Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Devils & Dust - Rol Hirst

Panel One.

A pale and sickly Buffy Summers sits in a hospital walk-in clinic waiting for her results. She’s wearing a white smock and is sitting up on the doctor’s examination bed / couch. Her clothes and satchel are piled up on a nearby stool. We can see the top of a wooden stake sticking out the top of her bag.

A doctor walks into the room. If I ruled the world, this would be Dr. Gregory House. Get over it.

Doctor: So… Miss Summers… ahem, “Buffy”? Wow - your mom must have really hated you.

Buffy: My mom is dead, doctor…

Doctor: Boo hoo. So is mine. And Philip Larkin was right.

Panel Two.

Buffy scowls at the doctor. He ignores her and reads the chart he’s holding on a clipboard.

Buffy: Nice bed-side manner!

Doctor: Thank you. I bought it on the internet. I asked for a Florence Nightingale, but this was all they had left.

Panel Three.

Close on the doctor, reading Buffy’s chart.

Doctor: So... these breathing difficulties you’ve been having. As you know, people far less important than me have run some tests… and the results don’t look good.

Doctor: Your lungs are coated in a thick layer of particulate matter we can’t properly identify, thought it does appear to have been building up over a number of years.

Panel Four.

The doctor raises his eyebrows as he questions Buffy. He doesn’t expect an honest answer. Buffy shuffles in her seat, unable to look him in the eye. She isn’t about to give him one.

Doctor: Any idea what might have caused that…? Do you work in a particularly dusty environment or...

Buffy: No…

Panel Five.

Flashback panel. Buffy in action, fighting vampires. She stakes two at once and they explode into dust in her face.

Panel Six.

The doctor gives Buffy a knowing look. Buffy looks at him now, her brow furrowing with suspicion.

Buffy: …nothing I can think of. Sorry!

Doctor: Hmm. No. So it’s not like you regularly find yourself in the presence of…

Panel Seven.

The doctor vamps up and bares his teeth. Despite how grotty she's feeling, Buffy still leaps into action, grabbing the stake that was peeping out the top of her satchel…

Doctor: …vampires?

Panel Eight.

...and plunging it deep into the vampire doctor’s chest. The doctor just grins at her. He does not explode in a cloud of dust.

Doctor: Oh dear. I really wish you hadn’t done that…

Panel Nine.

The doctor reaches up and taps the end of the stake that's still sticking out of his chest. Buffy takes a step back, looking surprised – but ready for anything.

Doctor: Now I’m going to have to go through all that tiresome Big Bad Exposition – and I don’t know about you, but I do get sick of that stuff.

Buffy: Or... I could just kill you instead?

Doctor: Didn’t you just try that? Pop quiz, Buffy - how can you stake a vampire in the heart…

Panel Ten.

Close on the doctor, baring his grinning fangs.

Doctor: …when he doesn’t even have a heart?


  1. A very busy page, but a great one.
    A vampire taking its heart out has been played with before, by Jeph Loeb's son, Sam. Still, I like this version more.

    Out of curiosity, would the next page be Buffy either setting the good doctor on fire, or simply chopping his head off?

  2. I'd never thought of the whole breathing in dust thing before. Nice touch :)

  3. Hands up - I know there were far too many panels in this page. Ideally it'd have been two pages and the break would have come with the vampire reveal, giving more time for the fight and twist on page 2. That said, I wanted to write a pre-titles intro hook sequence for the TV show, and the reveal that the doc was a vamp just wasn't strong enough by itself.

    I'm not surprised that the vampire without a heart thing has been done before. It seemed too obvious not to have been, but I felt it worked in the context of this character - a heartless bastard anyway.

    No, Ben, she wouldn't have killed him that easily. I like the character too much to throw him away so soon.

    & thanks, Danial, the lung dust thing was my favourite bit too.

  4. Must agree, love the "lung dust" concept. The whole script is brilliant, only flawed by the amount of panels... but when the hook is this strong, such a thing is easy to overlook.

    Great stuff, again, Rol!

  5. Oh, I forgot to mention. The 'lung dust' concept is fantastic.


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