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Buffy The Vampire SlayerJoss Whedon - "Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - Wizarduniverse.com Interview
Friday 2 March 2007, by Webmaster
Joss Whedon assembles a squad of all-star slayers to stake his claim on Buffy’s ’Season 8’ comic series
When the modern Godfather of genre TV sinks his teeth into you, you’d better believe you’re in his thrall.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon put together a dream team of comic book A-listers and handpicked a horde of his former show writers to help him craft the massive undertaking of Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, an ongoing series of 20-plus issues that launches March 7 and picks up after the conclusion of the TV series. After a seven-year run on the air from 1997-2003, BTVS Season 8, as the creators and publisher Dark Horse have dubbed it, stands as official canon in the Buffy Universe and will follow the continuing adventures of Buffy, Xander, Giles, Willow, Dawn and the rest of the “Scooby gang.”
Whedon himself writes the first arc. And he’s brought with him Wizard’s 2006 Writer of the Year and Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, “Lost”), New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer (Justice League of America) and Hollywood hotshot Jeph Loeb (Wolverine, “Heroes”), as well as former show writers Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg and Steven DeKnight. Artists Georges Jeanty (American Way) and Jo Chen (Runaways) handle interiors and covers, respectively.
So sharpen your stake as we take an in-depth look at how Whedon, Vaughan and Loeb plan to buff up Buffy’s continuing adventures.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY ABOUT? My story kind of gets us up to speed in terms of what happens to the world when thousands of girls from around the world are all suddenly empowered [with Slayer abilities], [and] what happens to Buffy and how her life has changed after [the destruction of her hometown,] Sunnydale. Not where everybody is, because we’re still keeping some secrets, but where some of our key members are and how they’re doing and how people are reacting to this sudden surge of strangely powerful women who seem to gather together. It’s bigger than the show in its scope, but it’s the same kind of intimacy. The biggest fun is always just the gang getting together and yakking. My arc serves as more bringing people into this new world, because it is a new world, both for old fans, for new readers and for Buffy herself.
FAVORITE BUFFY STORY I’m kicking it old school with the arrival of [Angel’s evil persona] Angelus [in Season 2’s two-part “Surprise” and “Innocent”]. That never got old for me. That was where it all came together.
LEAST FAVORITE BUFFY STORY I mean, I had some bad experiences. You always do. But I’m here not to rag on people. So I’m gonna say that when I think about mythic storytelling, I think the fact that [Principal] Robin Wood in Season 7 revealed he was the son of a Slayer over dinner was probably the least mythic idea I ever had, and I still kinda cringe when I think of that. I still look at that and go “Now that is just bad storytelling, bro. There’s so many better ways to reveal that.”
FAVORITE BIG BAD I’m gonna give it up to the Mayor [from Season 3]. I just loved that character. I loved writing him and the dichotomy between his “Father Knows Best” sweetness and his complete evil, and [actor] Harry Groener was just such a prince.
LEAST FAVORITE BIG BAD You know, I look back at what we did with Adam [Season 4’s patchwork Frankenstein-like monster], and I think we had all the elements, and we never put it together. Why did we light Adam like that? Why didn’t we light him differently? I don’t know why I was thinking about it. It’s an interesting creature. What made him and what he was and what he wanted were fascinating to me. And that fault was sadly mine.
MOST UNDERDEVELOPED CHARACTER I think [Buffy’s sister] Dawn. Everybody knows Dawn complains. I kept having her be sad because her reality was so crushingly horrible. She kept losing parental figures over and over and over. I’ve got her in the comic book, and she and Buffy are bickering. But for a different reason. A very good reason.
IF I HAD TO WRITE THE FINAL BUFFY STORY, I WOULD... Spend years agonizing over it and ultimately disappoint probably 50 percent of the people who read it. A lot of guys would go out disappointing 70 percent, but I’m gonna make half the people really happy. The other half are gonna be pissed. ’Cause Buffy clearly is gonna end up with... [Simulating static] I’m sorry, you’re breaking up. [Simulating static]
BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
WHAT’S YOUR STORY ABOUT? [Fellow Slayer] Faith is going to be the star of my four-issue arc, which is totally thrilling to me, because I love her. I’m going to be writing issues #6-#9. I believe that turnabout is fair play; since Joss is following me on [Marvel’s] Runaways, I owed it to him to jump in after he took off.
FAVORITE BUFFY STORY It’s sort of a downer, but I’d have to say “The Body” [the Season 5 episode that dealt with the unexpected death of Buffy’s mom]; it’s not just my favorite episode of the series, but maybe my favorite hour of television anywhere. I’d never really seen anything like that. That episode just haunts me with how good it is.
FAVORITE SEASON That’s f---ing tough. [Pause] Season 2. The show really hit its stride then, perfectly blending humor, action, horror and drama. The Buffy/Angel relationship was fascinating, and I always liked [Buffy’s teacher] Jenny Calendar. Some of the best cliffhangers in the history of TV, too.
FAVORITE BIG BAD Gotta go with Angelus [from Season 2]. That’s a pretty great moment following Buffy sleeping with Angel the first time [in the two-part “Surprise” and “Innocent”] because that resonates so well with the real world of that fear of a girl sleeping with a guy and he becomes somebody else-and that literally happened on the show. It’s just so brilliant.
LEAST FAVORITE BIG BAD I never warmed up to Adam, but I recently did one of those dumb online polls that tell you what Buffy character you most resemble, and I’m Adam apparently. And it turns out the only guy I didn’t completely love in the Buffy Universe is me. [Laughs]
BEST LAUGH-OUT-LOUD ‘BUFFY’ MOMENT There was just one silent shot of [Buffy’s mentor] Giles wearing a wizard’s costume [in Season 5’s “No Place Like Home”] that they held on for an uncomfortably long time, and there’s no dialogue. That was cripplingly funny.
WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU WOULD NOT DO FOR JOSS WHEDON? I’ve done everything for him! F---ing ask him, man! [Laughs] I’m writing 19 comics books, two movie screenplays and I’m full time on a TV show [“Lost”], and he asked if I would write this comic book and I was like, “In a heartbeat.” Hell, if he wants, he can have my first born.
IF I HAD TO WRITE THE FINAL BUFFY STORY, I WOULD... I’m f---ing ready to write it tomorrow, are you kidding? I always thought it would be kind of poignant to just have Buffy and [her friend] Xander be the last two people left, and have them reminisce about high school. The point being that, while you’re going through high school, it seems like hell, but once you’re old you begin looking at high school like it used to be paradise. So maybe that’s a Buffy reveal: When Xander asks Buffy what heaven was like, she says, “Like high school, just with you and my friends.” That’s lovely, right? Like all of my stories, it’s two old people talking. [Laughs]
WHAT’S YOUR STORY ABOUT? It’s way too early [to say]. I spent almost two years of my life trying to get the “Buffy” animated series off the ground, so I spent a lot of time with the show and the writers-the best thing that came out of that is my friendship with Joss [Whedon]. He called and asked me to do [this comic] and I said yes.
FAVORITE BUFFY STORY You gotta go with the easy one: the end of Season 2 and Angel’s death [in the two-part “Becoming” episode]. There’s nothing like a little “Romeo & Juliet” to really make your afternoon.
LEAST FAVORITE BUFFY STORY When they were still trying to find their way, the praying mantis teacher and Xander getting wrapped up in a cocoon [in Season 1’s episode “Teacher’s Pet”] is one of my favorite highlights of stupidity.
FAVORITE SEASON I’m a big fan of the first two-not to say I didn’t love the rest, but when it was new and fresh, there were just so many surprises. By the time the show went on and you fell in love with the characters, it was really a different show.
LEAST FAVORITE SEASON Joss knows I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Initiative [in Season 4]. Season 6 when Buffy came back to life-boy, that was depressing for a long time. [Laughs] It’s only depressing because you care, though.
FAVORITE BIG BAD I’ll always go to [vampires] Spike and Darla and the gang. I guess that really just means Angelus.
BEST LAUGH-OUT-LOUD ‘BUFFY’ MOMENT During “Hush” [in Season 4] when [Buffy’s friend] Willow came out and wrote on the blackboard around her neck, “Hi Giles!” That was the most brilliant thing I’d ever seen in my life. [Laughs]
CHARACTER YOU’D LIKE TO DATE It will surprise you-Joss always used to look at me like, “Huh?”-but [actress] Julie Benz as Darla was just the hottest thing to hit the Earth, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
YOUR TAKE ON “ANGEL” AS A SPINOFF SHOW There were times I enjoyed “Angel” more than I enjoyed “Buffy.” That may just be a male thing; sometimes Joss’ feminist manifesto would get to me, whereas “Angel” was just a big rollicking detective show with great characters.
AS A GUY WHO’S WORKED IN TELEVISION AND MOVIES FOR A LONG TIME, WERE YOU EVER SURPRISED THAT A FAILED MOVIE TURNED OUT TO BE SUCH A HIT ON TV? Are you kidding me? It’s one of the biggest jokes in the world! The only one which is even more surprising is the failed television show that went on to become a movie with “Firefly” and “Serenity”-Joss is all about breaking the rules. But boy is that [original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”] movie bad. I love that Joss said, “No, it’s not a failed concept, just a poorly executed one.”