BtVs: News/Interview w/ Fabian Nicieza

Click Here for the first interview with Fabian Nicieza

Fabian NiciezaFabian Nicieza was the writer of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer monthly series from Dark Horse, as well as the one-shot from summer '02, Lost and Found. Just as the monthly series was wrapping up, the Comic Book Guide managed to catch up with Fabian one more time to ask him what wasin store for the end of the monthly and the future of the Buffy comic.

QUESTION: As everyone has probably heard by now, the Buffy monthly, as we know it, is winding down... why Fabian, why?! Why drive a stake through our hearts (no pun intended) and end the monthly right after the television show has ended?

That's a question I've asked my editor time and again!! Seriously, Dark Horse makes publishing decisions that are logical for them. If they decide one-shots and limited series make a better publishing program for BUFFY right now, that's their choice. I just hope to continue to be involved in the creative process.

QUESTION: What's been the fan reaction to your work on Buffy? Have they liked the new direction you took Buffy in?

Overall, I think it's been positive. It's a tougher barometer to gauge it against that stories that are clearly set during the show's seven year run, since you are exploring the characters in different ways.

Something Buffy might do or say in our Year One arc could easily be "out of character," because it's taking place before the character most readers and viewers are familiar with had fully developed into.

Slayer, InterruptedQUESTION: Besides the fact that the monthly is exploring an area no one has bothered to explore before (Buffy: Year One), what makes your run on Buffy different than previous Buffy scribes?

I think exactly because of that fact our stories are different. I mean, it's like asking aside from the fact that your status quo is completely different than what everyone else has done, how is your status quo different?

Exploring a rookie Slayer at a point where she really hadn't accepted her role, indeed, barely even knew she had a role, makes it fertile, interesting ground.

QUESTION: What do you like the best about working on Buffy, than on other titles?

I like visualizing the comic I'm working on AS a TV episode, trying to see if it work -- does it have strong Act Breaks, good pacing, good dialogue, etc.

QUESTION: Why wasn't the 'Year One' project made into a maxi-series, rather than take over the monthly for a full year; so we could've gotten a healthy dose of early Buffy and current Buffy from seasons six and seven?

I think it was just a refreshing change of pace. Since we all knew the Seventh Season would most likely be the last one, it would have been tougher for us to set our comic continuity within the context of what was occurring in S-7 since we would have had to tread SO lightly around the inevitable conclusions. This way, while the show was ending, we could have fun and express unlimited potential by showing the Beginning.

QUESTION: After the monthly ends, what doBuffy, Cable & Deadpool you recommend we do with our measly $2.50?

Buy HAWKEYE in October and CABLE/DEADPOOL in November.

QUESTION: How have you enjoyed writing the Buffy monthly? How has it differed from previous scribe work, such as the X-Men?

I enjoyed it a lot. Scott and I had an odd working relationship in that after #50, we were practically working solo on the book. I did the majority of the work on Viva Las Buffy, he did the majority on Slayer Interrupted, now A Stake [To] The Heart is all me.

The ideas that both Scotts (Lobdell and Allie) brought to the table fueled the entire "Pre-Season One" run and I thought it was very fresh, fertile ground to cover.

Every book is different. When writing X-Men way back when, I had to get that buzzing sound of Chris Claremont's voice out of my head. I mean, they were "his" characters and it was "his" book, and it took me a while to figure out how to accommodate that reality with the reality that I was writing the book now. On Buffy, I didn't want to get Joss Whedon's voice (or that of the writing staff) out of my head because in order for Buffy to click, it had to have that signature cadence of dialogue, mood, tone, etc.

Combining that with the fact we were writing a younger Buffy than we've seen for a while now made for a fun challenge.

A Stake to the HeartQUESTION: Let's talk about "A Stake to the Heart." Buffy's about to face the darkest chapter of her life yet: her parent's divorce. Solicitations show that by the climax, she's ready to give up on her life. How on earth are you going to bring her back to that light-hearted, breezy Buffy self that she displayed at the beginning of the cult favorite television show?

I wouldn't say that by the end she's ready to "give up on her life." I would say that the entire process is a journey. The demons in the story reflect the natural moods one goes through when dealing with a parents' divorce and just as traumatic, a move to a new town.

Though creepy, eerie and downright depressing, I'd have to say that ultimately, the story arc is very emotionally uplifting as well. It's about working your way through emotional tragedy and climbing up the ladder towards a better frame of mind.

QUESTION: What gave you the idea for the "Blackshed" sub-plot running through "Viva Las Buffy" and "Slayer, Interrupted"?

The BlackshedI wanted to do something fun with Giles. Something that bridged the gap a bit between what (shamefully) little we've seen of his past and the "stuffy" Giles we saw in Season One. I wanted Giles to confront those issues himself and thought facing his "inner demons," analogous to a lot of what Buffy was going through when first becoming the Slayer, would make for an interesting subplot.

QUESTION: Is "Stake" the final arc of the monthly or do you have any final aces rolled up your sleeves?

I think it's the last arc. Anytime they say they want to do more, well, just tell me when in the series continuity we want it to be set and I'm ready to rock and roll!

QUESTION: Are there any future Buffy projects you're involved in or know about and would like to share with the fans?

Not currently, but we've discussed the possibility of things for the future.

QUESTION: What's your next project after Buffy?

Two new monthly series from Marvel. A HAWKEYE solo low-spandex, high-noir crime-adventure book in October with Stefano Rafaelle, who did The Blackburne Covenant with me at Dark Horse. And a madcap, action-philosophy buddy book, CABLE/DEADPOOL coming in November with artist Mark Brooks.

Both are fun, tasty treats that are also good for you.

QUESTION: Were there any Buffy stories that you still wanted to tell, but never got to?

Only about seventy eight. Eventually...

Dawn and WhistlerQUESTION: Of all your Buffy arcs, which has been your favorite and for what reasons?

"A Stake Through the Heart," our current storyline is my favorite, mostly for selfish reasons, because I'm not co-writing it, but also because the kinds of stories we tried to tell were very different. Creepy and moody, closer in tone and feel to "The Body" or "Hush" that to the average monster-as-metaphor-for-puberty approach.

QUESTION: Who's been your favorite character to work with?

I like them all. I enjoyed writing a younger Buffy, I liked exploring the previously unexplored character of Pike, I liked writing Whistler, who is a fun wise-ass and was played by Max Perlich, an actor I've always enjoyed. I liked writing Dawn, mostly just because everyone else doesn't!

QUESTION: Which Buffy story-arc did you enjoy (either monthly or special) that you were not involved with?

I loved the TALES OF THE SLAYERS stuff that the series writers worked on.

QUESTION: So far, we've been treated to a guest full of cameos including Quentin Travers, Whistler, Cordelia, Willow and more. What other familiar faces will be popping up? Any Principal Flutie?

In the last arc we will see Principle Flutie, we'll also see Harmony and Cordelia, Jessie, Xander, Willow and some others.

QUESTION: If you were able to do a team-up between Buffy and another comics superhero, who would it be and why?

I think Buffy and Batman would be fun for obvious reasons. I would enjoy Buffy and Dr. Strange, just cause he'd have that whole Gile-Watcher vibe going. Buffy and Witchblade could be cool.

And of course, Buffy and Speedball, just because he'd spend all his time hitting on her and she could beat the crap out of him and he'd always bounce back for more!

Post-"Chosen" WorldQUESTION: If you had the power to decide Buffy's future post-"Chosen", what would you do with her and the rest of the Scoobies?

Well, if you follow the real life analogies they established for the show's pacing, they've all technically "graduated college," so it's tIme to grow up and "get real jobs."

Sometimes, that means separating from longtime friends.

I'd have lots of the Scoobies serving as Watchers for new Slayers all over the world. I'd have Buffy enjoying a bit of a peaceful time, maybe training new Slayers in a "school/monastery" type situation. And I'd have Faith out in the field cruising town to town on her Harley and kicking ash.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the way the BUFFY TV show ended? Are you happy that it ended now, and didn't go into its eighth season?

I think from a character and story content, it could have gone on forever, but I also think they chose to end it at a good time. There were some things about the last season I thought were great, some not so great. I did enjoy the final episodes that led to an entertaining and potentially unlimited new status quo.

QUESTION: In five years from now, where do you see yourself doing?

Answering e-mail interview questions about some project or another…

QUESTION: Fabian, it was great to have you again, and I will end this interview much in the same way I did with the previous one, "Any last words you'd like to leave our readers?

If you haven't tried the monthly Buffy material, check out the tradepaperbacks. If you want my kids to eat and live happy, healthy lives, buy my new books from Marvel.


Comic Book Guide to Buffy
Comic Book Guide to Buffy


Tales of the Slayers
Tales of the Slayers


Joss Whedon's Fray
Joss Whedon's Fray


Comic Monster Guide
The Monster Guide


Hellmouth Central
Hellmouth Central

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