Interview with Scott Allie about Buffy Season 8
What makes a good comic book?
Same as any other creative endeavor. The talent. If you have a good writer and a good artist on a comic, you probably have a good comic. If you compound the good talent—great writer, artist, colorist, letterer, cover artist … then you have a great comic.
Let’s speak about “Buffy”: What is your favorite villain so far both tv-show-wise and comic-wise?
My favorite villain is still probably Angelus from Season Two. He packed the most drama, in a villain. Second would be Dark Willow, but she wasn’t enough of the driving force of that season, so she didn’t leave the mark Angelus did.
And your favorite BtVS-character?
I dunno. It changes. Today I’ll say Spike.
Well, the advantage of the comic is that there’s less interference between Joss and the reader. Less for him to overcome to get his vision across. The advantage of the show is that you have the actors, who the fans love as much or more than they love Joss, and you have the infinitely popular medium of television to deliver the stories. That’s speaking in terms of clear pluses or minuses. The differences, I guess, are extraordinary. Sound and motion exist in one, a near total freedom from the dull constraints of reality in the other. The two artforms have so little in common, it’s hard to move from one to the other. I think the writers who worked on the Buffy show—and I said this before Season Eight—have an incredible capacity to switch over. I said that before Season Eight, because I was doing everything I could to work with those writers, including on other properties. Doug Petrie wrote Star Wars for me, and Jane Espenson wrote The Lone Gunmen, the X-Files spinoff. Because they’re just great visual writers.
Reading statements from you and from Joss the season pretty much seems to follow an early created storyboard. Did everything stay as it was planed from the beginning or did you have to adjust and to change?
Well, that’s one way in which the plan will stay true—the plan was always that the last three arcs would fill out their five-issue spans. The arc we’re about to start is all one-issue stories, running from #21-25. But then you have three more arcs, with, we’re pretty sure, five-issues each, no breaks.
Do you still have the feeling he will find time for his position as “executive producer”?
His role as Exec Producer seems to fit. He did have a hard time finding time to write the end of the Fray arc, but he’s been holding down the fort on supervising the other writers and artists pretty well.
Will we meet the other Buffy-decoy?
Wait for Season Ten.
And what about Anya, Drusilla or some other old friends and foes (alive, dead and undead)?
You invite fans to share their thoughts. Good thing for us. But do you have negative experiences because of this as well?
Oh my god, yes. The problem is, the fans can say whatever they want about me, in as acrimonious a manner as they want, but I need to remain politic. So it’s very one sided. I just have to bite my tongue. Everyone’s pretty cool in the letter column, because they know they’re speaking directly to us—but when someone gets me to look at a message board, I can be surprised at the hatred I inspire in people. And even me saying that—there’s gonna be a message board flareup somewhere of people saying, How dare he say he’s surprised!?
How important are fan letters (or eMails) these days?
They’re important to me. I like having the readers be a part of the printed comic, and like I said, the letter col involves a different sort of discourse than the message boards. The boards are for the fans, and the talent ventures forth at their own risk. The lettercols are a bit more civil, and I think there’s something to seeing your thoughts in print, in the same comic that you know Joss gets in his hands, the same comic that he wrote. It’s a unique thing in this artform, and I’m not gonna let it go, even though most publishers have.
In your response to my fan letter back in issue 6 you said “Joss and I haven’t specifically talked about this, but I don’t see Tara coming back”. So I guess I have to prompt you the obvious question: What do we have to do to convince Joss to bring her back?
[Darkstars comment: Working on it!]
Brian Vaughns storyarc was great and at the end of the last issue we leave Faith and Giles at a very interesting point. These both together as a team – sounds like pretty much fun! What about a Faith/Giles mini series?
No such plans, but Jim Krueger is currently working on Buffy #24, which features those two. Gorgeous cover by Jo Chen. You’re gonna weep. Jo’s amazing.
Will Jo Chen stay with us for covers till the end of Season 8?
Shit, she better—why, what’d you hear? Fess up, Christian, who are you working for …? I can’t lose Jo …
“BtVS Season 8” did quite some things Joss never could have done with the characters when the show still was on air. However I guess sometimes it is your job as an editor to see if some ideas are acceptable and others are not. Were there times when you had to request changes on the scripts?
That’s not my job. That’s one of the top advantages of the comic—less interference between Joss and his readers. I don’t interfere. I support. I can’t imagine the story that would make me tell Joss we shouldn’t do it.
You have a favorite scene in Season 8 so far?
Everyone’s reaction to Buffy and Satsu in bed, the cumulative effect of that, from Xander’s covering his eye to Dawn looking in the window, to Willow falling through the roof. That was real funny stuff, to me.
Amy Madison (and Warren) seem to be recurring characters for Season 8. Do you think there can be some redemption for them? After all, Amy started her relationship with Buffy & Co. as a friend and not a foe.
As Bob Dylan said at the Grammy’s, you can become so defiled in this life that even your own parents will turn their backs on you, but even then, God believes in your own ability to redeem yourself.
But no, those guys are dicks.
In about two hundred years, she’ll be born.
Although Darkhorse is the powerhouse for media tie in-comics anyway – did the success of BtVS inspire you to reanimate other fandoms?
Yes. We’ve got Willow hard at work performing a spell on a vintage green Coca-Cola bottle, bringing all Fatty Arbuckle’s fans back from the dead.
What about “A Shepherd’s Tale” and other “Firefly”-related material? Or a “Dollhouse”-comic?
More Firefly comics are in the works—hopefully two different minis over the next year or so. Dollhouse, we’re still discussing with Joss. And by still discussing, I mean waiting until the time is right. No immediate plans there.
Sure, Amber’s great. She just wrote a Hellboy story for me last year. But aside from the Omnibus reprints, we’re really trying to keep the focus on Season Eight, and, as stated, Tara just hasn’t got a place in Season Eight. And Amber’s busy with all manner of other stuff.
What do you think is the reason that makes “BtVS” cult?
Joss’s devilish charisma.
To make the fans go a little bit crazy: Any hints about what’s to come?
To make the interviewer go a little bit crazy: No.
[Darkstars comment: Well, that worked. Kinda.]
Q: Won’t Buffy fans just love your Devil’s Footprints graphic novel, with its sophisticated mix of supernatural adventure and character driven conflict, and the art of Buffy veterans Paul Lee, Brian Horton, and Dave Stewart?
A: Why yes, yes they will.
Thank you so much for your time and for being so kind to answer these questions!
All the best for the upcoming comics and both for your working and your private life!
Again, thank you!
Buy Buffy Season 8 at amazon.de: here!
Buffy Zone at Darkhorse Website: this way!