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Buffy : Season 9

Joss Whedon - "Buffy : Season 9" Comic Book - Issue 06 - Usatoday.com Interview

Sunday 18 March 2012, by Webmaster

After years of tackling vampires, demons and assorted "big bads" on TV and now in comic books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is facing something else extremely daunting: pregnancy.

After finding out she’s pregnant, Buffy decides to have an abortion in the new issue of Dark Horse Comics’ ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’

In the latest issue of Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, in stores today, Buffy weighs the life of being the "chosen" Slayer against the life she’s about to bring into the world. After some soul-searching with the son of another former Slayer, Buffy decides to have an abortion.

There were two key aspects to discussing the hot-button issue, says the comic’s executive producer, Joss Whedon: It had to be portrayed as a difficult decision for Buffy, and it had to be treated with respect on the creative side.

MORE: Check out an exclusive preview of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 issue 6.

"It’s not something we would ever take lightly, because you can’t. You don’t. It’s not an easy thing for anyone," he says.

The Buffy TV series, which ran from 1997 to 2003 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, became a cult hit and fostered a ferociously loyal fan base in its seven seasons before vampires became all the pop-culture rage.

In two "seasons" of Buffy comics, Whedon has continued the story lines from the television show. But the previous Season 8 issues were too "comic-booky and overblown" for his tastes, so when Whedon and series writer Andrew Chambliss began breaking down stories for the current Season 9, they decided to return to the mission statement of the original TV show, which was to follow the story of a woman at important points in her life.

"Buffy was always about the arc of a life, and it wasn’t ever going to be one of those shows where they were perpetually in high school and never asked why," Whedon says. "It was about change. So there’s never a time when Buffy’s life isn’t relevant."

Season 9 finds the character in her early 20s with no idea what she’s doing with her life and in free fall while everybody around her seems to be maturing, finding direction and setting up their adult life.

Living in San Francisco with all the magic cut off from the world and zombie vampires lurking in the city, Buffy learns she is pregnant — with the unknown father possibly one of the guests at a wild party at her place — and in the new Issue 6, she confides in the anti-heroic vamp Spike of her decision to have an abortion.

Chambliss says Buffy’s choice was something that grew organically out of the story. "Given the specifics of Buffy’s life at this point in the season — facing a new kind of vampire threat, barely able to keep a job — it seemed like it would be dishonest for Buffy to not at least entertain the question of whether she should keep or end the pregnancy."

Whedon had never thought about a pregnancy story for the TV-show character. In comics, though, he has license to do more with magic and creatures, and it has given him the chance to be "a little more on the nose in the grounding of our characters."

Whedon points out that Friday Night Lights is one show that recently tackled abortion with the proper respect. And he concedes there’s a little bit of a political jab in the Buffy story line. It’s not that women should be on one side or the other, he says, but that people have to make this decision and talk about it.

"It offends me that people who purport to be discussing a decision that is as crucial and painful as any a young woman has to make won’t even say something that they think is going to make some people angry."

Though the director of the upcoming movie The Avengers jokes that even he gets tired of staking vampires after a while — "Who wouldn’t? Well, apparently all of America wouldn’t" — Whedon loves the edgy aspect of horror and fantasy that allows him to discuss things in a way that also removes him slightly.

"I don’t tend to write straight dramas where real life just impinges," he says. "But because I don’t, when I do it is very interesting to slap people in the face with just an absolute of life."