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"So no more running. I aim to misbehave."
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January 13 2010

(SPOILER) IDW's Chris Ryall answers your questions. All those burning issues get an answer.

Many thanks to Chris for taking part.

I really enjoyed reading that. I imagine conversations with himself and Brian Lynch are incredibly funny, they both seem to have the same sense of humour.
I swapped the link over to the org. site, it's a bit easier to follow.
Thanks for changing the link over, Simon.
Thanks to both Chris and Simon for setting that up. Lots of interesting answers.

Ya the Willingham thing was unfortunate...but it's only 1 mans opinion. Glad to see IDW are rolling with the punches and being professional about it.
Absolutely. And I had meant to edit my question, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad Ryall went ahead and addressed that, and his answer kicks the last bit of dirt over the smelly corpse of this pseudo-scandal, as far as I'm concerned. He's handled himself as well as could be expected of someone in his position.
Thanks to Chris for answering so elaborately and for clearing so many things up. Clearly a man with class.
This was a great idea. It's great to hear the story from the IDW side, beside the Dark Horse and Joss side.
Thanks to Chris for taking the time.Lots of insightful answers.
I'm happy Chris answered the questions (my own included) it really helps put everything into perspective.
This was certainly worthwhile reading :). Cleared up any and everything we could think of collectively. It's pretty much a pitch-perfect response to this and I'd like to publicly state that, after having nearly stopped my subscription to the current IDW main line over at my local comic shop, I refrained from doing so today.

I am, after all, still very interested in reading continued stories on Angel (even if, unlike Ryall, I don't consider those stories canonical ;)). Interesting to hear though, that stories are still submitted to FOX and ME for approval (how would that last bit work, by the way? Does ME still have an adress and/or secretary somewhere when they're not actively engaged in making TV, or does it just amount to 'sending it to Joss and his people'? Does Joss even have people? ;))

Anyway, kudos to Ryall for taking the time in answering all this. It'll be fun to see where the IDW line goes from here and how the Twilight storyline over on Buffy season 8 turns out. I think it's fair to say that, with this final bit of info on 'Twilightgate', this whole thing is finally and truly 'over' :)
Nice. I'm happy to see Chris Ryall responding so promptly. Classy Q&A, classy guy. I disagree with him entirely about canon - when he says canon, I hear "IDW ANGEL comics canon" as compared to "Buffyverse canon", but other than that, great to hear from him.

I have to admit, I did take the ANGEL comics off my pull-list at my local comics store today (Willingham's reaction post left an unpleasant feeling in my gut). Ryall's diplomacy makes it more likely I'll pick up the comics next time I visit the shop.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-01-13 22:41 ]
I'm very surprised that my question was answered. But yay! Great interview. And funny. I like the funny.
Yep, agreed. The guy has the unenviable job of managing talent, fan relations, and coopetition with another company. Very reasonable and thorough answers.
His friendly teasing of Scott Allie all through his replies amused me. :-) But I hate to think what the reaction from fandom would have been if Scott Allie made similar comments about Chris in a public post...
Chris Ryall is a good sport. It sounds to me like Joss hasn't had as much of a hands-on roll with Angel as he has with Buffy Season Eight, so it makes sense that IDW wasn't already clued in about...well, you know. Chris has handled the situation with class and it looks like he sees a silver lining.

Also good to hear that information on a "premiere edition" of After the Fall is forthcoming!
Great Q&A, I hope Chris will do more in the future as it's always great to hear from him. The Complete After the Fall HC is very exciting and I can't wait to hear more about it. It would be great if Alex Garner came back and provided a new cover for it. I also wonder if it will include just #1-17 or everything Brian contributed to the series (#1-17, 23-27, Spike: AtF).
Chris Ryall just saved IDW's Angel for me. I'll be sure to check out their Angel comics once the current writer has finished his arc.
That was a master-stroke of PR there. And it was probably smart to take it in e-mail form rather than a live interview. Not because he probably couldn't hold his own, rather it's much easier to take out everything that can be taken the wrong way in a post.

Interesting that the canon debate we had yesterday proceeded this. If ME is approving the stories, I'm not sure how they wouldn't be canon. Otherwise, why bother with approval? Then again, as someone said, I'm not sure what ME approval means or who's doing it.
One point about what Ryall said:
"the creator of the shows/characters never taps anything with his scepter and deems it canon or not—that’s for others to determine."

While that's true with this particular franchise and Joss' attitude toward it (this is nothing new--he didn't overly concern himself with the pre-Season 8 Buffy comics, exception: Fray), many TV creators behave differently toward their creations once other writers get their hands on them/once the story migrates from TV to book/comic. J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, is meticulous about what he deems canon and non-canon. He's come right out there and said it for the fans. "Yes, that prequel novel [in this case I'm referring to The Shadow Within, the Anna Sheridan/Morden prequel book] is 90% canon and fits in nicely with what I had envisioned/what notes I gave the author, worth the purchase". Or for "To Dream in the City of Sorrows" by his wife, Kathryn Drennan, who would've had a direct line to the creator obviously, "It's 100% in-continuity, the plot and every line of dialogue". I believe he was also happy with the Peter David adaptations/trilogies (didn't get around to them). As a fan, I definitely appreciate that kind of helpful direction from a creator, especially when there was a flood of novels during the show's heyday/just after it finished. Also nice that a creator is (was?) that devoted to a property. I don't expect it of Joss, certainly the hands-off approach is just as valid and frees him up to give us more new content rather than worrying about what people are tacking on to his old universes, but I suppose I prefer the maintaining-creative-control mode.

azzers, if it's just a formality...and who at Mutant Enemy is signing off with their approval, as you mentioned ? Sometimes approval is just "yes, you can do that with the character/no you can't", not "Yes, this is the way we always saw the characters and arc heading, thank-you for realizing our vision, or bettering it !".

Chris Ryall gave the safest answers to the "canon" questions possible. The most honest. He'd shoot himself in the foot if he directly and plainly said, "No, they aren't Joss-approved canon", and then in a hopeful tone, "but maybe someday they might be!" He has to protect IDW's interests (the legitimacy of the Angel property), so he's naturally gonna highlight the upsides of fans deciding for themselves ("It's my own personal canon"/"It's IDW-canon"/"Who cares, if I enjoy it"). I still go for Joss-approved/Joss-involved canon over all else, but I was capable of enjoying the odd few non-canon stories in the past, so that's cool too.

At the end of the day, there're many fans who probably wish some or all of the comics didn't exist (or only wish that when the stories disappoint them), but they're/we're free to stop reading them. Vote with your cash and, when opportunity allows, write letters/e-mails/give constructive criticism on the publisher's message boards.

Heh, one thing Ryall mentions that seems to indicate one area where he really doesn't know our fandom, where he's saying that he doesn't want us to worry about the legalities and the behind-the-scenes stuff ? Far as character use goes, most Buffyverse fans lived through the WB/UPN split. Many of us love behind-the-scenes info. Certainly not entitled to it, but it's nice to know what outside influences sometimes dictate the course of a story. Otherwise we speculate endlessly without knowing the real answer, heh.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-01-14 05:32 ]
Yay, my question got picked!

The New Year's Eve cover, how rare is it?
"We’re not dropping Lorne—not permanently. I respect the work Andy and Joss did in creating that character, and he won’t be gone for good. But he deserves a bit of a happy ending for a while. And I really wanted to do some kind of tribute to Andy but not do something that feels like “cashing in.” And if we use the character more in the comics right now, I don’t know, in my mind that feels wrong to me. It’s a judgment call, but for now, I want to give him his due, and then have a moment of silence for a while. But no one can stifle Lorne’s singing forever. He’ll be back."

That really made me smile. :) See? Another smile.
Fantastic. The recent spoilerific reveal has given us a lot of great interviews. Ryall is the man.
Well, that was great. Mr. Ryall did great with that brushfire on his end.
Also, my thoughts on canon mirror his.
Canon, for the sake of my wallet, has to be whatever Joss puts his finger on. Otherwise I'd be obsessively collecting every last Buffy/Angel comic on Earth.
I guess I'm to much of a Doctor Who fan to be that interested in canon. ;) Your head could get all 'splody.
Given all this debate about canon, it would be entierly appropriate if Buffy ultimately defeats Twilight-Angel by using a giant cannon.
I think Brian Lynch did that gag in one of his Spike comics.
Yep, in shadow puppets. Great comic, possibly my favorite comic ever.

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