Sean Hemeon, Brad “Cheeks” Bell and Jane Espenson
(photo Andrew Villagomez – source)
AfterElton: With the success of the Husbands series, why did you decide to create a comic book?
Cheeks: It’s an underserved market, and the response we’ve received to the series made us want to keep bringing content that people wanted to see.
AfterElton: So why did you choose to set it in an alternate universe where people have superpowers?
Jane Espenson: It was a good fit for a comic book. You can go places, do things, show things that you could never do in a series. Plus, I love metaphorical storytelling.
Cheeks: I wanted a framing device to connect the two worlds, because otherwise it would be really awkward. What does Husbands the Comic look like? It would be a way to explore a bunch of different universes with a bunch of different stories while still connecting it.
We always suspected Cheeks was an alien of some sort. Now we have proof
AfterElton: Does it still follow Brady and Cheeks as they’re getting to know each other while saving the world, or does it get kicked down the line in continuity?
Jane Espenson: They’re definitely still getting to know each other, taking their early relationship lessons and translating it to a different genre.
Cheeks: Absolutely. That’s our story that we’re telling. A lot of the fun of storytelling was finding those allegories and fleshing that out.
AfterElton: Doesn’t that seem a little dangerous? Because with some of the arguments Brady and Cheeks had in season one, when Cheeks gave him the cold shoulder, if he’d had ice vision things could have turned out very differently.
Jane Espenson: That’s exactly what we’re talking about, taking something metaphorical and making it real. You won’t see that exact thing, but you’ve got the right idea.
AfterElton: Are the other characters coming along for the ride, or is it just Brad and Cheeks? Is Haley along for the ride?
Jane Espenson: Haley is definitely part of the journey.
AfterElton: Is there a single evil foe who wants to ban gay marriage from the world, or do we just go around rescuing kittens from trees?
Jane Espenson: There’s no single bad guy, but the stakes are definitely high. There are a variety of internal and external enemies.
AfterElton: Is there any concern of taking such young characters that we’ve only known from forty minutes of video and dropping them into a new continuity?
Cheeks: I think that’s an advantage. Dropping them into different universes and seeing what motivates them is a great way of getting to know them through a different medium as opposed to a show.
AfterElton: So if Brady has superpowers, doesn’t that give him an unfair advantage on the baseball field?
Jane Espenson: If those two things were happening simultaneously, it definitely would. But it might not be such a great thing – you have to make some pretty sharp turns on a baseball diamond that might be tough at 60 MPH.
AfterElton: True, but super strength would guarantee a lot of homeruns.
Cheeks: It’s very tough to test for “supering” through the medical records.
AfterElton: So who’s the artist?
Jane Espenson: We actually got great artists, different artists for each episode. Issue one is Ron Chan, Tania Del Rio is doing issue five.
Cheeks: There’s a different artist doing each issue, so there’s a different look and feel to each universe.
AfterElton: Is the six part series a single arc, or is each issue a different adventure?
Jane Espenson: Each comic is a discrete adventure, but there’s a lovely silver thread that ties them together. It’s much like Battlestar Galactica. Each episode can be watched as a discrete story, but there’s always one or two threads that tie into the larger mythology.
AfterElton: The frames that I’ve seen have had a very pastel, halo like color palette. Is that a deliberate choice to the story?
Jane Espenson: The frame that’s been out there in the media that you’re talking about is from a very Wizard of Oz moment in the comic, but you’ll find as we move into the superhero world the palette changes and becomes more natural to the comics world.
AfterElton: So how many issues are there?
Cheeks: There are six issues, which is considered a miniseries in comics, each is twelve pages long.
AfterElton: This is being done through Dark Horse Comics? Those are the same folks that do the Buffy comic as well? Don’t you have a gay slayer now in the Buffy comics? Slayer with a small “s”?
Jane Espenson: Yes. He has no superpowers and hasn’t been called to be a slayer, but he identifies as a slayer.
AfterElton: And you’re writing this with Drew Greenberg from Warehouse 13, aren’t you? After twelve years you decided to bring in a gay slayer?
Jane Espenson: A funny thing happened over those eleven years in that I became aware of how many gay men identified with Buffy. We became aware that a lot of boys were picking Buffy as a role model and we wanted to acknowledge that.
AfterElton: So we’ve got your comic book coming out today, which will run until March, when it will release as a bound hardcopy. Does that mean that in March you’ll start production on season three of the series?
Cheeks: Season three? I’d be a lot of money on it.
Jane Espenson: I wouldn’t bet against Cheeks.
AfterElton: A big part of your success with Husbands is a very engaged online fan base. Any time I mention you, the fan army comes out in support. How did you engage the base so well?
Jane Espenson: We do have wonderful fans, and I think they can come out in a way for online content that they maybe can’t for traditional television.
Cheeks: It’s so much more than that. We’re delivering to an underserved market that is starved for substantial content that is unique and edgy and intelligent. I think we’re finding those people that are bored and intellectually starved.
Jane Espenson: I think part of it is that the fans can connect to us via social media and conventions. They feel like they know us and know the guys.
Cheeks: Fans are engaged, and they want more. If there’s an episode up and the subtitles for a language aren’t ready yet, I’ll hear about it in German. Or French.
AfterElton: You read your YouTube comments?
Cheeks: Every single one. Love them.
Next page! Get a sneak peak at panel from the Husbands comic. Plus Sean, Cheeks and Jane choose their superpowers!
Check out an exclusive panel from the first issue of the Husbands comic! In this particular alt universe, Brady is “Light Fantastic” — a vintage-type super hero, while Cheeks is “Chet Deckfin,” an intrepid reporter with an agenda of his own… and maybe a secret or two. You also see Haley here, as LF’s gal Friday!
AfterElton: So before we go, since we’re in the world of superheroes, if you could pick any superpower, which one would you want most?
Jane Espenson: I have always wanted invisibility.
AfterElton: Why did I know the writer was going to pick invisibility?
Jane Epenson: I’ve always wanted to be able to go around and listen to what people would say if I wasn’t there.
Cheeks: We’re going to have to come up with a rule that I get to talk first you always take my answer! Now if I say invisibility for those reasons it’s like “oh, how original.” It’s funny, because we’re both writers, we’re both only children and there’s a certain psychology to it. People always pick flying or invisibility.
I’d totally pick invisibility because you could go all those places you’re not supposed to see. Like Area 51.
Jane Epsenson: I think it’s the thinking man’s choice.
Cheeks: Since invisibility is taken, I’ve always wanted the ability to point my finger at someone and give them an orgasm. Because I think that would do a lot of good for the Ann Coulters of the world. She’d show up on some talk show and I’d point and it would happen. And again. And again. And she’d become this viral sensation because she’d be having this experience live on the air. I think it would do wonders for members of the conservative part of society.
Sean: I want to fly. I like to fly around in my regular life between many things, and it seems like flying would be very exhilarating.
Husbands the Comic is available today on all digital platforms from Dark Horse Comics. And don’t forget to give to the Husbands event in Salt Lake City benefitting the Youth Homeless Resource Center on November 11, 2012.