Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon cover
Although born on the silver screen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn’t find success until landing on the tv screen and as of late, she’s called comics her canonical home. With the ongoing Buffy
comic book series helmed by creator Joss Whedon proving quite
successful, the franchise is spreading it wings… or is ‘fangs’ a better
On June 3rd, Dark Horse Comics will release Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires,
a 40 page one-shot about a small Massachusetts town and what happens
with a sultry vampress gets a taste for the high school crowd. The
one-shot is written by Becky Cloonan, best known as the artist of such
books as DEMO and Pixu. She’s joined by fellow Pixu alum Vasilis Lolos to draw the story, and the rest of the Pixu team – Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon – are rounding out the group providing a alternate cover.
For Cloonan, it’s her feature-length debut as a writer and for Buffy fans it should prove to expand on the world and recent events in the primary Buffy
in which vampires are known to the world at large. No matter what camp
you are from, with the creators Eisner pedigree and popular source
material – it should be a intoxicating ride.
Newsarama: Becky, big picture-wise, how would you describe the story in this book?
Becky Cloonan: The story focuses around Jacob, a high school
kid, and a small group of people and vampires that immediately effect
his life. He's torn between two girls, Alex, his classmate and only
friend, and May, a mysterious college girl. On the other end is
Sebastian, a vampire that he has been hanging out with, and who he lets
drink his blood. And then there's his mom, who is concerned about Jacob
but doesn't know how to help him, or for that matter, what was wrong
with him in the first place.
But the vampires, the violence, the love triangle, all this is
secondary to Jacob's search for some kind of escape from his life. His
days are a constant repetition of events, and bringing vampires into
the equation doesn't necessarily solve that problem. Jacob just floats
by until his routine eventually collapses on him, and he realizes that
he was the one keeping himself trapped all
Jo Chen cover
NRAMA: Leading off this story is a man named Jacob, who has a penchant for video games and vampires. Can you tell us about him?
BC: Jacob is a high school kid who, naturally, is looking for
some action. He's bored, disillusioned and a loner, so naturally he is
attracted to the danger and adrenaline rush that fraternising with
vampires gives him, and he enjoys the light headed feeling that
bloodletting gives him. He thinks he has everything under control, but
realizes too late that he is in over his head. That's when the trouble
NRAMA: How does Alexia fit into this?
BC: Imagine you're at a party and instead of doing shots or
passing around a joint people are getting their blood sucked by a
vampire. There's always someone who will make a fuss about not wanting
to participate, and maybe get dramatic about it- that's Alex. She
doesn't like Vampires and is pretty disgusted that the boy she's got a
crush on- Jacob- loves them.
NRAMA: And the solicits talk about, ominously I say, a character
named May – who “can help Jacob leave those High-school days behind”.
What’s her story?
BC: May gets a bad wrap, she's not that ominous! She's the older
woman- I'm not sure exactly how much older- but Jacob doesn't seem to
mind. She gets involved almost accidentally in a love triangle with
Jacob and Alexia, and of course it doesn't end well. Okay, maybe she
deserves a little bit of the ominousity.
NRAMA: I think you created a new word there – ominousity; I like it!
How intertwined is this with the Buffy franchise?
BC: It's as intertwined as it can be without having any
Buffy-specific characters in it- that is, it deals heavily with the
current social issues that have come up in the new series. As vampires
are becoming more accepted into society, it's shifted the balance of
power between them and the slayers. This issue is a glimpse into how
that shift is playing out, from both the perspective of a human, and
the perspective of a vampire.
NRAMA: This isn’t your first dance with a vampire – you did a heavily under-rated (and out of print) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula some time back. What makes vampires so cool?
BC: There's something to say about the mystery and drama
surrounding Vampire mythology, something sexy, dangerous and pretty
damn evil that people respond to in a really visceral way. Bram
Stoker's Dracula is an eternity away from what's happening in
Buffy- which proves yet again that Vampires are of the most versatile
monsters in history. From historical lore to Lost Boys, from Blade to Twilight, to Vampire Hunter D to Castlevania to Bunnicula, they've crept into every genre and every medium, and have kept people on the edge of their seats for generations.
NRAMA: If you had the chance, would you become a vampire?
BC: Just think of all the work I could get done if I didn't have
to sleep... It's pretty tempting, but then again I love eating solid
food, so I don't think I'd jump at the opportunity, maybe just slowly
walk up to it and tap it on the shoulder, that sort of thing.
NRAMA: How did this project come about for you?
BC: Vasilis Lolos and I had just finished a horror comic with Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba called PIXU
that Dark Horse is collecting in hardcover this summer, and after that
we started talking with Scott Allie who thought this would be a cool
project for me and V to work on. I guess it was one of those "one thing
led to another" type scenarios. Oh, Fabio and Gabriel did an alternate
cover to this Buffy issue, which is totally awesome. The main cover was
done by Jo Chen, and she's been a favorite artist of mine for years and
years, and with Dave Stewart on colors it's like, man... so many dreams
come true for me.
NRAMA: Joss Whedon is the head honcho for all things Buffy – did you have any meetings, conversations, or back-and-forth about the story at all?
BC: I shook his hand at New York Comic Con! That was pretty rad.
I'm assuming he was okay with the story because he didn't try to
strangle me or anything! Actually, his input came through my editor on
this, Scott Allie. I had three or four very different initial ideas,
and we narrowed it down with some back and forth.
NRAMA: As mentioned, you’re working with a friend and frequent
collaborator, Vasilis Lolos. As someone who’s attuned to his work, did
writing for him change the way you wrote it? As in, did you make sure
to steer it towards thing he’d be able to draw particularly well?
BC: In part, I was careful about locations and I left a lot of
the design and feel of it up to him. But at the same time I figured he
can draw anything that I can draw, so I didn't particularly play to his
strengths. That's one of the great things about working with a great
artist, I don't have to worry about that stuff. V can draw anything
that's thrown at him.
NRAMA: Although you’ve written for other artists before, this
will be your biggest work as a writer yet. What’s the experience been
BC: I'm not gonna lie- it hasn't been easy! I've spent the
better part of my life honing my drawing skills, and every time I've
written for myself I've been really lazy about it, I write in short
hand, incomplete sentences, no punctuation... that sort of thing. This
was the first actual "Page One, Panel One" script I've ever written. My
process is still a little backwards- I loosely storyboarded the whole
comic before I wrote it, and kind of dictated my storyboards to the
script. There was a lot of edits, a lot of back and forths on this, but
it was worth it! It's actually pretty dense too, which I was happy with
because I usually fall back into my 'decompression' comfort zone. I
feel like I really raised the bar for myself with this, and I had a lot
of fun doing it. I learned a lot, too (props to Scott Allie for putting
up with my newness to script writing)! I'm really happy that they took
a chance on me as a writer, and I'm really proud of how it came out.
NRAMA: And do you plan to do more writing in the future?
BC: Oh yeah, definitely! Even if people hate it! [laughs]
I'll never stop drawing, though.