6 and, obviously, Season 7 because, I gotta say, one of the most moving scenes to me in that whole series, which there is a lot, is when Xander is sitting with Dawn at the end and she’s going "I’m no special. I’m the sister of the slayer but I’m not a potential" and he’s telling her that she’s extraordinary. I defy anybody who watched that and not be chocked up to a certain degree.
Sam: Well, I think we’ve got off tack here. I can talk about Michelle Trachtenberg all day.
Georges: We got on Track..enberg. (Laughs)
Sam: Okay. (Laughs) That’s really punny. Anyways, what is coming up in Buffy Season 8 that you are allowed to tell us? I know that the comic industry is pretty secretive and you can’t tell me much but is there anything you can share.
Georges: Well as I said, I just finished the Faith arch of four issues and I think you’re really going to appreciate it where it ends. It takes the idea and smacks us back to Season 3 and there is actually flashbacks to Season 3 and it really takes us back to what is Faith? What is her lot in life? And I loved how in Season 7 she actually mentions that when she asks "What’s wrong with Buffy? Has she gone bad? Does that mean I’m the good slayer?" I think that question is more prominent then Faith, the character, has dealt with because within this universe she has always fell in the shadow of Buffy and I think Brian K. Vaughn really has established that and really let us get into her head as where she does feel in this world knowing that Buffy exists and she exists and just the idea of this is so well thought out that and, yes, this arch was written by Brian K. Vaughn and Joss Whedon was the "executive producer" in every sense of the word. Joss’ hand is in this series pretty much as if he was writing the series himself so I think anybody who enjoys Faith will definatly enjoy this four issue arch even though it’s not technically written by Joss Whedon. As far as the future there are so many cool things that are going to happen that I couldn’t tell you what’s going on because there is just so much to tell you that anything would be such a big spoiler that down the line you’d be all "oh, I wish I didn’t know that because that would have been so cool to find out" but I can tell you that Twilight is the big bad of the season. Characters will be coming back and we are certainly not through with all the surprise characters that you’ve been seeing so that will definatly be leading to something. Well the fact that it’s forty issues, if you love Buffy, I think as a fan your going to be thinking that every month you have this great little piece of chocolate that you an unwrap and eat at my leisure and I know it’s going to be there and Buffy is going to be there for anybody who has ever loved this character and, by enlarge, will not be disappointed because this is where Joss has personally told me, "I am not restricted by studio. I’m not restricted by budget. I’m not restricted by wardrobe. I’m not restricted by special effects. I can let my imagination run wild." And he actually pointed out, case in point, that he had the idea of Dawn becoming big when he was doing the series but he could never effectively do that and not make it look cheesy in some way and now that we are doing the comic that was one of the first things he wanted to do was to make her a giant because he has an arch for her that’s going to lead her in places that you don’t even want to know yet. So just the idea that Joss is not limited to anything has, as a result, opened up his world and the Buffyverse in ways that you wont even imagine and wont even have expected once issues do start coming out which will basically be bombs dropping and I have to tell you that there are going to be reading it in disbelief because your not going to get where it’s coming from. So I defy in the middle of next year. This time next year you call me again and let’s have this conversation again and let’s talk about all the events that’s happen up until then and let’s see if you were not blown away.
Sam: So are you saying you want to do a follow up in a year’s time?
Georges: Oh definatly. I want to talk to everybody because I know what’s coming out and there is things that when Joss was telling me that I said "Joss, you can not do that. I’m telling you not as an artist but as a fan that you can’t do that" and he was telling me "Yeah, I am, and you’re going to see how I can do that."
Sam: Well you got it. In one year’s time, when those bombs start dropping and you feel the time is right, we’ll talk about this again.
Georges: Well once those bombs start dropping you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Sam: Well I’ve been excited about this series, but nothing like the caliber of what I’m feeling right now.
Georges: Well I know how you feel. As a fan, I’m lucky enough to have the script to issue 11 sitting in front of me which I haven’t read and I am thinking, "Great, moment I go home I can read issue 11. This is so cool." As a fan this is what I’m feeling and as a fan, as Joss was explaining it over breakfast in San Diego a few months ago he was laughing giddily at my expression as he was telling me what was going to happen.
Sam: Real quick. Who’s your favorite character to draw and who do you hate drawing the most.
Georges: Well, you know, I really took infinity to Faith and I’m really sad that it is only four issues because I really love drawing Faith. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy drawing all of the characters. I’m a little more comfortable with drawing the men at this point. I think I’m pretty good with Buffy but I think my appreciation is how good I got at drawing Faith. I had a bitch of a time drawing Amy. I just did not like drawing her at all because I felt like I wasn’t drawing her and I was drawing a comic book version of her. I just never found my center with her.
Sam: Now as an artist, or a comic book fan, if you had one dream project, what would it be?
Georges: Which I’d like to do in the future? Well I would love...well it’s funny too because as Joss and I were talking, not that this should, involve him, but it’s strange that it does, Joss just sort of candidly said "When I was growing up I was a big Marvel fan also and I loved Luke Cage" and I said "Get outta here! Dude, I love Luke Cage" and he kind of smiled and we just sort of looked at each other and just sort of said sometime down the line that might be interesting. Well I’m a fan of the Marvel 70’s characters and that’s where my passion lies and it just solidified it when Joss said this was something he’d like to do as well.
Sam: Think you two might ever team up on it?
Georges: Who knows? I’m not saying nothing. I’m just saying who knows?
Sam: Well look, it’s been great talking to you Georges. I want to thank you again fro taking the time to talk to us, and sharing all of this great stuff with us. Is there anything else you have to tell us?
Georges: Not much. Just if you’ve been reading Buffy keep reading because you have not seen anything yet. As a fan I am bowled over. I am shocked. I am enthralled. I am overjoyed and if anybody is a fan they are going to enjoy this season. All the good and what they might perceive as not so good once all of this plays out.
Now friends and Buffy fans. If Georges’ promise of these "bombs dropping" doesn’t increase your curiosity and enthusiasim for things to come, then I swear you must be in a coma or something! Honestly, with a proposed run of forty Buffy issues, as well as a potential American Way sequel, it seems that Georges is on his way to a long and successful career in comics. Hopefully, after these bombs drop, we’ll have another opportunity to talk to Georges again.