WC11: Dark Horse, the Buffyverse and More

Dark Horse Comics returned to WonderCon in San Francisco this weekend to share news about one of the Bay Area's newest residents, Buffy Summers, as well as her vampire lover Angel, rival slayer Faith and other future projects from the publisher.

The Dark Horse panel began with editors Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn, as well as Jeremy Atkins, director of publicity, on stage, but their numbers would grow as the panel continued and announcements were made.

Vampire hero Angel returns to Dark Horse this summer, and he's bringing a friend. After being published by IDW Publishing since 2005, the character returns to its original publisher and will appear in a team-up book, "Angel & Faith," starting in August. The 25-issue series will be written by Christos Gage ("Avengers Academy") and drawn by Rebekah Isaacs ("DV8: God & Monsters").

"After the traumatic end of season eight, Angel is a wreck, and Faith goes with him to England," Allie said. Every issue will have two covers, one of which will be by Steve Morris. More details about the series can be found in CBR's exclusive interview with Gage.

In September, the 25-issue "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine" kicks off. Whedon will write the first issue himself, after which he'll share the writing duties with Andrew Chambliss, a writer with genre TV and Whedonverse experience of his own, having worked on television shows like "Dollhouse," "Vampire Diaries" and "Heroes." Georges Jeanty, who worked on season eight, will return as the artist for season nine, while Jo Chen returns on covers.

But that isn't Chambliss' only gig in comics. Hahn told the crowd the writer is joining Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen to write a five-issue "Dollhouse" miniseries that kicks off in July. Cliff Richards, who worked with Jed Whedon and Tancharoen on the recent "Dollhouse: Epitaphs" one-shot, is the artist.

Gage, Isaacs and Jeanty then joined the crew on the stage, who were rounded out by Tyler Crook, the artist recently announced as the replacement for Guy Davis on the "B.P.R.D." titles. Crook said he landed the job after showing Hellboy creator Mike Mignola his portfolio at the Long Beach Comic Con. "He friended me on Facebook, and then this happened," Crook said.

The panel opened up the floor to questions, and were immediately asked if Spike would be return in one of the two Buffyverse titles. Allie said, yes, he would, along with the "crazy bug crew" from season eight. Later questions asked about other supporting characters for both Angel and Buffy, such as Conner and Illyria, with Allie responding with the hope to feature some of them either in one of the two main books or in spinoffs. He called Willow a "prime candidate" for a miniseries.

"Fray," the story of the futuristic slayer Dark Horse published and who appeared in season eight, came up a couple of times during the Q&A. One fan asked if the events of season eight were meant to set up the future seen in Fray, and Allie said they were.

"We definitely want to return to 'Fray' at some point," Allie said, adding that they'd want Whedon to do it, and right now he just doesn't have time. That's also why they don't have any plans for new "Serenity" comics. "Does everyone know that Joss is directing the 'Avengers?'" he joked.

Jeanty spoke up when a fan asked about Giles, who died in season eight. "I protested it," he said, adding that he wanted a "back door" way to bring Giles back. "I just wanted Giles not to die."

Gage said Giles actually appears on the first page of "Angel & Faith #1," in a flashback, of course, calling him the "third most important character in the book."

"Try to think who that death affected more," Allie said. "Was it worse for Faith than it was for Buffy?"

There were non-Whedonverse questions as well. A fan asked about "Criminal Macabre," and Allie mentioned the "The Goon/Criminal Macabre" one-shot coming in June by Steve Niles and Eric Powell. It will be followed by another "Criminal Macabre" one-shot by Niles and artist Chris Mitten before the character returns to "Dark Horse Presents," which relaunches later this month.

Allie said there are no plans yet for another "Umbrella Academy" miniseries, saying that writer Gerard Way is very busy but would like to return to the comic.

"The focus right now is trying to get Gerard to have enough time to do 'Killjoys.' 'Killjoys' is the comic we announced three years ago, and now you've got a record, but you've got no comics," Allie said. "Right now, the best case scenario is we launch that next year, and I'd love to see an 'Umbrella Academy' one-shot along the way, but there's nothing actively in the works right now.

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