Friday, December 11, 2009

Countdown to Angel #28: Mariah Huehner Interview Part Two

Welcome to part 2 of our interview with IDW editor, Mariah Huehner. In this scond installment, Mariah and I trade thoughts on the changing comic books industry, what she'll be working on with Angel and other books as well, and we launch courageously right into the most polarizing of all Buffy related discussions. Enjoy!

Buffyfest: How about this industry of ours, huh?

Mariah Huehner: Ha!

Buffyfest: How do you think IDW will change in the coming decade? It seems, more than ever, that smaller publisher's have to really think ahead of the curve.

Mariah Huehner: I think everyone is going to have to adjust to a more digital push which IDW is already doing a lot of, thankfully, with making our comics accessible online, etc. I don't think actual print is dead, but it's definitely shifting.

Buffyfest: Well I think trades are safe but what about floppies? Do you think they are going to die out?

Mariah Huehner: I don't know. So much of how comics does things is based on the floppies model but TPB's have become increasingly important, and if you're going to reach an audience outside the comics shops, you can't rely on floppies. People who aren't already familiar with them don't know what to do with them. I think they'll likely become more of a collectible

Buffyfest: Now that we're living in a Disney/Warner Bros. world

Mariah Huehner: Yeah, I'm really curious about both of those. I know people at both companies, and I worked for DC/Vertigo for 4 years, so, it's certainly some interesting times.

Buffyfest: How do you think the industry's push towards the mainstream will affect the content itself? Do you think it'll be good for feminism in comics?

Mariah Huehner: I do, actually. I think having to cater to a wider audience will have a definitive impact. Not that prose is immune to sexism or anything, but you get more variety.

Buffyfest: Do you think IDW has any books on the shelves now or coming out in the future that will appeal to a feminist audience?

Mariah Huehner: I think so. Obviously none of them have an overt feminist "agenda" or anything, but I tend to see feminist stories as those that treat characters equally. Locke and Key is a book I'm continually impressed with. Angel, obviously.

Buffyfest: Joe Hill really outdid himself with the most recent issue of Locke & Key. That was a book and a half.

Mariah Huehner: That book gives me actual chills. Sometimes something just...clicks and I think that book manages something really hard, which is real visceral horror. Which is hard in any format, but I think it's a particular challenge in comics because of how the form tells a story.

Buffyfest: To do a battle between two ghosts and make it really intense is no mean feat.

Mariah Huehner: We're also adapting The Last Unicorn, which I think should appeal to a lot of different readers. I'm working on that one, and just the sketches so far are amazing.

Buffyfest: Who is drawing it and who is adapting it?

Mariah Huehner: Peter B. Gillis is doing the adaptation from the book, and Renae De Liz is doing the art. She's done a few things for us before, but her work is just PERFECT for this. You can see a promo image here. I'd forgotten we'd put this up this week.

Buffyfest: I can't believe I didn't catch this. Peter S. Beagle is an AMAZING novelist.

Mariah Huehner: I'd forgotten how wonderful the novel is.

Buffyfest: Do you have any other projects that are in the early stages you can tell me about without getting into trouble?

Mariah Huehner: At this stage, probably not, although I can say I'm working on another Angel mini which will revolve around him at a much earlier time.

Buffyfest: Is this a John Byrne/Franco Urru project perchance?

Mariah Huehner: It's not, actually. But it's in that vein of the "Angel in Time" stories. They're a lot of fun.

Buffyfest: I'll be very curious to see who you've got to write it.

Mariah Huehner: It's a writer I've worked with before who is not stranger to vampire stories. But that's all I say. I think we'll be announcing it relatively soon.

Buffyfest: Alright. That's enough to get the fandom buzzing so it satisfies me. If you could write a story for IDW, though, do you know what it would be? Would you want to do an Angel book or something original?

Mariah Huehner: That's a tough call. I'd kind of love to do an Illyria story... The character really does fascinate me. If I could tell any story, though, I'd want to do a horror tale. I was really impressed with Jennifer's Body, which will probably be polarizing to some folks, but I love that genre something fierce. I'm personally just a total Diablo Cody fan which I've noticed can be controversial for whatever reason. The longer I'm in this industry, the more I realize how much my opinions could get me in trouble.

Buffyfest: It's true. So... Angel or Spike?

Mariah Huehner: Spike. Without a doubt. Well, not with Buffy. Just Spike overall. The Spike relationship [with Buffy], as it ends up, is way different than the beginning but I don't know that you can get past that level of screwed up.

Buffyfest: The bathroom scene in "Seeing Red". I just don't think there's any way of coming back from that.

Mariah Huehner: Ugh, yeah, I can't watch that.

Buffyfest: I just never thought Buffy should ever be that helpless. I hate the idea of Buffy as a victim because it goes against everything she is for me. It physically pained me watching that arc unfold.

Mariah Huehner: It's a pretty dark place to take those characteres. Dealing with the consequences of her resurrection was fine. Getting dark even, was fine. Season 6 is actually my favorite, weirdly, because of that.

Buffyfest: Season Six is your favorite?

Mariah Huehner: Yeah, I like tragedy.

Buffyfest: What about Angel?

Mariah Huehner: Season 5, definitely. Probably because Fred dies and it upsets me so much. I like Season 5 of Buffy a lot too and 7 is exactly what you want out of a "grrrl power" story.

Buffyfest: What about the earlier seasons?

Mariah Huehner: Three [of Buffy] is great. The Mayor is the best villain, flat out. Buffy and Angel are sort of weird in that I love them no matter what season, but there are ones I go back to again and again. Angel Season 3 I like a lot, and the noir feel of 1 is a great way to open.

And that, a little abruptly, ends part two. We literally talked for over three hours and, at that point, the IDW offices were experiencing a mass exodus. I was really lucky to get to sit down and talk with Mariah and I know we'll be hearing from her a lot more in the future.

Keep an eye out next week, folks, when we'll be rolling out our interviews with Bill Williams and Bill Willingham just in time for Angel #28.


Veiriti said...

Awesome interview! Thanks! I think I like Mariah Huehner, I'm glad that she's a Spike-fan, even not a Spuffy fan, but she not a bloody Spike-hater as Scott Allie is! And the art of the new Angel's series looks great! I love IDW's art unlike Dark Horse's crappy art. And their storyline about my favorite vamps Spike and Angel are much more interesting than Buffy's weird storyline... I've get lucky that IDW is doing the comic books series about them!

Bitsy said...

Hey Veiriti,

Glad you liked the interview. I hope you don't mind, but I really want to do my part to dispel the ongoing rumor that Scott hates Spike. Having had this conversation with him personally in the past, I can guarantee you that Scott likes Spike just fine. I think the entire fandom would do a great service to itself by letting this old grudge die and opt to like or dislike the books Scott edits based on their actual merits and not words said on the internet (of all places) a long, long time ago.

That being said, Brian Denham's art is fantastic. I might like it more than any other art I've seen from either Dark Horse or IDW so far.