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Buffy The Vampire SlayerScott Allie - "Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - He talks about the rebirth of the slayer
Wednesday 3 January 2007, by Webmaster
THE NEW ORIGIN, AND A QUICK LESSON IN MECHANICS
Hello, readers new and old—welcome to the Buffy Zone.
This will be the place where, if I can keep my act together, and webmaster Matt Parkinson keeps after me, you’ll get monthly updates on the upcoming Buffy Season Eight at Dark Horse. For those out there who find those words confusing, here’s a little back story, as our official first entry in the zone...
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer monthly series ended with issue #63, after a year examining Buffy’s time between the destruction of her LA high school and her first day at Sunnydale High. I ended it shortly after the end of the TV series, when we were gearing up for two new projects that we thought could take precedence until we could figure out what to do with Buffy. Joss was spearheading our Tales of the Vampire series and getting ready to launch our first Serenity series, so I thought the best thing to do with Buffy was to let it lie for a while, do these other books with Joss, and, when he had time, let him point the way for the new Buffy comics.
As we worked on Vampires, and then Serenity, I kept reminding Joss that we want to do Buffy, but we didn’t want to do anything unless without his direction. He agreed, but he was busy. One morning, at the 2005 San Diego Comics Convention, Joss and I happened to walk into the restaurant of our hotel at the same time, both of us alone, and so we sat and talked comics for a while. We discussed a lot of logistical options for Buffy—which kind of writers would we get to execute his new vision—but never did we get into the story, except that it would be the official continuation of the series—Buffy Season Eight. At one point, we planned on getting Jane Espenson, former Buffy writer, then writer on Gilmore Girls, who’s since worked on Battlestar Galactica and others—a powerhouse writer with an amazing career. Due to her enduring love of the Buffy characters, Jane agreed, hypothetically, to write the series for us, pending instructions from Joss on exactly what she might be writing. I asked her to push Joss, but she felt she needed to wait for him.
Which led to more waiting.
Until March of 2006, when a surprising thing happened: We’d had a massive hit with Serenity in fall of 2005, and the Serenity graphic novel was doing incredible business on Amazon and in bookstores (we’ve had to reprint four times in just a year). With that success, I felt a great mixture of gratitude-driven patience and greed-inspired eagerness about getting on with Buffy. And then an email showed up from Joss, with the script to Buffy #1 attached. Who would be writing the new Buffy? Joss. No cowriter. And the first issue was already done.
I read the script, fannish excitement pushing me through the pages. Great stuff. New character insights. Hilarious nods to continuity. Expert pacing, and an unhurried reveal of characters: only three of the principles, including Buffy, in those first twenty-two pages.
Oh—wait! A mistake! After reading the script, I had to go back to Joss, who’d given me this great gift, and tell him that I’d need a second draft.
There were two page fifteens. Meaning twenty-three pages total. Also meaning that all the great bits he’d set up to be on the left-hand pages through the last third of the book would actually fall on right-hand pages. (When you’re reading a left-hand or even-numbered page, you will sneak a peek at the right-hand or odd-numbered page, intentionally or not; when you’re reading a right-hand page, however, you cannot see the following left-hand page, so the top of that left-hand page is a great place to set surprises. Some of us call this a page-turn, or a reveal. It’s one of the most effective tricks for creating suspense, a storytelling device which some people have said is impossible in comics.) The master had stumbled, ruining his own setups. Imagine his embarrassment. I assured him that writers do this surprisingly often, but that he should fix it and restore those reveals, by either adding or losing a page around page fifteen—making the book either the DH-standard twenty-two pages, as he’d intended, or giving the kids a treat at twenty-four. As with the Buffy musical, Joss decided to let it run over.
The more, the merrier.
Next month, if Parkinson reminds me, I’ll endeavor to explain how it took a year between the surprise first script and the first issue’s release.