Exclusive Interview: Erika Alexander Introduces Giles To The Horrid World Of High School

The Buffyverse's very own Giles is getting a brand new series, and writer Erika Alexander can't wait for fans to see what's in store for the lovable know-it-all.

Alexander, known for projects like Get Out, Bosch, and her award-winning graphic novel Concrete Park, will be working alongside longtime Buffy scribe Joss Whedon on the project, which follows Giles as he navigates the insanity that is high school. For Alexander, her sister Myeashea has served as an amazing source of knowledge about the Buffy universe, a franchise that has thrived despite not having been on television for some time.

"Yes, thank goodness for know-it-all-Joss Whedon-fan-girl-little-sisters," Alexander said. "I think the Buffy franchise, and any enduring series, must pass the smell test of truth and hope embedded somewhere in it's DNA. Fans like to be entertained, but they love it when they experience the familiarity of their lives; good times, struggles or pain being worked out by complex characters from their favorite shows. Because Buffy explored life, death, evil, friendship, sacrifice, tragedy, fear, love, and pain, it provided plenty of room on its canvas to make a great show. But all that would just be noise if real-life writers and actors didn't infuse the stories with their own experiences, sarcasm, humor, and sorrow mixed with a little blood, sweat and tears. Because of that the everyday life story of a vampire slayer in Sunnydale, TVUSA rang true for someone in Omaha, Miami or Greenville."

Buffy's characters also thrive in that ever so present grey area, and those make up some of the best moments. "I like the moments most when characters make choices that blur the line between a hero and a bad guy," Alexander said, and Buffy surely has plenty of those.

(Photo: Dark Horse)

In the comics, Giles is no longer the older mentor he was in previous iterations. His mind is still intact, but he is now stuck in the body of a teenager, something he's struggled with since returning.

"I love writing the schizophrenic nature of Giles being stuck in a teenaged boy's body burdened by the knowledge of a middle-aged man," Alexander said. "Let's just say dealing with puberty ain't his only mid-life crisis. And Giles will struggle with his past deeds when he is confronted by a vampire who resists being categorized as a monster."

The Buffy series has continued past the show in the comics, but fans who haven't read all of those just yet should not be afraid to give the Giles series a try.

"I say jump right in, the waters fine," Alexander said. "Joss and I tried to make this stand-alone series new for Giles, but still recognizable by its longtime fans. Think of it as a friendly collision of a little chocolate with their peanut butter. Yum!"

Giles will no longer be in the company of his team, and a new location introduces the possibility of new characters, and there is one in particular that fans might want to pay attention to.

"I think they should pay attention to Giles's new investigative partner," Alexander said. "She's pretty nifty. Also, because he's lived before, Giles is apt to run into a friend or two who, as the old saying goes, 'know him from another picture.' Joss will decide if any of this transfers over to future Buffy stories. But my hope is that his colorful new partner gets a series of her own adventures.

(Photo: Dark Horse)

While Giles is mostly solo, there will be one carryover from the other comics.

"Only Willow will make a cameo," Alexander said. "Giles is on his own here and that makes him vulnerable, but sometimes, when others aren't there to tell you who you were, maybe you get another chance to be who you are. And in this run I'm looking forward to Giles being reunited with a 'family member' he didn't know he had."

Alexander's enjoyed working on this rather iconic property, but one aspect of it has stood out the most.

"I was pleasantly surprised at the huge cultural significance of the girl power movement in this series," Alexander said. "I love strong, complicated women and this series has a ton of them. I hope that's why Joss asked me to collaborate with him. Well, that and I'm good at making bloody Mary's ;)."

As for what the future holds, Alexander would love to work more in the Buffyverse, but she hasn't exactly narrowed down who she would like to write next.

"Sure, Angel would be cool. Oh, and Willow. And Buffy, who wouldn't want to write Buffy. Oh and lol -- ! ;).

Can't really blame her either, and hopefully, fans will get to see it happen in the future.

Giles #1 is written by Erika Alexander and Joss Whedon, with art by Jon Lam and Dan Jackson. You can find the official description below.


From Joss Whedon and Erika Alexander comes a series that returns Buffy's Rupert Giles to high school! But this time--as a grown man living in a teenage body--Giles will be a student instead of a teacher. At an inner-city LA-area school, when a mystical influence is detected and teachers start to go missing, Giles enrolls to investigate. What he finds is more than vampires and demons; something unusual and frightening is happening here. If Giles can get through one day as a student, he'll have a chance to find out who, what, and where--but high school is still hell, y'all.

Fans can catch Giles #1 when it hits comic shops on February 28.