During bestselling writer Brad Meltzer's run on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic, Buffy discovered the shocking identity of supervillain Twilight — and had an even more shocking hook-up. We talked to Meltzer about his contributions to the Buffyverse. Spoilers...
Novelist Brad Meltzer is no stranger to comics - indeed, he's penned DC's Identity Crisis and the 2006 relaunch of Justice League of America - but his arc on Season 8 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer marks the first time Meltzer has worked within the Buffyverse.
First off, Issue 34 was a doozy…
[laughs] Is that what they're calling it these days?
What was it like writing such a heady comic? For example, you have Buffy shacking up with Angel in the stratosphere, the secret history of the Slayers, the big reveal that Angel is Twilight. It's a wild issue, to say the least.
It was a lot of pressure. This was the moment to reunite one of the greatest couples in television history. Not only do we see them reunite, but we also see them have sex, discuss their origins, and discuss how their universe came to be. Joss Whedon couldn't have been more gracious and calming about it, but only a fool would not be feeling the self-made pressure.
How did you and Joss hash out the plot for your arc on Buffy?
So much of what you see in the arc is what I pitched to Joss. Years ago, I sent him my take on the Buffyverse. There were things he liked and things he hated. But when it came to the arc, it was in response to what I pitched to him, and he helped pull the best things out.
In Issue 34, we knew Buffy and Angel were going to have sex, that was part of everything I sent him two years ago. I asked Joss, "How much do you want to show? I need your guidance in how much you'd like to show to your readers." I wanted them to have sex, but we've already seen the bra on the floor, the panties on the floor that leads up to the bed, so many variations of that. Joss just said, "Why don't we just show it?" The real fun of the conversation was us together on the phone trying to figure out what two people should do together, and it was one of the most wonderfully and spectacularly awkward conversations I've ever had with another grown man in my life.
In Issue 34, there's a lot of talk about how the universe is compelling Buffy and Angel together. When Angel is in his Twlight persona, he's not the heroic Angel we all know, he's a Grade-A evil bastard. To what extent would you say that Buffy is being compelled by forces beyond her ken as well?
What this book is about is a union, and I think it would be completely unfair to say that one party got pulled and the other didn't. It would seem ridiculous to me to say that they are not equals here.
When would you say this inexorable pull began?
To go back and examine when these characters began acting this way - that would be to rewrite history, and it will become very clear soon what is drawing them together.
What can we anticipate from issue 35? Any one-liners you can tease us with?
"Daffy Duck cartoon." And "philosophical debate."
Twilight's status as the Big Bad of Season 8 is a little more ambiguous now that we know he's Angel. Does this mean there's another Big Bad waiting in the wings?
I will reveal nothing.
What's your response to readers' reaction to the Angel reveal or the sex scene in issue 34?
I was terrified to look online because here we were taking a whole new look at the entire Buffyverse and their sex life. But there's nothing I love more as a writer than trying something that hasn't been tried before. The thrill for me wasn't, "Oh look, nudie parts!" The thrill for me was that I've never seen anyone try that before.
Buffy fans are a great literate bunch, they get the shorthand and they understand the tropes. They let you try so many things. The same goes for comics fans on a whole. They allow you to try a shorthand you can't do in a novel
Any other thoughts you'd like to impart to Buffy fans?
I really want to be able to speak about the great, meaty things we've been doing in the Buffyverse. Starting Wednesday, I'll be answering fan questions on my Buffy run on my Twitter. Fans can shoot me questions from 12 PM EST on Wednesday (5/5) to 12 PM EST Thursday (5/6), and I'll try my best to get back to them. I can't reveal or ruin Joss' arc, but I'd be happy to discuss the events of mine.
Buffy 35 hits stands Wednesday. Brad Meltzer's new non-fiction book Heroes for My Son will be released Tuesday, 5/11.