What’s the difference in crafting these stories in comics versus television?
The difference is not great; it’s just really about rhythm, it’s about how much you can give, because the comics come out once a month, and if you’re telling a story over more than one issue, then it breaks down into acts. Having four months to complete one act instead of one hour is very different. And that’s pretty much it. In terms of how they’re structured; in terms of how much you need to put in a script; in terms of being sure of your collaborators and knowing they’re going to give you the footage— because your artist is your co-director, and he’s also your costumer . Which thank god for Georges Jeanty, because he is one of the best costumers in comics, something he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for. Yes, we all know he’s a wonderful dancer, but he also brings an enormous amount of life to it. You’re always going to have that sort of give and take in the relationship and you’re always going to structure around emotion and around your act breaks, which could be page breaks. They could be commercial breaks. They could be the end of an issue. You’re always going to looking for that little pop to keep people going. But you do have to parcel things out differently. Apart from than that, it really is very similar. Oh, and also your actors don’t ever change their lines. But, if you don’t proofread the comics occasionally, they do. [laughs] So gotta proofread… ’cause I’m a terrible typist.
On future Doctor Horrible comics:
We have made some. We will make more. The beating heart of the Doctor Horrible comic book universe is scribe Zack Whedon, who has done just all of them, and has done such a great job. And it’s delightful because he just does it, and then I jst get to read it. [mockingly] I mean, I’m in charge, and it’s totally my vision, and like I’m super important and I should have my own panel. No. Zack has really carried that banner and it’s been such a delight for all of us.
How much more challenging is working with pre-existing characters and actors as in the Avengers than your own world, that you created?
It’s not that different. You come to a relationship with an actor that you build on the set and in pre-production. You take what parameters you have. In something like The Avengers, there is an enormous number of parameters. There are visual styles that have been worked out by different directors. There are the people who played the characters, and the people who haven’t. There’s all the reconciling of what’s going on in the comic books, and the movies and what can you take from them, what you can use, and what do you need to avoid, and how do you make them to all work together. There are so many concerns. But at the end of the day, as soon as there’s been an episode of a TV show, you’re already on that world of how do I resolve with what I already have. There are always going to be parameters based on who is my audience, what can I get away with, how long do I have to tell the story; how many fights, musical numbers, bloody killings— whatever kind of thing it is you’re making— you have these things stuck in when you’re making genre, that you must adhere to and must respect.
With The Avengers, it hasn’t actually been as hard as I thought it would be. What I find is that these characters mesh through their differences really well; and what I also find is that these actors are having a great time playing against each other. They are as a troupe actually a much better team than the Avengers are. [applause]
Will we be able to read more about Giles’ origin story in the comics?
I have said this to some people, that they are going to get a whiff of Ripper in the Angel & Faith book. This is the case. They are living at Giles’s house and they are going to be immersed in his world a little bit. I would still and always want to do an actual Ripper series or movie. I have broached it and been close to it so many times that I think if I ever mention it to Anthony Stewart Head again he will put a knife in my throat. He is a lovely gentle man, and I think he will take up a big knife and deservedly kill me. So unless we’re actually rolling– when we actually have the cameras rolling– I will call him, say, ‘Come from your house, we’re rolling. It’s Ripper. No really.’ Until then, I gotta play it cool, because he’s at this con, and he could have a knife, I don’t know.
Anything that you’ve written that you thought was awesome and then looked back on years later and wondered did I really write that?
No, everything that I’ve written is awesome. In a way it’s a burden. Actually, I recently pulled out a script, a film that I’d written about twenty years ago, one of the first of many to not sell, and it was fun, it was interesting. I liked it a lot. But I was, this guy’s young. I thought he showed promise. A for effort.
I don’t think there’s anything I’ve done that I’m like, oh my god! and yes, I am including the Frankenstein episode in season 2 of Buffy. Because there was always a good intent, and at least something in there that made me smile and was worthy.
I’ve recently also read some letters I wrote to my mother from boarding school. Those were a little florid. A little self-indulgent. Definitely 16.
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