Buffy fans, have Faith — there’s a lot of the other vampire slayer coming up in season eight of the TV series-turned-comic when creator Joss Whedon passes the baton.
While the comic-book version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” picked up where the television show left off — with many of the story arcs to be written by the original writers of the TV series — the comic’s Faith arc (which begins in issue #6, out Wednesday) comes courtesy of a writer more versed in the world of comics than some of the Buffy folk: “Y: The Last Man” and “Ex Machina” creator Brian K. Vaughan (see ” ’Disturbia’ Director Might Reunite With Shia LaBeouf For Woman-Centered ’Last Man’ “ ).
“The idea was to create something big, but not have to do the entire thing all by myself,” Whedon said. “Because, good lord, that’s just not fair. I can spin new variations on my themes forever, and have a grand time doing it, but the first time Brian and I started talking about the characters, I was hearing elements of them that I hadn’t really focused on. And that’s the idea: to create an arc and a mythos wherein people could go in and riff. I lay down the basic track and then have them jam on it.”
“I love Buffy, but I would have a hard time writing her,” Vaughan said. “I have a difficult time with traditional characters. I like characters who are rough around the edges — people who are occasionally selfish and misguided and confused, and Faith does those things very well. So I’m dealing with what Faith has been up to in the last four years since the show ended, and what kind of trouble she’s getting into.”
For her part, Faith has been stuck in Cleveland, as she puts it, since “the Sunny D went from being an outie to an innie” (translation: since the town of Sunnydale collapsed into the Hellmouth it was resting above). She’s not officially a Scoobie, but she’s still a Slayer, and more than capable of doing the undesirable. “I’m the go-to girl for dirty deeds done dirt cheap,” the character says. And her next “dirty deed” mission is to become the Slayer of a Slayer — but to do that, she has to become a proper lady first. “I don’t want to spoil any surprises,” Vaughan said, “but there is lots of Faith fun.”
In fact, without that Faith fun, there probably wouldn’t be a Buffy comic continuing the show in the first place (see “Re-Buffed: New Comic Book Series Resurrects Vampire Slayer” ). Before he dreamed up doing the comic version, Whedon was hoping to resurrect his vampire slayer with a series of DVDs. “There were things we were talking about doing with Faith, for example, in a Faith movie,” Whedon said.
He approached Vaughan to write the Faith ones, “which is the nicest thing I have ever been asked in my life,” Vaughan said. The project fell apart due to “dumb money reasons,” according to Vaughan, but the ideas he generated for those DVDs are now being used in the comic. “He’s really well-versed in the characters,” Whedon said. “There’s a big simpatico there.”
That might well be because this isn’t the first time Whedon and Vaughan have swapped writing each others’ comics. Back in April, Whedon took over Vaughan’s “Runaways” series for a six-issue arc. “It was just one particular adventure,” Whedon said. “I never thought of ’Runaways’ as ’Oooh, he’s doing a Buffy thing — except, God, I wish I had thought of it!”
“When I read Joss’ first script, I was brokenhearted,” Vaughan said, “because I wanted it to be just a little bad so people would miss me after I left the book. But it was one of the best scripts I had ever read, so it was very humbling. It’s like being the parents of the African children who were given to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. On the one hand, it’s sad to see them go, but on the other, you know they’ve just hit the lottery, so Joss is my Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt rolled into one.”
“That’s really sweet of him, but I feel the same [about him doing ’Buffy’],” Whedon said. “When he read my script for ’Runaways’ and it made him feel insecure, I told him, ’I feel insecure every time I read one of yours, so we’re fine!’ And he’ll probably nail all the Buffy characters, and I’ll feel weird about that. He still has, every now and then, a phrase that I’m viciously jealous of. But that’s the best way to work.”