Begun in 2007, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer has continued on in canonical form not through television, or films, but through comics. Plotted and partially penned by show creator Joss Whedon, the 40-issue season is now coming to a close.
As befitting a season finale, Joss is writing the closing arc “Last Gleaming,” but he’s not alone. Scott Allie, the Buffy series editor at Dark Horse—and ever-present voice in the letter column—is joining Joss as co-writer.
Today’s release of Buffy #37 (check back here this afternoon for a review) marks Allie’s first credited issue, so I sat down for a quick interview with Scott regarding the change, what’s forthcoming in the Season 8 finale, and what plot elements Buffy readers can expect to see again as the season concludes.
Chris Greenland: You’re joining the title as co-writer with Joss on the closing arc—the season finale, as it were—on Buffy Season 8. What precipitated the change at this stage in the game?
Scott Allie: Well, it’s mostly Joss’s schedule that led to this, but it happened in stages. He was slammed, and he wanted help getting focused on the finale plotline. He wanted to make sure things were all coming together the way he intended, so he asked me to come down to L.A. and help him outline it. He knew where it needed to go, but in order to really focus his attention on it for a couple for days and make sure all concerns were addressed—or all concerns he deemed worthy—we arranged to sit in a room and hash it out. That was step one. And it worked pretty well. So then Avengers got heavy and really complicated his schedule, and he told me, “Now we’re officially cowriting the finale.” Which was a shock, and exciting.
Chris Greenland: How does the writing arrangement between you and Joss break down for the rest of the series? Are you enjoying getting to flex your writing muscles?
Scott Allie: Well, I’m always writing something [Ed: Check out Scott’s stuff on his site and a partial bibliography on Wikipedia], but what I’m enjoying here is having him as my editor, or cowriter, or whatever. Getting notes from Joss is pretty cool. My best friend likes to knit, and we shared this perspective one time about how there’s something exciting when you’re knitting to get to a stage in the process where you realize you have to go back and undo a bunch of what you’ve done; just tear it out and start over from some point a ways back.
There’s something liberating about it, deciding you’re not married to what you’ve done. You can just blow it all apart and do it again, with the belief that what you’ve done is not what’s precious, it’s the act of doing it, and so doing it again will only make it better.
Most writers probably wouldn’t agree with that, but I’ve always felt that. So there’s been some chunks of my issues of Season 8 where I’ve gotten some notes from Joss that make me seriously rethink what I’m doing, and then go in there with both hands and tear it up. And it’s especially exciting to do that armed with some new perspective or understanding about this particular way of telling a story, given to you by a writer you really respect.
Chris Greenland: Does this alter any plans for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season 9?
Scott Allie: Oh, no, I don’t wanna do this again!
Chris Greenland: Season 8 has vastly increased the scope of these characters, taking them from Sunnydale and making their fight worldwide. In this arc we finally return to Sunnydale. Will this finale similarly reduce the book’s scope back to the Scoobies?
Scott Allie: The final arc is all about bringin’ it all back home. The first arc was called “The Long Way Home.” This arc brings us back to Sunnydale. We are definitely reducing things. Yes.
Chris Greenland: Why was the Master chosen as the Big Bad behind it all?
Scott Allie: Is he?
Chris Greenland: Are we heading towards a magic-less Buffyverse? (Very strongly hinted at in the Fray mini-series and in this season’s “Time Of Your Life” arc.) Is this one apocalypse our characters can’t avoid?
Scott Allie: The world is not gonna end, but some big stuff is gonna happen, some things are going to change, and it will set us up for a very different approach to Season 9 than we had to Season 8. Our heroes can always avert apocalypse, but their choices are narrowing.
Chris Greenland: Is there anything in Season 8 (or earlier) that we’d do well to remind ourselves of as the final arc gets underway?
Scott Allie: We do dig up a lot of things in this final arc. There was a line in Brian K. Vaughan’s arc (The Faith-centric “No Future For You”), “The Queen is dead...” That’s gonna come back. The image Willow and Buffy saw in Buffy #10...
For readers who’ve got some time, I really think it’d be worthwhile to go back and read it all from the beginning in the next few weeks, so that when you’re reading issues #38 & #39 it’s all fresh. If you’re like me, you won’t remember all the stuff we dropped along the way that wasn’t underlined and bolded. I think there will be some nice pay off for people who’ve read from the beginning.
That’s all for now! If you’re still itching to read about the final arc and Season 8, Slay Alive has a fantastic in-depth interview with Scott from August of this year. (And, of course, if you’re following Buffy, don’t forget to pick up today’s issue.)
Chris Greenland is okay with character growth as long as there's punching.