SDCC 09: Joss Whedon Talks Comics & CABIN IN THE WOODS

SDCC 09: Whedon Talks CABIN IN THE WOODS

A Poster for the Cabin In The Woods Film

Joss Whedon is showing some love to comics again – this time for his upcoming horror film Cabin in the Woods.

Announced at Saturday's Dark Horse panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the Cabin in the Woods comic will come out concurrently with the movie's planned release in February 2010.

Although details about the movie have been kept under tight wraps by filmmakers of the MGM film, Whedon told Newsarama that what happens in the cabin during the film has a long history that can be explored further in the comic.

"It is definitely a horror movie, and there is a cabin. And not-great things happen in it," Whedon said. "The idea behind the comic was to explore the history and mythology and the bad things happening. It's a very old cabin. It has a rich and storied history of appalling things."

Whedon, who co-wrote the film with Drew Goddard of Lost/Cloverfield fame, said the comic will be "kind of intuitive of the old ECs, the Graham Ingels feel, the really classic, horrible tales," referring to EC Comics, the publisher that became well-known in the '50s for its horror comics. "That might provide a little insight into the film without stepping on too much."

The comic will "probably" take place before the continuity of the movie, Whedon said, again trying not to reveal too much and opening the door for stories during or after. But the writer did say the format will most likely be a series of different stories. "When we were talking about it, the thought was to do it as a series of stories, again in the EC mode," Whedon said.

Whedon, whose comics based on his Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie and TV show have been best-sellers, said that just like he had to bring in other writers to help with those comics, he'll probably do something similar for the Cabin in the Woods comic.

A Poster for the Cabin In The Woods Film

"I'll probably be working with other people. I have to put out the movie, and apparently some TV show as well," he joked, referring to the second season of his Fox TV show Dollhouse. "So Drew Goddard and I very much feel that they should be done right, but at the same time we also know that we can't really afford to do everything ourselves. So I'll be in it as much as I am able."

Whedon said that while many of his fans see him as a creator who likes to work in different mediums, he doesn't necessarily look for those types of opportunities.

"Actually, it's something I don't like doing. But when it works, when it makes sense, then it's cool with me," Whedon said. "But it's nothing I actively seek out. I didn't decide I want to spend my life multi-platforming. But with Cabin, it works. And with Dark Horse, it works. They actually have their own horror tradition."

Besides, Whedon said, this type of "multi-platforming" may seem like a new trend, but it's actually something that's always been around.

"I think it's been going on forever. I think it's never not been happening on some level," he said. "People were making operas out of ballets. People were making odes to Grecian urns. Everything has always found an outlet somewhere else.

"But I don't go out actively looking for new ways to tell stories. It just does seem to happen. You see TV shows made out of movies and movies made out of a TV show and comics out of TV shows out of a movie. There's a lot of crossover now. People aren't as afraid of moving from one media to another. I don't think of myself as the poster boy for it, but maybe I'm kidding myself," he said with a chuckle. "Who am I? What's my life mean?"

Although the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight series wasn't something he actively pursued, he admitted that its success influenced the decision to do the Cabin in the Woods comic.

"There's a lot of stuff that I don't touch, like novelizations or book spin-offs. I just don't have time to be a part of that. With the comic book, I wasn't doing the TV shows anymore, and Dark Horse wanted to do the comic book of Buffy, and I thought, this could be fun. This could be a fun little lark," he said.

A Poster for the Cabin In The Woods Film

"Now I'm so tired I can barely move. Every time I say this will be a fun little lark, it's the hardest thing I could do. Note to self: Don't use that phrase," he said with a laugh. "But it wasn't like, Oh my God, I want to tell more Buffy stories, because I was very strict with them when the show was on about not interfering with the show, and I kind of tied their hands a little bit. And Scott Allie said, 'It's been a couple years. Can we start telling real stories that are sort of canon and really take the characters further?' And I thought, that actually sounds fun. And I just started having fun with it. I just started thinking, 'Oh, we could do this. We could do that. We could never have done that on TV.' And of course, I know their voices so well. And this just sort of ballooned into this thing that became this big comic. I didn't expect it to be that big or that hard or any of that stuff. I just thought it would be fun."

Whedon said he also thinks crossing into different mediums is something fans of genre fiction are more likely to accept and support.

"There is less of that sort of thing in other areas, although they do make a CSI comic, God help us. But it definitely happens less. You know, we're not going to see an animated Grey's Anatomy anytime soon," he laughed. "Genre stuff is fantasy stuff. And fantasy people are very comfortable in different mediums. Fantasy people just want their god-damned fantasy. And they don't care if it's a book or a comic or a movie. They just want transported. They just want out of this world. And I can respect that."

But while the writer was willing to discuss the genre market tendencies toward cross-platforms, he was unable to tell his fans anything else about the Cabin in the Woods comic because of the top-secret stance he's taken on the movie.

"I made the mistake that makes a marketer's life hell. Our movie has a plot," he said.

"So, I have to live with that thing and keep my mouth shut until it's time to talk."

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