Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Scott Allie on the Next Adventure in the Serenity Universe (Spoilers)

Like it wasn't awesome enough to have Buffy Season 8 to look forward to, Dark Horse recently announced new Serenity comics for two of our beloved characters, Wash and Book. Scott Allie was nice enough to give us a little more insight into the new stories about to be told in the 'verse.

Talk a little bit about your working relationship with Patton and Patric on the Wash one-shot. How is your input as an editor different on Serenity: Float Out as opposed to the Buffy Season Eight comics and the previous Firefly books?

Scott Allie: Well, like other projects, Joss came to me with the writer, and the first time I saw the script, Joss had already edited it. Normally, if Joss brings in a writer who hasn't done comics before, he gives them the full tutorial on writing comics. I gave Patton a little help getting his script ready to draw. Patton saw everything as the art was coming in, he asked for some very specific things as it was being laid out and drawn—there's a bit at the end, the big payoff, that he watched real closely, was very specific about. But I was more hands on with the art direction, even more so on this than on Buffy.

Buffyfest: Can you give a little more detail on your influence with the art direction on Float Out since you're more involved in this instance? Do you like working closely with the artist of the book your editing?

Scott Allie: Yeah, I love working closely with the artists and writers. That's the fun part of the job, certainly. And with this, with Patric, I just went over his layouts real closely, talked him through a lot of it. I forgot—he does this great thing. Most artists will turn in layouts sort of reluctantly, and I try to give as little feedback as I think we can get away with. With Patric, not only is he really open to input, but he tends to turn in TWO options for layouts for each page. That's really unusual. He'll work the whole page out twice, and then we pick, me or the writer or whomever, which version to go with. That certainly opens up the dialogue in a unique way.

Buffyfest: Tell us about Patric Reynolds and why you chose him to draw Serenity: Float Out?

Scott Allie: Duncan Fegredo, the artist who draws Hellboy for me now, sent me Patric's samples, and I hired him for a short Hellboy-related story. Then we did a couple other little things, and I loved his work, and loved working with him. So when suddenly I had Patton's script, and no on lined up to draw it, I weighed a bunch of options, and considered when I was planning on getting the Shepherd Book graphic novel out. I realized that if I jumped on it with Patric I could get it out fairly soon, could cut in half the time between that moment and getting the Book GN out. I'd asked Joss and Patton if they had ideas about how they wanted the book to look, and they left it up to me—whereas on Season 8 Joss was very specific about how he wanted it to look. With the style left up to me, and with script in hand, I went for Patric. The Wash one shot sort of marks the beginning of phase two of the Serenity comics. I'm really happy with what Joss and Brett and Will did, but we're at a different place with these books now, we're in a different phase of our collaborations with Joss. I understand better what he's really about, and how that translates to comics. I'm real proud, obviously, of Season 8—but I want Serenity to stand out as something different from all the other stuff we're doing, what we've done. Patric and Chris, the Shepherd's Tale artist, are amazing storytellers who transcend mainstream comics' styles. In Georges, we found someone who brought tons of personality and character to a conventional superhero art style. Which is what Season 8 needed. Needs. Not over just yet ... Patric and Chris bring more of an illustrator approach, but with solid, traditional comics storytelling.

Buffyfest: Patton talked about the potential of a “new adventure” growing out of Float Out in his MTV interview. How do you feel about the idea of telling new stories in the Firefly universe with new characters at Dark Horse? Do you think there are stories that should be told outside of the crew of Serenity?

Scott Allie: I dunno. What I'm most interested in are new stories with the established Serenity cast, but if Patton wants to do more with Trey and the guys, I'm game. I guess those might not be the new characters he's talking about, but we haven't gotten into that.

Buffyfest: We know Joss and Zack Whedon are penning the latest Book story. Can you elaborate on Joss's specific involvement in the story for Float Out?

Scott Allie: Patton was on Dollhouse, and told Joss he wanted to write a Firefly comic, that he wanted to give Joss some pitches. He approached it in a real professional, fairly formal way. He gave Joss a few things to choose from, and Joss picked Float Out. Joss gave Pat a few story points, at least one thing that's real important to the Firefly world. Then Patton scripted it, and Joss gave him notes, specific changes, some rewritten lines. And the script was done. At that point it was This is pretty much how Season 8 works, too, except that usually it's Joss going to the writer, outlining some major points he needs them to hit, and then they pitch ... but from there it largely follows the same process.

Buffyfest: We’re getting Wash’s story told in flashbacks. Any chance we’ll be seeing a return of his now infamous porn stache from “Out of Gas”?

Scott Allie: It's not too late to add that.

Buffyfest: Can you tell us a little bit about these new characters from Float Out. What was their relationship to Wash in the past? Friends, lovers, fellow pilots?

Scott Allie: These are guys that Wash worked with in the past. Fellow pilots or people he otherwise worked with in that capacity. He had a career before Zoe and Serenity, and we hit a few high points from that time, with these guys who have recently heard he'd died, and want to memorialize him.

Buffyfest: Switching gears to the Book story for a moment, committing to creating a hard bound graphic novel shows a major commitment from a financial standpoint. What do you think makes this particular story in the Firefly Universe so compelling that, even all these years later, you can know people will come out in droves to buy it? What was the thought process behind putting out Book's story in a graphic novel format as opposed to a series of single issues?

Scott Allie: There's a bunch of reasons for this, including the great sales on the Those Left Behind hardcover we did. But the main reason is that the story Joss has outlined has a unique kind of momentum to it that would be disrupted by having to do breaks between issues. You'll see what I mean in a few months.

Buffyfest: Finally, are there any new Whedonverse/Dark Horse tidbits you'd like to share? Maybe something in the Dollhouse variety?

Scott Allie: Here's my horrible tease: there is news brewing that we are not ready to announce.

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