Georges Jeanty has been bestowed the honor of getting to draw everyone's favorite vampire slayer, Buffy Summers for Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Season Eight" monthly series from Dark Horse. The Comic Book Guide reunited with Jeanty to catch up with him on what's been going on with our favorite Slayer and his experiences while working on the book.
QUESTION: Have you been vacationing during your four month break from Buffy pencilling duties?
Vacation? What’s that? I think I might have heard about something like that years ago but I never believed it was real. Truth is I did take off a week and did a show in London. It was great, it was the first time I’d ever been in London and I saw it like a native. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, so to see some of the locations and what not was great! That and they also had the Doctor Who Exhibit while I was there. It was nice. In truth I didn’t take off any more time than that before I was on to the issues after the Fray arc. The plan was to take off these 4 issues and then not have another break before the big ending. So let’s all just keep our fingers crossed that it works out that way!
QUESTION: How have you found the response to Buffy Season Eight to be?
This is a tricky question, because so many people have had so many opinions regarding Season 8. I don’t think, when it first came out that anyone knew what to make of Season 8. Some people thought those first 4 issues were the whole season. Others felt that every issue was like an episode so there would be 24 issues. I say this just to set up what a big ball of confusion Buffy was when she first hit the stands, and in spite of this, I feel that the main response people have had has been… grateful.
Everyone who has picked up and enjoyed the book have always commented that they were just grateful to see these characters that they love so much coming back. I don’t know anyone who wanted Buffy to end after season 7. I think they understood that everyone related to the show was tired and wanted to move on, but these characters had become part of peoples lives, or had gotten them through something they were going through at the time. I’ve often said that the worst thing you could do to someone , with regards to a TV or Movie or Novel, is to make people care. Once you’ve done that the audience has a person interest. And when that happens, people expect these characters to live on forever. I can understand it because I've felt that way about certain characters in media. So for Buffy to come back, I think people were just grateful to have her in their lives again.
QUESTION: Aside from Buffy and Satsu in bed [left], have there been any other momemnts in the series that have shocked you?
Well that one certainly was a shocker. I was shocked to hear how the whole Twilight thing works itself out... There are a couple things coming up that may seem shocking but I think people are gonna accept it quite easily. I was shocked to see Warren come back. I knew Amy was lurking around somewhere, but Warren was a shocker. The rest has just been good old fashion Joss at his best. I think we all read Buffy because we really like how Joss tells a story. Buffy is his baby and she couldn’t be in more capable hands!
QUESTION: Have you followed IDW's Angel After the Fall series at all? What has been your impression so far?
I have been following the Angel books. I was really excited about it coming out because as a Buffy fan I'm also an Angel fan, and since I have nothing to do with the book I could read it as it came out. While I love Buffy, I never get to enjoy it as a reader because when I get it, it’s in script form and as a job I tend to reread it several times to get the sequential illustration down. So once it’s in comic book at your local store I’m so close to it that I can't sit back and read it objectively. I can with Angel. While I thought the direction the stories were going in were interesting, I’ve been a little confused with the story telling. I think everyone involved knows what they’re doing, it just doesn’t come together as smooth as I’d like, but like any Angel fan I keep reading because I love the characters.
QUESTION: What is it about the Buffy Season Eight that really excites you as an artist?
What excites me is that it’s never the same issue script after script. I love that Buffy Season 8 is all over the place. We’ve gone from Sunnydale to Japan to Scotland to the Future. I love that this book never rests on its foundation. Joss is always shaking things up. And there are so many characters that I never get tired just drawing the same character over and over! And I have to admit I really love all these characters that I get excited at the prospect of drawing Harmony or Faith and Giles, or anyone else who might be coming up in the future…
QUESTION: DC Comics' solicitations revealed that you are doing the cover for Nightwing #151... how did this come about? Do you plan to continue supplying covers for DC Comics?
This was just a happy accident. I did a book called Gambit for Marvel years ago and my Editor on that book and on the Weapon X book I did after was a guy named Mike Marts. Mike and I worked together for years. After we both went our separate ways, years later Mike is now at DC editing the Batman family and he and his assistant editor Mike S e-mail me asking if ‘d like to do a cover for Nightwing. There’s very little that I wont do for Mike Marts so I said sure. Which is ironic sorta, that years earlier while I was doing Gambit with Mike, he would often tell me how he and his then girlfriend loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was still on TV at this point. I never shared his interest, because at the time I was far from a fan, and he was one of the first people to call me up and wish me well on the new Buffy book I was doing. I may do more time permitting.
How has the process been with working with so many writers on one title been? Confusing at all or have you gotten the hang of it?
I think after the first 2 arcs I’ve gotten the hang of things. It started out that I was just trying to keep up, what with learning the characters and trying to hit deadlines, but now I feel invested in the book since I’m for the most part the linking thread with these issues (even if it is me contributing a cover for an issue. I really feel a responsibility with Season 8, so I’m very close to my Editor Scot Allie about where the book is going or some inconsistency here or there. I really feel like I have a stake in keeping the quality of the book constant. Working with the writers like Brian K. Vaughn or Drew Goddard and of couse Joss, has been an absolute dream. These people couldn’t be more generous with their time and more encouraging with their comments about the art. I would work with anyone of the writers in Season 8 in a heart beat! I feel that everyone writing this book comes to it as a fan not as a job. Respectfully, everyone involved is busy doing other projects, but they all took time to do Buffy ‘cause they love the character. And that’s just something you can’t pay people for!
QUESTION: When you are having a bit of a challenge getting one of your characters to look like the actors from the show or as the readers might expect, what are some of the things that you do to get comfortable with the character and more at ease drawing him or her?
Draw, draw DRAW! The only way I have gotten even half way decent with the likeness is if I draw them over and over. That has been the most difficult part of doing this book. Getting the likeness down, but not down to a photo copy of the character, more like if that character were in this situation what would he or she look like? I just got off an issue that had Kennedy in it and I just ached over how hard it was to draw her. Not that I didn’t like to draw her; if the worst part of my job is having to draw beautiful women, then I’m not doing so bad. No, it was more that I felt I never got Kennedy they way I would have like. Towards the end of the issue I did feel like I was getting her, but that’s how it always happens, towards the end.
I feel like I’m really good at Xander [left], which is ironic because I haven’t drawn him that much. Giles too, and Oz, maybe..
QUESTION: What kind of (if any) learning curve have you experienced since you began on the series? What was something that took you forever to do when you were first starting, but that you do with ease now?
Hmmm, interesting question. I came to this book with all the knowledge and experience from my other books, but I think with Buffy I really got down the process of story telling a little easier. The scripts are so good that I find myself more invested in telling these words on a page into something really good. I’ve become very savvy about pacing. As is always the case, there are times when there just aren’t enough pages to tell the story you want, so pacing become very important. In reading scripts I might suggest an extra panel here or the removal of one there for the sake of pacing. All the writers have been very generous about this.
QUESTION: What is the collaboration process like with inker Andy Owens? Do you give a lot of room for him to interpret things or are your pencils pretty tight?
I haven’t had much contact with Andy believe it or not. I think he’s one of those inkers who gets the pages and then goes right to inking them. Andy had done some Buffy and the Fray limited series so he’s pretty familiar with the book.
QUESTION: Despite your break from pencilling chores, you still got to draw Melaka Fray for couple of the variant covers. In our last interview, I asked you how you go about capturing the actors' likenesses. In this case, you are drawing a character that up until now has been drawn in one way by one artist. Did you find it challenging at all to adapt Karl Moline's character [right] so that it would be recognizable to readers but still drawn it in your own style?
I think this whole idea of style is very elusive. I look at my work everyday and I’m very influenced by a lot of artist, but I couldn’t tell you what my style is or that I even have one. I leave that for other people.
I am very much a chameleon and when I have to draw a character that’s been established before I’ll go to that source. With Fray, I was looking at how Karl handled her and just drew accordingly. I think I will freak if I ever see some young up and coming artist who has my ‘style’.
QUESTION: Are you going to be attending any comic conventions soon?
I do a lot of shows every year and they fluctuate, I don’t have a set list, but I tell people to check my site for con appearances www.kabalounge.com I hope to be going overseas again next year, so any promoters interested, please contact me!
QUESTION: Any tidbits you can offer of what's coming up in the series?
Hmmm, it seems every interviewer has this question. Tidbits? I could tell you the whole arc to the end, but what fun would that be? I really found watching Buffy episodes on DVD to familiarize myself with the show that I wasn’t as interested in when it was going to end knowing full well it ended at season 7, but the journey these characters were taking. Like so many fans, I fond myself wanting Buffy to go on forever!
Let me just say that there are a lot more surprises and characters coming back to the book! If you’ve like Buffy so far I think you’re going to be just as satisfied with the next 20 issues! I do know that Joss has had such a great time he wants to do a season 9, does that help? After season 8 wraps there will be a Summer special that if it comes together will be amazing!
QUESTION: Have you made any plans for what you're going to do when Season Eight comes to a close?
That prospect is still so far down the road I just couldn’t say. I would love to still be involved in Buffy in some way, but I really do love the Superhero genre. I would love to tackle some of the characters from Marvel and DC that I grew up with. That’s why doing an odd cover here and there is refreshing for me, I never want to be too far away from those types of comics. I love the idea of printing books I would love to self print at some point I’ve gotten into that somewhat with the Buffy sketch books that I’ve done. Number 2 of which is now available on my site (shameless plug)..
So at the end of season 8 I know I’ll be a little sad because it’s over, but more, I’ll be able to look back and marvel at all the work that I’ve done. Maybe at that point I’ll be so removed that I can actually read the books!
Visit Georges Jeanty's personal website, The Kaba Lounge.com, for all the latest!
Book Guide to Buffy
of the Slayers