Dark Horse Responds To ‘Buffy’ Actor James Marsters’ Comics Comments

Earlier today, we posted some comments from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actor James Marsters regarding his experience writing (and reading) the various comic books that further the adventures of the “Buffy” cast of characters — specifically, Marsters’ villain-turned-hero vampire, Spike.

In describing his experience co-writing a one-shot story for Dark Horse Comics focused on Spike, Marsters called the project a “rude awakening,” and criticized the work of artist Ryan Sook, who he claimed made the characters Spike and Drusilla (played by Juliet Landau in the television series) look “feral and ugly.” Marsters told MTV News he voiced his complaints too late in the process for anything to be changed.

However, Dark Horse has provided MTV News with an official response to Marsters’ comments regarding the 1999 “Spike and Dru” story he co-authored, as well as the choice of Sook as the book’s artist. According to the book’s publisher, the choice of artist came directly from the “Buffy” creator himself, Joss Whedon.

“The artist James was referring to was Ryan Sook, and he was someone Joss really liked,” explained Dark Horse Senior Managing Editor Scott Allie. (The artist was misidentified as inker Keith Barnett in the original post.) “When James expressed his concerns about Ryan, Joss talked to James for me, and told him this was how he wanted the book handled. I talked to Juliet about this recently, and she had no problem with any of it — she’d seen the book and thought it was fine.”

“Looking back, I wish I’d been more sensitive to James’ feelings at the time, but the main problem was a difference of opinion about the tone of the book,” added Allie. “To Joss and me, it was a horror story, focused on two of the best villains from the show — this was before Spike’s redemption. We wanted it to feel like a horror comic.”

As for Sook, Allie voiced support for the artist — a support the publisher apparently shares with Whedon himself — and told MTV News that Sook almost became the full-time artist for the ongoing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” comic book series published by Dark Horse, too.

“Joss liked Ryan’s work so much, we used him for ’Buffy’ TV writer Doug Petrie’s graphic novel, and Ryan was Joss’s first choice when we launched the Angel series, although we weren’t able to get him,” said Allie. “When we were starting ’Season Eight,’ Ryan was one of the first artists Joss suggested.”

“This being a licensed book, Dark Horse is beholden to not only the writer, but also to Joss Whedon and Fox,” added Dark Horse Publicity Coordinator Jacq Cohen. “One of the best aspects of the ’Buffy’ comics is that each story line is a collaborative effort between several creative forces, not unlike the ’Buffy’ TV series.”

What do you think about Marsters’ comments and the response from Dark Horse Comics? Let us know in the comment section!