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April 21 2009

James Marsters on IDW's Angel series - "I like what I see". He also shares his experiences on working on a Spike story for Dark Horse. Interestingly enough, Dark Horse have decided to respond to James' comments.

Someone sent me a nice note saying James actually recommended they read SPIKE:SHADOW PUPPETS. That made my day.
That comment, Brian, had me daydreaming for a few minutes about James playing Spike again with you writing the character. I snapped out of it with a wistful smile :)

[ edited by Mirage on 2009-04-21 17:23 ]
*Sigh*, another article with a lack of fact-checking.
- James Marsters only co-wrote a one-shot, not a mini-series.
- Ryan Sook did the artwork, not Keith Barnett. I've never even heard of Keith Barnett. Ryan Sook's artwork was controversial: a lot of people loved it, a lot of people hated it. I recall Joss praising it.
- Juliet is not spelled "Juliette."
I'm not sure which of the comics he co-wrote, but I can't remember the art of any of the stories being untrue to the characters(not the art I prefer, but no bad)

I can't say I agree with James on that romantic twisted leads have to be kissable.

Movie-wise maybe, because people have to want to go to the cinema and watch characters they might not know anything about, but for Spike & Dru fans (who really should realize that Spike & Dru often are "unkissable") that shouldn't be a problem.

Spike & Dru look beautiful on the show, even when "acting" ugly and feral, but I didn't mind their inside matching their outside in the comics.

But that's just me.
I remember the art for that one shot. It was hideous imo to the point I felt it actually distracted from the story. No wonder he didn't think much of it. I won't have.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2009-04-21 18:10 ]
Is that the World's Fair one or the one on the river boat?
Neither. The first one (co-written by James Marsters), "Paint the Town Red," had something to do with a European sorcerer, and was set sometime before "Lovers' Walk." I think. It's been a while. The second one, "Queen of Hearts," was the river boat one, and was set sometime before "School Hard." The third one, "All's Fair," was the one about the Lovecraftian monster at the Chicago World fair in the 1930s or '40s, and was drawn by Eric Powell because Ryan Sook was unavailable.

Comic Book DB lists Keith Barnett as one of five inkers for "All's Fair," as well as the inker of the short Spike & Dru story "Who Made Who?" from the "Lover's Walk" Valentine's Day one-shot.
Heee, that comment by Brian made me smile as well... Not even daydreaming (well, yes, a bit), just happy James read Spike Shadow Puppets and loved it, cause I love it too..

Simon, none of those, James co-wrote the one where Spike goes to Turkey..
Simon, none of those, James co-wrote the one where Spike goes to Turkey..


I thought the art for that one was fine. But I guess if you write the story, you'd like to see it drawn the way you see it in your head.
The idea of Brian being asked by Fox to script a show with Spike sounds about as plausible as Berkley Books asking Roy Thomas to write a Conan novel . . . oh, they did, didn't they?
I love Ryan Sook, although his Spike and Dru work wasn't his best...

As for James Marsters' feelings on the matter, this isn't news. I saw it reported years ago.
The comic is actually available to read at the BBC's Buffy section, in case anyone's interested.
Thanks ruuger for the link. I went there and I must say I agree with James and sue ... yuck on the art.
Oh, that one. Then it could be Keith Barnett's work James was unhappy with, in case the ink "screwed" up the pages. Either way, the article needs a fact-check.

I still don't really see it as a comic where the characters need to be "kissable", but since it's about Spike's broken heart, perhaps beauty would have made it more tragic and moving.

The artwork made the comic more twisted than romantic.

I don't see the gothic influence tough, but since I'm not sure what's goth and what's not, that's not that suprising.
Since JL is co-writing the Dru 2 parter with Brian,maybe James could co-write a arc with Brian on the upcoming Spike monthly?

Dark Horse has responded to this James's comments.

http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/04/21/dark-horse-responds-to-buffy-actor-james-marsters-comics-comments/

Someone might want to edit this into the header.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-04-22 01:05 ]
Hmm.. their response seems a tad dismissive of the writer (JM). Like, we talked to big daddy and he agreed/endorsed the artist and image concept so surely that is what counts, not the whiny guy who wrote the thing.
*rolls eyes*

Hmm...I thought the art was beautiful and fitting to the story as did Joss. It's funny, who would know about what fits in a comic after all? An actor with no experience in the industry, who admits to wanting total creative control to a collaborative effort, or the editor with more than a decade of knowing what works?
Does anyone have a link to the (albeit old) artwork?

I know John DeLancie had issues with a Star Trek comic he wrote, and he never got over it. Sometimes they want the name, and they don't really care about the writing. Comes as a shock to the namee.
Has ANYONE EVER looked so different looked so different from his/her onscreen persona? (Excepting actors in roles where characters they are putting on heavy special makeup and all.) This always goes through my mind whenever I see the "real life" James Marsters.

Sure, the American/British accent differentiation played a role back in the Buffy days, but that's lost steam over the years with all the Brits and Aussies playing American roles. But man, forget about the accent. Spike was all about the outfits and the hair. I mean, those two tools just TRANSFORMED Marsters into Spike. It multiplied his sex appeal 10 times easy. (Just ask at least a couple of my highly distracted girlfriends during Buffy and Angel's runs.)

It must be tough for Marsters outside of the Soike persona--sure, he's still got the lean, mean bod and the killer bone structure, but outside of that he looks entirely... normal. And even a little on the slight side (I'm not buying the IMDB's reported 5-9 1/2" height). He certainly looks younger than than 46, but whenever he's not Spike he no longer looks, well, immortal. (Dave Boreanaz, meanwhile, looks even younger than he did on Angel.)

That's no knock on Marsters--reportedly a great guy. I think he's awesome he's still involved with creative pursuits related to Buffy. He's just so different from Spike... if anything, it's a testament to his abilities as an actor.
Man, I was gonna take credit for giving James Shadow Puppets, but I remembered I gave him Asylum, Shadow Puppets wasn't out yet.

And I have to weigh in on the side of not liking the art at all. Even the picture of Drusilla on the MTV article is horrible. And not in a horror way, in an ugly way.
Eric Rick Gershman - please don't sign your comments. Cheers.
It's funny, who would know about what fits in a comic after all? An actor with no experience in the industry, who admits to wanting total creative control to a collaborative effort, or the editor with more than a decade of knowing what works?

I think the key to a successful collaboration is for everyone to understand where they stand up front. For whatever reason that doesn't seem to have happened in this instance. If the input of the guy brought into write it means nothing it might have been better to make sure he knew that he was only there to lend his name at the outset.
I'm lining up with those who don't like the art. The coloring and illustrations are just ugly, imo.
It's funny, who would know about what fits in a comic after all? An actor with no experience in the industry, who admits to wanting total creative control to a collaborative effort, or the editor with more than a decade of knowing what works?


I don't know. I don't think James wanting "total creative control" is the case, it seems he just wanted to be heard and to be happy with the final product he put a lot of work into. I've met James, and he is the opposite of ego, so it just doesn't ring true to me. I've also met Mr. Allie.

Do I agree with James about Ryan Sook's art? It did look ugly for the story yes... but Sook is usually a fantastic artist. His work on "Ring of Fire" has some of the best Buffy art we've seen from Dark Horse. I'd love if he came back on Season Eight or Nine. The issue with James's story is that Sook made his art a lot darker and a lot more evily than it usually looks.

[ edited by patxshand on 2009-04-22 07:00 ]
The issue with James's story is that Sook made his art a lot darker and a lot more evily than it usually looks.

Isn't that the point? Since the characters were evil at the time?

It kinda sounds like James and Joss were approaching it with different ideas. James saw it as a romance, Joss saw it as a horror story. Joss won. You know Joss, he's gotta protect his theme and he's always been very concerned with making the vampires not too appealing.
Horror doesn't have to be ugly

And that art work was ugly

Spike and Dru work brilliantly in the contrast between their beautiful human faces and their scary vamp faces . If you make their human faces ugly too you lose a lot of the impact.

Also why didn't Dark Horse talk to James as well as to Joss?
I would have thought that was common courtesy.

Frankly I'm not surprised James found the whole thing annoying.

Also he's been talking about this at cons for years now . I can't help wondering why Dark Horse feel the need to respond now when, as far as I know, they've never responded before.
I can't help wondering why Dark Horse feel the need to respond now when, as far as I know, they've never responded before.


I don't think it's ever been a news item in its own right before.
Yeah, the whole point of (post-Dracula) vampires is that they're monsters despite being beautiful (which is why I never liked the idea of the vamp face and the ugly=evil implications).

I can't help wondering why Dark Horse feel the need to respond now when, as far as I know, they've never responded before.

My guess is it's because they're competing for readers with IDW (whose comics James endorsed in the interview) within the Jossverse franchise, and answering to the comments was a good opportunity to plug Season 8.

[ edited by ruuger on 2009-04-22 08:10 ]
Yeah I agree rugger. Why would Allie choose to answer JM's comments now, what nearly 9 years after the fact, except to cash in on a little bit of free publicity for season 8?

Thanks also for the link to the comic. Dear god, that artwork was dreadful. Sorry, but imo it really was.
Has James talked about this outside of cons?

After all, it's easier to answer a written interview than it is to answer "hearsay".

And about who's right and who's wrong;

Two visions collided. No one's wrong, no one's right.

It's too bad that they didn't all sit down and share their visions and intentions sooner than they did. Not sure if that would have made the comic look different, because Joss is the boss, but James would have known that he's "just" the writer, and might have been less disapointed.

Or maybe he would have been able to convince Joss to go another way.

It's all about communication.

*turns of the TV showing dr.Phil*
Has James talked about this outside of cons?

He talked about it in Starburst magazine in 2004 (scroll down), and I'm pretty sure I remember at least couple of other print interviews where he's mentioned it as well.
I agree with Sueworld. The art in this comic drastically distracted from the story. It was beyond ugly characters or evil vampires. It was just hideously drawn people all through the story. Not just Spike and Dru. It was this artist's style and while some might find it "interesting" it wasn't true to the characters in the show. I'm not always thrilled with the current inside art in Buffy season 8 or Angel After the Fall but it's usually true to the shows. I understood precisely why James was upset with how his story was treated. Art either can compliment a story or overwhelm it, this artist overwhelmed the story and did it in the worse way, by distracting the reader.
SoddingNancyTribe: Sorry about that. You got it. Thanks for the heads-up.
I just read the comic on the link provided, and I'm sorry but the writing wasn't much better than the artwork. It's not as if the artwork ruined the writing, the writing is what it is. I didn’t find the artwork that bad, it’s not my favourite work but it’s not terrible. If Joss signed off on it and wanted it this way then Joss gets it, the same way he did when creating the show. Allie said he wished they’d been more sensitive to Marster’s feelings so he’s obviously admitted to being a little cold-mannered about it, but Marster’s comments about this artist’s work being “ugly” wasn’t very polite either.

The writing was pretty “meh” and the artwork was pretty “meh.” I think a better job could have been done all together, not just in the writing or just in the artwork.
He said that the artist drew the characters as ugly, rather than the artwork was so bad it made them ugly. I didn't read it as a criticism of the artists ability but rather a dislike of the style for the particular comic-book. I find it interesting that Scott talks about getting clearance from Joss because I thought the early comic-books weren't overseen by Joss but were more directed by FOX. I seem to recall some fairly dismissive comments about them from Joss back when Buffy was still on air.

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