NYCC: Becky Cloonan on "Buffy" and "Pixu"

Dark Horse announced Friday at New York Comic Con that the international indie comic team of Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and brothers Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon reunite for a very special one-shot titled "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires." Written by Cloonan and illustrated by Lolos, with covers by Bá and Moon, this will be the first "Tales" feature since the Season 8 comic began. Dark Horse will also be offering a hardcover edition of "Pixu" (pronounced "pee-shu") that the group had originally self-published. CBR News caught up with Cloonan to discuss both projects and the process of multi-collaboration.

"This 22 page Buffy story is the first time I'll be writing a script for someone to draw--that someone being Vasilis Lolos--so right off the bat this story is really exciting for me," Cloonan said. "Although this story doesn't deal with any Buffy regulars, it does take place within the current Buffy Universe, which Joss Whedon has constructed perfectly. Currently, vampires are accepted in society, so it's cool to hang out with vampires, and on the other hand, social suicide to be a Slayer. Taking that into account, we tell a story about a high school boy from a wintery New England town involved in a deadly love triangle. There's action, love, and lots of blood!"

Cloonan's own deadly secret is that she has actually never seen "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in its seven-season television incarnation. "After I moved out from college, I never had enough money to buy a TV--and now that I have one I'm too lazy to get cable!" she said. "I did see that the first two seasons were up on Hulu, so I'll probably start watching it soon."

"Buffy Season 8" editor Scott Allie offered Cloonan and Lolos a chance to tell their vampire tale, and left the two creators (both writer-artists) to decide how the issue would be put together. "At first we weren't sure how to split up the work--we thought of telling two 11-page stories, or writing and drawing the book together, but in the end we decided to tell one story and have me write and him draw, which I think was the best way to do it."

The one-shot reunites the team behind the self-published comics "Pixu" and "5," as Lolos and Cloonan are joined by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá for variant covers. The team's previous efforts have featured one story written and drawn by the entire group, with each member contributing an original character, but each cartoonist adding to those characters' stories. "I love working with other people. I get really lonely working on a book by myself, and I think that working with other artists and writers is not only a good way to stay excited about a project, but the bar is constantly being raised," Cloonan said. "Working with Fabio, Gabriel, and Vasilis is a lot of fun; not only are they the coolest of people, but we have similar sensibilities that make our stories mesh well together. I feel like we underline each others' strengths, and our differences in style bring new things to the table. We all feel the same way about comics (WE LOVE THEM!) and it's great to combine forces and make something out of that feeling."

In conjunction with the "Buffy" issue, Dark Horse will also publish a hardcover edition of "Pixu," the team's second cartoonists' jam after "5," which was originally published in a limited print run as two issues to be sold at conventions. "We had so much fun working together on '5' that we decided to do it again with "Pixu," and this time on a more complex storyline," Cloonan said of the book's origins. "'5' was an anthology-type book that was made up of short stories that kind of connected together, but with 'Pixu' we wanted to raise the bar. We decided to work on one story, told from four different angles, and we knew the genre must be horror. So with that we came up with the idea of having a haunted house type setting, with different people living out the horror in the apartments inside of it. The story cuts back and forth between the characters in our stories, seeing how each one reacts to the evil inside the house.

As to their reasons for bringing "Pixu" to Dark Horse, Cloonan told CBR that it was time to get the story into more readers' hands. "I love self-publishing because I feel like it's making something that's absolutely pure--when you get the book back from the printer, you open up the box and smell the book, knowing that this was 100% our efforts," she said. "It's just such a feeling of satisfaction and pride--I love it. 'Pixu' was kind of a special case though. We decided to take 'Pixu' to Dark Horse because it really needs more than what we were able to give it--'Pixu' only had a 1,000 copy print run with limited distribution--and we feel like Dark Horse (who is publishes some of the greatest horror comics) is the perfect home for this book.

"And although we aren't including any extras in the collection, it is going to be hardcover! I'm so excited."

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