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    New Serenity Comics: Zack Whedon Takes Us Aboard Leaves on the Wind

    Serenity ComicsBrowncoats, take note: Dark Horse’s new Serenity comics will finally answer the question, #WheresSerenity? It’s a query that has been on fans’ lips almost since the beginning: after Joss Whedon’s space western drama Firefly was canceled by Fox after only 11 of its 14 episodes aired, a small but extremely active fanbase — known as the Browncoats — took action and rallied to bring the show back.

    Their efforts resulted in the 2005 feature film Serenity, which continued the exploits of Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds and the rag-tag crew of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity, as they eluded the evil Alliance and struggled to survive by any means necessary — legal or illegal.

    While there have been several Serenity comics since 2005, the upcoming Serenity: Leaves on the Wind adventure is the first post-Serenity miniseries featuring the entire surviving crew! Captained by Zack Whedon (Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale) with art by Georges Jeanty (Buffy Seasons 8 and 9), this six-issue miniseries is highly anticipated by thousands of fans.

    Curious? We were, too! Fortunately, we were able to interview Zack Whedon and ask him how the crew is dealing with the aftermath of the events of Serenity — in which they lost several of their crewmates and exposed some of the dirty deeds of the Alliance — and what’s coming up next!

    Read his responses below, and check out the covers to Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 and #2, as well as two interior pages from issue #1! You can pre-order the first issue of these new Serenity comics now to save 20%.

    TFAW: Where is the crew of the Serenity when Leaves on the Wind begins?

    Zack Whedon: They are hiding out in the middle of nowhere. They are in a place with no name, where no one would ever think to look, because they’re trying to stay missing. They’ve gotten themselves a lot of attention with what they did during the events of the movie Serenity, and they’re laying low.

    Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 Variant CoverTFAW: This is the first in-depth view we’ve seen of Mal and the gang since the movie. How have they changed?

    ZW: I think they’re all still reeling from the loss of Wash and Book — that was a very traumatic experience for them all. They’re still dealing with that. River has reached a place of relative mental health, compared to how she was before the movie, so they’re happy about that, but nervous that it could go the other way at any moment. Zoe is dealing with the prospect of having a child whose father has been killed, so that’s tough on her. Even though they were successful in exposing the Alliance in Serenity [Editor’s note: the crew discovered that the Alliance had released an experimental drug on the planet Miranda, killing most of its inhabitants and spawning the savage, crazed Reavers], it puts them in a difficult position, so they’re feeling pinched by the Alliance.

    TFAW: How is Mal, mentally and emotionally, right now?

    ZW: Mal doesn’t ever really admit his concern to anyone, but their situation is dire, and he knows it. So he keeps a stoic façade with his crew, but he knows they’re in a desperate spot and need to make a move if they’re going to survive.

    TFAW: What is the dynamic of the crew like, with the loss of Wash and Book?

    ZW: It’s interesting. With Wash gone, there’s certainly less humor — not that there isn’t humor, but also there’s the fact that two of their friends met violent ends. It casts some gloom over their situation. So they’re not loving life at the moment. But it’s interesting, they’re all sort of dealing with different things, so even though they’re on the same ship, or most of them are, they’re living very different lives. Kaylee and Simon are still basking in the glow of new love, and Zoe is, as I mentioned, dealing with the prospect of having a child who doesn’t have a father. So everyone’s in a different place, even if they’re in the same location.

    Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 Preview Page 1TFAW: So you mentioned Kaylee and Simon; will the potential romance between Mal and Inara be explored?

    ZW: Yes. [laughs] I’d like the readers to know as little as possible going into the first issue. That question is answered very quickly.

    TFAW: What other characters will we be seeing? Are there any new ones to introduce?

    ZW: There is a new character, a young rebel activist named Bea, who gets hooked up with our crew. She’s sort of leading the Resistance — well, not leading them, but sort of spearheading their efforts to find Malcolm, because they think that he could be a great asset in terms of not only leading them, but in terms of being a figurehead for their movement. So she’s pursuing him for that reason, and she factors in in a big way.

    And there’s some returning characters, some faces from the show and the movie. And then in terms of new characters, we made a couple of other Operatives. We meet them early on, but they play a larger part later. Their names are Denon and Kalista, and they are Operatives. Then, we’re also introducing an Alliance officer named Officer Rogers, who is also part of the pursuit of Serenity. So lots of bad guys, and one good guy.

    TFAW: So the odds are pretty equal!

    ZW: Yeah!

    TFAW: I can’t imagine Mal would really take to playing the savior role. How does he respond to Bea?

    ZW: He’s not into it. You know, Mal is misunderstood by a lot of people, Bea included, and what she expects to find is not what she does find, when she meets him. The guy that she imagined is very different from the person that Mal actually is. He has no interest in playing that part for her.

    Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 Preview Page 2TFAW: This is your second foray into writing Serenity comics, after The Shepherd’s Tale. [Editor’s note: Mea culpa! We temporarily forgot the magnificence of Whedon’s FCBD Serenity comic.] What are your favorite aspects of Firefly and Serenity?

    ZW: I love the dynamics of the crew, and trying to recreate that. Everything is so off-kilter in the first issue of this new series, that you don’t really get to see them clicking together until later on. But I love recreating that. The show had such great chemistry between all these characters, and finding that again is fun.

    And then, digging into the possibilities of the reaction to what they disclosed in Serenity. They dropped a big bomb with that revelation about Miranda and the Reavers and everything, so I’ve had a lot of fun with playing with how the world received that news.

    TFAW: The fans of Firefly and Serenity are so enthusiastic, and so vocal! How do you deal with that kind of pressure?

    ZW: Well, I’m not thinking about it. [laughs] I count myself as a fan, so I think that hopefully if I’m into the stories, that they will be too. You know, it’s very important to me to preserve the tone of the show and the movie, and of the universe, and to not stray from that. To create new stories that feel like ones you could have seen on the show. So I don’t think about it, except to get excited that there’s such a large audience waiting for it. That’s not usually the case, when you’re writing something.

    So it’s exciting that there are a bunch of people who are enthusiastic about the universe, to pick up the comic on the first day and dig into it. I’m excited to share it with them. I’m really, really pleased with the first issue, I think it came out amazing.

    Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2TFAW: Will there be more comics after this six-issue miniseries?

    ZW: I think this six-issue series will be it for me, at least for a long while. I just have a lot going on, and the process of writing comics is much slower and much more difficult for me than it is for some people. So I’m going to take a break, but my sincere hope is that they can get other great writers to keep it going, maybe in six-issue chunks or something like that. Georges is an amazing artist and has done an incredible job so far with the series, so I hope that if it does continue, it will continue with him. Because he’s doing an awesome job.

    TFAW: Do you have anything else going on that you want to talk about?

    ZW: Right now I’m working on a television show for AMC, a show called Halt and Catch Fire, which is set in Dallas in 1983. It’s about a computer company that’s getting into the PC business. I’m on the staff there. It was created by Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell. It’s an amazing pilot, and I’m very excited.

    Our thanks to Zack Whedon for updating us on Serenity: Leaves on the Wind! Make sure to order these Serenity comics (and catch up on previous ones) here at TFAW — you’ll save 10-50%!

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    Are you a Browncoat? What do you hope to see in the pages of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind? Post your comments below!

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    How to Find Gifts for Her & Make the Women in Your Life Feel Appreciated

    gifts for herFull disclosure: there really is no such thing as “gifts for her” — speaking as a woman who knows many other geeky females, there is no “one-size fits all” lady gift. There is no secret (pink!) sparkly cave where you’ll find a pile of loot labeled, “holiday gifts for her — AND ONLY HER, NO TOUCHING GUYS!” Women, much like men, are people. We like all kinds of different things, from superheroes and horror, to Archie and Buffy, and everything in between.

    At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Well gee, then why do you have a gifts for her page in the first place?” Simply put, when we put these Gift Ideas Pages together waaaaaay back in 2008, we wanted to make sure we had a page that was dedicated to geek girls of all types — because we’re growing in numbers every day, and we want to remind everyone of that very fact.

    So what will you find on our gifts for her page? Surprise! It’s a pink sparkly cave! Just kidding. You’ll find comics and graphic novels with cool female characters, like Buffy and Batwoman, as well as titles by awesome female writers, like Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick. You’ll find superhero titles like All-New X-Men and horror books like Revival, as well as action figures, statues, and collectibles that would make fantastic gifts for many of the women (and men, when you come down to it) in your life.

    So think about what the ladies in your life enjoy, and check out all of our Gift Ideas Pages for our recommendations. After all, the secret to picking a gift that makes someone feel appreciated — whether they’re male or female — is to put yourself in their shoes, and ponder what they might want to add to their collections. Right?

    BROWSE GIFTS FOR HER & MORE

    What should we add to our gifts for her page? Post your comments below!

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    Felicia Day Talks About The Guild FCBD Comic & Dragon Age: Redemption

    The Guild: Zaboo One ShotDark Horse Month was too big and exciting to contain in just one month, so we’re closing it down with a “visit” from the one and only Felicia Day, creator/writer/producer/star of The Guild, her wildly popular web series focusing on a misfit group of gamers. We chatted with her about the upcoming The Guild: Zaboo one-shot, her Free Comic Book Day comic (a flip-book paired with Buffy the Vampire Slayer!), her latest web series, Dragon Age: Redemption, and more.

    We’ve also got an exclusive six-page preview of The Guild: Zaboo–enjoy!

    TFAW.com: Now that you’ve completed both The Guild miniseries and several one-shots, how are you enjoying the process of making comics?

    Felicia Day: I feel like I’ve really hit a personal stride, that I actually look forward to working with the format and thinking more visually. The process is a lot more fun now that I’ve gotten my own methodology down.

    TFAW.com: Can you give us any hints about what we’ll discover about Zaboo in The Guild: Zaboo one-shot?

    FD: Sandeep [Parikh, her co-star and co-writer of the one-shot] is a director, so I think this issue is much more visual, similar to the Bladezz issue (which I did with Guild director Sean Becker). The cool thing is that Sandeep is a big gamer as well, so we tried to infuse a lot of gamer ideas into the script and the visuals. There are homages to everything from FPSs to Mario Kart. I’m excited for people to read it.

    The Guild: Zaboo Page 1TFAW.com: Does this take place before or after Season 5?

    FD: As are all the one shots of the core characters I’ve done this year, this one is pre-season 1, with the timeline catching up to the web series by the end of the issue.

    TFAW.com: Dark Horse just announced there will be a Guild comic for Free Comic Book Day–as a flip book with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How do you feel about that pairing?

    FD: SUPER PSYCHED. Ahem, sorry about the caps. I didn’t know they were going to do that, and to be paired with such a great title is an honor for sure. I was excited to be able to get word about the series out and support such a great event.

    TFAW.com: What can you tell us about the storyline for the FCBD comic? Will it tie into Season 6 of the web series at all?

    FD: It’s a stand-alone for people who might not be familiar with the show and it’s sort of out of time with the series, but canon.

    TFAW.com: Have you considered expanding your comics work–writing a Buffy story, or a superhero book?

    The Guild: Zaboo Page 2FD: I would love to fit in other comic projects, but I am really stretched thin right now. Next year is going to bring some big changes though, and I hope to fit in more writing alongside with all the web series I’ll be doing. The idea of creating something new is really appealing to me though.

    TFAW.com: Cyd and Zaboo’s relationship has been through several twists and turns: she took a second look at him romantically in Season 5, but that fizzled after a brief experiment. Where will they be in Season 6?

    FD: I can’t tell, and if I could I wouldn’t anyway :). The show is still not picked up, so we have a lot of options with what we can do with the show, actually. I might be interested in doing something different with the format. We’ll see what the new year brings!

    TFAW.com: A lot of characters made a quantum leap in Season 5: Tinkerballa (ahem, April Lou) opened up to Cyd, Vork fell in love, kind of, and most importantly, it looks like Cyd has an actual job–with The Game! Are we going to see a more “functional” Guild in Season 6?

    The Guild: Zaboo Page 3FD: Of course not, functional is boring! I am having fun bringing the characters out of their shells a bit, though. Their friendship is making them better people, which is the central story of The Guild, really.

    TFAW.com: I just rewatched Dragon Age: Redemption and really enjoyed it. How did you prepare for such a physical role?

    FD: It was monumental will power that got me out of bed at 6 am every day for three months, doing two hours of working out, then going to work for eight hours and working on the script and The Guild and everything else I have to do, then training again before I went to bed. I think I almost broke myself, but it was 100% worth it. It definitely made me respect big action heroes more, who literally make that process their life. I don’t think I’ll ever be in that good shape again, to be honest. 🙂

    TFAW.com: The end of the web series left a lot of room for a sequel–is anything currently in the works?

    FD: Nothing planned now, but Tallis is, awesomely, a part of the Dragon Age universe. I could only hope she appears again!

    TFAW.com: What were the biggest differences (besides budget) between producing The Guild and Dragon Age: Redemption?

    FD: I think scale was the biggest, we had so many more crew on Dragon Age, it was hard to even look at it like a web series; it was TV-sized. Also Dragon Age had a huge post-production process with special effects and color timing and transcoding, etc. etc. That was a huge learning lesson, how complicated post-production can be when you do a lot of special effects and involve so many people on that end of production.

    I think the biggest lesson I took was that I kind of enjoy shooting things with three people more, haha.

    The Guild: Zaboo Page 4The Guild: Zaboo Page 5The Guild: Zaboo Page 6

    TFAW.com: You’ve acted in projects by others, and those you produce yourself. When you’re creating your own material, do you think you make fewer compromises, or just different ones?

    FD: Filmmaking is, by definition, a compromise art form, I think, whatever the scale. You never quite realize exactly what is in your head–sometimes you fall short, sometimes other people’s input and talent help you exceed it. That’s the beauty and the frustration of making films.

    I certainly have a bit more control over what I produce personally, but wearing so many hats tends to round out the perfectionist corners because it’s simply a lot to take on, especially when we have such low budgets. So really, the challenges always vary from project to project, which is why I love what I do. Variety I what I live for.

    TFAW.com: What do you think is the key to creating realistic female characters, both in comics or for web or TV series?

    FD: I think creating a character, not a type. We all read characters that jump out as, “MOM,” “GIRLFRIEND,” “GEEK GIRL”–they start from cliches and never overcome them. Moms aren’t always kind, teen daughters aren’t always rebellious. Start creating a character with a unique perspective, interesting past experiences, and then make her female. Then something awesome will hopefully happen.

    Our thanks to Felicia for taking the time to answer all of our questions. Make sure to order The Guild comics and graphic novels here at TFAW.com.

    BROWSE THE GUILD COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

    VISIT OUR DARK HORSE MONTH PAGE

    Are you curious about The Guild Season 6? Have you watched Dragon Age: Redemption yet? Post your reactions below!

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    Gerard Way Talks About Dallas, the Umbrella Movie & More

    The Umbrella Academy, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, hit the comics scene in 2007 like a psychotropic bomb. Dominated by offbeat characters, nonlinear storytelling, and art resembling a vivid acid flashback, the first miniseries, Apocalypse Suite, won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2008 and was wildly popular, to boot. Fortunately, hungry fans just got to feast on The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, the second miniseries, which just released issue #6 on May 13.

    I was lucky enough to interview Gerard–also very well known for his band, My Chemical Romance–about Dallas, the upcoming hardcover edition, the proposed Umbrella movie, and his next comic book series for Dark Horse. Read on, but be warned: there are multiple spoilers for issue #6, so if you haven’t read it yet, be careful!

    TFAW.com: Thanks for taking some time to talk with me!

    Gerard Way: No problem!

    TFAW.com: So, what led you to creating The Umbrella Academy and working in comics?

    GW: Before I started the band, I spent a lot of years trying to break into comics, and eventually finding work in toy design. What happened was, the band started to really take off, so I had to quit all my jobs–all my freelance gigs and everything–and I really just missed it. I missed the whole world, and creating stuff like that. I missed the whole thing–the art of it, and the scripting, and the possibility, so that was the whole motivator.

    TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part of writing The Umbrella Academy?

    GW: I think my favorite part is that the comic is so loose. I like being able to surprise myself, and Scott [Allie, Dark Horse Comics Senior Managing Editor], and sometimes we have conversations where we surprise each other, and I love that part. I’d say, “Scott, this is the rough overview of the six issues,” and then by the time we’re at issue three, things have already changed, in a really good way, and I’ve got a whole new opening now. I never knew how I was going to end Dallas. I knew the facts, I knew what would happen, but I didn’t know how it was going to end, the specifics. There was all this weird stuff, like the Vietnam thing in issue #5, stuff like that was able to happen, to occur to me only as I’m writing the script, and that’s my favorite part.

    Sending this stuff to Gabriel, and then seeing it come back and come to life, that’s actually the most rewarding part. I would get really excited whenever my email inbox would show something of his, and then I’d get to open it up and see what he’s done, and it’s always amazing.

    TFAW.com: Cool! What made you choose JFK for the second series?

    GW: You know, Dallas was going to be a later story–I wanted it to be a one-shot, at a certain point. I was like, “I just want this really crazy one-shot issue that’s maybe 40 pages long, that involves the characters having to assassinate JFK, and then being torn about it.” That was the original idea, and then what we realized is that we had a lot more. There’s so much more going on with these characters since the first series, and there’s so much more happening with their lives, that we can make a whole six issues out of it. The JFK thing really only takes up a quarter of their story in the series, but there’s so much more to it. I guess we could have done just that story in one issue.

    Dallas was supposed to be the series that happened later, after we got through some more A-plot stuff, like where are the other kids? What really happened to Hargreeves? What happened to the Horror? Things like that. But Scott had said, “I think this is how you follow it up, you follow the first series with something that’s very different and kind of severe,” and that’s what we did.

    TFAW.com: Are you still going to pursue those other storylines? I know everybody wants to know what happened to the Horror.

    GW: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, right now, as soon as Gabriel is done with his other commitments and taking a break–I think Gabriel deserves a really nice vacation–as soon as he’s done with that, we’re gonna go ahead and get into some more of the A-plot again, which is, what happened to the other kids, and what’s going on here. So by the time we get to the fourth series, we’ll be deep in another plot.

    TFAW.com: In Dallas, it seems like Spaceboy has kind of lost it. Was that because of the trauma of Apocalypse Suite, or Allison being injured?

    GW: I think there is so much disappointment in that guy’s life, and I think he’s his own biggest disappointment. I think he just lost it because he apparently saved the world, but nothing seemed to have gotten better. Nothing’s different, for him, and that’s usually the case, but you never see that when you’re reading Superman. He’s always saving the world, but the next week, it’s the same thing, and you never really see that affect the character’s personality.

    I think the biggest thing is, he’s trapped in this [Martian gorilla] body, so, now that’s they’ve saved the world, it’s time to celebrate and move on, and go back to their normal lives, and he can’t really do that.

    TFAW.com: Yeah, because he’s a gorilla!

    GW: Yeah! He can’t move on at all!

    TFAW.com: It’s seems like he can’t move at all–he’s gained all that weight, like he hates the body.

    GW: Exactly. So he’s stuck in this situation and body, and he can’t move on from it. But oddly enough, neither did any of the other characters. They didn’t go back and have normal lives.

    TFAW.com: Well, how much of normal lives did they have before?

    GW: Yeah, exactly.

    TFAW.com: We saw more of Seance in this arc. Do you have any plans for him in the near future?

    Continue reading

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