Comics hold a special place within the literary landscape. They seamlessly facilitate an enormous scope of storytelling unheard of in any other medium. Movies may present brilliant visuals but are constrained by the reality of their budget. Novels can allow a reader to journey for as far as their prose may transport them but are themselves constrained by the restrictions of the single novel form. Only comics can weave visuals tales unrestrained by the limits of time and space. There is no writer in the medium who is better utilizing the vastness of possibilities afforded by the comic book format than Corinna Bechko with her two series Invisible Republic (Image) and Angel: Season 11 (Dark Horse). The other series being written by Corinna Bechko is Angel: Season 11.
Angel is a vampire, albeit one with a soul, who first appeared on the series Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. The character of Angel, portrayed by David Boreanaz, then went on to star in his own series, also called Angel, and whose story has now been revived within the comic book format. His current series is called Angel: Season 11 because the series is supposed to act as an eleventh season for the show. I asked Bechko how her approach to writing an established character is different from writing one that she has created.
“It’s quite a bit different, because I always try to keep the tone and feeling of the original when working with an established character or in a pre-existing universe,” she replied. “In my own work, I find the story as it moves through me, but with something like Angel I feel my way in from the outside. It’s fun to play in someone else’s universe, and it’s always a great honor to be invited to add a little corner to one, but I never let myself forget that the resulting creation is not mine alone so I try to always be respectful of its history and intent.”
A unique characteristic of this protagonist is that his soul, a lading that does not encumber other vampires, causes Angel to feel guilt for his past deeds. This opens some interesting philosophical issues about the value of our own souls. Are they worth the pain they can give us? Would Angel not feel that a soul was a burden? Bechko offered a great response to this:
“I don’t think so. Living with guilt is hard, and it might be tempting to not have to worry about that, but having a soul has given Angel’s ‘life’ meaning, and that’s something that I don’t believe he’d ever willingly give up.”
A great writer is able to delve into the nuance of character and find that “something” that enhances the realism of that character. While Bechko’s series Invisible Republic finds its scope exploring the breadth of space, while Angel: Season 11 finds its scope through the annals of time. Angel’s new series will explore different periods in history to allow readers a glimpse further into Angel’s backstory.
“Season 11 will be a bit of a time travel road trip,” according to Bechko. Angel will visit various parts of his own past and that of one of his traveling companions, so we will get to see the deep past, spend some time participating in an adventure on the high seas on a clipper ship, and see the events surrounding a very important turning point in his early life.”
Just like with Invisible Republic, history plays an important role in Bechko’s stories; helping to inform the events of the tale, but rooting them in what came before.
So what can readers look forward to next in the red-hot career of Corinna Bechko?
“Angel Season 11 debuts this month, and of course Invisible Republic remains an ongoing title,” she shared. Her husband Gabriel Hardman “and I are also hard at work on a project that hasn’t been announced yet from a company right here in L.A. In addition, there should be a prose novella announced soon, as well as a couple of smaller projects that are just waiting on the runway. Sorry to be so vague, but it’s the first part of the year and many things are in their planning stages!”
As a fan of Bechko’s work, I can only hope that details of her next epic tale come out soon!