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Spike Into The Light Thread(News/Spoilers)

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  • Spike Into The Light Thread(News/Spoilers)

    Preview and interview for Spike:Into The Light.

    EXCLUSIVE: Buffy's James Marsters on his new Spike graphic novel (plus a 4-page preview!)

    Dan Roth
    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    It's been a little while since James Marsters threw on the long black trench and played everyone's actual favorite vampire of all time, Spike. But he's returning to the role this year in a whole new way, and we've got an exclusive look.

    Since Dark Horse has found its footing (and a steady audience) with its official Buffy comic continuation, it's branching out, and one of the biggest ways it's doing that is by giving some of the actors a crack at writing the characters who made them famous.

    James Marsters has been carrying around his Spike graphic novel idea for a while. Thankfully, its day is finally about to come. We got in touch with James to ask him about what it was like getting back into the Buffy world, about the stories he still wants to tell, and with whom he might tell them. Also, we tried to make him mock fellow writer-turned-scribe Nicholas Brendon. Keep reading and you'll see how that turned out.

    And make sure you check out the four-page preview in the gallery below, too!

    So, I’ve heard you pitched the Spike comic over the phone to Scott Allie while you were at a con with Georges Jeanty. Do you remember how you pitched it to him, and what sold him on the idea?

    I remember seeing Georges at a Buffy panel at the San Diego Comic Con. I told him about a story that had been kicking around my noggin for a while. I was interested in the period of Spike's 'life' after he wins back his soul, but before he figures out what to do with it. I thought about Spike trying to find something to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes for himself now that his conscience wouldn't allow him to hurt, maim or kill. I knew in my gut that there was no way in hell he'd get a job. In the first scene, he almost loses a fight because his old boots are falling apart.

    I thought it might be funny and poignant to see him try to navigate this new situation, especially if he failed most of the time. He also might be tempted to play the hero. After his disasterous break with Buffy, he might try to find female companionship.

    So I wrote a story where Spike is homeless and starving to death. He meets a sweet lady, but doesn't tell her that he's a vampire. A Big Bad comes to town, and he tries to save the town. He fails on both fronts. The monster turns out to be much tougher than he looked and kicks Spike's ass. He beats him down like a rag doll. The sweet lady finds out Spike's secret and runs away in horror.

    The story, though, is a happy one. Spike makes a small step toward redemption. He finds a way to get a new pair of boots without killing anyone, stealing them, or getting a damn job.

    Georges thought it might make a good comic and put me in touch with Scott Allie at Dark Horse. It's hitting the stands soon, and it looks great. It totally and unequivocally rocks! I say that with all appropriate modesty.

    Conversely, how much control did you have over Spike when Buffy and Angel were still on the air? Did you ever put your foot down when a script contained something you thought that Spike wouldn’t say or do?

    I had no control whatsoever over Joss Whedon. He, and the other writers on Buffy, were the chefs. I was merely a waiter. I don't discount my part. Being an honest actor is not simple. It takes courage. It's a lot of work. Nonetheless, they cooked the dish. I served.

    So I guess the next logical question is, have you talked to Joss to let him know that Spike is finally and officially yours to control completely? And is he mad about it?

    I sent the script to Joss and got his highest compliment. Silence. It's a much better reaction than him writting to me to tell me all the ways that the story sucks and how to fix it. I assume he's pleased with it, or at least not too pissed off by it. Otherwise, believe me, he'd let me know.

    What’s your writing process like? Do you hunker down on your own, or have you talked with other people about this story as you write it?

    The story leapt out of me over the course of a week. It had been bottled up in my head for so long that it had no shyness about coming out. Then I showed it to all of the original Buffy writers to get their input. They are now my good friends, and were all very kind and creative.

    I remember David descriping the concept of the "Themeny," the enemy who also embodies the theme. That was gold.

    Are there any stories you want to write for Spike that you think you could never get away with?

    I am at heart a subversive artist, so I am always trying to come up with stories that I could never get away with, and then telling those stories, anyway. Scott at Dark Horse says he's open to me doing more of these in the future, so I'm brainstorming with David Fury these days about more ways to put Spike through the grinder. David says that writing and producing the new 24 is fun and all, but he misses the days where he could create demons, rip people's heads off and send them to hell. David is a hoot.

    You’re an unabashed fan of Shakespeare. Let’s imagine for a moment that Shakespeare is a vampire and is still alive. What do you think the bard would be writing about now?

    I think the closest thing we have to Shakespeare today is Martin Scorsese. The Wolf of Wall Street, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull are like Titus Andronicus, or Pericles. Hugo was like a Tempest or a The Winter's Tale. If Shakespeare were around today and were a vampire, he would go to Martin's house, rip his throat out and take over his niche.

    Joss is doing that little Avengers project. If you could be involved, is there a character in that world you’d want to take a crack at playing?

    If Joss wanted to make me an Avenger, I would hope that he would make me Deathcry.

    Nick Brendon has also entered the fold and is writing some of the Buffy comic. Throw down the gauntlet. Taunt him like a pro wrestler. Make him feel small and helpless.

    I heard Nick Brendon is also writing a comic. I say good luck to him. He's a good man. It will no doubt be hilarious. No, I'm not going to bait him for your pleasure. You sick-o.

    You try to make a guy attack a former colleague one time ... and finally, as you know Syfy makes really classy movies like Sharknado, and Sharktopus, and Ghost Shark. If you were given the chance to make your own Syfy movie, what would you call it?

    My Syfy movie would be called "Sharkactor." It would be about a shark who goes around trying to convince people that he's actually a squid, or a bass. In the end he discovers that all along he was really just trying to find himself.

    Spike: Into the Light, written by James Marsters and drawn by Derlis Santacruz, will be available this summer, July 16, 2014.

  • #2
    I like the art and the story seems kind of sweet ! Doesn't seem all that Season Seveny, though ! I like James' 'defence' of Nick !


    • #3
      The dialogue seems a bit... stiff?

      Its also really weird that Spike walked this girl home, spent considerable time with her so that she says he's a gentleman... and it's only at the end of the encounter that she bothers to learn his name or he introduces himself. Human interaction doesn't work like that without being massively awkward. Usually, learning someone's name is the first thing you do, not the last.

      I'd be interested if anyone can pinpoint which episodes this comic is set between.

      I assume at the end of the comic, the girl will be freaked out to learn that that Spike is a vampire and reject him. I wonder if she'll ever try to contact him after Harmony made the public perception of vampires to be a positive thing in season 8? For that matter, I'd like to know if zompires had a negative impact on the public perception of vampires...

      I wonder if the big bad of this comic will be connected to the First Evil in any way? I assume it's the creature on the cover?

      I like the idea being explored that once upon a time, Spike would have just smashed the window and taken what he wanted, but he can't now. The soul isn't just a "do not kill" function. That's something that I think the fandom sometimes forgets. The soul is the chance to actually feel the difference between right and wrong. Stealing from a shop may not be on the same level as murder, but the soul still tells Spike that it's the wrong thing to do. That's something I want to see explored more with Spike's soul. I don't like the fact that in season 9 he still treats his murder of two Slayers pretty flippantly, and walks around ashing his cigarettes onto other people's belongings. Spike's character should always have a bit of snark and attitude to him, but I'd like it if the soul created more changes within Spike aside from "don't kill anymore". In short, I really like Spike's realization in this preview that stealing the boots isn't an option for him anymore, it's not who he is. Unless it's Angel's car I guess.

      The artwork looks pretty decent.

      I wonder if we'll see any of the other scoobies in this mini?

      I think it's got potential to be a fun story, but I hope James Marsters can get good fast at writing dialogue. Writing isn't the same as acting. I think these pages are okay, but the dialogue between Spike and the woman just doesn't feel like a natural conversation between two people.
      Last edited by Vampire in Rug; 22-03-14, 10:41 PM.


      • #4
        I figured since this isn't season 10 related,I would give it its own thread.

        As for settimg,maybe this is set after Selfless around Him?Maybe shortly after but before Conversations With Dead People?

        I like the artwork too.


        • #5
          If I remember right, when it was first announced, to fit into S7 and not clash with events going on in there (struggling with madness/soul early on, then managing/being restricted by the trigger, but falling before fighting with the First really kicks off) some of us figured to place it between LMPTM and Dirty Girls. It would make sense in some ways for Spike to take time out following that but otherwise I just think it wouldn't work around the madness, trigger or him walking away mid the main big bad build up.

          The dialogue is really clunky. I feel wary to say it on just a couple of pages but I don't think going as far as saying it is badly done would be unfair tbh. I have heard his story outline enough to expect no surprises but as long as it doesn't disrupt S7 I can stick a bit of ropey writing if the content is light/fun enough.
          Last edited by Stoney; 19-03-14, 03:20 AM.


          • #6
            I agree that the dialogue/writing doesn't seem stellar; maybe it gets better.


            • #7
              Um, there is around zero chance that this comic is even remotely possibly canon.

              Spike's 'crappy' blue shirt was Versace. Spike wore designer clothes throughout BtVS S7 until he wore his Spike costume again. There's zero chance he somehow couldn't get boots given those shoes he wore in the opening episodes of BtVS S7 were designer dress shoes.

              Spike in BtVS S7 was focused on Buffy and Drusilla. If he was sleeping around -- which I reason he was -- he was sleeping around and not having any thing of 'relationship' with anyone. The guy wanted to be with Buffy.

              Spike and Dru : "Paint the Town Red" was so good and introduced stuff to the Buffyverse that later became canon -- Drusilla being Spike's sire, Spike's age being closer to 100 than 200, Drusilla making Spike because Angel was paying less attention to her than before, Spike eating 'people food', portals to other dimensions being able to be made through magic, talismans, blood magic, necromancers.

              But in recent years -- from seeing convention footage and whatnot -- it seems James Marsters doesn't 'know' and understand Spike as well as he used to.

              Also, having 'his wife' be the love interest in this story is something like if Officer Dowling looked like Freddie Prinze Jr. because Sarah Michelle Gellar requested that.


              • #8
                Nicholas Brendon & James Marsters talk their Buffy comic work..


                CBR TV: Nicholas Brendon & James Marsters On "Buffy Season 10"

                "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" actors Nicholas Brendon and James Marsters discuss writing their own characters in Dark Horse's "Buffy Season 10" and more.

                Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

                "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans will know Nicholas Brendon and James Marsters as Xander and Spike from the acclaimed television series, but later this year, the two will make the jump to Dark Horse's "Buffy Season 10" as writers -- Brendon, co-writing an arc of "Buffy Season 10" with Christos Gage and Marsters heading up the original graphic novel, "Spike: Into The Light."

                The "Buffy" veterans joined CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland in the CBR Speakeasy to discuss getting into writing comics, as well as some stories from the early days of "Buffy," the difference in process between television and print and much more.

                On getting into writing comics: "The story that i had started years ago. Joss called me up and wanted to know if we could do a TV movie on Spike," said Marsters. "I said, 'Man, I'll do anything that you want to do. What do you got?' and he said, 'I've got no ideas at all. I've got a line from a movie. ... From 'Lord of the Rings,' something about 'I have no hope for myself, but I have hope for you people' before he goes off to war. I'm like, 'Well, that's very serious, Joss.' And he said, 'Well, what do you got?' 'Well, actually, I have this idea.' I wanted Spike to proactively have a plan and implement it. As a secondary character, you're mostly reacting to other people's plans. That's your job and that's fine, but I thought it'd be fun to have Spike wake up in the morning and say, 'I want this' and go out and get it. I thought it would be cheesy if he accomplished anything too large, so I thought he should accomplish the smallest thing I could think of. I had an idea that Spike, having just gotten his soul and just broken up with Buffy, that he would be having a hard time surviving because he can't really mug anybody for what he needs and he will not get a job. He's homeless, he's starving to death, his clothes are falling apart, and his boot is so mangled that he's almost losing fights because the sole is flapping around. What if there's a story where he loses the girl, he loses the fight to the monster, he tries to play hero, he gets his butt kicked, but he does find a way to get a new pair of boots without hurting anybody, without stealing them and without getting a job."

                "Joss said, 'That's a wonderful idea. That's cheap to film!'"

                "I don't really know [how I got involved]," said Brendon. "I think I was at Comic-Con on a Buffy panel with Scott Allie and Jane [Espenson] and I just kind of -- I don't know. I said, 'Yeah, I'll write!' It wasn't really that thought-out. That's kind of how I live my life."

                Brendon on working with Christos Gage for "Buffy Season 10": "He's awesome," said Brendon. "He really, really is. I've written things, but it's never been in the format. The first comic I had read after 'Archie' was Buffy stuff to see what the format was like. He's wonderful. I punch up jokes. Giles is a little kid again, so we need him to be saying and looking at boobies more. He's got that -- we need him to just have a raging boner from time to time. That's what we need. We kill a monster, and I was in Paris, and I came up with this really, really sweet vampire that just happened to be gay, and his name was Gary. He was just giant -- he wasn't hurting anybody, but he was so big, he needed to die. I thought, 'What if someone was so big that the only way you could stake him was the Eiffel Tower?' ... We kill somebody that way in San Francisco."

                Marsters on his "Spike: Into The Light" Original Graphic Novel: Having a secondary character on a show, especially mine -- Xander is still in the same town, he's hanging out with Buffy a lot, but my character would come in quickly and then get out and let you guys tell the story. I thought the most interesting part of my years on the show was that time when he got his soul and just to see him try to figure out what to do with it. Trying to find a way to explore that without going Angel. I went up to Joss and said, "Joss, we should do a spinoff on Spike." And he said, "Yeah, a male vampire spinoff of Buffy. What should we call it? 'Angel?'" So that was dead in the water.

                Part of the way I decided to do that is just inherent in the character -- it's funny to see Spike fail. It's also dramatic to see him get frustrated while he's failing. It's not like he's going to go Angel and brood about his failure with a fireplace in a big mansion. He's going to be stripped down, he's going to be an underdog and you can just see him tripping over himself and failing to do that."

                Brendon on his webcomic "Very Bad Koalas": Basically, we got two koala bears looking for a portal back to Earth and they **** shit up on the way. The more they try to do good, they do bad and that puts them back future. ... My partner Steve Loder, who is writing movies now for Pixar, we just had this idea. I did a show for him, and we got together. If you haven't seen them, there are 26 online. There's some funny stuff. There are poopies. Nazis."

                There is video too.

                Also putting this in the season 10 news thread.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MikeB
                  Um, there is around zero chance that this comic is even remotely possibly canon.

                  Spike's 'crappy' blue shirt was Versace. Spike wore designer clothes throughout BtVS S7 until he wore his Spike costume again. There's zero chance he somehow couldn't get boots given those shoes he wore in the opening episodes of BtVS S7 were designer dress shoes.
                  Mike, I know it's your personal fanon that Spike is secretly rich, but that just doesn't gel with what we saw on the show. For all the possible areas where this comic might conflict with the canon of season 7, Spike being unable to afford a pair of boots isn't one of them. If the writers of this comic think that Spike in season 7 was not in a financial position to buy these boots, I don't see how that's not believable.

                  How do you know Spike's clothes in season 7 were designer clothes? Are you a fashion expert? How do you know they weren't imitations?

                  Whose to say that Spike hasn't owned these clothes for years because he stole them or killed someone his size? Whose to say Spike's "designer clothes" weren't a gift from Harmony that he just never wore onscreen before? Or maybe he shoplifted them in season 7 and his new soul made him feel guilty about it hence why he can't bring himself to steal these boots?

                  Personally, I'm gonna accept this story as canon unless it's got something major that contradicts the previously established canon. Joss Whedon apparently knows that James Marsters is writing it and he's cool with it. The shows are over, I'm happy to accept most stories like this as canonical. It's not like the show is still running and therefore the comic must have zero character progression for fear of contradicting the show. Comic books are the medium of the story now.


                  • #10
                    Vampire in Rug

                    * James Marsters wrote this story. Where do you get “writers of this comic” from? Joss Whedon didn’t executive produce it and it’s unlikely James even allowed Scott Allie or Christos Gage to do any editing on it.

                    * There is zero indication or evidence that Spike couldn’t get new boots. If Spike needed new boots, Buffy herself would have gotten him boots if Spike couldn’t get some himself. He’s wearing the coat, which means if this happened in BtVS S7, it happened after “Get It Done” (B 7.15).

                    * Joss Whedon didn’t executive produce this. The TV Buffyverse being over doesn’t automatically mean that anything written is canon. If something can’t be canon, it isn’t.


                    • #11
                      I just had a look back at the Scott Allie interview with Buffyfest and he says that the events of this story span just over 24hrs which I hadn't remembered. Whilst I still don't think him wandering off works in S7 because it would still be a jump in tone, a day or so is obviously easier for them to try and just wave away. Allie did also say he wasn't touching a word of the dialogue past what JM changed at his suggestion. I wonder why they cut him adrift so much when they could presumably see he was struggling to write well/voice the character.

                      Also, when I searched for the interview I noticed it is up for preordering on Amazon as a hardcover already and it says it is 72 pages. I know diddly about comics but that seems massive for a one plot story.


                      • #12
                        If the JM comic is this bad and it got published one can only wonder how bad the JL Dru comic was that got pulled.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                          Allie did also say he wasn't touching a word of the dialogue past what JM changed at his suggestion. I wonder why they cut him adrift so much when they could presumably see he was struggling to write well/voice the character.
                          Given how JM reacted last time they made decisions he didn't agree with it's not surprising that they stayed so hands off. It was probably part of their agreement for doing the comic in the first place. If he caused such a fuss over the art can you imagine how he'd act if they tried to change his script?

                          ~ Banner by Nina ~


                          • #14
                            I did wonder if there was 'history', but it seemed a dramatic notion, a little prima donna for a comic script so I dismissed it. Was that a previous project that caused tension? Bottom line, it is their profession not his, he should have let them edit/cowrite!!

                            EDIT: Was that something about the art being too ugly to appeal to people or something? It's ringing vague bells.
                            Last edited by Stoney; 04-04-14, 01:55 AM.


                            • #15
                              Ryan Sook's art for the book was very ugly. JM objected to Drusilla looking so ugly - he felt it was a romance story after all and found Scott a little less than understanding about this to say the least. According to Scott, the art had the approval of Joss, who wanted this particular look, so Joss's preference won the day !