Saturday , March 2 2024
“I think there's nothing like getting to work with the people you admire. And that's what I did this for — to learn from Joss, to see how his process works...”

An Interview with Brad Meltzer, Author of New Issues of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Comic Books

For a few years now I have been hounding novelist Brad Meltzer about his writing of four issues of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book. I'm a fan of the Buffy series and was curious what he would come up with.

He alluded to the Buffy comics he was writing when I interviewed him about his novel, the Book of Fate and I made a deal with him – I'd do interviews to promote his other books provided he'd let me interview him about the Buffy comics when they come out. There was a long gap (at least four years) between when he told me he was going to write them and when they actually came out; I was not patient.

Fortunately, his other book, Heroes For My Son, was a good book otherwise I'd have an ethical dilemma on my hands as I try to avoid promoting bad books.The Heroes book, incidentally, would make a great Father's Day gift.

So... Buffy. What's to say about my love for it? Great television series. I love Joss Whedon whether it's Buffy or Firefly or the late Dollhouse. The writing on Buffy was always good and I liked the characters. I was sad that it ended and am intrigued that it is continuing on a graphic novel. I just found some information here teasing about how the season eight arc will end with Whedon writing the last part, the final five issues, and it will involve my favorite Buffy character, Spike.

I wasn't sure how good a fit this author would be with this comic book and TV series but now that I have read them it makes complete sense especially because in this arc Buffy has super powers and Brad's known for his interest in superheroes (it played a pivotal role in at least one of his books (Book of Fate) and he's even been doing work in recent years to restore the boyhood home of Superman's creator, Jerry Siegel.

Besides, this is not Meltzer's first foray into comics — he previously wrote for 13 issues for the Justice League of America series in addition to writing for other series in between his novels.

Enough talking, let's go to the interview:

Have you always been a fan of Buffy? Is it one of your favorite shows? Do you like Joss Whedon's other shows?

Love the show.  And how could I not like the other ones?

How did the idea of writing for the comic come up?

Joss actually asked me to do it a few years back when he decided to put the so-called band back together.  And when Joss asks, only a fool says no.

You've been talking about doing this for a few years – why such a long turn-around time?

The honest answer is simply because he wanted me to write the penultimate arc, and that means I gotta come at the end.  So I've been waiting all these years simply because the other stories had to come first.

If memory serves you've always been interested in comic books  and have mixed that interest into one of your books. So was this a dream come true, something to take off your bucket list, to be in one?

I think there's nothing like getting to work with the people you admire.  And that's what I did this for — to learn from Joss, to see how his process works, and to try to be a better writer from it.  That's all I care about:  Always pushing my own limits.

Which part is yours – just the text or some of the drawing too?

I wrote four issues — a total of almost 100 pages.  It's a big story.  And finally (spoilers ahoy) reunited Buffy with Angel after all these years. And yes. They have sex.

Can you explain the mechanics of how this worked? Did you write the text and others did the drawings? How involved was Joss?

I pitched the idea to Joss. Then wrote it all, including what to draw.  But it's the artist who does all the heavy lifting with the drawings.

Is it coincidence that you, a fan of superheroes and thus superpowers, are writing the chapter in which Buffy has superpowers?

You are good, Holmes.  Perfect detective work. There are no coincidences. Especially in Buffy.

When you say Joss wanted to "get the band back together" can you explain what you mean?

Bringing back his writers from the show to do season eight.  Half the writers were show writers, half were comics folk.

I received four comics – is that the full arc or is there more coming? Are they all on sale now?

Four is my arc. That's my story.  Now Joss comes in to write the final arc for the season. Cue cliffhanger.

Whose idea was it — yours or Joss — to have Buffy and Angel having very detailed sex? And what's that title for chapter three  – "Them F#&ing"? It is too funny.

I was proud of that title.  And it was Joss who made the final call to actually "show it."  God bless him.

Who is your favorite Buffy character and why?

Buffy (strength), Xander (humor), Willow (all of the above).

What was your favorite Buffy episode and what do you think explains the staying power and interest and appeal in Buffy even after it's gone off the air?

My favorite is still "Once More With Feeling." I know it's like saying Citizen Kane is your favorite film — no surprise at all. (Especially because Citizen Kane doesn't hold up). But the best is still the best.

As for staying power, it's just great character. That's the secret in the sauce.

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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