Writers Jane Espenson and Brad Bell made a trip to the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con to talk about their popular web series “Husbands,” which also debuted as a comic book from Dark Horse last week. The writers discuss the prospect of making money on the web, the genesis of the series and their intimate connection with the audience. The conversation ends with a discussion of whether or not the series has an agenda — and just what that is — as well as Espenson’s future comic book plans.
Plus, as an added bonus Dark Horse Comics has provided CBR with an exclusive look inside the latest issue of the digital-only “Husbands” comic featuring a story by Espenson and Bell with art by Natalie Nourigat! Scroll down for the full interview and art!
On whether creators can make money with web series: There isn’t money exactly yet, but there will be. What there is is a continuation of television in another medium. We’re just in the transitional phase where TV goes from one box to a different box. All the trappings of TV are in the process of packing up their lingerie bags and moving from one box to another. All the things that go on with TV will be there, they’re on their way right now. … As television is making this transition it’s in a stage right now where the doors are open and people can get into it and it’s sort of democratized right now. When Brad brought me this idea for a show it was very clear we had the means to do it ourselves in a way that had never been true before.
Bell on the intimacy of a web series and the engagement with fans: I think that fact that we do [interact with fans] in the first place is a testament to the fact that it’s for the fans and helps the relationship because we’re not making beaucoup bucks, you know. It’s clearly, that’s who we’re doing for is the audience and I think that really makes the relationship very strong between us and our fans because they know they are why we do it.
Espenson on resistance from established actors about doing a web series: The only times that we had people say, “I can’t come do your show,” was when they were saying, “Holy crap, my schedule. I have a conflict, I can’t come do your show.” And we actually had people trying to shuffle stuff around to be on the show. I don’t think we got a single person who was like, “The content doesn’t appeal to me,” or, “I don’t do online stuff.” Nobody said that.
On whether the show has an agenda to promote gay marriage: Many people say “agenda” like it’s a bad thing. “That’s not a show, it’s an agenda.” The first thing we thought of when we decided to do an online show was, what’s the reason to tell this story. It’s what I was taught by Joss [Whedon]. You always start with what’s the reason to tell this story. And that means it’s an agenda. A reason to tell the story is your agenda. Every good show has one. So our show definitely has an agenda, but our agenda isn’t just marriage equality. It’s having people look at look at this couple and go, “I’ve been part of a couple, I’ve felt that same thing.”