Chris Ryall is the publisher/editor-in-chief at IDW Publishing. He’s the man who edits the Angel series, currently written by Bill Willingham. And boy has the last week been busy.
He’s just finished a question-and-answer session at Whedonesque, the Joss Whedon fansite. Here are a few highlights.
As everyone saw earlier this week (depending on when this runs), Willingham released a statement about the Buffy news and its possible affect on his comic. This isn’t something I would’ve said, or wanted Bill to say (quite the opposite, actually) and I know it really fractured some opinions of the guy even as his first issue of Angel, 28, is all you’d seen to that point. But I hope people do take his fire as the words of a deeply passionate writer who takes his job very seriously. He wanted on this book because he loved the world Joss created, and he has plans that extend what Joss has done in fun new ways and is excited and eager to have people see them. The Buffy news took him unawares, and his first thought was for his run on Angel, and not wanting to see his long-term plans affected by it. So I don’t defend what he said or how he said it, but I know it came from a place of caring and passion for the characters and I hope fans can see it as that. I also hope he never does that again.
Ultimately, the reason these things rub me wrong all around is I don’t want fans to have to get a look behind the curtain and see that the people doing these books are human. I don’t want you to see us sweeping up or grousing at one another or scratching ourselves in various places—all of that takes away from the real reason we’re all here, the comic itself.
I’ve always been interested in a cross-over. Angel might be appearing in Buffy now, but I’ll be damned if they can use [him] without a full crossover taking place!
He never came to us with After the Fall and said “I’m here to make your stories count.” He said (and this is more of a real quote than the above) “I see in Brian Lynch someone who could actually work with me to tell the story of what happens after Season Five ended.” But he also told Brian to “use the fish,” a character Brian created in Spike: Asylum. So by the strange transitive property of canonization, that means Asylum and other stories with are also thusly canon, and since continues to be in Angel for Willingham’s run, that to me makes it all part of the same whole, whether Joss plotted the story over pancakes with Brian or whether Willingham came up with it in the Minnesota hinterlands.
There was no violation of any agreement. I do think all of this could’ve been minimized by including us in their plans. At the same time, this was a secret Joss built four years ago, and I do get the attempt to maintain extreme secrecy. I’m not on the other side of this, so it’s not for me to tell someone else how to handle something. We all handle things differently. Which is why I’m disclosing right now that Hellboy is the villain we’ve been building to in Transformers.
Alright, but just between you and me, so please don’t post this online—the Spike in their series (is Spike even in their series? Or are you fishing here?) is really a Skrull. A Skrull who’s wearing a Black Lantern ring!
After this kerfuffle (a recent favorite word of mine, just not one I expected to use as often as I have this week), I prefer books that have never had nor will ever have any continuity whatsoever.
[On collecting Angel: After The Fall in one volume] We’re definitely going to do that, yes, a big Premiere Edition hardcover of the entire thing. Details and release date to come.
And now I think he deserves a big sit down…