Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The Wolf, the Ram, and the Heart part 1
Written by David Tischman and Mariah Huehner
Art by Elena Casagrande
This review is going to be peppered with the best kind of pepper outside of actual delicious pepper. VIDEO INTERVIEWS!
Don’t mind the roar of the audience in the background. Mariah and I were surrounded by adoring fans of Angel and this site. There was a whole coliseum of them.
That, or we were at New York Comic Con.
Now, the issue.
It feels a lot like I wanted “Angel: Aftermath” to feel. Back when “Aftermath” came out, the biggest Angel arc had just ended. The character’s lives were changed forever. I wanted to read something that was simultaneously different from what came before but still consistent with the characters and the tone of the series. My expectations weren’t really met with that series, and now we’re in a somewhat similar place. The arc that Bill Willingham started and Mariah and David carried out has just finished. By the end of the arc, everyone had been changed forever. Connor took over as champion of LA, Spike left for Vegas, Illyria set out to find herself, and Angel decided to take a step back and let his son grow as a man. So again, I was faced with the same expectation. I wanted consistency, but I knew that things couldn’t be the same.
This book excels at doing just that.
Now, about that crowd. It’s a good group. I’m still waiting for Laura to have a moment that really sells me on her (Polyphemus’s was when he let Spike use him as a ball), but she’s tolerable. I love the pairing of Connor and Gunn, though. I’ve been anticipating some actual movement for their characters since “After the Fall,” because… well, Gunn killed Connor. And then, last time they were together, Connor said that he wanted to cut Gunn’s throat. A bit unsympathetic, no? This book makes up for that. Connor realizes that he was in the wrong for that, but there is an air of tension between them that goes beyond that. I’m excited to see how the clearly capable Huehner and Tischman explore that.
There is a creepy scene with James. Or Jamerah? Or the other creepy alieny name he had before. Everyone else is going with James, so I’ll agree with them. They’re my fictional buddies. So, James. He kinda… has a goo… baby… thing. It’s similar to the birth of the soul eater, but this one looks very different. No idea where any of that is going, but it ups the horror factor to a level that Angel as a television show rarely took it to. It facilitates the different mood that the comic is playing with.
Now, to Angel. Angel Angel Angel. We knew thanks to the kind and good smelling folks over at Buffyfest that our eponymous hero was going to be removed from our current timeline. Not much I can say about that, other than the folks that pull him out are pretty much from where you’d expect. Good ol’ Wolfram & Hart. While they’re creepy as always, they seem less… lawyery in the future. And this time, when they say what they’ve said before (“We’re not the bad guys.”) I… kind of believe them. At least, they’re not the worst bad guys. James really screwed stuff in the future up, and Angel realizes that that means something he did in the past (his/our present) must have really been off base. They, for some reason, were unable to stop this threat. So Future W&H wants to enlist Angel to somehow make things right.
But Angel would rather jump off a building than do that. So he does.
And because this is a comic, it ends on that dramatic moment. It was solid read, and it felt very much like the beginning of an epilogue. The end of IDW’s Angel is coming, and Mariah and David are crafting what promises to be an excellent story.
Plus, Angel is wearing a hoodie. He sure knows how to rock a hoodie.
--VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH DAVID TISCHMAN NEXT WEEK--
Back-up story: “Eddie Hope- Sunset”
Written by Bill Williams
Art by Elena Casagrande and Walter Trono
While Angel gets a new beginning, Eddie Hope comes to an end. Not a deathy kind of end, though. The “Holy shit, that guy Angel and his crew really beat me up… and kind of for nothing. Gunn wasn’t even on my list, but I went after him anyway. I’m going beyond what my original mission was. Time to say fuck that and go home.” And that’s essentially it. The actual writing is more eloquent than that, but as the title implies, Eddie lets the sun set on his vengeance gig. It’s a good, if abrupt, end to the character. Bill Williams has consistently done a great job with shoving a big story into four pages, and while I would have liked a bit more breathing room for Eddie’s swan song, this does the trick. He was an engaging character, and the back-ups were always a pleasure to read. He’ll be missed.
Don’t miss my interview with Bill Williams, where he comments on Eddie’s final chapter: http://buffyversecomics.blogspot.com/2010/11/eddie-hope-and-bill-williams-bow-out.html
Oh, and just a bit of “I hope” here. While Eddie’s story end with the first part of “The Wolf, the Ram, and the Heart,” I really hope that it’s collected with the previous installments in the “Connorland” hardcover. It would be super awkward to have this one Eddie back-up in the final hardcover.
Pat Shand Interviews Bill Williams
Again: Exit Interview
Writer of the Eddie Hope backups in ANGEL
and SPIKE: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Bill Williams: Well, the plan was to have him introduced into Team Angel, but that was scrapped which works just as well for me. I’m not sure that the vengeance road has room for a full minivan.
For me, I got a solid grip on the character when I had another character ask him why he never went home when Los Angeles snapped back to normal. Eddie Hope’s name became ironic for him in that he considered himself damaged and corrupted by the events of After the Fall. He was afraid that he would poison all of his friends and family if he did not quarantine himself. That put him on an even lonelier road.
So in Angel #39, Eddie has suffered a nasty physical beating and it makes him reconsider what he is doing. There is also a nice callback to the Spike mini-series. It was fun for me to be able to write a few lines of dialogue for Angel in the Angel comics.
My truncated run with Eddie ends with the scene I always intended to conclude the series with, just a bit early. Eddie’s story is over, but in comics anything is possible.
BCR: Fans have been all a-twitter. Is Eddie modeled after Wentworth Miller?
BW: That’s a question for David Messina who is a great guy. An Italian publisher found that we both worked on the Eddie stuff for Angel. They were interested in publishing Italian editions of some work I published in the states and David more or less vouched for both sides so I’m at the contract stage for those foreign rights. Like I said great guy.
When it comes to the art I do my best to leave out any reference to celebrity. It’s one of those things that can really bite you when it goes wrong and I did not know that David would be the lead artist on the Eddie stories until the last minute. I suppose one of the many reasons not to provide reference is the danger that you will end up with bad photo tracing as a result.
I was at the Wizard show in Austin chatting with Brian Denham as he was drawing a Spike commission for a fan and man that guy gets it. He can pull up a photo on his cell phone and draw a likeness that is spot on and not deadened by the process.
That said, I can see a little passing resemblance to the Prison Break actor.
BCR: What was your favorite moment in your tenure as an Angel/Spike writer?
BW: At the end of Angel #38, Eddie has been beaten unconscious by Team Angel. Originally in issue #39, Eddie was to have a hallucination and have a bit of a dream walk where a few stray bits of his character were stitched together and it was surreal and charming and funny. But that bit was cut away in the change over in the creative teams when Willingham left the title.
I liked writing the banter between the Spike and Eddie in the Spike: Devil You Know mini-series, which will be out in trade form early next year. I pitched it as ‘24 with Vampires’, but by the time I was through it was more like ‘48 Hours with vampires’. Spike has such a wonderful sense of humor, that it’s a shame not to use it.
But my favorite bit that hit the shelves was the extended fight between Team Angel and Eddie in Angel #37 and #38. Eddie is fairly certain that the vampires and monsters on Team Angel will kill him if they beat him and Team Angel is furious for the abduction of Gunn. There’s a lot of drama in that fight.
BCR: Now that Eddie's story has wrapped up, what is next for Bill Williams?
BW: I am so far behind in my effort in the National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. To hit that mark, you need to manage around 1700 words a day. I lost a week already as I finished a new comic book project that just hit the digital distributors. So, I need to pull out a few 5,000 word days to hit the writing deadline. The novel is a mystery set in Austin where a young police detective chases a killer and wanders into a variation on a Hitchcock classic.
The reason I lost that week was that I have a new webcomic launching on December 1. A few years back, I wrote a story that is loosely based on some events I lived through when my cat was hit by a car and I had to help him rehab. Biscuit & Lefty: A Cat’s Tale is available for digital download from WOWIO. www.wowio.com/users/product.asp?BookId=223401 It is also in the works with Graphic.ly and Comics Plus and more. It will launch for free as a webcomic on December 1 off of my blog www.billwilliamsfreelance.com which is chock full of fun stuff. The story is so sweet that my letterer Thom asked me if I really wrote it. The art is by Bobby Diaz and me and I’m pretty proud of it. Bobby penciled it and I inked and colored the pages.
At that show in Austin, I talked with Brent Erwin from Ape Entertainment and he seems keen on a pitch I sent in for one of his licensed properties. So I might have a few projects in the cycle from them.
But with the comic book field, you never know.
Big thanks to Bill Williams for the interview! Check out the links he provided and be sure to catch the end of Eddie Hope's saga of vengeance in Angel #39.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Spike's Vegas adventure takes place after Angel #38, and that's pretty much all the defining of the timeline we're doing for now. Illyria's story takes place after #38 as well, and after the little fight with Angel and Spike. When you see Illyria #1 you'll see how some of it ties together, but again, it's a tight time frame for only those specific events. The Spike adventure goes off on its own and has its own arc to manage. Brian's story was too important to hamstring with trying to force it all to gel perfectly. And a lot of the Spike comic had been established before the last story arc became the last one, so it's more on me than it is on Brian. We just want to link what we can, and hope fans will be forgiving and okay with the sort of vague "happens after #38" answer. :}