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BAF
02-11-09, 04:14 AM
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-25720-Orlando-Pop-Culture-Examiner~y2009m10d27-Buffy-artist-teases-season-9

Buffy artist dishes on season 8, teases season 9 and hints at dr. horrible

October 27

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Orlando, FL (Oct 24, 2009) Ė Artist Georges Jeanty recently appeared at A Comic Shop in Winter Park to spend some much appreciated time with fans of his hit comic book series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. Georges has made a career of bringing his uniquely talented style to comics on such titles as Bishop the Last Man, Gambit and Weapon X. But for the past couple of years, Georges has been working tirelessly with creator Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse) to continue the Buffy mythos where the television series left off at the end of Season 7 on what was UPN.

While Georges happily (and miraculously) produced detailed sketch after detailed sketch for numerous fans, each in a matter of minutes, he was kind enough to talk about his experiences on season 8, working with genius Joss Whedon, and even gave us a little insight to what we might expect when season 9 hits shelves.

Itís obvious that Georges is someone that loves the adventures heís been having with Buffy, the comic book medium as an outlet for great stories and the fans who have supported both. He is a really good guy thatís easily approachable because, deep down, heís just as much a fan of comics as the best of us. Below is a transcript of our conversation.

In doing a book like Buffy, youíre translating what was a television show into comic book form; obviously you want the comic book to be a comic book and not be a storyboarded television show. How was that process for you?

That was a really hard thing and one of the first things that Joss had mentioned to me. He said he didnít want this to look like a carbon copy of the television show. He didn't want it to be a TV show. He didnít want it to look like photographs as if somebody were taking pictures of the actual events as if they were happening. He wanted this to resemble a comic book and, as such, do things that he could have never done on the TV show. He said to draw this book with the idea of having an unlimited budget and have everything bigger because he was so restricted with the TV show, he could never do things as big as he might have liked. And that was a really big thing on Jossí part, as illustrated with the character Dawn. In the book sheís a giant when we see her. That was something Joss really wanted to portray metaphorically and literallyÖthat everything here is bigger.

Working in comics you have less people involved. There are fewer degrees of separation from the creators and the book that hits the shelves. Like you said, youíre not limited by budget, you also donít have a studio and numerous producers to deal with. You have a much truer representation of what was intended.

And that was the second thing Joss said. He said he loves the fact that itís just him and I. He doesnít have to deal with anyone else. He doesnít have to deal with cinematography, actors, costuming, any of that. He just deals with me. And he was elated with that. He was like, I love that thereís maybe three people that we really have to go through.

Whatís it like playing in Jossí sandbox with all of his great characters?

Well anybody whoís seen the shows and been a part of that universe can say itís unique. Itís something youíre familiar with but nothing you ever really expect and thatís really cool about Joss. He comes in and he gives you all of this freedom to be creative. Youíd think heíd be this tyrant as if he'd say it has to be this way, this way, this way. When, in fact, heís like no, be as creative as you want because in the end people are going to think I did it and thatís even better. So the idea that he lets you play in his sandbox and do what you want to do, I think that says a lot about the man himself. Joss didnít do this because he thought, oh, maybe I can make a buck in this medium. He hoped that it would flourish in the medium he enjoys doing. This is the first time heís actually written Buffy in the comic book form even though heís written other comic books before season 8.

With Buffy, you had the opportunity to work on something that you knew, going into it, that youíre going to be bringing many people to comics who werenít necessarily comic book readers.

Actually, I didnít know that cause I wasnít a Buffy fan before I got the gig and I didnít know what that appeal was like. I knew of the character and I knew of the franchise, but I didnít know what impact that franchise had on popular media. I think the best thing Iíve heard, aside from people saying, hey, I really love your work, was that I never read a comic book and (reading Buffy) was the first time I ever picked up a comic book or walked into a comic book shop. And I really do feel like, if Iíve done nothing else, Iíve helped broaden this business that often can be seen as the bastard child of publishing.

You think so? It seems in the past 5-6 years, comics have become much more mainstream with many creators from comics going to television and movies and vice versa.

Yeah, within recent years (the comics industry has gotten some) credibility, but when youíre in the publishing world, sadly, people still regard comics as that little thing over there. I think the films are definitely changing that and Buffy, retroly, is changing it (by) bringing people into comics. But just from my experience, it still feels like weíre the low man on the totem pole.

I can relate. It took some convincing before my wife, who is a reading specialist, to see comics as a platform for really good stories.

People still think comics are just for kids. Thatís the stigmatism weíve had for so many years. Like Y: The Last Man, thatís certainly not for children, or that Tom Hanks movie Road to Perdition was a comic book but certainly not for children.

Have you had any feedback from any of the Buffy cast?

The only one Iíve really had any contact with, whoís actually related into the book, because I have spoken with many of the cast members, but ironically none of them are actually in the Buffy book, is Tom Lenk who plays Andrew in the series. Heís very (involved) in season 8. He just loves it apparently. Joss had told me, before I met him, that Tom actually loves when heís in the book because he loves to read his dialogue out loud as Andrew. I was like, that is so cool that the actor is actually into it. And when we met, he was very complementary and into the fact that his character was living on in some way.

What is Buffyís role in popular culture?

Iím told there are college courses being taught now about Buffyís role in pop culture. I donít know. I think itís the powerful women in media thing. You get a good role model, however dysfunctional, because anyone who knows Buffy, knows that sheís highly dysfunctional, but you get the idea that sheís not a victim. Sheís a force of strength and sheís in the embodiment of a woman. I think that alone says a lot. Within recent years youíve seen the idea that strong woman can kick ass and take names. I always thought Joss handled the fact that Buffy was this superhero, but she was also a little girl, very well. She was never someone so brazen that youíre like, sheís a bully. Sheís always been that strong feminine character and we try to never lose that balance. I think thatís what makes Buffy and the other supporting roles in the series so popular. You never lose touch with them being a real individual. They may not be you, but you definitely know someone like that. Joss makes a conscious effort to keep that dysfunctionalism and works within it to say, hey, weíve all got something wrong with us and none of us make the right decisions all the time. And just because Buffy is the chosen one, that doesnít mean sheís always going to be right. Joss is very good at saying that sheís going to do wrong and there are consequences when that happens even though sheís our protagonist.

And vampires have never been hotter.

Now-a-days, itís funny how itís come into fashion.

Is Buffy still scheduled to end at issue #40?

Season 8 is around 40, 41 issues. Theyíre not really sure. Joss is more interested in making sure the story gets told rather than saying we have to cut it short because weíre rounding out the issues.

Are you going to move right on to Season 9?

There is talk of that and I would love to be involved in some way. There is nothing definite just yet. Once Season 8 is done, it probably wonít be until the end of 2010 and Season 9, probably wonít kick up until the summer of 2011. But there will be a Season 9.

Anything you can tell us story-wise that may carry over from Season 8?

As a result of the things that happened in 8, Season 9 presents itself and a lot of the things that are happening in Season 8, once you see them all evolve youíll realize, oh yeah you need to keep onÖthereís more to that story that we still donít know.

Working on Buffy, youíve been able to work with a lot of great writers. How has that been for you as a storyteller yourself?

Who else can say, Yeah, Iíve been able to work with Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost), Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Lost), Brad Metzler (Identity Crisis), and Jane Espense (Battlestar Gallactica, Dollhouse). These credentials speak for themselves and Iím the lucky guy who gets to illustrate that.

And how has working with them actually helped you as a storyteller?

Itís allowed me to see how they work. Iíve learned from just by seeing how they approach their work. They donít necessarily do anything different. They have to give the script in a comic book format, so that remains the same. But the styles and quarks that writers may have will show through and that is something that I can pick up on and appreciate as a reader and artist myself.

You have other recent work on Batman Streets of Gotham, Wolverine: Weapon X Files & Faces of Evil: Deathstroke. Is there anything else youíve got coming out that we should be looking for?

There are those artists that can do more than one book a month. Iím one of those who canít. Buffy is my main gig and sheís going to be going on for another year and Iíll be there. I might do some covers here and there, but in terms of interior work, probably not until this is over with because I put everything in what I work on.

Youíve also written before.

(Georges looks at me like Iím exposing a deep dark secret.) Wow, yes, awhile ago. Itís not something Iím known for, but yeah, Iíve written a few things for the smaller companies.

Any desire to go back to writing?

I see it in my future. Once you tell stories, whether or not youíre the person writing them, the joy for me drawing comics is that Iím telling stories. So I love the idea that I can write stories, sure, but telling stories alone is good for me. I donít feel any animosity towards story telling somebody elseís written script and Iím perfectly fine with that. But I do see it in my future.

What books do you read?

I love comics. Ultimates, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, all the good guys out there. Iím always at the comic store on Wednesday picking up my books just like everyone else. Anything coming out that looks good, Iíll give it a try. I loved that Old Man Logan that came out. Iím reading the Avengers.

Have you heard any plans for a Dr. Horrible on-going series?

Well, there is a one-shot thatís coming out (November 18, 2009). Dark Horse is very interested (in an on-going series), but nothing has been signed just yet but itís very close. The one shot is to test the waters. But Iím sure (Joss) is very interested.

For anyone who has not seen Dr. Horrible and His Sing-Along-Blog, click the link to wathc the entire show in a hi-resolution on hulu.com. It's well worth your 42min and 25 seconds.

Let's talk about the direction of the comics industry. It seems like the single issues that come out every month are really just a down payment for the graphic novel.

I like that (graphic novel sales) are bringing a certain amount of attention to the comic book field. I donít like the idea that people are just using (sales figures) to make a movie. I love the integrity of comics. Like anybody coming in who wants to bastardize something, youíre going to say, dude, why are you doing this? Because weíre struggling so hard to make this legitimate and youíre just coming in to make a buck and then leave. Obviously, itís free commerce and you can do whatever you want, butÖI love the idea that (the industry) is broadening, but because itís broadening, itís starting to acquire all the bad traits other mediums would have.

Like what?

Like people coming in and saying weíre going to bleed comics for as long as we can. Weíll make a comic company, weíll start distributing books, weíll basically flood the market with things not because we want to put out a good product but (because) we want to show potential investors, hey, weíve got books on the stands. They would make good movies because 30 Day of Night was a good movie and that was a comic. Surrogates was a good movie and that was a comic. Ideally, you would love people who come into this business to be true and only want to do good in the world. I know that seems limited in thinking but I would love that to be the case.

Is there a certain series you want to work on that you have not?

I love comics, so Iíd love to work on everything. There isnít anything more than others; just in general, Iíd love to keep working. I love the medium.

What do you love about it?

When you do something well, you tend to like it. Itís that old adage; youíd do it for free even if they werenít paying you. This is something Iíd do for free.

Thank you so much for your time. Thatís pretty much all I have for you unless there is anything else you want to mention about season 9.

Iím still trying to get through season 8. I know that there were still a few writers that were on Buffy (the television show) that havenít contributed but would have loved to but the timing hasnít worked out. So Joss is saying that (heís) going to hopefully get them in for season 9. I think I heard that season 9 wonít be as long. Itíll be a little more finite. Joss is very adamant about getting the writers I really want. He's not just throwing out a general call to anybody who wants to come. All the comic writers who wrote for the series are people heís really wanted to work with. And all the Hollywood writers were people heís actually worked with. So itís very personal to him and I donít necessarily see him saying, do what you want. Iíll just collect my check at the end of the day and leave it at that. This is something very near and dear to his heart, so heís going to treat it with a certain amount of integrity and I think that is so commendable because itís so easy to say, do Dark Buffy and weíll make all these spin offs. Buffy is the only book that doesnít have a spin off or umpteenth covers. Yes, there are two covers of each issue, but I donít think thatís excessive. Youíll find a lot of other books capitalize on whateverís popular and put out 100 different versions just to make money. (Note: See the amount of zombie variant covers Marvel has put out in the past 2 years to see an example of what Georges is talking about.) I think Joss has been very cool about saying, weíre going to do one thing and weíre going to do it well. Weíre not going to do 10 different things and lose the integrity.

Good luck. I hope you get to continue on with season 9.

It is a great ride and I couldnít be happier. Anybody whoís out there thinking, what is it like drawing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they should know that itís definitely being drawn from the point of view of somebody who is a fan as well as a professional artist. I pay so much attention to the details because every time I read a script; Iím one of the first two or three people who read it, and Iím geeking out like any Buffy fan would on the new Joss Whedon script. It is a labor of love.



Summer 2011 would be great for the start of Buffy Season 9 but Joss shouldn't rush it.If Joss wants a little longer break after the end of season 8,then by all means let him have it.

It does sound like the end of season 8 is going to set up season 9 very well.It seems to me that Joss is basically telling a two season arc now.We already knew it was probably going to be shorter then season 8 but I think this is the first time we've heard it is more finite.

It makes me think that the end of season 8 will be more like the end of seasons 2(Becoming),4(Restless) and 6(Grave) while the end of season 9 will be more like the ends of seasons 1(Prophecy Girl),3(Graduation Day),5(The Gift),and 7(Chosen).

The finales of seasons 2,4,and 6 had a more open book setup feel to the end of those where seasons 1,3,5,and 7 had more of a closed chapter feel.These season finales work perfectly as series finales where seasons 2,4 and 6 ended IMO with a little more clifhanger feel to them.Becoming with Buffy running away,Restless with setting up the mystery of season 5 and Grave ending with Spike recieving a soul.

As for other Buffyverse writers who Joss wants to bring into season 9 that were too busy for season 8?I seem to recall that Marti Noxon expressed interest in writing for Buffy Season 8 but couldn't due to her schedule.Wouldn't surprise me if she tries for season 9.

Georges mentioned a few times in other interviews that he's good friends with Juliet Landau and she follows season 8.
This weekend was the HalloWhedon convention.Nicholas Brendon
was there.I wonder if anyone told him the recent developments in season 8 with there now being a Buffy/Xander/Dawn triangle going on in the comic.I still get a kick at the casts reaction from Paleyfest to the Buffy/Satsu fling.So I'm pretty interested if the Buffy/Xander/Dawn triangle was brought up at HalloWhedon and what the actors like Nick or James Marsters reaction to it was?

vampmogs
02-11-09, 06:59 AM
Thanks for bringing that over!

I was a bit surprised Joss is looking at starting s9 so close after s8 finishes. For some reason I imagined we'd have to wait a long time between seasons so that made me happy. There's been a few comments now where its been stated that season 9 will be smaller both in scope and the amount of issues. And I also get the impression this is more of a two-season story as well.

I've enjoyed Jeanty's art and he seems like a lovely guy but to be honest I'm hoping for a new artist next season. Just to give both seasons a distinctively different feel. It won't bother me too much if he gets asked to come back but I do think I'd prefer a change.

I can see why Joss likes the idea of comics and how he doesn't have to worry about getting things approved ect. That's why he loved doing Dr Horrible so much and why he had so many issues with FOX about the early episodes of Dollhouse last season.

Overall that was a nice read! :)