Early last month we learned that a major character in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe was killed off in issue #39 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comic book series and this month, season 8 will come to an end with the release of issue #40. Buffy creator Joss Whedon talks to Entertainment Weekly about the end of season 8 and what we can expect in season 9 (which Whedon promises will be more like the TV series). If you have yet to find out with Buffyverse character was killed and want to remain unspoiled, you might want to avoid reading further. As for the rest of you, read on.
Issue No. 40 is clearly setting up Season 9, and makes it seem like it is going to be far more human-scaled.
It will be more like the television show. With the comic, we just sort of said, “Wheee!” Ultimately, “Wheee!” caught up with us in a cavalcade of mythology. It became clear, as it did with the show, that people really liked when Buffy’s adventures reflect what she’s going through in her life [and] what we’re going through in our lives at that age. That was the thing in season 8 that we didn’t tap into as much as I think we ultimately should have.
You did seem to touch on that idea when you, essentially, made Buffy a god with her own idyllic world, and she pretty much rejected it right off the bat.
Yeah. I feel like we’re true to the characters. It was just that very basic mission statement of, “You know what, I’m going through this, too.” Not a lot of people are leading armies. Buffy, part of her charm is that the fact that, outside the mystical world, she was nobody. And it was interesting to put her in that power position and to play on that grand scale. But ultimately, I think the fans more enjoy her when she is the little underdog and not the little overlord.
Not that anybody who’s a Buffy fan should be that shocked that you did this at this point, but Joss, you killed Giles.
Yeah, I did. I did. I have several reasons for that, some of which I can’t reveal because ripples from that event are going to be a part of both [the Buffy "Season 9" comic and the new Angel comic]. Part of it was really just feeling that Giles’ place in the comic book did not sit the way it did in the show. To have this paternal, expositional guy there — it wasn’t really something that played in the comics the way it did when Tony Head [i.e. actor Anthony Stewart Head] does it. I wanted to make all this matter and have something that would send emotional ripples through all the characters. Also, I’m a prick. But I did tell Tony it was going to happen before it did. At first he said, “Oooh,” a little worried. Then I said, “Angel’s gonna kill you.” He said, all excited, “Oooh! That’s great!” [Laughs]
You mentioned earlier about getting into a bit of trouble thanks to the freedom that comic books afforded you. But what was your favorite “We could never do this on the TV show” moment?
I gotta go with giant Dawn. I loved giant Dawn so much, absolutely more than the readers, but I didn’t care. The idea that Dawn becomes a giant and all the permutations of that, some of which we didn’t even get to do, that was such a delight for me. It just absolutely fit in the universe. It was the right kind of problem for Dawn to have.
On the penultimate page of issue No. 40, there’s a guy in John Lennon glasses who looks fairly evil. Am I right in thinking he’s new? Or am I just not remembering him from season 8?
He’s a new guy. I can’t tell you about him. But you are not wrong to say you don’t remember him, because he has not appeared yet. He has yet to come.
Finally, all due respect to the amazing artists who drew the comic and did the covers, but do you ever miss having the actors to bring these stories to life?
I do. Particularly, as I said before, in the case of Giles. Tony has this cool sexuality that just doesn’t come on the page when he’s saying, [in a British accent] “Oh, this book says blah blah blah.” It’s hard to capture some of the stuff that the actors bring. Tony is astonishing. I can’t speak highly enough of how artist Georges Jeanty captured their likenesses, but still made it look like a comic book and not like balloon heads on hastily drawn panels. And the way he captured Buffy was really lovely. But yeah, you hear [the characters] so well, sometimes it’s like they’re there. It is frustrating at times. You’re like, “Why can’t they just be there? Let’s get the whole gang back together again.”
The rest of the online version of Joss‘s interview with EW can be read HERE but be sure to pick up this week’s issue to read the FULL interview. Overall, I have LOVED reading Buffy season 8 but, to be honest, I’m glad to hear that season 9 will be more like the TV series … with a lot less comic book magic. I never really got used to the idea of Buffy flying around like Superman nor did I really care for her time-traveling but each of those conventions are to be expected from comic books. I am really looking forward to seeing where the Buffyverse is headed in season 9.