Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IDW WEEK: Interview with Writer Scott Tipton

One of the most exciting parts of IDW Week has been finally getting to do a review with long time Angel writer, Scott Tipton. I guarantee that when you read his story for the Angel Yearbook, you'll find yourself wanting to reread (or read for the first time, shame on you) all the other great work he's done.

He also posted a fantastic rundown of every project he worked on, along with the pitches he wrote.  It's absolutely fascinating stuff which you can check out here. But first is the time for interviews, so away we go!

Buffyfest: What is your favorite behind the scene memory since you've been writing for the Whedonverse?

Scott Tipton: Man, there are so many, it’s hard to even narrow it down, Though writing for ANGEL wasn’t the first comics work I ever had published, it was certainly the work that got me noticed, and in a lot of ways I owe my whole career to the square-jawed galoot. I vividly remember being halfway through the script of my first ANGEL project, the SPIKE graphic novel OLD WOUNDS, which was a big 48-page one-shot, and thinking to myself, “Wow. I think I could do this for a living.”

Hearing later through the grapevine that James Marsters liked the book wasn’t too bad either.

The best thing about my ANGEL experience was the people I got to work with, no question, whether it was developing story ideas with Chris Ryall, trading scripts with Brian Lynch, or just hanging out together at Comic-Con meeting the readers. And I couldn’t have asked for better collaborators in artists David Messina, Stephen Mooney and Elena Casagrande. People often ask me what my favorite thing is about writing comics, and the answer is easy: it’s getting those pages back from the artist. Seeing them take your words on the page and bring to life exactly what you envisioned (and often improving it) is insanely rewarding.

When I was first assigned the AULD LANG SYNE miniseries with David, we got to do a bit of a “warmup” with an ILLYRIA short story in the Halloween anthology MASKS, and I was immediately struck by what a pleasure David was to work with. And then when I got the pages back – wow! I knew we were on to something! Little did I know David and I would go on to create over 600 pages together over the course of the next 5 years and six miniseries.

I remember when I was working on my ANGEL miniseries AULD LANG SYNE with David, driving all over Los Angeles, down to Santa Monica and up mid-Wilshire to the LA County Museum of Art, taking dozens of photos of the scenery to send to him so the book could really have that L.A. feel. Getting to write that snarky back-and-forth repartee between Angel and Spike was a real joy; I never got to do enough of it – so when I got to add a few new scenes to SMILE TIME a couple years later, that was a real treat.

But I think the most rewarding experience of the whole run was developing the adaptation of A HOLE IN THE WORLD with Elena. You’d think with an adaptation, you’d find it creatively limiting, but instead, taking those two episodes we loved so much, stripping them down, and finding the best way to make them work in comics was so much fun, and maybe the best actual collaboration I’ve ever had with an artist, in terms of figuring out the pacing, trading cover sketches back and forth (mine much, much, oh-god-so-much worse than hers), agonizing and arguing over what to cut – for ANGEL fans like us, it was a dream job, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Buffyfest: Which character are you going to miss the most and why?

ST: I get asked this a lot, and my usual answer tends to be Spike, just because he is such a joy to write, and his dialogue and reactions spring so naturally to mind. Sometimes it’s hard to get the voice for Angel right or figure out exactly what Gunn would do, but Spike has always written himself. I just put him in a situation and turn him loose.

But as I’ve thought about it more in the last few weeks as things have been winding down, I realized the first character I ever wrote for in the Angelverse was Fred, in the opening scene of SPIKE: OLD WOUNDS, and she’s also the last, in the final panel of my YEARBOOK story “All the Time in the World.” This feels kind of appropriate, especially as I’ve spent the last three years writing for Fred/Illyria in one form or another. There’s been a steady flow of amazing drawings of Fred and Illyria arriving in my e-mail box regularly since 2008, and It feels very strange not to be receiving them any more. I may have to bribe Elena to draw me the occasional sketch of Illyria going to the market, or picking up the mail, just to quell the cravings.

Buffyfest: Where do you see Angel in 20 years?

ST: Who can say? I’d like to think it will have stepped out of the BUFFY shadow even more, and gotten the acclaim it always deserved as a more serious and thought-provoking show. And if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be writing it again…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.