Graphically Speaking: An Interview with Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs
After a day of nerding all over myself at this year’s New York Comic Con, I interviewed writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs about their collaboration on Dark Horse’s new “Angel & Faith” series. They were kind enough to take some time out of their schedule and talk to me. Word vomit, commence!
Me: Let’s hit the ground running. Cavemen or Astronauts?
Christos Gage: Astronauts. They have ray-guns.
Rebekah Isaacs: Astronauts. They could kill you with their math skills, too.
Joss Whedon has always been the “Grand Poobah” of the universes he’s created, be it with “Dollhouse,” “Buffy,” etc. With “Angel,” it always seemed like Joss, while still very involved, opened the sandbox so that other writers could develop their voices and collaborate moreso than on his other projects. How has he been as an “Executive Producer?”
CG: I know he feels very strongly about the characters. With “Angel & Faith,” he has certain things he wants to do, and given that, he asks “what do YOU want to do? What do you want to bring to it?” He’s very collaborative. You can bounce ideas off him. He’ll tell you if he doesn’t think it works. He’ll tell you why and come up with other ideas. Even now that he’s shooting The Avengers, he’s involved in selecting character names, story titles, etc. He’s even given us ideas he was going to use in the “Ripper” show [an aborted idea for a BBC show based around Giles’ adventures in England as a Watcher] to use in this.
RI: He sent me a very kind e-mail the other day saying “thanks for working on the art” and that’s all I really need for the rest of my life [laughs].
“Angel & Faith” is the first Joss Whedon spin-off that hasn’t been previously established as a TV show or webseries before becoming a comic property. How does it feel to pioneer a new venture starting in the comic book medium?
CG: I think it’s great. The pressure’s off a little bit in terms of that, because he conceived of it. He wanted it to be “Angel & Faith.” Obviously, he had a great reason for it, [considering] where the characters are at this point. The fact that he said “this is where we’re going” made everyone go “okay, let’s do it.” He knows these characters better than anyone. He’s their creator, their “daddy” as it were. That aspect doesn’t bother me the way, say if I was writing the first ever [Star Wars] Knights of the Old Republic, it might be a little intimidating. But with Joss right there, I’m not bothered at all.
RI: Yeah, I feel like we’re in really good hands with the editorial team because they learned so much through the process of season 8. They’re applying a lot of that, even for this new series. Scott [Allie] and Sierra [Hahn- the editors] just have such a good nose for what Joss likes by now that if they feel there need to be changes, they’re pretty spot on. He’s always liked everything they’ve sent him after corrections were done.
What’s the weirdest thing Joss has said to you?
CG: It’s not really a “weird” thing, but he sent me an e-mail, and I can’t reveal what it said, but it contained several things that can happen in “Angel & Faith,” and he sent it in rhyme. Then he said “sorry, I have little kids and I’m used to reading rhyming stories to them.” But it was funny, because even when he sends you e-mails to talk about stuff, you can see his brilliance and his creativity come through. [to Rebekah] Didn’t he send you an e-mail?
RI: I get forwards from him sometimes as well, not direct e-mails.
What, like spam?
RI: He’s trying to get me to sign up for a bank account in Nigeria [Laughs]. Scott and Sierra will sometimes forward me back an e-mail from him and one of them I giggled at was just “d’oh.”
At what point was it decided that Faith was joining the title? Did that affect your process?
CG: It was very soon after I came on and Joss said “Faith and Angel are living together. It should just be called “Angel & Faith.” It didn’t really change things because I never thought it was going to be the continuation of the show. [to Rebekah] It was already “Angel & Faith” when you came along, right?
RI: Yeah, I didn’t know that was what I was auditioning for. I knew they were doing Buffy Season 9 and maybe a spin-off, but it was still very up-in-the-air. I didn’t know it was “Angel & Faith” until they called to offer me the job.
What’s ahead for “Angel & Faith?”
CG: We’re going to wrap up the current arc, Live Through This in issue 4 with the Mohra blood. In 5, Harmony and Clem return in an issue guest-illustrated by Phil Noto. Our second arc is called Daddy Issues. Rebekah’s back with issue 6, where we’ll meet Faith’s father for the first time. Connor will also be along down the road. I think that’s all I can say.
RI: There’s another big surprise in issue 6 beyond Faith’s father. We’re pretty limited on what we can say.
Check out “Angel and Faith” #3 this Wednesday October 26th from Dark Horse Comics.