Interview with Comic Book Artist Georges Jeanty
Conducted by Jeffrey M. Wetherington, Sr
At A Comics Shop in Winter Park, FL
October 25, 2007
JW: We're here at A Comics Shop in Winter Park, Florida with Dark Horse Comics' Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 artist Georges Jeanty, who has graciously agreed to give us a few minutes of his time for a short interview. First, let me say it's a pleasure to meet you and I thank you for signing my copies of "Buffy" and for agreeing to this impromptu interview.
GJ: Thank you.
JW: You've been a professional artist for about 13 years, is that correct?
GJ: Yes, more or less about that time.
JW: What has been your favorite project so far?
GJ: Actually, right before "Buffy" I did something called "The American Way", which was really...I thought really good. This was a project where I read it and thought, "Even if I don't do this, I'm going to pick this up" because this story was really, really good. That was from a writer by the name of John Ridley who is also a Hollywood writer, he's written a few novels and all. But I'm having SO much fun on "Buffy" so...it's sort of a torn marriage between the two.
JW: I know that you also had aspirations of becoming an actor.
GJ: I did, yeah.
JW: What was the deciding factor for you that moved you toward illustration?
GJ: That I was a much better artist than I was an actor (laughter). Thankfully all those people out there didn't have to suffer through me on a (chuckling)...on a TBS station somewhere down the line.
JW: How did you get your foot in the door for your first assignment?
GJ: Like most people at that time I was just hittin' the convention route, I was showing people, showing people over and over. There was a small company, Caliber, at the time that was based in Michigan and I befriended a guy who was getting stuff done through them. They were trying to start up a superhero line 'cause Caliber produced mainly just, uh very un-superhero books and they were trying their superhero line which was all the rage, for them. And I got an issue out and..it was just all of the sudden; it was one of those things where you try and try for so long and you're thinking, "Ok this is going to be an arduous process" when all of the sudden something happens and you just do it and you're like, "Oh! Ok, well I guess all that trying led up to this" but it didn't feel like it.
JW: Well, that's good, that's pleasant and at least it wasn't as difficult, for you, as you might have imagined.
GJ: Yeah, well...but those couple of years I was trying seemed difficult.
JW: You have what many would consider a dream job; getting to work with a creative genius like Joss Whedon and now with a comic book writer extraordinaire like Brian K. Vaughan. What are some of the similarities and some of the differences between these two men?
GJ: That they are both very passionate about their work. When I talk to them...and I usually talk to the writer on the phone or when we can in person, they REALLY love comics. It's so great to see these guys...who have a "stature"... who could very easily look down on comics and snub their nose at them, actually praise the medium and say this was their safe haven as kids or growing up in high school and what-not.. this was what they got into and as an adult, theoretically there was no reason to leave this for more adult purposes. This was something where that just stuck with them and, thankfully, KEPT sticking with them, so much so that as writers...as Brian is writing for "Lost" and of course Joss is doing for "Buffy"...they don't see that as saying, "Well, I've evolved past comics." This is more about, "Well this is what I'm doing IN ADDITION to the comics that I do as well."
JW: So passion would be their similarity. What about their differences?
GJ: Well, obviously Joss has been in the movie biz, the TV biz and just that medium a lot longer than Brian has, so Joss is a little more comfortable with the "lingo" that always precedes some sort of multi-media writer, just in terminologies and such...'cause Brian and I actually laughed, to each other, because we had read a script or something from Joss with notes that Joss might have given Brian on HIS script, and he was using some interpretations that I THINK were indigenous more toward the movie industry. And as I mentioned it to Brian, Brian just sort of lit up with levity saying, "Oh yeah, I thought I was the only one who didn't understand that (laughter). Cool, ok good!"
JW: Is their much difference in their styles?
GJ: Well, style is such a subjective thing. I would say "Yes", but on the written paper, uh, they're both very good writers, they obviously understand WHAT they're writing, they know where they're going with their writing...you don't at any time think that a given scene might be superfluous, just for the sake of having that scene; thankfully everything services the story. Um, I think their similarities in writing...I can definitely tell you why Joss was very big on getting Brian, aside from just liking his writing, was that he understood the "Buffy" universe and he understood the language, moreso. He said when he, Joss, was reading Brian's script, he thought, "Man, this guy gets it. He gets the language, he gets how Faith speaks, how Buffy speaks, he understands that." And, of course, from Brian's end...he's like, "I'm just a fan of it and that's how I approach it.".
JW: Of writers you haven't worked with, could you name 3 you'd like to work with?
GJ: Oh, I can give you the 3 biggies...Alan Moore would be one, Frank Miller would certainly be one and Peter David, I always enjoyed his work. I'm just a fan of comics in general so there's so many I would love to work with. Chris Claremont, you know people from MY youth, getting to work with them would probably be a major coup for me.
JW: Do you have a favorite inker that you feel brings out the best in your pencils?
GJ: Oh yeah I've always got a stable and whenever I do a project I try to go right to them. The Karl Story's of the world, the Dexter Vines', Tim Townsend and Mark Farmer.
JW: After "Buffy" is completed, what project/character/book would you like to work on next?
GJ: Well, "Buffy" is scheduled for quite a long run and the plan is for me to be with the book as much and as long as possible so right now that is all I have in my future.
JW: Will you be at Orlando MegaCon next March?
GJ: I would love to be invited to MegaCon so if anyone from there is reading this; call me! (Laughter)
JW: Georges, thank you for your time. It has been a pleasure to meet you and interview you for Athena Comics Guide.
GJ: You're very welcome.