Jeanty's striking variant cover for Buffy #1 - Season 8
Georges Jeanty has quietly built a substantial body of work in little over a decade. He apprenticed on titles like
Dogs of War (Defiant, 1994) and various mid-90’s London Night titles before picking up some short or single-issue assignments from DC Comics (including
Tales of the Green Lantern, a Tangent/DC comic). Readers may also know Jeanty for such Marvel series work as
Bishop the Last X-Man,
Gambit (2003), and
Weapon X. Jeanty worked with screenwriter John Ridley on the eight-issue Wildstorm mini-series
The American Way (also available as a trade paperback).
Without fanfare, Jeanty developed considerable storytelling skills and eventually attracted the attention of the powers behind Dark Horse Comics’
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 –
Joss Whedon’s comic book continuation of his popular, long-running TV series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” An underrated creator of striking visuals, Jeanty answered a few questions for us in conjunction with the Bin’s “
Dark Horse Month:”
CBB: How did you become involved with the new Buffy comic book? Who chose you and why?
JEANTY: I've told this story a few times and it always makes me sound vain, but I swear it's true. You would think with such a coveted project you would have artists knocking down Dark Horse's door to get first crack at Buffy, but I gotta tell the truth, Dark Horse approached me.
Buffy #1, p. 2 by Jeanty with inks by Andy Owens and colors by Dave Stewart.
I got an e-mail from Buffy Editor
Scott Allie mentioning how Joss really liked my work and they would like to offer me this new
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Dark Horse was starting back up. Scott and I had never met before; in fact, I believe he had to get my email from a mutual friend and artist Jason Pearson. I thanked Scott for thinking of me for this project and jokingly said to him that it was an old editor's trick to throw in a big name when you're trying to secure talent. Like saying “Hey, George Lucas really likes your work and wants you to do a Star Wars comic!” Who could say no to that?
Scott replied that this was on the level, that they had a list of people and Whedon really did want me to do it. Me being ever the optimist, I replied, okay, if Whedon is such a fan let him ask me to do the book. I thought I had called Scott's bluff, but the very next email I got was from the man himself. After apologizing like a hundred times I thanked Joss for thinking of me and took the job!
CBB: Were you a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the TV series? What did you like about the show?
JEANTY: This is a sticky question, because when I agreed to the project it was without ever having seeing an episode in my life. I kinda watched one in the first season that had John Ritter in it because I was a Ritter fan, but Buffy always fell beneath my radar. Dark Horse was nice enough to send me the last 2 seasons on DVD when I took the gig so you can bet I got caught up real quick. And it was on the strength of those 2 seasons that I, on my own, went out and bought the first 5 seasons. I was hooked. I was so sorry that now 4 years later that I never watched the show on a weekly basis like I do Lost or something. I can't imagine having to wait a week sometimes at some of those continuing episodes, they were so good!
So now I'd have to say I am definitely a fan!
There is a deep rooted honesty about the show. Yes, it's juggling horror and comedy, which is tough for any show, but at its core, it's got so much heart. You feel for these characters. They become a part of your life, and that's something I definitely missed out not watching it every week.
The variant cover to the recent Buffy #4
CBB: Have you found Joss Whedon’s scripts for the comic series particularly different from the scripts by comic book writers?
JEANTY: Not at all. Joss has been writing comics now for some time and I'd guess that a comic script isn't that much different from a television script. You've got the description of what the characters are doing and you've got the dialog of what they are saying. Obviously, TV has movement and comics don’t, but other than that there is really no difference.
CBB: Were you concerned about being able to capture a look or mood that was similar to the series, and did you receive any cues about that from Whedon?
JEANTY: Well, this is where going from a Joss Whedon script helped coming out of the gate. These characters live is Joss's head. He knows how they speak how they react and what they would do in a given situation. All I ever had to do was go to him when I was unsure about something, and believe me there were plenty of times that I had Buffy one way and Joss would correct me. If nothing else, issues 1 through 4 are an honest interpretation of the Buffy universe in comics. I told Joss to stay on me about being true to the characters no matter how small the difference may have seemed. And I think, after all is said and done, that really came through.
CBB: Supposedly, Brian K. Vaughn will eventually take over Season 8. Have you spoken to him and will you be on the title for the foreseeable future?
JEANTY: Yes! I am working on Brian's scripts right now. But to my knowledge Brian is only doing an arc (4 issues) at this point. One of Joss's things about doing this comic series was that he wanted to work with writers that he admired in the field. He and Scott have got a hot line into some pretty big names in the comic industry, as well as some of the fan favorite writers from the show, so look for some exciting writers to come on board in the future! The great thing about this for me is that I will be working with most of them! I can't think of another project where I would get the opportunity to work with so many great writers. I didn't get that at first when Scott was explaining the game plan to me, but now I see what an opportunity this is!
CBB: You’ve been a busy artist the last decade or so. How important is receiving regular assignments to your growth as a storyteller and in sharpening your drawing skills?
JEANTY: I think in a time where comics are essentially trades waiting to be collected, doing a monthly book is so much more important. This is a great chance for fans of Buffy to have something to come to every month. I'm a huge comic fan myself and I love picking up books that I like every month! It's a joy to read something that's well written and (hopefully) well drawn and know that it'll be there every few weeks. A lot of what I've done in my career has been on regular monthly basis, so I'm no stranger to this, and I do feel telling stories so often hones ones skill in the sequential medium. I'm a sponge. I'm always looking for new ways to tell a story so I am constantly looking though comics at other artist's work when I draw!
CBB: Who were your influences both inside and outside of comics?
Jeanty's variant cover for the August-scheduled Buffy #5
JEANTY: This would be a huge laundry list of names, so I'll only give you a high-lighted version. Comic wise, I'm always looking at art from the likes of Alan Davis, or Michael Golden, Jason Pearson, Paul Chadwick, and Travis Charest. I grew up on comics so I feel my storytelling sense seems to come from people whom I read when I was younger – John Bryne on the
Fantastic Four, Frank Miller on
Daredevil, Walt Simonson on Thor, and George Perez on the Teen Titans. So many more, Milo Manara, Moebius, The Hernandez Brothers [also know as Los Bros.], and Enki Bilal, just to name a few more.
Outside of the comic field, I really got my education from a college professor who turned me on to the Industrial Revolution in art. People like Dean Cornwell, J.C. Lyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, and that sort. Also people like [Frank] Frazetta, Alfons [or Alphonse] Mucha, Franklin Booth, James Bama, and Drew Struzan are big influences.
Of course, people like Jack Kirby and Will Eisner have such a deep rooted effect on comic creators that it would be easy to overlook 2 giants and their mark on my work, certainly.
CBB: Do you have any future projects, comics or otherwise, for the immediate future that you can speak about at this time?
JEANTY: Believe it or not, I don't have anything, aside form the odd covers and pin ups here and there, besides Buffy right now. Dark Horse, Scott Allie and Joss Whedon have all committed to this book and to me with doing this project, and I, in turn, am committing myself to the full run of Season 8. Now, that's not to say that I'll be able to do every issue, but I will be there for the long haul! And what a ride it's going to be, I hope the fans stick around, it'll be worth it!
You can visit Jeanty as his website, The Kaba Lounge
. When you can't find Buffy or other Dark Horse titles at your LCS, visit comics retailer Things from Another World
. The Comic Shop Locator phone number is 1-888-COMIC BOOK.