RU catches up with Buffy The Vampire artist, Georges Jeanty, and does his best not to stick his foot in his mouth with an 87% success rate.
RU: I must apologize for the first of many questions I should know the answer to, but who exactly owns Buffy?
GJ: Its ok; both Joss [Whedon] and Twentieth Century Fox own Buffy.
RU: How much input does Fox have on the comic book?
GJ: None, really. They ok’d the move to Dark Horse and keep an eye on the property, but they are not really involved in the day-to-day operations of the product.
RU: Is this your first licensed property, and what is that like?
GJ: Yes, this is my first licensed property and I love it. I always wanted to work on licensed properties like Star Wars and Star Trek. That being said, I never thought I’d be working on Buffy let alone a fan of the property.
RU: Were you a fan of the show?
GJ: I knew of the show through pop culture, but it wasn’t until I was hired on the book that I watched it. I was told that I had to have knowledge of, at least, season 7 to really get season 8. I went back and watched it all, including the movie. When Joss found out I saw the movie he said that he “wished I hadn’t.” The movie was what Fox wanted to make and the show was what he wanted to make.
RU: With all the different creators writing Buffy, what kind of scripts do you get?
GJ: Most of them are full scripts. You have to remember most of the writers are television writers who are used to full scripts with dialogue, direction, and everything else included. Joss gave them the direction of “write a script with the understanding that the beget is unlimited.” This makes it fun for me, but also a bit difficult; where a TV budget wouldn’t have allowed for 1,000 extras comics do. So one line of dialogue might take me 3 days to draw. But, there were some comic book creators like [Brian K.] Vaughn and Johns who scripted like a comic book. The story Johns wrote was actually an unproduced story from the Buffy cartoon that was never made. Both Joss and I were very impressed with ho well Brain [K. Vaughn] knew the “voice” of the show.
RU: The writers all had breaks between arcs (if they had second arcs) but you had to draw every issue. Did you get burnt out?
GJ: [laughs] Yes. Actually I only did ~31 of the 40 issues. [RU: sorry]. One of the criticisms of Season 8 was that it was too long and lost focus, so one of the changes we made was having the ancillary stories that we still want to tell be published as separate mini series that do not take focus away from the main Buffy book.
RU: Will Buffy and Angel & Faith cross over in Season 9?
GJ: Not in Season 9.
RU: How did you get involved with The Guild comic?
GJ: I was invited to a Buffy Con in the UK because I am now a part of the family where I bumped into Felicia Day. I commented that she should do a Guild comic; it was an obvious progression of the show, and that if she wanted, and I’d help out with it. After Joss talked to her and Dark Horse Felicia stated that I had offered to do some work, and that’s how I became the cover artists for The Guild.
RU: I am stealing this from a fellow writer for The Outhouse that could not be here today - What was the first comic or character you remember creating. It does not have to be published.
GJ: Sometime around 1979 and 1980 I created a character called Goat-Tron who had a skateboard, a white suit, and had energy beams shoot out of his horns. This was too cool back then, now I just laugh.
RU: What are you reading?
GJ: Angel & Faith – I am not involved in that book and its fun to read what they are doing over there. Some Marvel, just finished Spaceman by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (it petered out after issue one), and Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man. I also just finished the ClanDestine annuals by Alan Davis.
It seems to me that most comics nowadays are allowed to be mediocre just to maintain a copy write or whatever. Like Before Watchmen, the comics themselves seem superfluous. Alan Moore provided enough detail that we already know all of this and we don’t need more detail to get Dr. Manhattan’s origin.
RU: Do you think this is a fault of all prequels?
GJ: No, some prequels are interesting, but only because they fill in what we don’t know. We know everything we need to know about what happened before Watchmen. For me it would have been more interesting to go forward, After Watchmen. I’m “work for hire” I understand that DC owns the characters and can do what they want, and I have nothing against them on that front, but Before Watchmen doesn’t add anything for me.
RU: Do you enjoy going to conventions?
GJ: I love conventions. Looking out over the “sea of self-publishers” and seeing where I started and where I am now. I used to be in “self-published row,” I came up through the ranks and paid my dues. I’ve been asked before if I feel bad that I am “flown out” to conventions and no, no I don’t. I earned this, with hard work and determination.
RU: What is your advice to “self-published row”?
GJ: It is so different now then it was 20 years ago when I was over there. It is easy to print your own comic and you do not need a company to do that for you. My advice: if you want to make a comic book JUST DO IT! With everything the way it is now, there is no need to break the bank.
RU: To be honest, I only really know you as “the artist on Buffy”…
GJ: [laughs] I’ve been at this long enough that I have been known as the “Buffy guy,” the “Gambit artist,” and the “Deadpool artist.”
RU: You were on Deadpool?
GJ: Yes issues 54-64.
RU: Crap, not only am I mad I forgot my Buffy trades, but now I am mad I didn’t bring my Deadpool issues!
GJ: I have a checklist on my website, and I don’t understand artists that don’t.
RU: What, for you, are the pros of going to conventions like this?
GJ: Interacting with the fans and, it’s nice for the ego.
[Author’s note – RU bought a cool commission from Georges Jeanty he will upload once he is back at work and can steal the scanner]
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