Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 3 part 2

Page 34 – 38
The demon’s name is from the scientific name for a coo coo bird. So I asked for the design to have a beaky looking face with no eyes. Yishan added the fleshy flappy skin. I wanted the monster to be fairly easy to kill this time around because the challenge later is gonna be keeping Joyce away from the fight. 
page 39 – 42 
This scene is about upping the ante. The demon maybe hasn’t seemed THAT dangerous up until this point. It hasn’t directly hurt anything but I wanted to show the full implications of putting it’s needs before your own safety. Hense the vampire walking into the sun and burning up. Then immediately after the demon mind controls Joyce, so we got the threat made clear and then it’s directed at a character we care about.
page 43 – 47
These few pages I tired to build up some brief tension before the reveal of Buffy finding Joyce. Then I wanted Buffy to try and deal with it herself. 
page 48 – 52
These are all kinda dangers in the kitchen that can accidentally get left unattended. It’s a little bit of minor jeopardy before the big fight. I also wanted the demon to be sorta indifferent to Buffy because it only cares about being taken care of. Like it’s not thinking it’s all want. Kina like an actual child 😛
page 53 – 63
Buffy springs into action. This scene I wanted to make sure while they were restraining Joyce they weren’t hurting her. So Joyce is doing all the damage to the scoobies. 
One of the fun things about comics is you can do fun things with lettering. I specially suggested the “words” of the spell make ribbons that attack the demon. It’s fun to take advantage of the medium. 
page 64 – 68
If you listen to my podcast with Spike and Amanda (Dirty Old Ladies) I talked a little bit about this scene on the episode of censorship. One of the examples of when censorship is good was in relation to me working on Buffy. The demon has to look monstrous when Buffy fights and kills it because it can’t look like Buffy kills a child when taken out of context. It’s a branding/property protection thing that makes sense and doesn’t really interfere with anything story wise. 
page 69 – 72
Since a lot of the conflict on the personal end of things was Buffy and her Mom so I wanted to end on a nice Buffy and her mom money. Something sweet and it very they ended up getting the mother daughter time Joyce wanted. 

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 3 part 1

Page 1 – 3Like the last book, I had to start the book with the “Every generation” monolog over an actiony introduction. One of the notes I got back for this book is that since Angel wasn’t in the last two High School Years books, he should have a role in this one. So I opened with the two of them fighting together. I think if there is one flaw with this book it’s that I feel like Buffy and Angel’s scenes are maybe better suited to Buffy and Angel in season 2. I tired to place this story firmly before Buffy knew Angel was a vampire so the attraction is more obvious on her part. In season 1 Buffy and Angel’s relationship is kinda Buffy saying something and then rambling a bit to “prove” the comment she made wasn’t complimenting Angel. So you really only know she likes Angel because of how much she tries to make it look like she doesn’t like Angel. Anyway, that just leads to some blushy times. I asked if this book was sticking to natural acting or being more cartoony acting. I gave directions for both and Yishan split the difference.

Page 4 – 5

I wanted to show Joyce’s side of things here. Her POV is kinda important to this book. She probably got a lot of calls like this over the coarse of the show. Also, we never get to see the gallery in the show so I wanted to set a scene there.

page 6 – 8

For this scene I wanted Buffy to seem small while she was getting yelled at. I told Yishan to position Joyce so she is higher and larger than Buffy in the first page. Then once Joyce is done yelling they are on more equal positioning in the page.

page 9 – 12

Buffy is based on the whole girl that usually gets killed in a horror movie ends up being tougher than the monsters. So I wanted to tap into that with this monster of the week being disguised as a little girl. I wanted to have a humor beat with the vampire being annoyed at her lack of fear before the mind control power reveal. I always liked how Buffy blended horror and humor.

page 13 – 17

The scooby time in the library was both a way to let Buffy vent but also so Xander could get some quips in. He was the focus on my last book so he pretty sparse in this one. Willow and Giles are too but they get more during the next scooby scene.

page 18 – 22

When Buffy’s mom shows up, I wanted her mom to be more proactive. I also wanted her to not seem like she’s punishing Buffy. Also, I had Giles leave while Willow, Buffy, and Xander lie to Joyce to keep things in line with Buffy episodes before they all know Angel is a vampire.

page 23 – 25

Buffy and Joyce’s dinner is again trying to show Joyce putting time in that’s not about punishing Buffy. But at the same time I wanted everything Joyce said to make Buffy feel bad even if that’s not what Joyce intends.

page 26 – 29

This is one of the scenes between Angel and Buffy that in hind sight that is more season 2 or 3 Angel and Buffy rather than season 1. They don’t really confide in each other at this point. It was kinda a way to make Angel more present in the story to have Buffy confide in him. I did want Buffy to show that she appreciates her mom time. That sorta back and forth between wanting space and also wanting quality time is something that feels very teenager to me. Especially for a teenager that has a lot of responsibility.

page 30 – 33

This fight was mostly to get the information to Buffy so she can report it all back to Giles in the next scene.

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 2 part 2

page 37 – 39

The clean up bit was mostly set up for how Buffy defeats the tiger. It was also to get Willow to contribute a little more to the story, since it’s very Xander heavy.

page 40 – 47

Bakeries opening early enough that Buffy has probably seen a few open during patrol. It would also be a good time for the tiger to attack. Also Just Desserts was one of the possible titles for this story. This fight was mostly to show the tiger’s skin is impenetrable. I’m not so great at fighting quips. So the dialog in this scene took me the longest to write. Fry of the Tiger is also one of the possible names for the book.

page 48 – 49

Buffy describing the fight is a way to make things that the reader might not have picked up on more clear, without 100% spelling it out. I also made sure Xander mentioned how good the pastries were to hint at what will happen to him after he cheats in Mr. Blake’s class.

page 50 – 53

I really like Yishan’s drawing of Mr. Blake eating that cookie. Close ups of people eating are always unpleasant. Xander cheats. When this book was first advertised, someone commented that Xander buying sweats to pass off as his home ec homework is the most Xander thing they’d heard. I was glad to heard that. Anyway, I wanted to make sure Buffy knew Maria was missing in class so she can put things together in the next scene.

page 54 – 57

Since this is aimed at younger readers, I was told it needed a clear theme/lesson. Willow and Buffy basically spell it out here. Kinda how you get lines in Buffy episodes like “I had one drink and almost got eaten by a giant snake”

Exposition time. I also like it when someone suggestions something as a joke solution and that is the real solution. And I always like it when Buffy puts two and two together.

page 58 – 61

Buffy’s fight with the tiger is kinda goofy here. He looks very cute when Buffy boops him on the nose. Here his eye gets injured to hint at the key to getting past his fur coat.

page 62 – 64

Giles suggesting the woods while Buffy remembers the Rain Forest Cafe type place, I thought would be a fun beet. Both are reasonable.

I put in that Maria and Ms. Miller should look really tired while Xander is added to the group.

page 65 – 70

Teamwork makes the dream work. The cutting back and forth between Buffy fighting the tiger and everyone else hiding chemicals in the meal is to make things interesting. Buffy then stabbing in the eye while distracted is the solution. When I first submitted eye stabbing I got the note that this might be too violent, so I suggested cutting to a silhouette.

page 71 – 72

Fun little wrap up with everyone’s hard work getting shown off. Also doubling down on the lesson. Note that no one has eaten Xander’s cupcakes. I love how that middle panel came out on the last page where Buffy and Xander are Willow’s painting which would be were the reader is.

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 2 part 1

page 1 – 2

Darkhorse told me they want to start all the Buffy High School year books with the Slayer chosen one monologue. Just to give Buffy something actiony to do to start the book while the intro happens. These books are supposed to get younger readers who haven’t seen the show into Buffy.

page 3 – 7

Since the story is set in season 1, I wanted to use Principal Flutie. Also he’s definitely the type to push being more well-rounded on to teens. He kinda has the over eagerness to him that could help set up this plot.

This scene is a lot of talking, so I tired to give each character an action to do. That way it’s not just talking heads. I wanted to clearly pin point why each of them was taking a class. Like Willow is mostly there for moral support and Xander is focused on the less class. It kinda sets up their roles in this story.

page 8 – 10

The teacher is Ms. Miller from the Out of Mind Out of Sight episode. I wanted to use more familiar faces than just the main scoobies. I tried to go a slow build up to the reveal of the tiger monster.

page 11 – 12

For Mr. Blake I wanted to make him look kinda like Guy Furi with red hair tips instead of blonde. Then I realized that teachers can’t really dress like Guy Furi so part of that gets a little lost.

page 13 – 17

I always like when Buffy vents while training. There is a gag here that doesn’t quite work since it was my first time working with Yishan. I kinda wanted it to be clear that Giles got lost in thought and lowered the pad. So Buffy has to remind him it’s training time. You can kinda see that going on but it’s not completely clear. Yishan’s art is great but since I hadn’t worked with her in the past I couldn’t play to her strengths as an artist or know how much detail to give her. I think the next Buffy the High School Years turned out better because I saw what she did with my scripts here.

And no one it ever sick in Sunnydale. They are just eaten/in danger.

page 18 – 19

I sent Yishan I little layout for the restaurant. Kinda here’s the kitchen, here’s the dining area etc. I also found a bunch of Rain forrest Cafe pictures for her to base his hide out on.

page 20 – 26

Mr. Blake yelling at all the students in the students took me awhile because I’m not a very good cook. I went with omelets because it’s something that can go wrong in a lot ways but still be editable if something isn’t picky like Xander. I wanted the little set of what everyone did wrong to mirror when Buffy and Willow make cookies from scratch in the next scene.

page 27 – 31

Willow’s drawings are always mentioned as bad in Buffy even though we never see them. I thought I’d continue that with her painting assignments. Willow’s little pep talk to get Buffy and Xander hyped to do cooking stuff might be a little too confident for season 1, but I wanted to keep her active in the plot rather than on the sidelines.

page 32 – 36

Making cookies from scratch is like omelets something that can go wrong in a lot of ways but also have something with easy visuals. There is actually a what went wrong with my cookies illustrated guide you can find online. I sent that to Yishan so she knew how each mess up effects the look.

Writer Notes on Buffy Free Comic Book Day

Page 1 – 2

So I started this story with Buffy messing up so she can get a boost later. I wanted to make it clear its the same nerdy vampire. Darkhorse said the only properties that could be shown visually have to be stuff they have the rights to us. So Alien and Hellboy, I thought would be good horror/nerdy things to use.

Page 3 – 4

Xander and Buffy’s trip to the comic shop was originally gonna be Free Comic Book Day so that the story was kinda meta. But Free Comic Book Day didn’t exist 1997 which is when all the Buffy high school stories take place.  So it’s just Wednesday.

I had Xander recommend Buffy read X-men because I know from interviews that Joss Whedon likes X-men and Kitty Pryde is his favorite character. So I thought it would makes sense as a recommendation.

page 5 – 6

I threw in the Sailor Moon reference because I feel like Buffy and Sailor Moon because the “fighting evil by moonlight” line from the dubbed Sailor Moon applies to both of them.

page 7 – 10

The pullbox thing was inspired by stories from folks I know that work in comic shops. More than one of them has said things like this regular customer hasn’t come in for awhile to pick up their pull box, I hope nothing bad happened to them. Also Buffy throws the vampire into the sun just to shake things up

Page 11 – 12

And so I wanted to end on a nice moment for Buffy where she inspires a younger girl.