Buffy returns to slaying for the 10th season when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1″ hits stands on March 19. Joss Whedon’s creation has continued to survive and thrive in the pages of the Dark Horse comic — now 11 years after the show’s last air date — and will be written by Christos Gage and drawn by Rebekah Isaacs in this newest iteration.
Buffy once again helped save the world in Season 9 and will face another new menace while dealing with the remnants of zompires (a zombie-vampire hybrid that Buffy helped create — it’s a long story) in the new season. Isaacs, who was the artist on last season’s spinoff “Angel & Faith,” has taken her pencil to heroic titles such as “Ms. Marvel,” “DV8,” “Sheena” and “Captain America & The Falcon.” Hero Complex caught up with the Savannah College of Art and Design grad and Dahlonega, Ga., native who now lives in New York to discuss the pressures of representing Sunnydale stalwarts.
Hero Complex: What was your level of fandom for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” before you began working on the comic book?
Rebekah Issacs: I had happily devoured many of Joss’ other projects, especially “Firefly” and “Dollhouse,” but I’d only started watching “Buffy” at the insistence of a mega-fan friend a few months before I heard about the job. Honestly, I was sort of stuck towards the end of Season 1 and it was slow going for me. So I’m glad that the invitation to audition for the book gave me a push to keep going because I really got hooked in Season 2.
HC: You’re now the shepherd of the look of the Buffyverse. Is it fair to say that you feel a sense of duty to keep up the legacy?
RI: Definitely! It both keeps me bolstered and keeps me awake at night. Having started in more mainstream superhero-type comics, I have to say that “Buffy” fans are some of the most dedicated and passionate fans out there, especially considering the show ended more than 10 years ago and they’ve had only the comics to keep the story alive — which I’d like to think speaks volumes about the level of quality that Dark Horse has maintained in the series. It’s not just another licensed tie-in comic, and I take it as seriously as if I was working on the show itself. I definitely feel the pressure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It feels awesome to be working on something that matters to so many people.
HC: Who are your artistic influences?
HC: Have you talked much to Joss Whedon, and did he give you any advice?
RI: I haven’t been able to meet Joss in person yet, but he very kindly sent me an email welcoming me to the book when I got the “Angel & Faith” job. No advice in particular, just encouragement and generally being an awesome and funny dude. Most of the feedback on designs and art goes through the editors so that we all stay on the same page.
HC: Any favorite characters? Either to draw or just in the series in general?
RI: Giles for both. I don’t know if I can say anything specific about drawing him without spoiling Season 8 and 9, though.
HC: What did you like about “Angel & Faith,” and going into “Buffy,” what do you expect to be the obstacles?
RI: Story-wise, I loved “Angel & Faith’s” dynamic. It is so awesome to see a male-female team that can be emotionally close, trust one another, depend on each other, without being the others’ love interest. Artistically, drawing London was so fun. Not being a local made me prone to regional inconsistencies, but I enjoyed it the whole way. I love the mash-up of different architectural styles and time periods.
With “Buffy,” the greatest challenge will be getting all of those characters on the page at one time. And managing to fit them into some very tiny San Francisco apartments. Luckily they get to stretch their legs in a big city-wide fight scene in the first arc.
HC: In Season 10, Buffy seems to be taking another turn as she regroups and takes out the remaining zompires. Any hints about what’s to come?
RI: A very unexpected character from the Scoobies’ past makes an appearance early in the first issue. And it’s not a flashback. Also, zompires are a walk in the park compared with what the Vampyr book has in store for Buffy next.
— Jevon Phillips
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