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Angel : Aftermath

Mariah Huehner - "Angel : Aftermath" Comic Book - Buffyfest.blogspot.com Interview

Sunday 29 May 2011, by Webmaster

Next up, we talk with editor and writer on the final series of Angel, Illyria, and Spike stories, Mariah Huehner. Over the last few years, she’s become a stellar voice with the fans, always there to talk about what was happening behind the scenes. We dig a little deeper with her today, asking some of those questions she couldn’t quite answer before the book was still running.

Buffyfest: You came in right after the Kelley Armstrong arc was done and a lot of fans were wondering, "Why didn’t IDW just tap one of the Angel TV Series writers to work on the book?"

Mariah Huehner: I always like that question because there’s no easy answer. We did, of course, approach some people from the show. But everyone was busy or, you know, working on Buffy. : I’m not in any way knocking Buffy, of course. But we just didn’t have the option of tapping someone from the show at the time. Plus, comics is a different medium than TV. Just because you love one doesn’t mean you have any interest in the other.

Buffyfest: The other big question that got asked back then (and again, later) was, "Why not a fan writer?" It wasn’t unknown that some fans had pitched for the book, that many fans write stories about these characters often. Was that ever considered?

MH: Well, no. And again, not as a knock to fans, the thing is, comics are a lot harder to write than most people realize. You need experienced writers in the medium to construct stories like this. Just loving the show isn’t enough. You need to understand this specific form of storytelling, meet deadlines, and be confident you can handle a world of this size and cast this big. The truth is, all the writers we hired were also fans of the show.

Buffyfest: Right. Which brings us to the first set of stories you were editor on, those being written by Bill Willingham and Bill Williams. There was a lot of controversy concerning the characterization of many of the major players at that time, that Spike was acting strangely, that Angel was out of the book for too long. Looking back on it, do you still stand behind those stories? Is there anything you would have wanted to do differently?

MH: I do still stand behind those stories. We wouldn’t have published them if we didn’t think they were worth telling. I think I probably would have gotten Angel back into the action sooner, for instance. And been maybe a touch more obvious about Spike. But there were reasons for all of that, real story and character reasons, so it’s not like anything was done arbitrarily. The argument that characters were acting OOC...that seems to come up no matter who is writing something. I’ve even seen that about stuff Joss has written. So we couldn’t really worry about that too much. It’s a bit subjective.

Buffyfest: Once Bill left, you and David took over to complete his arc and move into what would become the final story. How closely did you keep to Bill’s original plan and how much was changed? When you were planning out those stories, did you take into account what fans were saying or is it too risky to play into what fans want?

MH: We kept some things and not others. We had to finish the arc up in a way that made sense so obviously certain plot and character points Bill had been building towards were there. But we also had to change some elements to set up the next arc which was something David and I developed on our own. We went in a very different direction with the last arc for obvious reasons. In terms of what fans were saying...that’s a tough one. We certainly cared, you want people to enjoy the stories you’re telling. But overall, no, we had to tell a story we felt was right for the characters and the kind of ending we thought Angel deserved. Not two fans want the same exact thing so you can’t base stories on that.

Buffyfest: When in the process of writing did you find out that the license was reverting back to Dark Horse?

MH: I honestly don’t remember. Probably around the time everyone else did. :

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