“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans will know Nicholas Brendon and James Marsters as Xander and Spike from the acclaimed television series, but later this year, the two will make the jump to Dark Horse’s “Buffy Season 10” as writers — Brendon, co-writing an arc of “Buffy Season 10” with Christos Gage and Marsters heading up the original graphic novel, “Spike: Into The Light.”
The “Buffy” veterans joined CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland in the CBR Speakeasy to discuss getting into writing comics, as well as some stories from the early days of “Buffy,” the difference in process between television and print and much more.
On getting into writing comics: “The story that i had started years ago. Joss called me up and wanted to know if we could do a TV movie on Spike,” said Marsters. “I said, ‘Man, I’ll do anything that you want to do. What do you got?’ and he said, ‘I’ve got no ideas at all. I’ve got a line from a movie. … From ‘Lord of the Rings,’ something about ‘I have no hope for myself, but I have hope for you people’ before he goes off to war. I’m like, ‘Well, that’s very serious, Joss.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you got?’ ‘Well, actually, I have this idea.’ I wanted Spike to proactively have a plan and implement it. As a secondary character, you’re mostly reacting to other people’s plans. That’s your job and that’s fine, but I thought it’d be fun to have Spike wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want this’ and go out and get it. I thought it would be cheesy if he accomplished anything too large, so I thought he should accomplish the smallest thing I could think of. I had an idea that Spike, having just gotten his soul and just broken up with Buffy, that he would be having a hard time surviving because he can’t really mug anybody for what he needs and he will not get a job. He’s homeless, he’s starving to death, his clothes are falling apart, and his boot is so mangled that he’s almost losing fights because the sole is flapping around. What if there’s a story where he loses the girl, he loses the fight to the monster, he tries to play hero, he gets his butt kicked, but he does find a way to get a new pair of boots without hurting anybody, without stealing them and without getting a job.”
“Joss said, ‘That’s a wonderful idea. That’s cheap to film!'”
“I don’t really know [how I got involved],” said Brendon. “I think I was at Comic-Con on a Buffy panel with Scott Allie and Jane [Espenson] and I just kind of — I don’t know. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll write!’ It wasn’t really that thought-out. That’s kind of how I live my life.”
Brendon on working with Christos Gage for “Buffy Season 10”: “He’s awesome,” said Brendon. “He really, really is. I’ve written things, but it’s never been in the format. The first comic I had read after ‘Archie’ was Buffy stuff to see what the format was like. He’s wonderful. I punch up jokes. Giles is a little kid again, so we need him to be saying and looking at boobies more. He’s got that — we need him to just have a raging boner from time to time. That’s what we need. We kill a monster, and I was in Paris, and I came up with this really, really sweet vampire that just happened to be gay, and his name was Gary. He was just giant — he wasn’t hurting anybody, but he was so big, he needed to die. I thought, ‘What if someone was so big that the only way you could stake him was the Eiffel Tower?’ … We kill somebody that way in San Francisco.”
Marsters on his “Spike: Into The Light” Original Graphic Novel: Having a secondary character on a show, especially mine — Xander is still in the same town, he’s hanging out with Buffy a lot, but my character would come in quickly and then get out and let you guys tell the story. I thought the most interesting part of my years on the show was that time when he got his soul and just to see him try to figure out what to do with it. Trying to find a way to explore that without going Angel. I went up to Joss and said, “Joss, we should do a spinoff on Spike.” And he said, “Yeah, a male vampire spinoff of Buffy. What should we call it? ‘Angel?'” So that was dead in the water.
Part of the way I decided to do that is just inherent in the character — it’s funny to see Spike fail. It’s also dramatic to see him get frustrated while he’s failing. It’s not like he’s going to go Angel and brood about his failure with a fireplace in a big mansion. He’s going to be stripped down, he’s going to be an underdog and you can just see him tripping over himself and failing to do that.”
Brendon on his webcomic “Very Bad Koalas”: Basically, we got two koala bears looking for a portal back to Earth and they fuck shit up on the way. The more they try to do good, they do bad and that puts them back future. … My partner Steve Loder, who is writing movies now for Pixar, we just had this idea. I did a show for him, and we got together. If you haven’t seen them, there are 26 online. There’s some funny stuff. There are poopies. Nazis.”