While Jeanty has been published in a variety of comics from Marvel, DC and Wildstorm, he’s best known for for his contributions to Dark Horse’s Whedonverse. But before he dove into a discussion of his time on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and his current “Firefly” work, Jeanty spoke about something different — the look Bishop sports in the upcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” With a huge smile on his face, the artist expressed how cool it was that the movie used his version of Bishop for the onscreen incarnation, a design he said was heavily influenced by rap artist Busta Rhymes and his long dreadlocks.
From there, Jeanty delved into his relationship with Joss Whedon, the comics he’s worked on with him and how he’s not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to the series’ plots. Claiming that it was thanks to his “cojones” that he managed to secure the job illustrating “Buffy” in the first place, Jeanty said he didn’t initially believe Whedon really wanted to hire him. It wasn’t until an email from Whedon showed up in his inbox did he finally believe that the collaboration with the director was truly possible. “I think my little addition to ‘Buffy’ was that I was coming from it at a fresh point of view. I was really telling the guy after a while, well, do you think this is right? Do you think this should be the case? Joss was really cool about the character he created. He would say, ‘Let me know why. Argue your point of view, and we’ll see.’ There were a couple times where he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ I took him to task on quite a few things. Buffy sleeping with a woman — I was the first to go, ‘No, I don’t get this.’ The same goes for Giles being killed.”
Jeanty spoke fondly about his collaboration and how his questions to Whedon would be ones the director would want to hear immediately, not farther down the road. “I was his first line of defense. If you explain it to me, then all of these other guys around here will be able to get with it.”
Initially unfamiliar with the Whedonverse, Jeanty began exploring it after landing “Buffy,” and he quickly developed an affinity for the series, expressing the joy it gives him to be able to contribute to its grand story. “‘Buffy’ is a part of my life that will stay with me forever. Sometimes when you need that little fix, there’s definitely a ‘Buffy’ episode that’s sort of your go-to episode; one that I can be associated with, and it’ll make me feel good inside.” Later, Jeanty confessed that his favorite season of “Buffy” is 6, even though a lot of fans argue that it’s the worst out of the series.
Shortly after Jeanty’s “Buffy” gig wrapped, he received another phone call from Whedon, this time asking if he would like to illustrate the “Serenity” comic with Joss’ brother Zack on board as a writer. Jeanty happily accepted.
“Now is where we find out what happened after the film with the Alliance and with River being what she is,” Jeanty said, explaining the set-up of “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.” “What that means with all of that, [is] Mal has the ship; Jayne is no longer with them, but the cute thing about that is, we’re able to meet Jayne’s mother. Obviously, Kaylee and Simon are together. They are like rabbits, those two. Of course Zoe’s pregnant. Obviously, Wash is still there in spirit. Mal and Inara finally come together, but they’re not really happy unless they can argue and have makeup sex. They don’t stop arguing, but they understand at the end of the day to just meet in the middle and forget about that.”
At one point, Jeanty commented on the kookiness of Jayne’s mother and how the character’s iconic hat comes into play in the comics. “I want to say it was Zack who put it in. There’s a page where Jayne’s mother is there, and she’s knitting. She’s actually knitting a sweater to the orange/yellow/red hat that he wears. As wild as that is to picture, there’s going to be a whole outfit of that at some point. Of course, Jayne is a big momma’s boy, so he’s not going to say no to that outfit when it’s done.”
Though Jeanty was quick to praise the comic and its writer, there are no plans for additional “Serenity” comics in the near future. “‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind’ is ending in June. Joss (Whedon) loves ‘Buffy,’ but I think he’s more protective of ‘Serenity.’ This will probably be the only thing we get this year, for sure, of ‘Serenity,’ and hopefully somebody will want it to come back. I firmly believe that if Zack Whedon wasn’t the writer of this book, I don’t think it would have happened so quickly in this short amount of time. This will probably be the only ‘Serenity’ we’ll get for at least a year or so. It’s sad, but it’s great we got something.”
The highlight of the short but fun Q&A portion of the panel was his answer about what it was about the series that made him become such a rabid “Buffy” fan. “Have you ever watched the series? There you go. I’ve had this discussion, and I’m so passionate about this, just as passionate about how you guys are when you ask who Buffy should end up with. I am very passionate, and this goes beyond ‘Buffy.’ It’s anything. It doesn’t have to be a TV show. It could be any movie or music, anything that moves you, anything that provokes you, and in a lot of cases, anything that makes you cry.
“I find that people tend to possess that. You did something to me that is so personal, I now own you or you are mine. I claim you. Every ‘Buffy’ fan can cite certain scenes that they’re so passionate about. I’m the same when [Buffy’s mother] Joyce dies. If you had not cried in that episode, then you don’t have emotions. I don’t mean to be extreme, or I’ll do you one better. The first time Oz leaves Willow, I am wrecked. Seriously. It’s not even a TV show anymore. You have moved me to the point of where I can’t think about it.”