Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hellboy, Hack/Slash and Haikus!!

Devastation.  It's the word Scott Allie used to describe Buffy #39 which comes out this Thursday (damn you, Thanksgiving).  Join us as we continue sweating it out with a week dedicated to Bad Horse's brother from another mother: Dark Horse.  First up, we talk with Super Scott Allie about two projects that are near and dear to his editorial heart:  B.P.R.D. The Dead Remembered, a 3 issue story focusing on Hellboy's Liz Sherman, and "Campfire Stories", a short story which is part of Hack/Slash's Trailer's series.

Also, do you like free stuff?  Well, we're giving away a free copy of Hack/Slash Trailers Part 2 signed by Scott Allie plus a host of Buffyfest goodies to anyone who can create an amazing Dark Horse inspired Haiku.  Here are the rules:
  1. Write a haiku about Scott Allie, Buffy Season 8...anything Dark Horse related at all.  Your haiku should be in the form of 17 syllables broken into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
  2. Post your haiku in the comments section along with what you’re basing it on.
  3. Submissions must be received by 1 week from today - Tuesday, Dec 7th - to be part of the contest.
Check out the winner from our previous Haiku contest and see if you have what it takes!  We now give you, Super Scott Allie:


Buffyfest: Hi Scott. Let's get started with your new Hellboy series. How did you and Mike Mignola come up with the idea of focusing on the character of Liz Sherman in the upcoming B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered?

Scott Allie: Short answer—I don't remember. We always talk about various ways to further explore the Hellboy world, and we kill way more ideas than we follow through on, by a huge margin. With this, we were doing the Abe stories, written by Mike, and then written by Mike and John Arcudi, where we explore Abe's early adventures as an agent. After all these years—the character was introduced in 1994, with the idea that his character had been active with the Bureau since the late seventies. But we only started doing stories set in his early years as an agent a few years ago, and to date there are just eight comics. We've done 1946 and 1947, which begin to touch on Hellboy's early years with the Bureau. But it struck me that Liz, brought in as a hazard to herself and the people around her, after her powers caused the deaths of her family and neighbors—her transition from that damaged girl, to a teen runaway, into a full-fledged agent must have been very different from the boys'. We talked about the emotional issues we'd explore there for her, and he felt like I had a good take on it. So then the question was what to do with a Liz story, and Mike and I both felt that we were getting too far from traditional horror stories, so the idea was to do that. I get to return to my hometown once more, and deal with the local lore a bit.

Buffyfest: What intrigues you about the character in general? 

SA: The main thing is honestly that Mike has never written her the way female comics characters are written—even the good ones. The fact that she's a woman is entirely incidental. A romance between Hellboy and Liz would have never occurred to Mike. I love that about her. So what particularly interested me about that was how to do that with a teenaged girl. And I can't deny that a big part of what interested me was her similarities and huge differences from Buffy. A young super-powered girl, but one whose abilities are clearly a curse and a burden. And Liz Sherman never would have been a cheerleader.

Buffyfest: Did it bother you when the movies made Liz and Hellboy a couple or were you expecting the romance angle for a main stream movie? 

SA: No, I think adaptations have to do something different with the material. I just watched episode 5 of Walking Dead, and I love the CDC thing. The movie Hellboy is different from the one I work on, but it helped sell a lot of the ones I work on.

Buffyfest: What about the character of Hellboy? What do you love about him? 

SA: Everything. I love the Byronic aspects of him, the noble monster, and I love that in Hellboy there is no self-consciousness, something Byron and the gothic writers never could have gotten their heads around. I love how he can take the piss out of any situation. If people are gettin' too high falutin, he'll bring it all down to earth, if things are getting tense, he'll crack wise. Cracking wise is not unique among superheroes, and I know Mike learned it from Stan, but the combination of how he does it and to whom he does it is unique.

Buffyfest: Can you give us a little bit about the plot of the upcoming 3 issue story? 

SA: Yeah. The name of the book is B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered. Liz and Broom—the foster father to Hellboy and to a lesser extent her and even Abe—takes her on what seems like a simple mission to New England, where a priest is suffering a haunting. It involves a woman accused of witchcraft and murdered by a lynch mob, and Liz's own feelings of being judged unfairly. Hellboy's in the first issue for a bit, but mostly it's Liz and Broom.

Buffyfest: For those who never picked up a Hellboy comic, what would a new reader need to know in order to jump into the story right now?

SA: Not much. Someone totally unfamiliar will wonder who this big red guy talking to this little girl is, but again, Hellboy's not in it for that long. Beyond that, there's a note on the inside cover setting up briefly who Liz is, why she's with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense—and if the name of the organization doesn't tell you what it is, I don't know what to tell you.

Buffyfest: Let's shift over to the art for a minute. Why did Karl Moline and Jo Chen seem like a good fit for this title?

SA: I love Karl's storytelling, and the thing I'm most frustrated with when I write is when an artist can't pull off the character stuff. That's what was so great working on Buffy #37-39. Georges was great. And Karl does really nice character stuff, and he's great with making young girls both cute and heroic and strong, which is what I wanted for Liz. And there's a teenage boy in this that I knew Karl would do right. And the way it worked, if I remember, is that we were looking for something for Karl to do, and I loved his Liz one-shot for War on Frogs a couple years ago. So this came up and the schedule worked. With Jo, similar thing. Who does characters like this better? Mike's been coveting her work on Buffy. And with Buffy winding up, I wanted to keep working with her, so we segued her right into this off the end of Season 8.

Buffyfest: Is there any Buffy character you would compare Hellboy to?

SA: Hmmm. No. Hellboy hides his emotions. Does anyone in Buffy do that? Doesn't everyone wear their hearts on their sleeves? Can I compare him to Mal?

Buffyfest: Yes, please do!

SA: Oh, sorry, I don't really have anything to say on that, but I think there's something there. Still waters that run deep, real working-class approach to what they do. But Mal's emotions are more complex and repressed, whereas Hellboy's are a lot more simple, not a lot of turmoil in there.


Buffyfest: The Vampy Cats earn a mention in your Hack/Slash short "Campfire Stories".  Why were they the Season 8 monster you chose to mention?

Scott Allie: The way it worked is that I was writing the story, and I needed a cheap, quick way to link the Big Bird stuffed animal to the girl. Matching T shirts jumped into my head, and then I thought, "We need an adorable icon to link them." I literally started making up my own Hello Kitty sort of thing, and then a light bulb went off over my head.

Buffyfest: If you could write a Buffy/Cassie crossover story, what would it be about and how do you think these two Last Girls would react to one another?

SA: Buffy would laugh at her. She'd start respecting Faith's fashion choices. She would insist Cassie change her clothes. I don't know. I think such a story would be so postmodern it would throw itself on its stake. I was initially attracted to Hack/Slash by some awesome covers by Joe Quinones and Ross Campbell. But then I was put off by the T&A and gore. Then my girlfriend introduced me to Tim, the creator of the characters, and we hit it off, so I started reading. And I realized Hack/Slash is what I love best in B-movies—a bold and simple original idea executed with conviction, insight, and heart—above all else, heart. That's what made Buffy Season 1 rise to the top the way it did. Tim loves these characters. But he loves them within the confines of a genre that often aims at the lowest common denominator, and Tim does not flinch in going for it. Buffy comes out of a similar tradition, but drifts far, far from it. Joss does not write a lot of love letters to the horror genre. He does his own thing. And he'd have to deconstruct Cassie—or someone would—for these two to make sense in the same room.

Buffyfest: You reference a number of popular horror tropes in your story.  What are your favorites?

SA: None of the ones I touch in the story. My friendship with Tim got me to give slasher stuff a second look, which has led me down a long dark path that included a recent Saw marathon climaxing with me and a couple friends ALONE in a Portland theatre watching Saw 3D. I was a heavy-duty horror geek in the 1980s, but I never saw another one of those movies after Halloween III and Friday the 13th Part 3. I never saw any of the Chucky movies, or even Nightmare on Elm St. But in the last couple years I've gone back to watch a bunch of it. And most of it was really  worth missing. A couple things were interesting. Sleepaway Camp [shudder]. But most of it I was glad I'd missed first time around. The tropes that I was referencing in Hack/Slash were more to do with campfire lore than film. When I was a kid at Camp Rotary in Boxford, Mass, we had very vivid stories, and to a ten-year-old they seemed both true and unique. We had the haunted cabin, the hatchet man, and the giant snapping turtle in the lake. I imagine every camp had similar stories—really similar stories. And they were a lot more interesting to me as a kid thinking that they were unique to my experience, rather than simply being Hollywood cliches. Oh, further to that point, on the first page of "Campfire Stories," I reference some Lovecraftian stuff. That's hometown shit to me too. See, Tim had already brought Lovecraft into Hack/Slash, and he'd done it in a really interesting way—a mashup with Archie Comics. See, Riverdale, the town in Archie, is based on Haverhill, a town near where I grew up, just on the other side of Boxford. Haverhill is also just down the street from Salem, Mass., which Lovecraft called Arkham in his stories—and closer to Newburyport, which Lovecraft refers to by name quite a bit in his stories. So Tim saw a great geographical opportunity to mash Lovecraft and Archie. And Lovecraft, by the way, represents a whole bunch of horror tropes that are very close to my heart, and among my favorites. But in general, my favorites are occult horror, supernatural horror. What I'm doing in the Liz series. 

Buffyfest: Steve Niles, Scottie Young, and Robert Kirkman have all gotten the chop in the Hack/Slash story "Comic Book Carnage".  Is Scott Allie next? 

SA: Tim told me he has an idea if he does another one of those. We shall see.

Buffyfest: Who would kill you and what kind of slasher would you be if you came back from the dead?

SA: Horny teenagers, I assume, whichever ones I stumbled across.

B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered #1 will be on shelves 4/6/11. Hack/Slash Trailers Pt. 2 featuring a short by Scott Allie is in stores now.


chickenparmesan said...

Buffy Season 9
Scott Allie 'ships the Spangel
Crossover hijinks!

Kohakusama said...

I lost who I was
never to be seen again
now queen of slayers

It based on Buffys now isn't Buffy Summers lone slayer but The head of the slayers and how that has change her over season 8

Anonymous said...

They opened the door
A slayer comes for a time
The Dark Horse lives on.