Interview: Scott Allie on Shepherd Book’s ‘Serenity’ Spin-Off and ‘Solomon Kane’
Previously on ComicMix, I spoke with Dark Horse Comics’ Editor Scott Allie about a variety of subjects including Buffy: Season Eight, Joss Whedon, the Dark Horse/MySpace Comics project and the rise of digital media.
This time around, we revisit a few old topics (because there’s always something new going on with Dark Horse projects in the Joss Whedon universe), discuss who might be handling the Serenity spin-offs and talk a bit about the origin of Shepherd Book.
COMICMIX: Okay, Scott, we talked about Serenity spin-offs before, like the one featuring Shepherd Book. Will it be old Buffy and Serenity writers on that one or…
SCOTT ALLIE: No. Joss [Whedon] will still have his role as co-writer, plotter, all that, but the rest of this is changing up. This one is such a different thing. It’s a flashback with a single character, before the television show, so we figured it was an opportunity to go in a real different direction.
CMix: There’s a story about the Shepherd Book comic’s origin, right? Something about Ron Glass (who plays the character in both the tevelvision series and feature film) going on a cruise?
SA: Yeah, Ron Glass has been doing conventions ever since [Firefly] was on. So Ron does all these conventions, and I guess people frantically are asking him at shows, "What is Book’s story?" And Ron has to tell them he doesn’t know.
So finally, he just went to Joss and said, "Look, I’m doing this Serenity cruise, and I’m going to be stuck on a boat with these guys for days… I have to have something to tell them. Give me something."
So Joss said, "Okay."
And he wrote Ron a letter that he copied me on, which said, "Here’s the deal, we’re going to do a three-issue release series at Dark Horse, totally devoted to Shepherd Book, and here are five facts that you, Ron, can spill out on the boat."
I can’t remember what they were. But he gave him 3-5 little details.
(NOTE: In case you’re curious, here are the facts that Joss let Ron Glass spill: There will be a Dark Horse Comic released about Book called The Shepherd’s Tale. A part of Shepherd Book is artificial. He found God in a bowl of soup. Book is best known for his greatest failure. “Derrial” is not his real name. He took that name from a man he killed. – CU)
CMix: Do you have all of your writers for it, then?
SA: We’re not ready to announce who they are. We’ve got our writers, but want to announce the whole team as one.
CMix: Do you think there’s a market for a Jane series or other characters’ tales?
SA: I think so.
CMix: I think Jane seems interesting enough for it.
SA: I think any of them are. There’s a market for it. The most interesting thing about the show to me is the ensemble. But I think plenty of those characters are interesting enough to go after.
CMix: But there are no plans to do so after the Book miniseries?
SA: No. After Book, we don’t have anything lined up. We’ve got too much going on. Joss has too much going on. One thing at a time. Well, three or four things at a time, but one Serenity thing at a time.
CMix: Plus, you’re busy with other things. Joss isn’t your only concern.
SA: Yes, he is. [Laughs] No, he’s not. Yes, he is. No, he’s not. No, um…
CMix: What I was trying to say was, all writers and creators you work with are important to you, right? Not just Joss.
SA: Yes. Plus, we’ve got this other huge project, Umbrella Academy, as well as Joss’ other projects and Hellboy… that’s keeping me real busy. But no, I’ll make the time for everyone.
CMix: What else do you want to make the time for?
SA: Well, I’d like to do more Fray. I’d love to do more Serenity after Book. More Sugar Shock — all that stuff I beg Joss for regularly. The guy is really smart.
CMix: As we discussed before, I like the way Fray is going to tie-in with Buffy: Season Eight. The whole time-travel aspect, that’s really cool.
SA: The time-travel bit’s out there now?
CMix: Well it’s out there now, for sure.
SA: [Laughs] Is this thing on? [Shakes audio recorder]
CMix: We talked about it in our last interview.
SA: Right, right, right…
CMix: Besides all your work as an editor, you’re also writing something for MySpace/Dark Horse Presents?
SA: Yeah, I’m writing a Solomon Kane story that I’m pretty excited about.
CMix: What can you tell me about it?
SA: Solomon Kane debuted on MySpace Dark Horse Presents this month, with me, Mario Guevara, and Dave Stewart. Then Kane #1 comes out in September, with a John Cassaday cover. Five issues, expanding upon the Robert E. Howard fragment Castle of the Devil.
Kane begins his adventures in the Black Forest of Germany and comes across a keep occupied by a German baron with a checkered history, providing Kane with his first major run-in with the occult.
CMix: Sounds good.
SA: Are we cool?
CMix: Always. Thanks very much.
SA: Any time.
The final issue of the three-part series Serenity: Better Days was released in May, while issue #15 of Buffy: Season Eight was released June 4. There has been no release date set for The Shepherd’s Tale. Scott Allie’s Solomon Kane debuted this month on MySpace Dark Horse Presents and the print version will follow in September.