Marsters of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ fame enjoying his roles“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon said over the years that the characters Spike and Drusilla — played by James Marsters and Juliet Landau, respectively — were supposed to be the Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen of the vampire set.
“I said to Joss, ‘You don’t want Sid and Nancy. This is ridiculous. Sid Vicious was an idiot; he was also a horrible bassist. The reason why the Sex Pistols were the Sex Pistols was because of Johnny Rotten.’ So I said, ‘I’m not gonna give you Sid; I’m gonna give you Johnny.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ ” Marsters recalled.
Marsters continued, “Juliet is a true artist. She is fearless. When she knows what she wants, she’ll go there, she’ll get it. Basically, I got cast because she liked me… I was only there because we clicked. We both come from the stage… If you look — especially in the early stuff before they caught us — we were always doing something nasty – or pretending to be doing something nasty —just below frame. Look at those scenes, look at our arms, and just ask yourselves, ‘What are they doing?’”
Originally, Marsters —who currently plays Brainiac on the 10th and final season of the Superman-themed “Smallville,” which returned Friday —was supposed to be killed off after several episodes, but he proved so popular with fans that he eventually became a series regular on not only “Buffy” from the fourth through seventh seasons, but also on the final season of “Angel,” the “Buffy” spin-off.
“As an actor, (Marsters) played it seamlessly. I loved his arrogance and he could back it up. It was very believable,” said Dennis Rymarz, of Dearborn, a Spike fan. “He brought humor to the character. You were always expecting something witty — which he always delivered.”
Even though both shows have ended, Spike’s adventures continue in the pages of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8,” published by Dark Horse Comics, and in the pages of “Angel,” published by IDW Publishing. While he starred in various mini-series, Spike is slated to get his own monthly, eponymous title in October from IDW. These comic books are considered canonical continuations of the TV series, given that Whedon is heavily involved in.
“The ‘Buffy’ universe has proven its ability to work well in the comic book medium,” said Dan Merritt, proprietor of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn. “The first comic book series came out back in 1998 and ran over 60 issues. It also spawned a myriad of one-shots, mini-series, and spin-offs. ‘Buffy’ has been a presence on our shelves for most of the last 12 years. Now with the current series being such a vital component of the TV series I expect it to continue for a long time … Sales on (‘Season 8’) have been great.”
After a summer hiatus, “Season 8” returned earlier this month with its final story arc, “Last Gleaming,” penned by Whedon himself. Dark Horse has received the licensing rights to publish “Angel” comics, taking over from IDW in 2011. IDW’s final “Angel” storyline debuts in November, serving as a bridge for Dark Horse. It’s unclear how long the “Spike” monthly series will be, said Chris Ryall, IDW editor-in-chief.
“I can’t speak to Dark Horse’s ultimate plans once the license changes hands but since we’re coordinating storylines and some of the things we’re doing leads right into what they’re doing, and are being developed through coordination with Whedon and (Dark Horse editor) Scott Allie, in my mind there’s no question that (the IDW books) is canon,” said Ryall.
In fact, not only has Whedon written for IDW, but so has Landau. She wrote a story arc featuring her character Drusilla. There are currently no plans for Marsters to write a story with his famous character because his schedule doesn’t allow it right now.
Of all the characters Marsters has played – Spike, Brainiac, Barnabas on “Caprica,” Capt. John Hart in “Torchwood,” and Piccolo in “Dragonball: Evolution” — Spike is his favorite, much to the delight of his legions of fans.
“I keep joking that I keep playing characters who aren’t supposed to age or sweat — both are starting to show,” he quipped. “I realized at one point and (said to Whedon), ‘This is a better role than Hamlet.’ Shakespeare only had 3½ hours to make his point. We’ve had years to explore this and I know we don’t have Shakespeare but we have the time and the money. And when I think about where we’ve gone with this character and all the things we’ve said about life using him – it is deeper than Hamlet.”
He continued, “But to be in that situation, you have to be working with writers who are willing to truly risk themselves. This was the thing on ‘Buffy’ — they were being asked to come up with their most humiliating day in their lives or a day they hurt someone for no good reason, and then to put… fangs on top of them and show everything. They have exposed in a way that was truly brave over and over and over and over again.”</p>