As all good rabid Whedonites know, their beloved series may not be on TV any longer, but they live on in comic book form over at Dark Horse. Recently, Dark Horse Comics’ Scott Allie stepped down from personally editing all the Joss Whedon-related titles like Serenity, Angel & Faith, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which he’s been editing since Whedon relaunched the book as “Season Eight” back in 2007. Taking over for Allie is editor Sierra Hahn, who is also helping to launch such upcoming high profile titles like Brian Wood’s Rebels and The New Deal. We caught up with Hahn to talk about those books, as well as all things Whedon.
SPOILERS for the most recent issues of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 in this interview, for the spoiler sensitive out there.
Nerdist: Before we get into the Whedon of it all, as my first question, I’d like to know just how you got into the business, and what was the road that ultimately lead you to Dark Horse Comics?
Sierra Hahn: Geez, time flies! About ten years ago I started working as a publicist at DC Comics under the tutelage of David Hyde. He recognized my great love of Vertigo books and I was able to focus most of my efforts on publicizing those titles. I was there for two years before I made the leap and joined the editorial staff at Dark Horse.
N: You’ve taken over the Whedonverse titles from Scott Allie. Just how much of a fan of Joss’ work were you already, or did you have to take a crash course in all things Buffy/Angel/Firefly before taking the job?
SH: When I decided to make the leap from DC Comic to Dark Horse, one of the most compelling aspects was getting to work on Buffy with our Editor in Chief, Scott Allie. I grew up loving Buffy and Firefly and couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work on those titles. The idea of a television show continuing on with Joss Whedon at the helm, and in a medium that I love, was sheer genius. I knew I had to be part of it.
N: The last issue of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 was, in my opinion, the best issue of this season so far, which dealt with the potential return of Willow’s long-dead girlfriend Tara. It was a truly heartbreaking tearjerker of an issue, especially for longtime Buffy fans. Tara’s return to life didn’t happen in the issue, but was there ever a debate about actually bringing Tara back?
SH: I’m so glad you liked that issue! Scott edited that story arc and I was able to catch up on my Buffy reading purely as a fan of the content, without overly scrutinizing eyes. (A little backstory: I worked with Scott on Season 8 and 9 and then stepped away to work on other projects once Season 10 launched.) I also felt very moved by the issue and what Willow ultimately had to say about her love of Tara. Tara was the first person that Willow could truly be herself with, and revisiting that love and loss is integral to who Willow is today. But to answer your question, no, there has not been much debate about bringing Tara back. I think Willow perfectly states our thoughts on the matter. Wherever Tara is—she’s at peace and should remain that way.
N: Angel and Faith is kind of the unsung title of the Whedonverse, but it’s often the best one of the bunch. Is the Angel/Faith pairing one you plan on keeping going indefinitely, or will the book ever become simply “Angel” again? Or will Faith possibly ever get her own title?
SH: There is definitely opportunity to do all of those things. Personally, I really like Angel and Faith together. Angel is best when he’s got a team to work with him (and sometimes, inappropriately, lord over) and I don’t think Faith is all that dissimilar. She really discovered her place at the end of Season 8 and into Season 9, when she was working with a team, especially Slayers NOT named Buffy. She’s actually a pretty great leader when her confidence is up.
N: Let’s talk a little Firefly. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind was the first real sequel to the Firefly/Serenity universe that Joss Whedon has allowed, and it took nearly a decade to happen. How was the fan reaction been so far, and can we expect any more anytime soon?
SH: I love, love, love Leaves on the Wind. Zack Whedon and Georges Jeanty did a brilliant job continuing the story and having everything feel fresh and familiar—as if no time went by between the film that was released several, several, years ago and this new chapter in that world. Scott Allie also edited that title and I returned at the tail end as super fan girl. That book had me at the edge of my seat! And yes, we’re definitely going to do more, although Zack will be taking a break. Fortunately we’ll have Joss and Zack’s help in giving shape to the next chapter in the lives of the Serenity crew no matter who takes the helm writing and drawing the next series. The hardcover collection of Leaves hit stores last month and it’s been sitting on The New York Times bestseller list for a number of weeks. I’d say that bodes well for positive fan reaction.
N: Moving on from the Whedonverse, One of the titles you’re going to be editing is Brian Wood’s upcoming Revolutionary War series, Rebels. What can you tell us about that book, and why do you think the fascination with that time period remains so strong with people?
SH: I’m really excited about Rebels and its potential to show readers that the rights that the earliest revolutionaries fought for then—in 1760 or so—are not all that different than the fight for freedom and equality we aspire to achieve now. You look back at history and go holy– we’ve not come all that far. This book shows that history, a lot of which I was not aware of regarding the Green Mountain Boys and the militias of the time. I am hopeful that readers will see the parallels between then and now, get inspired, and determine for themselves what the fight for freedom looks as we continue the call for change.
N: Speaking of fascination with other time periods, another book you are editing is Jonathan Case’s The New Deal, which is an OGN set in the 1930s. How would you describe this book, and what do you think the appeal will be to readers?
SH: It’s funny, now that you’ve got me talking about Rebels and The New Deal I can see the pattern in the kinds of projects I’m drawn to! The New Deal is one of the most enjoyable, fun books I’ve read in a very long time. On one level it’s this delightful, light-hearted, crime caper, and then underneath the veneer there’s this look at Depression era New York City and the great divide between the social classes and people of different races. Jonathan is able to tackle this really heavy, important material with such grace. I really hope that we’re able to tell more stories with these characters. It’s really quite stunning.