Before Christos Gage broke into comics, he was a working screenwriter and had written episodes for TV dramas like "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Numb3rs." Since 2005, he's been a mainstay at both DC Comics and Marvel and joined Dark Horse Comics' "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" lineup starting in 2011 with "Angel & Faith" before taking over the flagship "Buffy" series for Season 10. But some fans may have noticed a dip in comics work of late, something Gage attributes his work in video games and on Marvel's "Daredevil" Netflix series, writing alongside his wife, Ruth Fletcher Gage.
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Gage sat down with CBR TV's Kiel Phegley aboard the world famous CBR Yacht to discuss what's been keeping him busy, including "Lion of Rora," his new Oni Press OGN co-written with his wife and based on her family's ancestral line, the "Daredevil" TV series and, of course, "Buffy." Gage shares what got him excited about "Lion of Rora," how his wife's lack of knowledge was an asset on "Daredevil," and what's ahead for him in and outside of comics.
In part one, Gage talks about working with his wife, Ruth Fletcher Gage, on their new OGN, Oni's "Lion of Rora, which marks the first time they've collaborated on a comic book together. The writer discusses how the book is actually based on her ancestors and why it took nearly eight years to finally deliver it to readers. He also comments on their collaboration on Marvel's "Daredevil" TV series on Netflix, and how Ruth was the only person in the writers' room who had not read "Daredevil" as a comic book.
On working on projects with his wife, Ruth Fletcher Gage:
Christos Gage: We've always written together on the screenwriting stuff -- on film, TV. I've done the video games and the comics myself, mostly because Ruth, unlike me, was not immersed in comics growing up, with superheroes comics. She likes the storytelling form, but superheroes aren't really her thing.
On how they ended up collaborating on their first comic together:
We've been working on "Lion of Rora" for a long time, which is a historical epic in the vein of sort of "Braveheart" or "300," and it's actually the story of her ancestors, a group of people called the Waldensians, who are not well known but were really crucial to history. They were the first case in which -- in European history -- in which people rose up against a ruler for religious freedom, and their principles actually led to the Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution. They were hugely influential but most people don't even know they exist, so it was really cool. And Ruth has been researching this -- I'm not lying -- for twenty years. We dramatized, we -- the record is fragmentary, so we had to make some stuff up. We also compressed time and did a lot of things you usually see in historical epics to make them, you know, for dramatic purposes. But the most amazing stuff in it is absolutely true, like five people versus an army of 500 trained soldiers, and the five people win because they know how to use the terrain and their tactics are -- I mean, Joshua Janavel, who is the hero of the story, Napoleon called him the greatest military tactician of all-time, and he was a peasant farmer who just stepped up when his people were being oppressed and just happened to be brilliant at it. We've always planned to do that together, so Ruth and I, like I said, Ruth is not opposed to doing comics -- whereas I'm like, "A comic about Godzilla fighting giant robots? I'll do it!" "Batman. Spider-Man. Great!" And she's like -- she just wants to do the things that really interest her.
On Ruth being the only person in DD room who hadn't read the comics:
It was interesting because she was the only person in the writers' room who had not read the comics and Drew [Goddard] and Steven [DeKnight] liked that fact and wanted someone who would represent the general audience who did not grew up with the comics. It's like, "Will this make sense to people who aren't like us?" So that was actually really important.
On reducing the number of comics he was writing over the last couple years:
I did reduce the amount of comic book work I've been doing, and I've also been doing work on video games and stuff like that. So I did reduce the number of comics I've been doing, as people may have noticed. I'm still doing "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the occasional Spider-Man project, but yeah, I have sort of reduced it. I don't know what the future will leave in terms of that, but I hope to never leave comics entirely because I just love them too much.
On crossing over characters from his "Angel & Faith" run with his "Buffy: Season 10" run:
It's been a lot of fun. Obviously Rebekah [Isaacs] and I both worked on "Angel & Faith" [Season 9] so getting to see her draw Angel again was great. It's funny 'cause when we had the Season 10 summit Scott Allie and I -- Scott had raised the idea of maybe we should do a relationship, an actual, real relationship with Buffy and Spike this season. We pitched it to Joss [Whedon] and he said, "I think that would be really awkward for Buffy. Let's do it." So we structured it so that it comes at the most awkward time, Spike and Buffy are just starting up this relationship and all the sudden her comes Angel. And of course his relationship with Buffy has a lot of history and with Spike there's always competition. So that has been a lot of fun just bringing them all together and watching the sparks fly.
Wrapping things up, Gage tells CBR TV about what's next for him in comics beyond "Buffy" and his current "Spider-Island" miniseries at Marvel, teasing some new creator-owned titles on the horizon. He also talks about the secrecy under which Marvel Television operates and whether or not he and Ruth will be back for Season Two of "Daredevil."
On what's next for his comics work:
["Spider-Island,"] the first issue just came out and I had a lot of fun on that. Paco Diaz is the artist and I sort of went really -- I tried to -- my slogan lately has been "keep comics weird" and I'm trying to just go for that unbridled nuttiness in this comic. So like Stegron the dinosaur man is in it, Werewolf by Night, all sorts of spider-monster versions of familiar characters. But you're right, I'm sticking with "Buffy," obviously, but I do want to -- I feel like it's an exciting time in comics for creator-owned projects and I'm looking more into that direction. I feel like the audience now no longer has to be convinced to try something new. I think the public is excited about new projects that come out and are creator-owned. So I think it's an exciting time and I want to, time permitting, I want to look more into that.
On whether he's coming back for "Daredevil" Season Two:
I don't know if I'm allowed to say anything. Marvel has really hardcore NDAs. We weren't allowed to say we were on the show the entire year we were working on the show, and so I would direct that question to Marvel.