SDCC 2013: Buffy Season 9 Illustrator Georges Jeanty Interview
As we all know, Buffy Season 9 is coming to a close, but before it does, I got to talk to Georges Jeanty at the Darkhorse Booth here at Comic-Con. First, I have to mention that he is fantastic and friendly, and if it weren’t so unprofessional I’d be smitten. (Please feel free to be smitten on my behalf.) Especially since, while talking about the fandom, he subconsciously switched from a “they” to a “we” perspective.
So the transcription of the entire interview can be found below (click here to jump straight to it), but I’ll give you the short, heavily paraphrased version. Jeanty says that there are times that he’ll question where the story is going, but Joss is always willing to listen because if he doesn’t buy it, the audience won’t either. He says the series is picking up speed and you won’t be able to put it down until the end. And after the end, is there a Season 10? Nothing has been confirmed, but Jeanty suspects there will be.
When not busy with Buffy, Jeanty will be drawing the Joker’s daughter for DC during their Villians month in September. And after that, he’ll be doing more work with Joss for Dark Horse, but he’s not allowed to tell us about it yet.
Whedonopolis: How are you liking Comic-Con so far?
Jeanty: Comic-Con is good. Actually this is the first year I’m invited as a guest and I highly recommend it. If they invite you out on their dime, you take them up on it.
Whedonopolis: How does this compare to some of the other conventions you’ve been to?
Jeanty: Well, this is by far the biggest one and it’s probably the most merchandise heavy. You know, there’s just so much stuff here- whether it’s freebies, giveaways or whatever- there’s just so much of that here that it overwhelms everything else I think. But it’s great! I think, this type of a show is what- there should be this type of show. Not every show should be this type of show. But it’s nice that this type of show is what it is. That’s not getting too- esoteric on you?
Whedonopolis: No. What’s the fan response like?
Jeanty: To me or to Buffy?
Whedonopolis: How about both?
Jeanty: Well, fan response to Buffy is always great. One of the best things about doing the book is the fans. And I know that sounds like such a canned statement to say, “Oh! You know, the great thing is meeting the fans.” And all that. But it is. ‘Cause this is- I think more than anything- Buffy is probably a very fan-driven entity. It only lives because of the fan base. And because of that, they’re just the greatest bunch of people. And I think we’re all on the same wavelength- certainly when it comes to Buffy- that we’re united. Even- we don’t know each other, but as soon as we have that common interest, we are united. As far as for me, uh, it’s good. It’s always good. Every time I can go out, and hang out, and talk and all that stuff I’m more than happy. ‘Cause most of my time- to sort of take away from the glamour of all this- is spent alone. At a table. Looking down. At a paper. Alone. Did I mention the alone part?
Jeanty: So this is great!
Whedonopolis: So, how do you feel about how the story line is progressing?
Jeanty: To Season 9?
Jeanty: I think it’s very good. A lot of people were complaining that toward the middle there it kind of dragged a little bit. Maybe got a little out of character, but if I can assure anyone, it is that we are back on track. And anybody reading the book now will not be able to put it down until the very last issue.
Whedonopolis: Cool. So, we all know that Joss has his master plan, and you have to follow that of course.
Jeanty: [really good evil villain laughter]
Whedonopolis: How much are you allowed to stray from it? If at all.
Jeanty: Well, as an artist, I don’t necessarily stray as much as I kind of- interpret the highway that we’re all on. In that journey. Because visually, obviously, it’s left up to the artist to do what the writer has created with words. So in that- and this is where Joss is very savvy in my opinion- Joss hires good people to do good work and then stays out of their way. And that, to me, is the best thing anybody who has a franchise or owns something or does something can do. You hire the people and don’t arm wrestle them. Don’t muscle them. If you like what they did- obviously there’s a checks and balances- but if you are confident of what they can do, you just stay out of their way and let them do what they do.
Whedonopolis: Has there every been a time where you thought, “Maybe this should be done a different way?” Like you disagreed with Joss?
Jeanty: Oh, yeah! There have been times I’ve disagreed with Joss. And I’ve actually- it’s funny- ’cause yeah, I’m sitting there going, “Uh, I’m telling Joss Whedon that no, this is not gonna happen.” But yeah, there have been a couple times where I’ve sort of said, “Well, I just don’t agree with you.” And true to his form, he’s very “Okay, well tell me why.” He doesn’t just say “Uh, dude, this is my stuff. Shut up. Do it. Go on.” He’s very, “Well, let’s talk about it. If you are serious about what you’re thinking, tell me why, and if I can convince you, I know I’m convincing the fans as well.” So he encourages you, certainly, to have your own mind.
Whedonopolis: That’s really cool. So, I’ve heard you’ve said before that it takes you longer to draw Buffy characters in particular. [Jeanty smiles at this.] Is there any one that takes really long where you’re like, ok, time to draw this one again.
Jeanty: Well, I get that way when it’s like a crowd scene with all of the established characters. ‘Cause now it’s like, oh damn, I can’t just fake it on one of them. I’ve gotta draw each one of the characters hopefully as the way they look. But I would say- I would really give you more of a blanket statement and say the women are harder to draw because with women, as an artist, you have to draw them with less lines in their faces. Because it’s an unspoken rule: the more lines you put on a woman’s face, the uglier she looks. And you certainly never want Buffy to look ugly, or Willow to look ugly, or whomever. So you have to do it with the least amount of lines possible, and that is very difficult. So the women tend to be a little more difficult being drawn because you have to pick the one or two lines that are going to solidify that expression or that statement.
Whedonopolis: So, Season 9 is coming to a close.
Whedonopolis: And is there any news you can share with us about Season 10?
Jeanty: I- you know what? I have no official word that there’ll even be a Season 10. Do I think there’ll be a Season 10? Hell yeah! But as with the TV show, the season will come to an end. They will take a hiatus. Like the summer break as a TV show will. And then they will come back and do whatever they’re gonna do with Season 10. I don’t know any details, unfortunately involving that, but I’m sure it’s a safe bet there will be a Season 10.
Whedonopolis: I’m sure everyone will be happy to hear that.
Jeanty: Oh! Let’s hope so!
Whedonopolis: So are there any other projects you’re working on?
Jeanty: Yes. I am also currently doing a one-shot for DC. Coming in September they’re going to have their villains month. Which is a commemoration of their second anniversary of their New 52 line that they launched, obviously, two years ago. And they’re celebrating that- I believe- with a bunch of one-shot villain issues. And I am doing the Joker’s daughter- one-shot- in that. And then from there, I’m coming right back to Dark Horse and doing some more work with Joss and the Whedonverse. Which I am not at liberty to say what, but I’m doing some stuff there.
Whedonopolis: So we’ll be looking out for that, for sure.
Jeanty: I hope so.
Whedonopolis: And definitely be getting a call from us to talk about it when you can talk about it.
Jeanty: Well, all you gotta do is call, and I’ll come runnin’.
Whedonopolis: And that’s it. Thank you very much.
(This is the part where I shook his hand, and he noticed my TARDIS bracelet, and he showed me his TARDIS watch. I told you, you’d be smitten.)