I make no secret about my love for all things Dark Horse, particularly the Whedonverse, particularly Buffy Season 9. Part of that love comes from the art of Georges Jeanty, who talked this afternoon about Buffy, Angel & Faith, his take on storytelling and the high points of his Dragon*Con so far. Here’s a quick recap of today’s panel:
Jeanty tried hard not to spoil too much – not because he didn’t want to share stories, but because he’s apparently become very aware of how fast things spread on Twitter (he mentioned something in a panel before only to have Dark Horse editor Scott Allie call him five minutes later asking what, exactly, he’d just let slip). That didn’t stop him from liberal hints, though. Hints like these (look away if you’re a very strict spoiler-phobe):
Perhaps, as you’ve been reading Buffy Season 9, you’ve thought that Xander seems a bit out of character – and you’re right, since something’s definitely up with him. Jeanty suggests taking a look at the end of Season 8 since there’s something in there that tips the hand about this emerging Xander arc. It might not be related to Dawn exactly, but whatever it is has definitely changed the dynamic of their relationship (remember when Xander half-admitted to sleeping on the couch? Something is up in Xander/Dawn bliss world). No further hints, but enough vague pointing to say that something big is going down – and Xander’s at the center of it.
There’s a “pseudo new slayer” that’s coming in (which isn’t new) but who will hang around after the fact (which might be new). This will go down in a 2 issue fill in that Jeanty isn’t working on – but Jane Espenson is. And let the squealing begin…. Now.
Biggest thing that’s come out of it is that there is a character coming back in the last two issues of Buffy Season 9 that hasn’t been seen since Angel and who Jeanty says will come back in a big way. Apparently, more will be done with her in Buffy Season 9 than in the entire series of Angel. Now, let the speculation begin….
In the larger Dark Horse/Whendonverse news, Jeanty explained how Spike and Willow’s mini series play into things. Spike has already struck out on his own, heading off with his army of bugs to get over being Buffy’s Dark Place. Willow will head out soon – one more issue with the Angel & Faith crew and she’s off on her own. Once she’s through her mini series, she’ll be back in the world of Buffy Season 9 – and that much closer to having resolved the problem of a destroyed Seed and the end of magic in the world.
But, since nothing is straightforward in the Whedonverse, even if magic comes back into the world, it won’t come back smoothly. Willow will have to deal with her own issues, including the temptation to bring Tara back. But wait – Tara died of non-magical causes. You’re not supposed to be able to bring back those deaths, right? Well, no… not really… unless you’re feeling a little bit Dark, that is.
The on-again/off-again Drusilla stand-alone series seems to be back on. It’s set to come out by the end of the year and exists in the world of Buffy Season 9 but not in the timeline of Buffy and Angel & Faith. Jeanty’s doing the covers for the run – he’s friends with Juliet Landau and loves the character. He wants to convey the “beautifully tragic” aspect to the character (and would draw the books as well if he could clone himself or train himself to be ambidextrous).
What’s left to come, then? Season 9 for both books will end with Issue 25 and should conclude around this time next year. Joss and Dark Horse are both interested in going on for a Season 10, though there isn’t an official word on it yet. The goal is to mirror the Seasons like a television show – finish up with Season 9, have a brief hiatus, then jump in with Season 10.
Jeanty put in a plug for the Buffy Season 8 Library Editions, calling them a great buy for Buffy fans. Each edition collects 10 issues and includes 20 bonus pages at the end including sketchbook pages and other behind the scenes “stuff.” The audience suggested – and Jeanty agreed – that maybe it would be helpful to include a one or two page summary on what the hell was going on with Twilight in Season 8. Jeanty has no idea. Twilight is a universe, not a person… it created itself… it was already in existence… basically, he got to draw sky sex. For Jeanty, the Twilight thing started out great – but got convoluted and fast. It needed Joss to come in at the end and set up Season 9.
And how about that transition to Season 9? For Jeanty, Season 9 became more about the person – big stories (like in Season 8) are great and flashy, sure, but you have to connect with the people to make them matter. Jeanty’s issue with comics is that “they don’t impact you.” He thinks that, in general, you can say that “that was good” but not really “oh my gosh that was amazing.” He always draws Buffy like it’s going to be the best one, that it’s going to be the issue that resonates with his readers.
And, for those of us who are rabidly awaiting a potential crossover between Angel & Faith and Buffy? Eh. Sadly, it seems like Willow crossing to Angel & Faith and Wolfram & Hart turning up in Buffy might be it for this season. Dark Horse wanted to prove that Angel & Faith could stand on its own before pulling the two together. Jeanty would love to do a crossover – partially for the story and partially to have the chance to work with Rebekah Isaacs – but it’s not seeming likely here. But, Season 10 is full of potential intermingling goodness.
All in all, an entertaining (and occasionally hilarious… possibly raucous) session with one of my favorite artists. Geeked and ready to see what’s coming up for the Dark Horse Whedonverse books!