It’s been a few years since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” creator Joss Whedon last wrote a comic book, but it’s fair to say he’s been a bit busy — y’know, writing and directing two of the highest-grossing films of all time with 2012’s “Avengers” and this year’s sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” With his time at Marvel Studios apparently now in his rear view, Whedon has a new comic book project at Dark Horse Comics: “Twist,” announced during his Saturday spotlight panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
While best known for his work in TV and movies, Whedon has made a major impact on comics, starting with “Fray” — published by Dark Horse in 2001 — and followed by “Astonishing X-Men” at Marvel, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8” and more. Not a whole lot of “Twist” details have yet been revealed, including a release date or a series artist. It’s a six-issue series, and at his panel Whedon described the title character as a “Victorian female Batman”; certainly an intriguing prospect.
CBR News sat down with Whedon at the Dark Horse booth this past weekend, to learn more about “Twist,” with the writer expressing enthusiasm to be back writing in the medium, especially in a story starring a “super badass” Victorian chambermaid.
CBR News: The last couple conventions you’ve attended, you’ve had big movie projects to promote. What’s it like attending Comic-Con without that specific type of pressure? Is it more relaxed?
Joss Whedon: Yes, I’m definitely more relaxed, I have a little more time, and at the same time there’s a little bit of that panic of like, “Does anybody care? Do they still care? I don’t have a thing!”
But you actually do have a thing, which you talked about during your panel.
I do. It’s a book that I’m doing with my pals here [at Dark Horse] called “Twist” that is basically — I’m trying to do something that, like, will really shock and maybe even offend my fans. It’s about a female superhero, so, who’s a young woman. It’s new ground, you gotta keep it fresh! No, it’s a Victorian story about a chambermaid who… runs into some issues. And that’s pretty much all I’m going to say, except that she gets to be super badass. I get to work with people I love again in that format, which has been too long.
You’ve been with Dark Horse for a long time now, with the “Buffy” comics and their “Serenity” output. What’s it like now, working with them on a creator-owned project?
Well the first thing I ever did [in comics] was “Fray” which was, at the time, you know, “This will certainly never affect the “Buffy”-verse, so don’t worry about it!” And “Sugarshock!” was something completely new. They’re wonderful because they’re very meticulous about the licensed products, about the books, but they still bring in a lot of creativity to it, and that’s a really hard balance to be very specific about character and truth and still find new stories to tell and not just sort of like, do boilerplate. I’ve been super impressed with the people I asked to do it and the people they brought in. With the new stuff it’s fun because they don’t have an imprint that has an agenda. A lot of the guys are like, “We do one thing here.” And Dark Horse is very much more like walking into an indie bookshop. You’re like, “What’s all this? I’ll try this!”
I read recently that you’re a big fan of the new Comedy Central show “Another Period.”
I’m obsessed with “Another Period.”
Is your interest in the “Twist”-era tied in with your obsession with “Another Period”?
It’s not, but I realized because I thought of it a couple years ago and it’s been sort of brewing, and I’ve thought, “Oh, I’ve got some time. I’m working on a couple of small personal things, I have time to do this now.” And then I realized, oh my god, it’s not at the exact same time but it’s pretty much… I think I have to explain to the people at “Another Period,” “No, I did think of this before I saw — I swear!” I’ve always been obsessed with that [era], ever since “Upstairs, Downstairs.” That whole world has always been a thing for me and it’s time to dabble.
To wrap things up, is “Twist” structured like a limited series or do you have a longer series in mind?
The idea is six issues, but, you know — it definitely could continue. I want to build it, and then see if [Dark Horse] feels like bringing it further if I can, or if I know how I want it to be or whatever. I’m leaving that open. Because let’s face it: it’s an origin story! This is a new concept, again, that only I’ve thought of.
Keep reading CBR for more on “Twist” as details are revealed.