Has it been 6 years already?
I started drawing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the fall of 2006. Little did I know how this title, nay, this ‘verse, would consume my life… and I couldn’t be happier. Even though at the time, there were many outside of Dark Horse who cautioned me about “derailing” my career to do a non-superhero book.
Buffy came into my life quite by chance. I wasn’t a fan. I had never watched the show, and yet I got an email from the powers-that-be saying Joss Whedon really likes my work and wants me to draw this book. Like the road less traveled, I took the title fully expecting to only do about 4 or 5 issues and that would be that. Instead, Buffy became a part of my life and I took my first step into a much larger world!
“Season 8” was a huge learning curve for me as an artist and then later as a Buffy fan. If I was going to draw them, I had to get to know these characters inside and out, never once did I expect to fall in love with them. I took the job as an assignment, but somewhere along the way, it became a labor of love.
When “Season 9” came around, Joss and I had a conversation that was part “What do you think?” and part “Do you want to come back?”. In this day and age of 1 to 4 issue commitments, maybe he was a little cautious of having an artist staying so long on a book, but he needn’t have worried. I answered with a question of my own. “Are you coming back?” “Yes!” was his answer. And that was it for me. I was in for another tour of duty.
Where as “Season 8” was vast, chaotic and a little scattered, “Season 9” was more streamlined. In the history of the Buffy mythology, I think Seasons 8 and 9 stand up to anything from the TV show’s seasons 1-7. They’re strong, gutsy and the characters grow. Boy did they grow! I have the distinction of drawing scenes of these characters that will be remembered forever. It was exciting, and I’m eternally grateful. By the way, all of those television episodes (even the Angel ones) are now part of my personal collection.
Sometimes, at conventions, people will ask me do I think it’s going to hurt my career always being associated with Buffy and not, say X-Men or Batman? And with a sheepish grin, I always say that if Buffy is the only thing that I’m known for, after a hopefully long career run, then I have had a great career. I don’t ever expect to stray too far from Buffy. I believe she’ll always be a part of my life personally and professionally.
When I started this book 6 years ago, I felt this electric feeling in my belly all through “Season 8”. I thought it was just nerves. That feeling continued over the years, and towards the end of “Season 9” I was getting those feelings again. It wasn’t until I finished this season that I figured out what that feeling was. Butterflies.
Buffy gives me butterflies.
And that, my friends, makes all the difference!
Long Beach, CA