The twists and turns of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” — from the battlefield to the boudoir — have kept fans begging for more and more each month, and the fact that guest writers on the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse series have included heavy hitters like Brian K. Vaughan (“Y: The Last Man,” “Runaways”) and Drew Goddard (“Alias,” “Lost”) isn’t hurting the cause either.
The big hits keep on coming, as following the current Fray-fueled arc written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, superstar comics scribe and “Heroes” executive producer Jeph Loeb joins the slayer gang for December’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” #20.
The acclaimed writer was set to executive produce, alongside Whedon and animator Eric Wight, a proposed Buffy animated series at the height of the original show’s television popularity. And while Loeb would still love to resurrect the concept, he has in the meantime re-teamed with Whedon, regular “Buffy” artist Georges Jeanty, and guest illustrators EthenBeavers and Adam van Wyk (working under the supervision of Wight) for a one-shot set squarely in the animated world.
Loeb told CBR News the purpose of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” #20 is two-fold. “First, to tell a story about how you can go home again,” explained Loeb. “Buffy’s life in Season Eight and her life in Season One are totally different, so in the style of ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ and ‘Pleasantville,’ she gets a chance to visit a simpler time, only to find out things aren’t so simple.
“Added to that? We wanted a chance to show Buffy fans the kind of look and tone of the ill-fated ‘Buffy’ animated series. Who knows, maybe we’ll resurrect that lovely thing!”
Loeb teased the issue would feature all the usual suspects from Season One like Xander and Willow, and even Principal Snyder.
Wight’s artwork for the book is “spectacular,” said Loeb. “He worked so hard on this issue. And Georges [Jeanty] did too. He did the framing device, which is just the coolest.”
Whedon, the mastermind of Buffyverse, was also involved in issue #20. “He’s the Surgeon General,” laughed Loeb. “And I hope he puts some kind of warning on the side of the box. Wait, there’s no box. Right.”
Loeb added that he has pitched Whedon about taking a second crack at an animated Buffy. “I’ve told Joss the best Buffy stories are ones about resurrection,” explained Loeb. “So you have to believe! Joss just rolled his eyes.”
Despite the lack of cape and tights, Loeb definitely classifies Buffy as a superhero. “In classic hero fashion, she puts the safety of others before her own. And she’s cute too.”
When asked what else he loves about Buffy, the always understated Loeb offered, “Joss had this stupid idea that she should be funny, smart and still thick-headed sometimes — a full-rounded character. He’s a moron.”
Someone else in Loeb household loves Buffy too, his teenage daughter Audrey — a burgeoning writer in her own right. “She and her friends are obsessed with the show, particularly the Buffy/Angel romance,” said Loeb. “Duh.”
Jeph Loeb said he would love to return to the Buffyverse, perhaps even for the highly anticipated “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine.” “I never say never, but my schedule is so insane between being an executive producer and writer on ‘Heroes’ and writing ‘Hulk’ and two Ultimate books for Marvel,” said Loeb. “And yes, those were unabashed plugs.”