When Joss Whedon brought "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" back for an eighth season to be published in comic form by Dark Horse Comics, a legion of Buffy fans cheered. Among those fans is acclaimed comics scribe Brian K. Vaughan and the only thing that could make the writer happier than a chance to read new Buffy adventures is the chance to pen his own story set in the Buffyverse. As Buffy fans already know, Vaughan is a very happy man because starting this September with issue #6, a four part storyline written by Vaughan with artwork by Georges Jeanty and featuring the character Faith will unfold in the pages of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight." CBR News spoke with the writer about his story.
The chance to tell a tale with Joss Whedon's Buffy characters was especially exciting for Vaughan because the writer is a long time fan of the television show. "Almost from the first episode, the show was a real obsession, true, unplug-the-phone appointment television," Vaughan told CBR News. "Like 'Lost,' I instantly knew it was being guided by someone who loved and understood the world of comics, but had something new, something important, to say in a completely different medium. I'm crazy about all the episodes, but 'The Body' is probably my favorite single hour of storytelling ever."
The idea for Vaughan's Faith story actually predates the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" comic series. "A few years ago, before I moved to Los Angeles to work on 'Lost' and adaptations of some of my comics, Joss invited me to write the screenplay for one of a few planned direct-to-DVD movies set in the Buffyverse," Vaughan explained. "Sadly, those flicks eventually fell through, but getting to have dinner and break stories with Joss and Tim Minear and Drew Goddard was one of the best experiences of my life, one that helped inspire me to become the Hollywood sellout I am today. It's also where I pitched an idea for a Faith story that everyone seemed to dig and which Joss asked if I wanted to resurrect for the Season Eight comic. Since Joss was kind enough to adopt my kids after I cruelly abandoned 'Runaways,' I was more than happy to babysit the Scoobs for a few issues.
"Plus, when Joss says jump, I say off which bridge? I just love his writing and his stories are really important to me," Vaughan continued. "With 'Y: The Last Man' wrapping in a few months, I've made the decision to concentrate pretty much only on new creator-owned books from here on out, but if I'm going to deny myself the supreme pleasure of working on other people's characters for the rest of my comics career, writing Buffy & Co. seemed like the perfect way to go out with a bang."
Writing for "Buffy Season Eight" meant Vaughan worked closely with Whedon which proved to be a demanding, but immensely rewarding experience for the writer. " Joss is an effin' taskmaster! When he sends me his 'Runaways' scripts, I usually write back a short note telling him how much I loved it and how perfect it was. When I send him my 'Buffy' scripts, he writes back a nice note saying how much he loved it -- and then includes ten pages of detailed notes explaining how I can make it better," Vaughan said. "And the annoying part is he's always right! He's definitely acting as a true Executive Producer on this book, and treating every issue of 'Season Eight' as seriously as he treated every episode of the show. In ten years of writing comics, this is probably the hardest I've ever worked on something, but the story is much better for it. As am I."
Some readers might be wondering why Vaughan's "Buffy" story stars Faith instead of the series title character. Vaughan had a good answer for that. " I chose her. Much as I love Buffy, I'm way happier writing flawed, damaged people who don't always make the right decisions. Faith is such a complex, beautiful character."
Regular readers of "Buffy Season Eight" know that Buffy, her friends and much of their organization have been living and operating in Europe, but "Buffy" #6 finds Faith in very different surroundings. " Well, when we first meet up with her, Faith is living in Cleveland, so we know things can't be going great for her (and I'm a proud Cleveland boy, so save your pissed-off emails!)," Vaughan said.
Faith is still a wanted fugitive in Vaughan's story and her mission in Cleveland has her wading in waters that are morally murky. At the end of Season Seven, Buffy was nice enough to share her Slayer powers with hundreds of other young women, but as Faith knows better than anyone, just because you get great power doesn't always mean you'll use it with great responsibility," Vaughan said. "So, when a new evil Slayer hits the scene, Giles knows there's only one person he can turn to for a particularly nasty bit of wetworks."
Vaughan's story features a different character in a new locale, but it's connected to many of the ideas that Whedon laid out in his first "Season Eight" story arc. " It's absolutely tied into the bigger picture," Vaughan explained. "Before I started writing, Joss and I met up, he filled me in on all the juicy secrets behind 'Twilight,' and I think we found a really organic way to advance the themes and larger storylines of Season Eight through this Faith-centric arc."
The first arc of "Season Eight" featured the return of two classic villains, Warren and Amy, and the introduction of the conspiracy seemingly known as Twilight, and many readers are wondering what type of foes will appear in Vaughan's Faith-centric arc. "We get all-new villains, True Believers," Vaughan said.
Faith won't be facing these new villains alone. As Buffy fans recall by the last episode of the television series, Faith and Principal Robin Wood had grown very close. Vaughan could confirm that Principal Wood makes an appearance in his story arc, but he couldn't comment on Wood's role in the story or the status of his relationship with Faith.
Principal Wood isn't the only familiar face that makes an appearance in Vaughan's story. "There's Buffy, Giles, Xander, Willow -- I made sure I got to write at least a few scenes for all of my faves," Vaughan explained.
Whedon's introductory arc on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" contained the same trademark humor of the television series, but there was a dark and dangerous undercurrent running throughout the story. Vaughan's arc will have a similar tone. "I hope there's some humor in my arc, but to be honest, it's probably one of the darkest things I've ever written," Vaughan stated. "Sorry about that."
Vaughan had a great time playing in the sandbox of the Buffyverse and has made the most out of his opportunity to write an arc for "Season Eight," but he's not ready to entirely rule out the chance to chronicle another story of Buffy and the Scoobies. "Never say never, but I definitely went for broke with this one," Vaughan said. " I found a way to shoehorn in just about every character/situation/bad line of dialogue I've ever fantasized about writing for the Buffyverse."
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