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August 23 2010

(SPOILER) Chris Ryall answers questions about IDW's Angel. A summary of the Q&A from the IDW forum. Loads of new covers, teasers about what's coming up in the various IDW titles, and more information on how the Dark Horse move went down.

"Chris Ryall: the Ongoing Series" ... epic.
Some great questions and Chris handled the answers well.Also love some of the artwork previewed in there.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-08-23 22:24 ]
I wish this whole transfer business was over.
Deborahmm: Does this mean that Brian's SPIKE series will be 8 issues only, and that's it?

SPIKE has been planned as an ongoing series, and whether that stays the same or not is up in the air, at this point.

So it looks like they're talking to Dark Horse about continuing with the Spike monthly. I think we need to start a petition to get them to allow Brian to continue the Spike series when the transition happens.

Who's with me?
I'm sure Joss already has a plan for Spike one way or the other.
He has handled this with a lot of class in general, and he gets +1 internets for repeatedly mocking the Allie-Spike meme throughout :)
What a mensch! This is obviously distressing to him - both the loss of the license and the way it was handled - and yet he stays above the fray in a very classy manner. Two other interesting tidbits, at least from Ryall's perspective: Joss himself (not $) was responsible for the transfer, presumably because he wants an Angel title (since he obviously can use Angel currently in Buffy comics without the license); and the Spike title is still 'on the table', presumably due to lack of the same interest by Joss. Would be great if IDW and Lynch could continue with Spike series.
Baxter, I don't think that's what Ryall meant about the Spike title. IDW will no longer have the rights to Spike. I think it's more of a question of Lynch coming of to DH, which I don't really see happening.
"SPIKE has been planned as an ongoing series, and whether that stays the same or not is up in the air, at this point."
"Will Spike get his own title at Dark Horse? I'm not the right person to ask about that. If I knew what Dark Horse's plans were, all of this could have been so much easier on me...
And if we have to stop our SPIKE series, too, I'll also do my best to keep Brian so busy on other books that he won't have any extra writing space between screenwriting and Muppets."

Can't imagine that these statements refer to the possibility of Lynch going to DH, since Ryall is exceptionally clear about what he/IDW do control and what they don't. Sounds like Spike title is still 'on the table' to me.

[ edited by baxter on 2010-08-24 01:18 ]
This is the most telling comment: "Although clearly this coordination only applies only to the comic stories themselves.."

Humorous, and yet barbed...
"The ANGEL license contains all the show's characters, so when Dark Horse takes over the license, they take over all that show's characters again."

It's explicitly and legally not up in the air in that respect.
But they can 'use' the characters now - clearly - so what does 'taking over the license' actually mean? I assumed it had to do with developing titles.
I REALLY hope the SPIKE series gets to continue somehow with Brian Lynch writing at Dark Horse. It's the comic series I am most excited for at the moment because I quit ANGEL and find BUFFY S8 to be mostly disappointing.
Seriously, if DH did a Chris Ryall one-shot... I'd buy without question.

In fact, if they could just have him randomly show up different properties it would be great. That's his super-power - title hopping.

Imagine: Ryall confers with Boba Fett moments before stealing the Good Samaritan from Hellboy! What's this cat playing at? What does it all mean?
Remember the "Firefly" outtake of Nathan and Gina wearing the same kind of mustaches as Alan wore in his "Out of Gas" flashback?

I'd love for everybody at IDW to show up to some kind of joint IDW/DH convention appearance dressed as Twilight.
baxter, they can't use the characters once the license ends, they can only reprint stories.
Chris is pissed. He handled the questions pretty gracefully, but I thought the interview was sort of uncomfortable due to some really obvious anger beneath it.

Scott Allie, watch your back, yo. And don't kill Spike for at least three issues.
Or kill Spike in pane 1. Pane 2 consists of the words Just kidding.

Pane 3 is Spike saying Sod off while walking away. The comic actually begins on the next page.
Dear The Dark Shape: Nah, no anger. I'm disappointed we can't continue with Angel since I loved doing those comics but don't mistake that for anger. No point in being angry now.

And Azzers, I'd buy that comic, too. It'd also guest-star Groo, Frankie from The Goon and Solomon Kane (just to tweak Scott Allie).
Somebody purple this man up.
It's unseemly that you aren't dressed in purple.

Y'know, Azzers, it's funny and all to quip about Dark Horse doing a kill-Spike-oops-nevermind sequence, but... uh... IDW already did that.
See.. and I arrived at that independently without seeing that one. Must be a good joke.
"Timebomb" also did that. He was the first to go in that ep, right? Scott Allie must've weaseled his way on set and secretly shot that.
This Q and A was very funny and very sad at the same time. I'm sad that Angel is going to Dark Horse, sad the way it all went down, but this:
"Which, since Franco Urru drew me into the end of issue 16 means that quite possibly Dark Horse now controls my likeness, too. I'll keep an eye on the bottom of Scott Allie's next editorial page for announcement of "Chris Ryall: the Ongoing Series." I just hope they get Jo Chen to do covers and that I also get to have lots of spacefrakkin'."
Made me laugh out loud!
She did, in fact, slay the blond one first. I still love that scene for the <10 second PWN of everybody. Pretty much announces that she was just bored in "Shells" and could have dismembered them both in about an eyeblink.

I think they'll draw up a Christine Ryall and have her and Xander fall in love. OH NOES.
Dear The Dark Shape: Nah, no anger. I'm disappointed we can't continue with Angel since I loved doing those comics but don't mistake that for anger. No point in being angry now.

This is the internet, Chris. Though I appreciate the response, it does not validate my point of view, and therefore you are clearly mistaken about what you are feeling! :-P
I meant to make Mr Ryall a VIP the last time but as Harold Macmillan once said "Events, my dear boy, events". Anyhow that situation is now rectified.
You know, whilst the situation didn't go down ideally regarding this - I think they (IDW) got quite a bit of publicity and love from the fans over it.
Cheers for tarnished silver linings, eh?
On another note, I'm sad that the great big After the Fall hardcover won't also include Spike: ATF =(
Interesting news about the Spike series.
And yeah it's a little more complicated then that. Spike is not exclusively owned by the Angel license, he's first and foremost originally from the Buffy license, which Angel is also a part of. Just as Scott made clear when he lost the Angel license that he would still be able to use Spike.

Wether or not IDW is allowed to continue their Spike series i guess depends mostly on Joss. He's the one that wanted all his creations under one house. Implying that there are some huge long term plans for Spike. Which we have not heard what they are. Yeah the Scott hating/killing Spike meme was funny but i would really like a more straight answer from Scott now on what exactly are their plans for Spike. If it's just a mini-series like some of the other characters will be getting or the occasional appearance in the Buffy comic, then i see no point in destroying the planned Spike ongoing. Hopefully we'll get more info from Scott soon.
That cover... Angel #40 by Frison. I wonder if it was pointed out before that Angel and all the wildlife sort of link with the S8 issue 36 preview? Angel hearing 'voices' including that of birds and other living things ?
Vergil, I think Dark Horse and Joss want to keep some of plans for Spike and Angel under wraps until Season 8 is finished. They keep saying that there will be multiple titles coming out at the same time, but won't say exactly what.

That said, I think it's very clear that if there's any future Spike or Illyria comics it will have to be at Dark Horse once IDW losses the license.
Those covers are beautiful (but IDW rarely lets me down on that front). Really like the fanged four one, with the retro wallpaper (stuff like this, the crossover flashback sequences from "Fool For Love" and whichever Angel episode that was, and mostly teases from Angel moreso than Buffy, really make me wish we'd had more scenes or storylines with them as a group in the shows).

The cover for Illyria #2 looks like it's an homage to a Cable cover from Marvel recently (with father figure Cable's hands on Hope/reincarnated-Jean-Grey's shoulders, her warming inside her cape[Spike's coat, in this case]). I don't read any Marvel at the moment, but I remember it from Previews.

And the Wolfram & Hart/Angel cover is really cool (except who's the blonde dude with the wings on his back?). Maybe, aside from covering the law firm, animals in this pic implies that we're gonna see a tie-in to Twilight influences (the bird and random people spookily talking to him in the preview for the next issue of Buffy).
Hey, cheers for the purplizing, Simon, thanks.
I know emotions have run high over this issue, and honest to God, I have no personal investment in what happens nor any personal animus toward either Scott Allie or Chris Ryall (and given what I have read by both, I would have no reason at all to take issue with the grace I perceive Ryall has brought to an issue which patently upsets him). I am an observer observing what appears to be nothing more than a business decision. That it may be in response to a creative decision by Joss Whedon really is beside the point. I understand Joss wants to bring his characters all together in one location, likely in order to allow his vision to play out. I get that. But to do so, something happened, and the something that happened was untoward. A company which had made plans was affected- and yes, things like this happen all the time in the real business world. But so far as I can see, IDW was blameless. They just tried to publish a good Angel series, and their series brought them some small measure of success, however we might measure it- meaning, they continued to publish tales, which you do not do if you cannot make at least a modest amount of money off it. Now, I am not at all interested in Angel as a series or even as a character; again, I am trying to say that all I am doing is looking at this from the outside as a person who has worked in executive leadership. Something happened, and it is easy to read between the lines of Ryall's comments that the thing that happened was not something he wanted to happen, and that the manner in which it happened was not how it was supposed to happen. It is fairly clear that DH made mistakes in allowing information to be leaker/released early. it is equally clear is that we will not know how this went down; we can try to infer from the various comments made by Allie and Ryall. To me, it just seems unseemly, and my perception of DH as a company has fallen- just because of what I have read, in the absence of hard proof, since hard proof will not be forthcoming.

It is not exaclty clear what the status of the Spike series is. The comment was "SPIKE has been planned as an ongoing series, and whether that stays the same or not is up in the air, at this point." This can be read any number of ways: that it might proceed as planned, that it might not proceed as planned, that it might undergo change, that they are in process of bargaining about it, etc. My personal read (yes, reader response theory!) is that it will not come off as orginally envisioned, due to factors that are now beyond IDW's control. but to be fair to the fans who have read the comics, both at DH and at IDW, some comment should be forthcoming from DH, since they apparently hold the cards right now, or Ryall would have more to say.
I am *very much* interested in both Angel as a series, S8-S9 Buffy as a series as well as in Joss' vision for the Big Picture of his universe. And I think that what is happening is the best ever thing that could have happened to made this epic (Buffy-Angel-Fray verse series as a whole) to get a conclusion of worthy proportions. Regardless of all the other issues involved. I see that both sides are trying and succeeding in being very gracious about this all - and I cannot be any more thankful to Cris Ryall for what he did for Joss and for the fandom as a whole. Thank you guys! Oh, and I will make a special point of buying every Angel book by IDW that comes out.
@ Kris - That's James with the angel wings on Frison's cover for #40. He's on Runge's cover as well.
Oh damnit, I was hoping James would be killed off by then.

Anyway, on SlayAlive Brian says he had many arc ideas for Spike but now he'll just be writing once, so it sounds like it will just be an 8-issue series at IDW. Doesn't stop DH from picking it up though.
Chris Ryall, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

I haven't read very much at all of the IDW Angel comics, but my interest in them has now increased to the point that I really hope to invest in a few books once they're all on the shelf and I can afford them.

I know that isn't much, but as one unaffiliated Whedon fan, it's the best compliment to IDW that I can offer.
My perception of Dark Horse isn't gonna fall due to the mistakes of two people over the past eight months (someone in marketing mistakenly leaking the Twilight reveal early in an ad for future issues--sad a blunder as that was--and Allie having a brainfart and publishing the Angel license news too early--perfectly legal business decision, if it had been intentional, just not gentlemanly toward IDW--though it may result in increased interest and awareness in their Angel and Spike comics, but we'll never know since we can't peer into the alternate universe where the news didn't leak early). Three people, if what was on DH's Facebook account was legit (not that anyone's keeping score, right?). There're lots more people working for the company and, far as I'm concerned, Scott Allie's done so much for the Buffy [and Angel, when they had it] comic licenses, I think he can easily be forgiven this one major slip-up after over a decade of managing the Buffyverse comics (I know other fans have different or additional beef with him, like printing inciteful letters and whatnot--personally I kinda love those. Letter columns are outdated/a waste of page space these days, so at least keep them interesting/provocative/discussion-worthy, even though lots of Slay The Critics is still made up of syrupy praise, happy-lapdog fanboyism).

Been regularly reading and dipping in and out of some of their titles for 15 years now, it'll take more than a couple relatively minor blunders (in the overall picture of business blunders) to shake my belief that Dark Horse is a comic company that's just as interested in putting out quality product and making sales, same as Marvel, DC, Image, and most of the others, with as few PR disasters as possible.
Dana, where were you in "executive leadership" where people didn't screw up on relatively minor shit(and this is minor, no one died) on a daily basis? I wanna go work there. Shit happens. People are human. We forgive, forget, and move on.
We do, but we also take responsibility, especially when our screw up affects someone else. I have not really seen that, all the mea culpas notwithstanding. But that's just me. I have made my own screw ups in my life, and when I have I have done what I can to make things right. But you know, it's a dead issue and we all see this differently, which I get. I am no more moral than anyone else, but honestly, I am just commenting on the issue as I see it, making me neither right not wrong. Just offering my thoughts.
What is Scott supposed to do, resign? He's straight up said he screwed this up with the sudden reference in that Horsepower column. What is it, exactly, that so many people except for the harmed party himself, Chris Ryall, expects of Scott and Dark Horse anyway?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-08-25 00:39 ]
We do, but we also take responsibility, especially when our screw up affects someone else.

That someone else is IDW and they're taking this with substantial grace. I would like to see less talk of who should apologize or not and more discussion of the comics themselves. I don't want to see yet another thread that takes a turn for the personal on this particular topic.

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