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Buffy : Season 9Scott Allie - 2011 Dark Horse’s Whedonverse Comic Books - Fearnet.com Interview
Friday 10 September 2010, by Webmaster
As all comic-loving fright fans know, Dark Horse is the place for horror comic books. So every now and then I like to check in with DH editor Scott Allie and get an update on the company’s upcoming titles. Allie oversees not only original comic properties like Hellboy and BPRD, but licensed titles like the upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9, Cabin in the Woods, and Let Me In books. In the interview that follows the jump, Allie tells us what to expect from all of these comics and more.
Now that the rights to publish Angel comics have passed back to you guys from IDW, what lies ahead?
Well as far as what’s ahead, we’re gonna be re-launching the whole group of books in late 2011, under the banner title of Season 9, following the events of Season 8. Getting Angel and Buffy and maybe some other characters their own titles. But in terms of specifics about the story, this is literally a year away, so we don’t want to start that system of information just yet. We want to keep the focus on the wrap-up of Season 8, and on the wrap-up of everything IDW’s doing with Angel.
Will the numbering system for the Buffy title start over with Season 9?
Yeah, we’ll start over with number 1’s. Each title will have its own number 1, and then progress through the two-year title.
And Season 9 will run fewer issues than Season 8 did?
Yeah, Season 8 has basically kept us busy for four years, and Season 9 will be two years.
We’re really excited about firmly stating that we are the house for Joss with the comics. We’re working on all these original properties. We’ve got something from Cabin in the Woods that we can’t do until The Cabin in the Woods movie is coming, because what we’re gonna do would be massive spoilers, so we can’t do it to the film. But we’ve got the Cabin project in the works; we’re taking baby steps into the world of Dollhouse. We’re gonna continue to do more Serenity comics, and the main event is Season 9.
Can you talk about what’s going on in the non-Whedon realm of Dark Horse horror?
Yeah, I mean at any given time the thing I’m most excited about is usually Hellboy. We’ve got a lot going on with Mike [Mignola] with Hellboy. The next issue of Hellboy – it’s called The Storm, issue number three comes out – it’s a turning point. It’s a pretty big moment for Hellboy. When I got the printed copy of it the other day I just looked at it and went, "Holy shit. We did it. Oh my God." So it’s exciting to have that coming out, and I’m real psyched. By the time this conversation we’re having is out there, maybe the book will be out already and maybe people will know, but if not Hellboy fans have to make sure that they really don’t look at the internet before they look at The Storm # 3. It’s a nice moment.
We have a bunch of other stuff going on. We’ve just taken BPRD to a new age where monsters are kind of running more rampant across the world, and things are really screwed up because of something Liz Sherman did. She ignited the center of the earth and it kind of messed things up. The title of the series is now BPRD: Hell on Earth. We’re gonna do our best to really earn that title, to really transform the world into a horrible place. So things are really changing in the Hellboy titles. We’ll continue to do the flashback stories. We’ve got a thing coming out with Richard Corben later this year that’s beautiful called Double Feature of Evil, that tells early Hellboy stories, early fun horror yarns. That’s going on in the current titles in Hellboy: The Storm and BPRD: Hell on Earth. We’re really trying to change the world and mess up the world in ways that you normally don’t see in a long-running comic. Comics tend to like to keep the status quo of the world so that Barack Obama can be President while you’re doing your comic book. But we’re gonna mess up the world where it will be a little bit unrecognizable from the place that we have. So that’s fun. That feels like a big deal, and we’re getting great work out of people like Corben. So Mike and I are psyched about those guys. And at the end of the week Mike is drawing a Hellboy story himself, which he hasn’t done enough of lately. He’s feeling really good to be able to focus on actually drawing a story. That’s going to be coming out in a surprising venue for us in the next couple of months. It’s a short story that’ll be showing up on an online venue that’s not Dark Horse.com and it’s not MySpace Dark Horse Presents, but it’s an online venue for us to put some short stories out there that we’re psyched about. I think we’re announcing it at New York Comic-Con, so it’s still a month away before we spill those beans.
Are there any other licensed or non-licensed horror titles that you can comment on, like the Let Me In comic?
Yeah, one of the really big deals and it’s a super divisive topic in the world of horror geeks, and I count myself as one, is that we’re doing a comic prequel to the film Let Me In. When I saw Let the Right One In, it blew my mind. I loved it. That and The Orphanage were the two horror films that got me most charged up in the last ten years. We found out that somebody we have a really tight relationship with was gonna be involved with making the American version of Let the Right One In. There’s definitely a reason to be skeptical about a remake of such a subtle, smart foreign film, but… I read the screenplay. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I read the screenplay and it really calmed my fears in terms of the final product. And Marc Adreyko, who’s writing the comic (Let Me In: Crossroads) for us, he’s seen it, and he was really excited about it. When I first hit him up about writing the comic – he loves the Swedish film, he’s read the novel and he loves the novel – he was a little bit trepidatious about the American film being made. But we’ve all been won over by talking to Matt Reeves, the director, and we think that he’s gonna make a film that’s accessible to American audiences but holds a lot of the same feel of the original film. He’s not Twilight-ing the relationship, he’s not ruining that. He’s not gonna make it a balls-out action-adventure movie or anything. It seems like the heart of the story and the mood, the atmosphere, it’s there in the screenplay. From what I’ve heard there’s a great tone, a great vibe to it that will make horror fans happy. The comic, which I can really speak about with authority, was written Andreyko, who really does nice character stuff. It’s drawn by this guy Patric Reynolds, who did a Serenity one-shot with me recently; he did an Abe Sapien one-shot with me. He’s a guy that Duncan Fregado introduced me to, and whose work I’ve just come to love. And he’s doing really beautiful work on Let Me In. And Dave Stewart’s coloring it.
The comic takes place right before the movie, the American movie. It tells a pretty grisly story. The character goal that Marc was shooting for in the comic is… If you’ve seen the Swedish film, you know what happens with the Richard Jenkins character, you know what a low point in his life we meet him at in the beginning of the film. It doesn’t go real well for that guy, but it happens pretty quickly, it happens pretty early in the film that that guy just completely goes to hell. So we thought it would be cool to have four issues to spend getting him there; looking at that point in his life, his relationship with the girl has gone where it’s gonna go and he’s just fucked now. We thought it would be cool to get in there for this dark, dreadful story, where we see this guy sort of just about at the end of his rope. Sean Phillips is doing the covers for it [pictured above], and doing killer work on the covers. So we’ve got a really great creative team. The artist on the book is kind of a newbie, but Marc and Dave are fantastic established talents, and Patric is really doing something special. I think he’s gonna make a name for himself on this book.
Going back to Cabin in the Woods for a moment – will the comic be a straight prequel or a partial adaptation?
It’s essentially a prequel, but it’s a very different kind of prequel. Technically it prequels the movie, but it’s not your standard prequel at all. The story comes before the movie, but to do the comics before the movie comes out would give away a bunch of shit that we couldn’t give away, you know? It will be a four-issue series. We’re dying to get started on it, but there’s still no word on when the film comes out. MGM’s in trouble. They can’t get James Bond out. It’s a bummer what those guys are up to. But hopefully it will be soon.
One other thing – if I could throw in a plug for it – is that they’re doing a Hack/Slash anthology in November, and I’ve got a short story in there. I’m a big fan of Hack/Slash. Did you see the Dexter vs. Jason vs. Hack/Slash thing? Me and Tim [Seeley] and a couple of people did that. I’ve just been a fan of Hack/Slash for a while. And after doing that piece with Tim I got the idea for a short story, and said, "Hey, I don’t know if you have any use for this, but I’ve got an idea for a story. I think I’m gonna jam out a script just for fun, and if you ever have a place for it…" They said, "Well, actually we’re doing an anthology, so it would be cool if you want to go in there." So I teamed up with a few friends and did the story just for kicks. It’s a little nine-page story. It looks like I’m in there with some good people, so I’m psyched for it.
Thank you so much for your time, Scott.
Thank you, man.