A spokesperson for Dark Horse Comics announced this morning that October’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 issue #14 will not, as previously scheduled, be lettered by Clem Robins.
Robins, who began his long career as a word balloon artist in 1977 for Gold Key, has long been associated with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer line of popular comics published by Dark Horse. When contacted for this article, he explained, “Yes, well aside from my freelance lettering work I also teach with the Art Academy of Cincinnati. There’s no story here really, I just wanted to take a brief sabbatical from my comic book work to spend a little more time in academia, as well as with my family. In fact, Scott (Allie, Buffy Senior Editor) has already scheduled me to return later in the year. Everything’s fine, just wanted a small summer vacation.”
Robins will be remembered for his expediency in working a variety of titles for a great many different publishers, particularly long runs on books published by DC (most notably in their Vertigo imprint), Marvel, and of course, Dark Horse.
The spokesperson from Dark Horse confirmed that the legendary letterer Ken Bruzenak will be filling in for as many as three issues on the Buffy core book. Bruzenak, whose stylish work has most recently been seen on Bendis and Oeming’s Powers series, also volunteered to comment on this emerging story. “It’s not a big deal. They have a set stylus and everything, so even though I’m not huge about digital lettering I can easily pop these issues out overnight if necessary. This is how freelancing work goes- jobs pop up and we freelancers pop them out. Now if this were a steadier job I would love to break out my brushes and even offer to do my own paste-ups, but as these issues are between larger storylines that much effort is uncalled for. No biggie. It will be a completely seamless transition, I promise.”
Fans however, were dumbfounded at the revelation. Said Alexis K. of the Official Buffy Gang Youth National, an Indianapolis-based fanclub organization sporting a membership of 330, “What’s a letterer? Is that the guy who writes the words? Does that mean the next story won’t have words, like Hush? I loved Hush!” And asked long-time Buffy reader Lauren T. of Springfield, MA, “Bruzenak? Is that Polish? Don’t tell me Dark Horse is outsourcing everything to foreign studios too, like Marvel and DC are doing! That’s terrific, just great. Way to go, Obama.” Added Pete K., also of Springfield, MA, “Why are you making a big deal about this? Who gives a rat’s ass about word balloon blower uppers anyhow? Everyone knows they’re the dudes who can’t draw for shit.”
Joss Whedon’s agent could not be reached by press time, although we at New Comics Day hope that the changing of the guard will not greatly affect the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Series 9 comics, nor detract from the sales figures, which rank among the highest for the publisher. The work of Robins will always be remembered, and remembered well, and we suggest all readers to avoid the expectantly reactionary threads that will undoubtedly sprout up at Bleeding Cool’s forums over the matter. Fans should keep a stiff upper lip and join us in hopes that the series will find the strength to continue in spite of these quite drastic, quite sudden, changes to the production roster.