The official ANGEL IS LEAVING IDW Q&A
Monday, Aug 23rd, 2010
Last week, word was released that the ANGEL license is transitioning to Dark Horse in late 2011. In order to clarify the situation and address readers' many questions, we ran a Q&A at our forum last week. IDW's Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall weighed in with answers.
FENDER_LOVE: So, IDW is giving up the entire license then? No further ANGEL-related mini-series or character spotlights? And does that mean that the SPIKE series will run from October 2010 to mid-2011 at the latest?
In reverse order, yes, our ANGEL series will run through spring 2011, and SPIKE will continue, as well. So there is still plenty to come from us. We have a very cohesive plan to not only have our titles, ANGEL and SPIKE and the ILLYRIA miniseries, all work in tandem and tell different parts of a big story. This will all bring our run to a logical conclusion, and we've also worked out some plot points that will bring the story in line with what Dark Horse is doing.
So the biggest thing I can stress here is that this announcement was sudden, yes, but the books are not suddenly stopping or leaving by any means.
As to the first part, the entire ANGEL license is moving over to Dark Horse. We're not giving it up - we'd prefer to keep it. But everything ANGEL-related will be moving to Dark Horse after we finish out our runs. 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. 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'.
BrianLynch: Does GHOSTBUSTERS have a regular writer?
It has many irregular ones (see: Peter David, Scott Lobdell, especially). Perhaps you can be the next irregular to cruise in the ECTO-1, seeing how your workload gets lighter in mid-2011 and all. All trending patterns say that Ghostbusters are the new vampires in 2011 anyway. Except for the TRUE BLOOD vampires, who are already the new vampires for this year and beyond.
Pshand05: 1. Will Dark Horse respect and honor what has happened in the ANGEL comics at IDW?
- You'd have to ask Dark Horse, but I assume so from the conversations I've had with Scott Allie.
2. What happens to the SPIKE series?
- It's continuing as planned, and it's gonna be awesome.
3. How exactly did this happen? This being Dark Horse acquiring the license.
- Dark Horse will need to answer all questions related to Dark Horse. But the short answer is that licenses come and go in comics. There are probably more publishers who've had the STAR TREK license than who haven't. I will say that if it were up to IDW/me, we'd hang on to ANGEL. I've had a great time on the titles we've done and really enjoy the ANGEL fan community, too. But ultimately, these are all Joss Whedon's characters, and if he decides that they're best-served being under another roof, then that's what will happen. Joss has big plans for Angel and Spike - if that Spike-hater Scott Allie doesn't kill him first.*
*Scott Allie doesn't actually hate Spike.
Bitsyfest: I'd love to hear some of the things you're especially proud of during the five years you worked on the title and what, if you can talk about it, you're looking forward to doing with the license before it changes hands.
Really, in the macro sense, I'm proud of everything from the very start onward. The first series we did was where I first met artist David Messina. And Messina has been since that time a very valuable part of IDW and a great friend. In addition to his art, David introduced us to so many other great talents from Italy: the dear Franco Urru, Elena Casagrande, Mirco Pierfederici, and others. The timing of ANGEL starting at IDW pretty well coincides with my start at IDW in mid-2004, so to see it going away is really bittersweet for me. We both "came of age" together, and it's hard to let go after nearly six full years of running ANGEL on this front.
I'm proud of working with Brian Lynch, and then Brian and Joss - telling the story of "After the Fall" is something we wanted to do since late 2004, but we only ever wanted to do it with Joss. So to get to do that with him was extremely gratifying and creatively thrilling to me.
Really, I could list all the creators I've worked with on these titles as a high point for me, since each brought everything they had to doing right by the characters.
Ultimately, I'm proud of working on these characters and developing books that you fans have cared so much about to support all these years. I hope you continue to do so.
And like I mentioned above, the timing on this is odd because I'm very eager to get our upcoming ANGEL, SPIKE and LLYRIA comics into your hands. We've got a lot to do before we're done, not least of which is seeing what W&H has been up to. And, of course, just reuniting Brian and Franco, maybe the best team to ever handle these characters in comics.
Wyndam: Any chance IDW's last ANGEL book could be a second Annual from Brian (if he's interested, of course)?
I'm focusing on our present books and not our last right now - still too many issues to come before even thinking of that. And if I don't yet plan the final issue we're publishing, I don't have to fully acknowledge it's going to come to an end next year. But we're talking about something special to end it all.
Hellstrom: Will the IDW ANGEL comics really be worked so that they can be the official ANGEL continuation and still work with what has been done in Buffy season 8? That's kinda hard for me to buy into. I read it in the Newsarama article before coming here.
As I mentioned above, we are coordinating efforts to ease the transition and to tell some stories that link our books and DH's books a bit more closely together. We've been talking to Scott Allie about this for a while now. Although clearly this coordination only applies only to the comic stories themselves...
Buffyversefanatic: 1) How long has IDW known this was coming? That the ANGEL line would be returning to Dark Horse?
1. I knew it was coming for a while now. I didn't expect the world to know just yet but they do and now we're all talking about Angel again. So that's good, since like I say, we've got a lot of ANGEL- and SPIKE- (and ILLYRIA-) related comics still to come.
2) From the press release, I assume the ANGEL monthly will tie-in to Buffy Season 8/Season 9 like the SPIKE monthly. Is that correct?
2. To some degree, yes. We do still have a lot to do and a lot of story to tell on our own, and I wouldn't want to just use our comics as a way to explain/lead into BUFFY without also being true to the storyline we've been telling. So there will be elements that tie in and there will also be a satisfactory resolution to everything we've been doing, too. It's the best of both worlds, even if that world has to be a place where we won't be doing ANGEL comics any more.
3) The press releases say the final ANGEL arc beginning in ANGEL #39 is six issues. So that takes us to April and ANGEL #44. Does the ANGEL monthly then end in April with ANGEL #44 and are there plans beyond the end of the ANGEL monthly for the character such as bridging miniseries or One-Shots?
3. Yep, ANGEL #44 is the last issue of ANGEL. It occurs to me that 44 issues is the longest-running single IDW series we've done. We typically do miniseries so it's been nice having a series run as long as this one has without restarts.
4) Is there any chance we can get a Angelus/Darla/Spike/Dru flashback miniseries or one-shot in this final year?
Not likely full issues of a full miniseries, but you will see Dru and other very familiar faces from the past in the coming SPIKE series.
Allycat: 1. Why? What reason motivated you to give up the license, or did Dark Horse just put in a higher bid? Or was it something Joss/Fox wanted?
- The latter of your three choices. I would not have stopped doing ANGEL comics if it were up to me; money had nothing to do with it. These are Joss' characters and as I mentioned above, Joss wanted them all under one roof. And it so happens that that roof is located in Oregon, not San Diego.
2. Is Dark Horse allowed to use characters that originated in IDW's titles, like Beta George, Eddie Hope, Laura Weathermill?
- I think they have enough characters in those books to worry about telepathic fish and the like. Besides, as I said above, I think they'll be too busy with their spin-off Chris Ryall series to worry about George or Eddie. I wonder if they can get Eric Powell to do a variant cover for that one.
Bovy: Will IDW's final ANGEL issue also serve as a decent ending for those fans (or at least this one) who see this as a good jumping-off point, and most likely wont be reading the DH series?
It will absolutely serve as a good, satisfying ending to our run. In fact, it just might end with Angel moving to Bon Temps in an effort to get all the ANGEL fans to then come along for our TRUE BLOOD series instead of moving on anywhere else.
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.
Angeliclestat: One of my favourite aspects of Angels time at IDW were the historical stories. Apart from the upcoming 'Angel v Frankenstein II', are there any plans to do another before the end?
There are some historical bits in SPIKE, but the ANGEL vs FRANKENSTEIN sequel (which is lettered and sitting right next to me as I type this) and the BARBARY COAST TPB are likely the last full issues set in the past.
Raith: I'll just post the jist of what I wrote in the other thread, since this the proper thread for this topic. I'm also saddened by this news. I've been reading comics for the past 20 years and with sheer honesty, I can say that After the Fall is the best comic series I have ever read. Utterly remarkable work by everyone involved. That includes the Lorne one-shot by John Byrne, the rest of the arcs to this point, SPIKE: ATF and Only Human. Thank you IDW, for the many years of entertainment. You created a goal to satisfy ANGEL fans everywhere and rest assured, as far as being the enormous ANGEL fan that I am is concerned, you've accomplished that goal. If Dark Horse puts as much focus, love and effort as IDW has with the series, then I will have nothing to worry about. All bloody hail IDW!
If you can just please phrase this in the form of a question... no, really, I clipped out most everyone's praise and nice comments around their questions, but this is a good place to just say how much I appreciate sentiments like this, and how much I've appreciated all of you along the way. It's really great to me that so many of you have posted at our boards pretty much the entire way. And added support from Whedonesque, Buffyfest and fans and Web sites across the known universe has really been gratifying.
Veiriti: Now I'd like to know the fate of my most favorite character - SPIKE?
Dead. So dead. Scott Allie hates Spike. I read that on the Internet, so it's totally true.
(Please note, Internet, that this is just a joke. Scott neither hates Spike nor has it in for him. Unless he does, in which case all you Spike fans are screwed).
I don't really think he would be permanently dusted (ignoring some malignant jokes coming of certain non-Spike friendly sites) but I'm still very concern about his fate in Dark Horse...
Do like me and just stop reading if we stop publishing and Spike will live on forever in your mind. (Let's be honest, Spike will live on forever anyway. And I'll likely still check in to see that "our" characters are being treated properly).
And what will happen with Brian Lynch's SPIKE ongoing? I presume the series would be in 8 issues only? Is it possible SPIKE's title to get a separate license and to stay in IDW? Or Spike to get his own DH title, just like Angel? And is there a possibility Brian Lynch to continue his SPIKE monthly over at Dark Horse? (And Franco Urru to move with him?) Sorry, but I don't see anyone else, except Joss Whedon of course, to write SPIKE's character in such truthful way. Brian Lynch is the second Joss Whedon for me! And I would be really happy if he continues to work over SPIKE's character and Spike's appearance on Buffy Season 8 with Joss Whedon - that would be awesome tandem by my opinion.
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.
Anca: Would you make a Betta George doll or something?
Would I make another one, you mean?
But, no. Brian Lynch will, though, just ask him at a con and he'll origami one up with any issue of Buffy you hand him. At least, I think that's what he'll be doing when he's tearing the paper.
Spacediva70: I know that you and Dark Horse are working to bring the two worlds together and make the stories coexist more. IDW seems to being do that through the final ANGEL arc and the SPIKE series. Do you know what steps Dark Horse is taking?
Knowing Scott Allie, they'll probably kill Spike.(Repeat above "just joking" disclaimer.)
This job keeps me too busy to know what other companies' plans are, so I'm sure I'll find out when you all do. (I'll also avoid the easy punchline to that set-up too)
Sulfur: Will the one-shot issues (ie Byrne's Lorne tribute and Frankenstein issues) be collected in TPBs or HCs by the end of your run on things?
Yep, they will, it'll include those and his Blood & Trenches miniseries.
Darth Bombshell: Will the ILLYRIA and SPIKE mini's be done into TPB's before the transfer of the license? I was going to hold out for the TPB's of each, but if you aren't going to do one, I'll need to get the singles.
Well, I'd encourage you to pick up the singles anyway, if only because you never know what kind of surprising information you might read in the editorial pages. But one unique thing here is that we will be able to keep all our ANGEL-related books in print long after we stop doing new comics. So everything will be collected and released as TPBs like normal.
Mariah: My question is: do you think there should be a hair color called Illyria Blue? I'm going with yes.
I'll take it further and say that there should be a forehead color also called that. And that everyone who supports our books should dye their hair blue in solidarity the month ANGEL #44 ships. We can run pictures of them all in the next... issue... well, maybe in an issue of TRUE BLOOD or The Betta George Chronicles or something.
Hawked Up: Q: What are the odds of getting an Everybody's Dead sequel (or two, or three) to ease the pain?
Let me check the fine print of Scott Allie's column and make sure they don't now have the rights to series one, too...
Incidentally, it's a great series by Brian Lynch, for those of you who haven't seen it. So if you want more Lynch, you really should check it out. And then apologize for not checking it out sooner. It's like the Freaks and Geeks of comics: not enough people read/watched at the time but everyone after the fact agrees that it's damned great.
JJadams: Chris: What has been your proudest moment during the last 5 years of the ANGEL comic?
See above for the longer answer, but for the short answer, "After the Fall" with Joss, Brian and Franco.
Bovy: So the basic question boils down to: After a well-deserved rest after the SPIKE series, will we see more from Urru at IDW?
You better believe it. In fact, if Lynch does do GHOSTBUSTERS, how good would a Lynch/Urru pairing on that book be?
Darth Bombshell: Something occured to me last night. While the whole run of ANGEL thus far has gotten the HC treatment (including the presumed final issues), one the first two arcs (#1-#5 of ATF and "First Night") got the softcover treatment. Is there any chance at all of the rest of the run getting the softcover treatment?
Eventually, yes. But as nice as those hardcovers look and the lowish price of them makes them the ideal version in my mind.
Bovy: - Any plans for releasing After the Fall in an omnibus format?
A good timing for such a release might be after the end of Buffy S8.
IDW's omnibuses (omnibusi?) come with reasonable prices, 25 to 30$, and might tempt those Buffyfans who didn't buy AtF when it was first published.
And if that attempt works out well, maybe you could do the rest of IDW's ANGEL run the same way?
- Did you ever consider writing an ANGEL one-shot story yourself ?
We know from the First Night extras that you and Brian considered co-writing a Lindsey story,
but it didn't fit the main story and was dropped. Anything apart from that?
- Zombies vs Robots vs Vampires. Who would win?
- For the final arc of ANGEL, could it be possible to add two or three pages with pinups of Angel & co in each issue, done by the series' various artists?
- How big is the oversized After the Fall going to be? Big like Rocketeer Deluxe or like Zombies vs Robots HC
- Will we do an ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL Omnibus? "After the Fall" is going bigger, not smaller, for now: we're going to do a 17-issue oversize hardcover of that one.
- I did almost co-write that "After the Fall" story from "First Night," but I ended up not wanting to take work away from anyone else on those. I had a couple other ideas over the years but I didn't want to get into a whole "is my work canon" debate with myself.
- Robots would win, no question. Zombies need brains to survive; vampires need blood. Robots need neither of those things. Although if the story took place in a world after an EMP, that could change things entirely. I'll also take your question as a chance to mention I'm working on a new Zombies vs Robots miniseries for next year, and that ZvR factors big into IDW's first-ever "Event" in 2011, "Infestation."
- I've got something special in mind for The End but don't want to talk about it just yet. But if it happens like I want, I think you'll be happy.
- The oversize "After the Fall" book, the size is still being determined. Likely the same as The Rocketeer but we'll set that soon.
Vampire in a Rug: Question for the thread: If Dark Horse chooses not to use the IDW original characters (George, Beck, Larua, Eddie, etc.) would it be possible to ever see any of those characters pop up in other titles? Would IDW still legally be able to do say, a Mosiac title staring only IDW original characters?
That remains to be seen. It could be tricky, since those characters were created in a licensed comic and that usually means the licensor then owns them. But we'll see.
DoubleDutchess: At the risk of making myself and others even more sad about Angel leaving IDW, could you maybe tell us about some plans you had with Angel (or any of his team mates) that have been cancelled because of his move to Dark Horse next year?
I won't do this, actually. Not only because it ultimately doesn't matter, but because once we knew about the license moving away from us, we focused everything on ending our series properly and stopped thinking about what else we would've done.
But it would've been great.
Daniel W.: Is the ANGEL franchise an "all or nothing" franchise, or can individual aspects of it be negotiated? Could IDW continue to do things with the non-Buffy originated characters?
See the reply to Vampire in a Rug two questions up.
Incidentally, I did joke in another interview about killing off all these Lynch-created characters so Dark Horse couldn't use them, and some people have taken that seriously. It was just some gallows humor, folks. The license is going away-laugh so I don't cry, you know?
Also, let's hear it for Daniel W., who's done a great job moderating IDW's sometimes-fractious message boards for some time now. You're a good peacekeeper, you are.
And a final note of thanks to everyone for the questions, and again for the support, too. I look forward to seeing what everyone thinks of our final year's worth of ANGEL stories, so hopefully these boards stay as alive as they always have been.SOURCE