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May 24 2006

Spike vs. Dracula #3 gets released today and there's interior artwork and cover art (which is interesting to say the least) at the IDW site for your perusal.

Permanent links (given that solitication info at the above URL changes constantly).

Cover art 1
Cover art 2
Cover art 3
Cover art 4

Interior page 1
Interior page 2
Interior page 3
Interior page 4
Interior page 5

Spike looks far too old. I realize this is E-eeevil Spike but he doesn't need to look in his 40's. How is the writing on these?
Excellent, IMO Lioness. Peter David really captures the black humour at the centre of Spike and from my experience he easily has the chops to pull off the pathos too. For me, Spike vs Dracula is the best Angel comic so far (I also really enjoyed David's 'Spike: Old Times' one-shot which has the right mix of humour and Spike's slightly dark edge).

(though I agree the art ranges from good to pretty poor in the IDW Angel comics, sometimes within the same issue)
Can't say I'm terribly impressed with that artwork. It doesn't look anything like him. But I have liked the series so far and will get it.
If anyone is interested, I posted all of my preliminary art for my cover for Spike vs. Dracula #3 in my blog for today. You'll also find my sketches for the first cover in yesterday's post.

Best,
Eric
www.ericwight.com

[ edited by Eric Wight on 2006-05-24 15:02 ]
I didn't realise you were doing the covers for the series. Thanks for the heads up.
Cool, Eric Wight, cheers for that (I didn't know you were doing any either). I'm torn because I think yours looks the most like Spike and is the most in character but (no offence) I prefer the composition of Cover 2 above. Might just get both variants (which I almost never do).

Also, can I just say thanks for the Buffy/Angel etc. sketches over the last few weeks, they've been great (and free, woot! ;).

(BTW, I agree that your second pose maybe looked too regal but I think it did capture the sort of camp kitschiness that the Nazis had - in retrospect obviously, now that they're not able to kill any more people - and that I think Spike might have embraced as a piss-take)
I must admit the Spike Nazi salute cover did surprise me. Would not have expected that in a month of Sundays.

Via Eric's blog

I decided for these covers I was going to approach the style more realistically. I wanted to try and distance myself from the Buffy: Animated designs to show my versatility.


Really different style from Buffy: Animated. Very cool.
I love the Spike in the alleyway image. (From Eric's link, I mean.)

[ edited by jcs on 2006-05-24 16:12 ]
My favorite are cover 2 and 4. The Spike with the nazi salute is amazing. Very dark and disturbing. I also liked the sketch of Spike in the alleyway surrounded by his victims.
More from his blog

but apparently Fox isn't crazy about seeing their characters being impaled. Go figure.


Shame actually because it sounded like a homage to those 60s DC Comics which showed the imaginary deaths of Superman, Batman, Robin etc on their front covers.
Saje - No offense taken. It's always amazing how you if give the same assignment to a dozen different artists just how different the end products are.

Simon - the whole Nazi cover thing threw me a bit too. I wasn't sure how people would react to it. Peter had initially suggested Hitler trying to dust Spike. But Ryall and I didn't feel comfortable doing anything that might glorify Hitler.

I'll be posting the art for #2 tomorrow and #4 on Friday. I'd love to hear all of your thoughts...
I think the artwork looks amazing. There's just something about vampire nazis and WWII that I find so appealing. Throw Spike into the mix and it's a must read.

Love your artwork by the way Eric. And unlike FOX, I got no problem seeing the main character get impaled. I actually think it makes a strong statement...either that or I just love to see the gore. Take your pick.
Eeesh. I dig the way Spike looks, but the last cover makes me very uncomfortable. Is that odd? I know he's a bad guy and all, but let's face it... we all root for him. Besides that fact that it looks like he's wholeheartedly joining a cause with a ton of other people... doesnt he work alone? Renegade, or whatever?

I'm so picking up the second cover. Reminds me of some Indiana Jones type of undercover work or something. Hopefully I can get through the comic without having issues with the nazi subject.

I havent been very impressed with the series thus far, so I'm banking on a make-or-break, here.
Numbereleven, no he isn't a nazi.
He's still an evil vampire but he's going undercover to save Darla out of the claws of the thrird reich. And he's probaly going to team up with Dracula.
I don't care what the storyline is...seeing my favorite character from the Whedonverse in front of a Nazi flag giving a Nazi salute is abhorrent. I buy these things to display them in my home.I really don't think this image is one I'd be happy seeing day after day. I'm sorry to have to say this, but I won't be adding this one to my collection.
Very impressive art. I like all of them but find the one with Spike and all his victims especially fascinating. Great job.
I wonder if the time frame will allow the story to end at a free virgin blood party, thus segueing (sp?) into "Why we fight"?
Berry, you buy comics to display them? You should totally buy them to read them, they're really good.

That said, please buy tons of copies of SPIKE:ASYLUM. You can display them, read them, eat them, wear them, whatever you want. Just buy a lot.
Shameless that Lynch bloke, totally shameless ;-).

Each to their own of course but it is just a flag. Flags don't kill people, people do (except in very rare flag related accidents ;). Though I guess it says something about the art when it can get such a vehement reaction.

(but then I could never understand folk getting all worked up when their national flag is burned either - as if that could diminish an entire country - so maybe i'm just weird that way)
Got the comic today ! It's a strong midpoint to the series, but seemed to me, to be darker in terms of storyline and humour, than the previous issues (though this might have something to do with the story's setting). The row between Spike and Dracula really stepped up an notch. I loved the shout-out to the wonderful Oz !

I ended up with the second cover, though I really liked number 1 as well. I can understand numbereleven and berry's feelings about the fourth cover - Just a gut feeling on my part but it wasn't my scene.

Is it just me, or did the Artwork change in style at the end of the comic ?

All in all, a very worthy addition to a little gem of a series !

Oh and looking forward to Spike:Asylum !!!!!

[ edited by Shade of Pale on 2006-05-25 13:29 ]

[ edited by Shade of Pale on 2006-05-25 13:46 ]

[ edited by Shade of Pale on 2006-05-25 13:48 ]
I totally understand where you guys are coming from. I drew the thing and I wouldnít hang it in my house! But not all art is meant to be hung in your dining room. I would rather create a work that elicits a conversation and forces a point of view, than for it to be quickly digested and forgotten like a cheeseburger.

This all raises an interesting point of discussion. Why is it completely acceptable to romanticize and celebrate the actions of a fictional serial killer, but juxtaposing him against an historical backdrop is unacceptable?

I posted a sketch of Spike surrounded by corpses that I received nothing but praise for. But stand him in front of a flag, and suddenly my work is abhorrent? Iím just curious what the rational is of where to draw the moral line.
I think it's because we are used to associating Spike (of that era) being surrounded by corpses whereas placing him in a real life backdrop which was the most abhorrent of the 20th Century is surprising and shocking to some people. Especially to those who really like the character (be it pre-chip Spike fans or souled Spike fans).

But then the story-arc of this mini-series does have numerous historical characters, more so than perhaps the two Buffyverse shows ever did and that goes for the novels and comic books too. So after a bit of thinking, I can see how the cover fits in with the plot.

But whilst the cover may tie in with what's going in "Spike versus Dracula", some might feel it doesn't tie in with the Buffyverse as a whole.

However it does raise issues over the rights of the artist to express himself versus the rights of people who might be hurt or shocked by such artistic expressions.

But what ever the case, it's certainly the most interesting debate about cover art we've had in a long time.
I haven't read the comic yet but I'm trying to get my head around Spike going undercover as a Nazi to save Darla. First, 'going undercover' would imply some sort of planning. Spike? The purveyor of chaos, never met a plan he didn't upset, victims are happy meals Spike? Secondly, he does so to rescue Darla. Let's skip the part that it's hard to believe Darla and Spike ever cared enough for one another to think about things like 'rescue' and focus on Why We Fight. We learn that Spike's been tricked and captured as the Nazi's want to round up and chip the nastiest vampires to use as weapons. How does this comic mesh with that?

But back to the flag. I think juxtaposing characters against historical backdrops are fine if it actually helps illuminate something about the character. Anya and the Russian revolution is a great example. The four vamps in China is another. Spike in nazi gear in front of the flag? It really doesn't seem to fit anything we know about Spike. Hitler staking him? That would have been perfect. Annoying and ruining well thought out Evil plans has always been a hallmark of the character.(Remember the Mayor's annoyance with him? Glory's? Heck, he even bedeviled the First in the end) We never saw Spike as serial killer. Animal, monster yes, but joiner and planner of unspeakable torture? No.

That said, I can't wait to read the comic, I'm loving the artwork, and thank you for sharing it with us.
Yeah, it's an interesting question Eric Wight and I think Simon puts his finger on a lot of what might be behind it.

Obviously what people are offended by is completely arbitrary and so everyone's entitled to their position and equally obviously it's not just the flag but the ideology and historical events it represents that upsets (the swasika was/is a holy symbol in Buddhism and Hinduism) but it does puzzle me slightly that people are, as you say, happy enough when Spike is a multiple murderer of innocent people including those sworn to protect us (he definitely fits the term 'serial killer' since he has killed multiple times on separate occasions, sometimes with stalking) but seeing him portrayed as a representative of Nazism (even an unwilling one) is so disturbing. Why are Nazis so much worse ? Because they murdered more innocent people ? Because of how they did it ? Or (more likely I guess) maybe it's just because they're actually real whereas Spike's victims weren't. It's not always fun when the real world collides with fantasy and I think this may be a case in point.

That said, it is just a flag and it is just a salute (which the Nazis also co-opted - among their numerous other faults they weren't particularly original) in the drawing, it's not as if we're shown Spike herding people into gas chambers or something similar (i.e. as an active participant in the holocaust or in an image which is in and of itself disturbing) which would cross my own arbitrary offence line (by quite a margin actually ;) and also be totally out of character (what's in it for him ?).

Spike was/is an opportunist and back when he was bad I think he'd have thrown in with the Nazis if he thought it would benefit him enough, reluctantly because I really don't think their sort of pompous authoritarianism would have appealed but still, he'd have taken what he could and scarpered (and the evil they were commiting wouldn't bother him in the least so long as there were plenty of 'happy meals on legs' left for him).

BTW, personally, i'm pretty much totally on the artist's freedom to create side, so long as we're given some warning if it's likely to offend (and if possible, how). Part of art's purpose is to challenge and one person's challenge is another's offence.
"I posted a sketch of Spike surrounded by corpses that I received nothing but praise for. But stand him in front of a flag, and suddenly my work is abhorrent? Iím just curious what the rational is of where to draw the moral line."

I think it has nothing to do with logic. I mean Spike is a bad guy at that point in history. One of the things I personally like about the way Spike and Angel were written in the series is that when they were bad, they were really bad. (Some people don't feel that way about Spike.) So the sight of Spike in a Nazi uniform does not really bother me on that basis.

On the other hand I can recognize that it pulls real life horrors into the Buffyverse that make Spike's fantasy crimes pale in comparison. One of the reasons I do not like horror movies is that they affect me just as viserally as if it were real. I feel awful after seeing one. From what I can understand, for many other people, fantasy is fantasy and it just lives in a different place in their being. I think bringing true life horror into their fantasy place is unpleasant and jarring.

On a totally different level, for many, Spike is sexy even during the time he was bad. Thankfully, for many, I hope most, I wish all, Nazis are not sexy. Spike may not be a true Nazi (yeah, that would be a good fit [/sarcasm]) but seeing him in the uniform is close enough and could make a character one enjoys being attracted to, suddenly repellant. The fact that the cover makes him seem like he is a Nazi, would make it worse.

Just my opinion of course.
When I watch an animal stalk his food on the Animal Planet, I don't think serial killer. When I think serial killer I think of a very sick human whose actions are fufilling some abominable need for them. Angelus and Penn were seen to have a deep seated fury towards their father that they needed to take out on their victims. Maybe we were to see them as 'serial' killers. Spike, Darla, Drusilla and the host of other vampires? Killers yes, serial killers? That's a stretch.
I aree with ramses 2 on this point. I might even change it to, "Preditor? Yes. Murderer? Not as long as they eat what they hunt." ;-)
Part of art's purpose is to challenge and one person's challenge is another's offence.


Beautifully put, Saje.

Killers yes, serial killers? That's a stretch.


You must have forgotten that Spike got his name because he tortured his victims with railroad spikes. I've never seen a lion do that to a gazelle on the Discovery Channel ;)
"You must have forgotten that Spike got his name because he tortured his victims with railroad spikes. "

I always wondered about that. That seems much more like an Angelus thing to do than Spike thing. As he said right from the beginning, he was never much for the pre-show. Of course he could have been in his angry adolescent vampire experimental stage, trying out things modeled for him by the alpha-male of the group to see what worked for him. ...Or he could have made it up to give himself a rep.

"I've never seen a lion do that to a gazelle on the Discovery Channel ;)"

Yeah, but I've seen my sweet little kitties try to do something similar to the mice they catch. One used to like to play with the garter snakes in the back yard as well. ewwww
I tend to think Spike made up the railroad spike story to gain a reputation...kind of along the lines of his telling Buffy in FFL he'd always been bad, when we see he was actually a poet. But let's say he did actually use a railroad spike...it still doesn't get him a serial killer label unless he used the spike to kill in a repeated pattern, and in doing so, the spike symbolized something for him.(Think of Penn's scratching a cross on each victim, or even Angelus seeking out nuns) Serial killers are damaged humans who repeat atrocities, vampires are souless demons who eat humans to survive. Vicious, evil, not adverse to causing fear and pain but still...not a serial killer.
About the "torturing with railroad Spikes" just because a watcher says something doesn't make it true. We have been shown many times that Spike "wasn't much for the pre-show" and he gave himself that name.

Spike is a vampire. Fictional yes but a vampire is not the same as a serial killer. A serial killer kills simply for the pleasure of it.

Evil, absolutely, but not a Nazi. And why would anyone think that Hitler staking Spike would glorify Hitler? Who do they think we are buying this series for? Hitler? Spike is the protagonist, like it or not, evil or not.

It is a shame about all these covers. I have loved many of the previous ones and went to great lengths to find the Murphy cover on the last one. I have bought more than one of the first two just because I loved the art. On this one I'm not sure which one I am hoping comes in the mail. Either they are Nazi'ed up or don't look like Spike.

Still I have loved the series so far and someone who has already gotten theirs has said this one is great also.
Well I'm glad I didn't order a subscription to this series as now I can at least try and choose a cover, though honestly I may just give this one a miss.

This all raises an interesting point of discussion. Why is it completely acceptable to romanticize and celebrate the actions of a fictional serial killer, but juxtaposing him against an historical backdrop is unacceptable?

I know some fans love evil Spike and reading of his evil days but I'm not one of them. The Spike I fell for was the one I watched progress from monster to hero. So actually I don't think I romanticize and celebrate a fictional serial killer any more than fans of Angel for instance. I love the character for who he became and can thus find some interest in his backstory as to how he got there but if he'd never stopped being evil I wouldn't be a fan of the character. It frustrates me that the comics seem obsessed by telling stories set in Spike's past. As for the nazi thing, yes it does offend people to see characters they love in that light. Part of the point, I thought, of "Why We Fight" was to show that the Nazis were worse than the vampires. For me the discussion is pretty pointless as the Nazis existed and vampires don't.
One thing that has occurred to me, why did IDW only release the cover art art online on the day the comic book got released? The solitication info came out at the end of last year and common practice is that the cover art gets released at the same time.

Oh and sending hate mail to the artist isn't big or clever. Not impressed with the people who did that.
Eric received hate mail because of a piece of artwork? Wow, some people really don't get the point of freedom of artistic expression, do they?

'Think the same way that we do and express yourself only the way that we see fit or else we will condemn you.'

Sounds almost Nazi like, doesn't it? How very ironic.
Eric Wright said:
I would rather create a work that elicits a conversation and forces a point of view, than for it to be quickly digested and forgotten like a cheeseburger.

I thought the cover art was meant to sell as many of the comics as possible. I admire your talent, Eric, but I was put-off by all the Nazi imagery as well. I wish there had been at least one alternative cover depicting Spike and Drac.

Why is it completely acceptable to romanticize and celebrate the actions of a fictional serial killer, but juxtaposing him against an historical backdrop is unacceptable?

1) I don't think that most of Spike's fans do that. Instead we recognize and celebrate the fact that he fought for his soul, died for love, and after returning from death again, decided to keep fighting evil because it was the right thing to do. We understand that he was a fictional, evil, horrible killer of innocents, that by his own choice, became a champion and hero.
2)I think the rub comes from the very fact that the historical backdrop with which he's juxtaposed is not fiction, but a horrible reality which continues to reflexively cause us to be shocked and repulsed.

You must have forgotten that Spike got his name because he tortured his victims with railroad spikes.

No, I don't think most of us have. Instead, we recognize that as a souled vampire he claimed responsibility for his past, suffered the pains of guilt and changed his actions to attempt to make ammends for his atrocious past as an unsouled demon.

[ edited by anindoorkitty on 2006-05-25 18:32 ]
Well, quite Grunge. How very depressing.

ramses 2, newcj, if the purpose is just to eat then i'm cool with the animal/predator tag (if a dog pees on the carpet you don't call it a vandal) but Spike stalked at least two of the people he killed (i.e. the Slayers) for reasons of ego which animals don't do.

serial killer
n.
A person who attacks and kills victims one by one in a series of incidents.

from the American Heritage dictionary (the OED's not free) so I can see the slightly 'Hollywood' idea being how most people see serial killers (and accept that Spike doesn't necessarily fit that mold) but it's actually a bit simpler than that (now we can argue over whether evil, pre-soul Spike is 'a person' ;-). That said, I reckon the 'spike' story may well have been made up since we see Spike take pleasure from fights often (especially if it's a 'proper brawl') but I don't remember seeing him take pleasure from killing just for killing's sake.

(cats, BTW, play with their prey because they're stuck between the infant and adult state - when they play it's part of an instinct to show their kittens how to hunt just as when you stroke them on your lap they sometimes start to knead you with their paws, a throwback to stimulating their mothers nipple for milk).

[ edited by Saje on 2006-05-25 18:29 ]
Perhaps it would be more germane to send feedback to the publishers who greenlighted this project. They might want to consider why they are making these comics (because there is a demand for Spike products)and to whom they expect to market them (fans of Spike).

letters@idwpublishing.com
"Oh and sending hate mail to the artist isn't big or clever. Not impressed with the people who did that."

Oh good grief!! Add my second to that sentiment, Simon...and Eric Wight. Shame on them.

Interesting second cover. I found myself thinking something like that only with the Nazi flag instead of a spider web would have given the idea of what I have heard the story might be about...because I do not actually know what the comic is about. Since it is is named Spike vs Dracula, having solo Spike as a Nazi on the cover did confuse my tiny brain. It probably does not help that I am not much of a comic book person. That is why I rarely take part in these discussions. I guess I've just been feeling opinionated in the last couple days. ;-)

"cats, BTW, play with their prey because they're stuck between the infant and adult state"

...sounds like Spike to me. ;-)

(Okay, he was growing-up more everyday. That is one reason we love him, but the one line answer was funnier.)
I was actually refered to as a neo-Nazi artist by one individual. As much as I tried to apologize for offending him and explain the imagery, he only wanted to see it as a direct attack at Jewish Spike fans, and my trying to use Nazi imagery for capitol gain and to exploit the Holocaust.

To take his side, it sounds like he has a subscription and opened his mail to find my cover, so he didn't have the choice as to whether or not to buy it. But his allegations of course couldn't be further from the truth, and no matter how I tried to explain myself, the responses got nastier and more hateful.
Helcat and anindoorkitty, as a Spike fan, that is definitely why I love the character.

I understand being an artist and wanting to get your point across, but I also understand that the main goal would be to sell the comic.
Good idea, Berry. Thanks for the addy.
If Spike had been portrayed on this cover as more like an "Indiana Jones' type of figure...I think the whole Nazi idea would have gone over a little better. If he is posing as a Nazi to save his life or someone else...fine...THAT I can get around...but I think the cover just kind of rubs me the wrong way.

For so many Spike fans it has been an uphill battle to get anything OTHER than 'evil' Spike in the Buffy novels and comics...until NOW, and this gave us hope for a continuation of Spike's heroic journey.
The comics that have been coming out lately DO portray Spike in a heroic light and I guess thats why this cover is a little hard to take.
Yeah...I know Spike had his 'evil' days...and I accept that he did bad things. But he was NEVER in the league of Hitler, who to me, is the very epitome of a 'monster'.

Please don't get me wrong...I am so very happy to get more Spike in comic form and novels if this is the best venue we can hope for these days, but I truly want to see HEROIC Spike and FUTURE Spike. I have really been enjoying the Dracula series fo far, and I'm sure Spike will come out of this story just fine, but the whole Nazi thing is a bit disturbing to a lot of people for many reasons....
That's a real shame Eric Wight. It's great to get people talking but when they just won't listen to reason ? ++ungreat.

I dunno Berry without meaning any offence at all, I think it might be more germane to remind everyone that they have the choice whether to buy that particular cover or not. We're all responsible for our own decisions and, personally, I don't think censorship is the answer (no matter how well meant).

(that said, I have total sympathy for people with mail-order subscriptions and think maybe IDW should offer those folks offended by the cover a free swap)
Saje said:
(that said, I have total sympathy for people with mail-order subscriptions and think maybe IDW should offer those folks offended by the cover a free swap)

A free swap for what? All the covers depict Spike and Nazi imagery.

IDW is in the business of selling a product to make a profit. If our opinions might cause them to fear losing some of that profit, thus influencing their depiction of Spike to reflect more how we view him, then I think it's just as much our right to 'pen' them than it is EW's to 'pen' his.

A person's creative freedom is no more important than another's freedom to politely express their opinion concerning it.
Well I don't have a problem with the idea of this miniseries.Spike was a remorseless killer at this time.I don't think you can wipe away his past just because of where he is at the present.It's the same with Angelus.The show established that Spike tortured,raped,murdered and did all the stuff vampires do.

I don't think you can say he didn't torture people with railroad spikes just because you don't want to believe it.The show said he did and unless something else comes up in canon that says otherwise,then I think it has to be taken at face
value.I think trying to basically wank that away does a disservice to the character's journey to where he is in the present day.


Perhaps it would be more germane to send feedback to the publishers who greenlighted this project. They might want to consider why they are making these comics (because there is a demand for Spike products)and to whom they expect to market them (fans of Spike).

letters@idwpublishing.com
Berry | May 25, 18:34 CET.


As for wanting post soul,non evil Spike comics and showing him in a more heroic light?Well you've already gotten some comics dealing with that.

Spike:Old Wounds
Spike:Lost And Found
Angel:Old Friends

They all take place either in season 5 or post NFA and feature souled Spike.

The upcoming Spike:Asylum will also feature souled Spike I think and present him in a heroic light.

Even Spike:Old Times didn't present Spike badly and that was set pre-soul in season 6 of Buffy.

I don't see the harm in a evil Spike comic which is set in the past.And even this will have post soul Spike in an upcoming issue.Issue five of Spike Vs. Dracula is set during Angel season 5.

Personally after reading the first couple of issue of Spike vs.Dracula,I'm hoping we see at some point an Angelus miniseries.A miniseries featuring Angelus at his most evil and sadistic with Darla and a period setting.I'm dying to see Angelus and Darla together and wrecking havoc.Maybe set during the period Holtz was going after them.

I think I might send some feedback to
letters@idwpublishing.com as well letting them know I love these period stories and would love more with evil Spike and evil Angelus.There are plenty of fans of Spike who actually enjoy evil Spike more and there is nothing wrong with having comics featuring both pre-soul evil Spike and post soul good Spike.They aren't making these comics exclusivly for one segment of the fanbase or for people who only want a certain version of Spike.There is room for both.


As for the covers,I look at it as artist expression.A play-off of what was established on the show in the episode,"Why We Fight."If you remember,Spike was in the uniform but he was never a Nazi.I seem to recall that he ate the guy whose uniform he was wearing.



From the episode.

SPIKE
(turns toward Angel, smiling)
Of all the bloody faces I expected to see down here.

ANGEL
(looks at Spike)
You're a Nazi.

SPIKE
What?
(Angel looks Spike up and down)
Oh. No. I just ate one. So... they got you, too, eh? Phew. Mmm. Nabbed me in Madrid. Sneaky bastards, the S.S. Don't ever go to a "free virgin blood" party. Turns out it's probably a trap.

ANGEL
You were captured at a "free virgin blood" party?

SPIKE
I know.
(shakes his head)
Who'd have thought? One minute, I'm asking a fella why all the virgins look like Goebbels. Next minute, I'm stuck in a box on this cursed ship.
(starts walking down the hallway; Angel follows)
I feel better knowing they got you, too, though I can't say I'm surprised. From our company, it looks like they're rounding up the baddest of the bad.


I can understand why the last cover makes some uncomfortable though.
A free swap for what? All the covers depict Spike and Nazi imagery.


Well seeing as Peter David set the story in Nazi Germany, it would be difficult not to show Nazi imagery on the cover art. I'd been interested to hear what the author thought of all of this.
Saje, I actually wasn't getting my definition of a serial killer from Hollywood, or an english dictionary. There's far more to 'serial' killers than just killing "one by one in a series of incidents". Until I hear from ME that Spike wet the bed, started fires, tortured and killed small animals as a wee vampire and that his kills always involved a sexual element, that he returned to the sites of his kills to remember the act, and that he took things from each of his victims I won't be calling Spike a serial killer.

Did he stalk slayers? Yes. Slayers were the one and only thing a vampire fears, Spike chides Angelus for being all about the 'art' of the kill while he prefered to join the fight head on. I think that says a lot about Spike, but it doesn't say he was a serial killer.

ETA:Have we really seen textural evidence that Spike was into torture? I thought over the years on both series it was made clear that Spike wasn't into that at all.(Rather a flaw for a vampire) As for rape, I think it's pretty clear that's what vampires do...but it is interesting that again we see multiple references to Angelus doing this, but Spike's shown mooning over Drusilla and waving the offered bride away...and using seduction as a way to gain victims as opposed to Angelus's more brutal approach. Again, i think this is supposed to be seen as a flaw in Spike.

[ edited by ramses 2 on 2006-05-25 19:41 ]
I think that every post here has been reasoned. Listening to reason goes both ways. I'd especially like to applaud Ramses for thoughtful and well written posts. Fans of Spike are going to be looking at post show art from the point of view that Spike was reformed and a hero. Of course they know of Spike's past in terms of the Jossverse. However to take a fictional character, and to juxtopose that character to a very real past, alters the readers perspective. It takes the reader to a very real place where there are no vampires, but there are much less appealing monsters. Spike was a popular character in a world where monsters, hellmouths, and vampire slayers are accepted. The Nazis were real, and in the real world they were cold blooded and mundane looking killers of millions, not entertaining in the least. I enjoy being in the jossverse because it's an escape from the real world where much worse things happen.
The idea that most fans Spike a "dreamy hero" is incredibly simplistic.

Eric, I don't know who told you that but this person was dead wrong. If you would go to any site devoted to Spike, you would see a lot of intellegent, in-depth discussion about Spike's character growth from evil vampire to souled hero. No one tries to excuse Spike by sighing "OMG, he's so dreamy". Instead, you'd discover a lot of thoughtful and thought-provoking ideas and opinions about Spike's place and role in Jossverse.

I'm deeply disappointed that the Spike comics are only about examining Spike's distant past instead of his time in Sunnydale and what he's up to currently.

I guess I'll have to pass up this comic.
I can't help but ask but who here said Spike was a "dreamy hero"?
Simon said:
Well seeing as Peter David set the story in Nazi Germany, it would be difficult not to show Nazi imagery on the cover art...

I don't think I expressed myself as clearly as I should have. The covers depicit only Spike and Nazi imagery. Since the series is called Spike vs Dracula, as difficult as it may have been, I'm sure they could have produced at least one alternative cover without any Nazi imagery.
By the time Spike meets Dracula he's already wearing the Nazi uniform so even a cover of Spike and Dracula would have to show at least some Nazi imagery.
"I don't think you can say he didn't torture people with railroad spikes just because you don't want to believe it.The show said he did and unless something else comes up in canon that says otherwise,then I think it has to be taken at face
value.I think trying to basically wank that away does a disservice to the character's journey to where he is in the present day."


Have to take exception to this. I was one of the people who mentioned having a tough time with the accuracy of this statement so I just want to be clear. It isn't that I "don't want to believe it." I have no problem believing all kinds of horrible things about both pre-soul Spike and Angel. I just think it is more likely to be more in character for Spike that that particular piece of info was misinformation. It came from Giles after having to search far and wide and was joined with some very non-specific information about his age. Against that we have Spike's behavior as seen in the next 6 years of episodes.

We saw that Spike liked to puff himself up and be a big shot. We saw and heard over and over that he enjoyed the fight and the kill and got bored easily. He was impatient with Dru's torture of Angel and did not take part even though it might have eased his jealousy. As much as he hated Angel when he was trying to get the gem back he hired someone else to torture Angel so it would be done right and was impatient throughout. When he was trying to get Willow to do the love spell for him he never threatened torture, only death. Death to Xander if she failed once and then death to her if she failed again. The fact that he would probably kill both of them in the end and rape Willow to boot is also assumed. In fact the only time that he indicates taking pleasure in the pain of others is when sex is involved, and that is totally consistent throughout. Compare all that to Angelus's attitude whenever he has an excuse to torture someone or even souled Angel's immediate response as to the quickest way to get information. Big difference.

So yeah, pre-soul Spike, not my idea of a good guy. I just don't think the way the Watchers think he got his name is anymore accurate than why they think he is called William the Bloody.

[ edited by newcj on 2006-05-25 21:20 ]
Was just about to mention 'William the Bloody (awful poet)' newcj, you pipped me to the post ;).

OK, ramses 2, he killed serially then ;). The Crime Classification Manual defines it as "three or more separate events in three or more separate locations with an emotional cooling off period in between the homicides." (that's by guys like Robert Ressler and John Douglas among others who don't seem to think all serial killers are sexually motivated and treat why they do it as a separate issue). It's down to a difference in approach I think (there are equally qualified people who agree almost exactly with your definition) so I guess we'll have to agree to differ and worship at the altar of diversity ;-).

IDW is in the business of selling a product to make a profit. If our opinions might cause them to fear losing some of that profit, thus influencing their depiction of Spike to reflect more how we view him, then I think it's just as much our right to 'pen' them than it is EW's to 'pen' his.

Hmm, maybe we can give them a check list of 'acceptable' depictions while we're at it ? Really glad Joss had the integrity to ignore what we felt we wanted (as has been said, some were offended by aspects of Season 6 for instance) and give us what he wanted. That's artistic vision and when it works it's a wonderful thing.

Of course anyone who wants to is free to write to IDW (and I guess IDW is free to ignore it or act on it - that's the beauty of freedom of expression) but it wouldn't be my choice. As I said I don't really like the idea of censorship whether its achieved through totalitarianism or by other means.
Great debate.
Eric, i hope you don't feel too bad about getting all that hate mail.
As for Spike vs Dracula series, i really like how different each issue is, we can clearly see the evolution of Spike through out the decades.
I do think that there is a fundamental difference between evil Spike and Angelus.
Yes, they were both evil but in various different degrees.
I have no problem with Spike killing the slayers cus he fought and defeated them fairly, something Angelus would have never done.
Torturing and raping is also more Angelus's style, I always saw Spike as someone who liked the chaos and crunch more.
And going undercover in a Nazi costume makes perfect sense, how do you think that the British spies tried to infiltrate the third reich? Not with bunny costumes.
Saje I agree wholeheartedly about thanking the stars that Joss wrote what he wanted and not what we wanted. It just would be rather nice if the merchandise dealing with the shows actually took his story into consideration when thinking of ways to get the fans to part from their cash.

If you're selling to Spike fans a Spike centered comic, why be determined to show that the serial killer vampire is every bit as heinious as the nazis(I must admit, I missed this intent when i first viewed the comic) and why make the assumption that said fans would glorify Hitler for staking the character people are plunking down money for?(Again, I completely missed why IDW/Fox nixed that cover) I get all the arguments that Spike fans somehow just want 'dreamy' Spike but can anyone arguing that position also say that they could imagine IDW or Fox ever running a cover of say Angelus raping a nun? I'm guessing, people would be pretty darned appalled at a cover like that, and no discussion of artistic freedom and trying to make the fans understand just how evil Angelus really was would soothe anyone.
Well, showing the actual image of rape would (for me anyway) constitute an image which is disturbing in and of itself (as I mentioned waaay upthread where my example was showing Spike herding people into gas chambers) but i'd have absolutely no problem with showing Angelus looming over a nun even if it was very clear that she was about to be raped or otherwise attacked. That's what he did, that's who Angelus was.

I would also still defend it on grounds of artistic freedom if I thought it was genuinely art and not just twisted for twisted's sake (even if I personally wouldn't purchase that particular cover and would probably press for some kind of sealed cover and adult sales only). For example, i've never read 'The Satanic Verses' so for all I know it might be a deeply offensive book (not to mention just plain bad) but I still think Salman Rushdie had every right to create it. Freedom of speech isn't just about people saying what we want to hear, it's about letting them say it whether we do or not.

Similarly I have no issues with showing Spike (the predator ;) in a Nazi uniform against a Nazi flag if that is consistent with the comic's contents (and I don't know this is the case since I haven't got this issue yet - had to work late. Stupid work ;) and Spike's responses to Nazism are consistent with his character. I guess I just don't see what it is about a drawing of Spike giving a Nazi salute and wearing a Nazi uniform that is inherently offensive or out of character. If he were dressed in a secret policeman's uniform, had a Hammer and Sickle in the background and had been forced to help the Soviets in the Communist era would we all be as aghast ? Because Stalin killed upwards (some say way, way upwards) of 20 million people so I think he's every bit the monster Hitler was.
Very interesting points made by all. I'll take the free-market position - let the artist make the choices he sees fit to make (under whatever constraints the publishers choose to impose, of course, but that's a different question), and let the fans vote with their wallets. If this book is truly aimed at hard-core Spike fans, and those fans elect not to buy it, that will send a message. I don't think the fan base gets to actually approve or veto content, though, not the least because it's not at all clear to me that the voices in opposition are representative of most/all fans, or simply the most vocal.

Still, I have no beef with fans individually writing to express their feelings about the works - yay more freedom of expression, not less. I do have a big problem with "hate mail," both because it is often threatening (which is not protected expression under anyone's standard) and because it is typically utterly devoid of intelligent thought.

FWIW, I tend to agree with newcj's take on Spike's personality; he never showed a penchant for the pain, just for the buzz of the fight and the kill. Still, we might be parsing things too finely when we start debating whether a vampire who has concededly committed numerous murders may or may not be considered a "serial killer."
As I said I don't really like the idea of censorship whether its achieved through totalitarianism or by other means.

I don't think expressing to IDW my distaste at Spike being depicted as a Nazi on the cover of their supposedly Spike cententric comic aimed at selling it to Spike fans, in hopes of influencing their future choices, is an example of censorship. Or totalitarianism.
I'd say it's more an example of captitalism ;)
"Was just about to mention 'William the Bloody (awful poet)' newcj, you pipped me to the post ;).
Saje | May 25, 20:08 CET "


'Bout time. I should get there first once in a while. ;-)
Am I reading that right? The Nazi cover was apparently done to teach fans some sort of morality lesson about FANTASY vampires being serial killers and as bad as Hitler?

So, stealing similar thoughts from message boards discussing this issue, (and to take Ramses lead and bring put something similar in context with the modern world) how would people feel about buying a comic with Spike happily smiling in front of the burning Twin Towers?

[ edited by spikeylover on 2006-05-25 21:35 ]
Wouldn't buy that either.
SNT, while we may be parsing things too fine debating whether or not 'a' vampire can be called a serial killer, it gets rather interesting when just one vampire is called a serial killer. EW never equated all vampires as such, he suggested Spike was. I found it interesting because Spike as serial killer is something that is debated with some frequency throughout the fandom.

And perhaps EW would clarify something I find fascinating, if the cover was in fact done as a juxtaposition to remind readers that evil Spike was every bit as evil as the nazis, and yet the text is one where the reader is expected to root for Spike, isn't there some expectation that text and art should reflect each other, at least somewhat?

I mean, I can understand if the cover was done with the intent that the audience would pick it up with a 'oh lord, what has Spike done now!', only for the text to actually answer with a cool twist inside. But if EW was using the cover to artisically express that Spike the serial killer is evil, evil, evil, how does that respect the artistic expression of the comic itself?

As for the 'controversy', I think perhaps it arises out of the notion that if IDW and Fox would fear that staking Spike would make Hitler look good, what exactly does that mean regarding how they actually view the character? EW also didn't state that he thought it would be a great cover to show snarky Spike undercover against the nazis....he stated the cover should stand as a reminder. That seems like a recipe for controvery to me.
While, ďyou canít judge a book by its coverí, we often get a picture of what the book is about by the cover. If Fabio is on the cover you can pretty much guess the content without reading the jacket. Therefore the cover is the first impression of what the story is.

This comic seems to be about un souled Spike, disguising himself as a Nazi, but the cover actually depicts him as one. That will be the first thing that registers in the consumerís head. That the main character of the story is a Nazi.

Joss Weldon has used the gotcha approach many times in his works and most of the time it worked quite well. But using the gotcha approach with this aspect of history could be considered in poor taste, especially to Europeans and especially to Germans.

There is a vast field between being overly politically correct and sensationalism. Between art and tabloid journalism. Iím just not sure what part of the field this cover falls in but I think the feelings of peoples should be considered.

What would Black Americanís reaction be if the cover depicted a main character as a white man whipping a black person?

An Australianís reaction to the main character being an early settler shooting defenseless aborigines?

A Catholicís view of a cover with the main character dressed as a priest, burning down a synagogue?

What perspective would a Middle Easternerís be of a main character being depicted in traditional Islam clothes, standing in front of the burning twin towers with his hands on a detonator?
ramses 2 wrote:

And perhaps EW would clarify something I find fascinating, if the cover was in fact done as a juxtaposition to remind readers that evil Spike was every bit as evil as the nazis, and yet the text is one where the reader is expected to root for Spike, isn't there some expectation that text and art should reflect each other, at least somewhat?


Okay, here is my attempt to clarify what I said above. When I got my assignment, I had absolutely no idea what the story was about. Sometimes because of solicitations the covers are created before the scripts are completed. All the description said was that the story would be Spike during WWII dressed as a Nazi. The suggestion was Spike being staked by Hitler. I didn't want to go down that road, so I suggested recreating a propoganda poster featuring Spike. If you look closely at his expression, he is holding back a smirk which is to say he is impersonating a Nazi and having fun doing it. It was not to say he was proud to be a Nazi, etc.

And my statement about the juxtaposition of Spike/Nazi imagery was a reaction to the fact that showing the drawing of Spike surrounded by dead bodies generated positive feedback, yet showing him saluting the flag generated a fair amount of hate mail. I posed the question as to why one was more acceptable than the other which I think several people answered very articulately.

While I agree with a lot of what you are saying, you are taking a lot of the words I used out of context to service your argument. For example, I never stated that the cover for S vs D #3 was meant to express that Spike was a serial killer. I clearly said that romanticizing him as a serial killer (the cover with the bodies) was reacted to more acceptingly than juxtaposing him against a historical backdrop (the Nazi flag cover). That was the point I was trying to make.
While, ďyou canít judge a book by its coverí, we often get a picture of what the book is about by the cover. If Fabio is on the cover you can pretty much guess the content without reading the jacket. Therefore the cover is the first impression of what the story is.


Not in the comic book world. Fans who are new to comic books should be aware that traditionally comic book covers have not always 100 percent portrayed what's going on inside the cover.

And to place this "controversy" in context, this site and maybe and a couple of other Buffyverse related forums are the only ones discussing it. None of the comic book forums/sites/message boards seem to be discussing the cover. At this time of writing, the IDW forum quite likes the issue. No mention of the cover at all. Not a twitch in the world of blogs either.

Course that might change in time.
ETA:Have we really seen textural evidence that Spike was into torture? I thought over the years on both series it was made clear that Spike wasn't into that at all.(Rather a flaw for a vampire) As for rape, I think it's pretty clear that's what vampires do...but it is interesting that again we see multiple references to Angelus doing this, but Spike's shown mooning over Drusilla and waving the offered bride away...and using seduction as a way to gain victims as opposed to Angelus's more brutal approach. Again, i think this is supposed to be seen as a flaw in Spike.


From,"School Hard"

Cut to the library. Giles and Jenny continue their research while Xander
keeps whittling.

Giles: Oh, there you are.

Jenny: There who is?

Giles: Our new friend Spike. He's known as 'William the Bloody'. Earned
his nickname by torturing his victims with railroad spikes. Very
pleasant. Well, here's some good news: he's barely two hundred. He's not
even as old as Angel is. (frowns) Oh.



From the episode,"Never Leave Me."

SPIKE
Do you have any idea what I'm capable of?

BUFFY
I was in the cellar with you. I saw what you did.

SPIKE
I'm not talking about the cellar. The people in the cellar got off easy. I'm talking about me. Buffy, you have never met the real me.

BUFFY
(crosses arms) Believe me, I'm well aware of what you're capable of.

SPIKE
No, you got off easy too. (stands) Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she'll die? I do. You see, the trick is to drink just enough to know how to damage them just enough so that they'll still cry when youó (chokes up) 'cause it's not worth it if they don't cry.

BUFFY
It's not your fault. You're not the one doing this.

SPIKE
I already did it. It's already done. (paces, then steps purposefully toward Buffy) You wanna know what I've done to girls Dawn's age? (beat) This is me Buffy. You've got to kill me before I get out.


Plus there was the story he was telling Dawn in,"Crush."

I'm deeply disappointed that the Spike comics are only about examining Spike's distant past instead of his time in Sunnydale and what he's up to currently.

I guess I'll have to pass up this comic.
Reddygirl | May 25, 19:47 CET




But they aren't

Spike:Old Times is set during season 6 of Buffy.They can't use the Buffy characters or set it in Sunnydale but it was during that period.It did feature flashbacks but the story was set in season 6.Spike is soulless but it dose not present him in a bad light

Spike:Old Wounds is set in Angel season 5.

Spike:Lost And Found is also set in season 5 of Angel.

All three present Spike in a good light and the last two feature Spike with a soul.

Angel:Old Friends is set post NFA and features Spike with a soul in the present day.

Spike:Asylum will present Spike in a good light and also feature I believe,Spike with a soul.

There is that Angel/Spike miniseries coming up which I'm sure will also feature Spike with a soul.

The Spike one-shots have some flashbacks in them but they aren't the focus of the story.The Angel miniseries also had flashbacks includng,and I will have to double check the issues,a scene of Angelus raping and killing the gypsie girl.

The only comic that is a evil soulless Spike flashback story is this miniseries and even the last issue will be set in season 5 of Angel with Spike having a soul.

See,I don't think they should be selling just to fans of a certain version of Spike.They need to sell to the fandom in general which includes fans of souled heroic Spike,evil soulless Spike,other characters and so on.And so far IDW has been doing that.

i'd have absolutely no problem with showing Angelus looming over a nun even if it was very clear that she was about to be raped or otherwise attacked. That's what he did, that's who Angelus was.


I agree,I would have no problem with it either or the implication of rape.If they do eventually do a Angelus period comic then I wouldn't be surprised or upset if they had some covers of Angelus doing something nasty.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2006-05-25 23:02 ]
I thought it looked like he was smirking Eric Wight but I didn't want to say anything in case you just had trouble with lips or something ;-).

progirl not quite sure I quite get your point (are we meant to be worried about vampires's points of view on seeing Spike portrayed that way ?) but all your examples point out the difference in my thinking. They are all character x actively doing something evil. Wearing a uniform and saluting are not evil they're just associated with it in this case. In other words the image does what art sometimes should i.e. it provokes thought and discussion. To my mind portraying a character doing something is not the same as endorsing it in any way (especially when that character is evil).

Re: twin towers, if it was strictly to stir up sales, I wouldn't buy it. If it was in the context of the story inside and was a powerful image I might. Either way it'd be up to the artist what they drew (and up to me what I bought). What kind of a world would we be in if anything that offended anyone was disallowed ? Are we all so addicted to comfort that we're unwilling to be challenged in any way ?

anindoorkitty, I think it depends how it's done. I'm happy with SNT's approach whereby we all choose freely whether or not to buy it depending on our preferences and then IDW decide (again freely) what they want to do based on that. Also, I wasn't accusing you of totalitarianism (unless you've been made dictator of the world without telling us ;) but I think if trying to force an artist (even by proxy, through the company they work for) to create along certain lines depending on someone else's preferences isn't censorship then it's perilously close (assuming that is your ultimate aim and you're not just expressing an opinion neutrally as a piece of information for IDW which I don't think anyone could take issue with and I personally applaud).

Basically, whenever a small minority of people try to dictate what I get to view or consume based on their preferences I get a bit annoyed (aside from the philosophical issues). It's kind of like people complaining about offensive programmes on TV. Just turn over, you know ? Don't try and decide for me what I get to watch, let me do that, i'm a grown-up after all (well, on paper anyway ;).

(with TV shows even a few hundred complaints out of millions of viewers can have a programme pulled from the air, at least here in the UK)
Buffyfanatic, i disagree.
Those scenes would have probaly happend during his 20years with Angelus.
It was very clearly explained that it was Angelus who turned him in to a monster.
Raping and torturing seems like something he would have been taught and tried.
But when he was on his own with Dru, that's when i believe he started more on his own evil Spike ways. Wich are very different from angelus's.
I'm not intrested in an Angelus series cus he has absolutly no redeeming qualities. But it does sound like a treat for Angelus's fans.
My friend has just got a copy of this edition and enjoyed it greatly. Spike comes out as the 'good' guy in this and depicts him as totally horrified when he hears what the Nazis have been doing to their population all this time.

He comes across as totally anti the Nazis, not for them at all.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2006-05-25 23:04 ]
Thanks for answering EW,it does serve to clarify things. And I never thought you said you wanted the cover to express that Spike was a serial killer(I just find that designation interesting in a larger fandom context), I did however somehow pick up the notion through the course of the thread that you wanted to juxtapose Spike with the nazi flag to express an artistic statement on Spike and evilness.

If you read my posts you'll see that I actually saw your cover of Spike as snarky and that in fact, I thought an image of Hitler staking Spike would have been rather perfect. Hearing that there was a fear of glorifying Hitler by staking Spike does, however still give one pause.
If I remember correctly, and assuming this hasn't been mentioned already, Spike was depicted as being anti-Nazi in the Pretty Maids All In A Row novel as well. Been a while since I read that but I'm pretty sure that was the case.
Ramses 2 -- Cool, I'm glad you thought it was snarky. Because that was my intent. Again, I didn't know what the story was about at the time, and so I was just thinking about an evil Spike running around during WWII. I know it's evil vs. evil, but I didn't want anyone to draw the conclusion that I thought Hitler was heroically slaying Spike and doing the world any favors by killing a vampire. I thought a propoganda poster that made you think he was a Nazi, and then have it revealed inside that he wasn't would grab your attention more. Guess I was a little too right on that one.
I also thought I saw the smirk, but was not going to say anything because I did not think it was enough of a smirk and I did not want to criticise...but now I have. Oh well. :-(

Question: Why would souless Spike be anti-Nazi or even care one way or the other about the Nazis, unless they were getting in his way? Just wondering.

As I say, I like pre-soul Spike to be layered but unapologetically evil. For me, it gives his journey more weight and more believability.

With that in mind, I have to go with souless Spike being a sado-masochist when it comes to sex, with Dru right there with him. The only time he mentioned torture with anticipation was in Lover's Walk when he decided to torture Dru until she liked him again. His fantasies about Buffy often involved fighting leading to sex and then the reality followed the same pattern. His comments in Never Leave Me also followed the same pattern. The story he told Dawn in Crush, on the other hand involved killing a family quickly. He never said what he actually did to the little girl that was in the coal bin and I'm not going there in this post.

In my mind, I have no doubt souless Spike took pleasure in fighting, killing and raping rather brutally. Whether Angelus taught him that last pleasure, I don't know, but of everything in Angelus's repitoir, that is the one Spike seemed to take as his own. Torture that did not involve sex, on the other hand, just makes me hear Jayne's comments concerning the habits of Reavers, "When does that get fun?"
I got cc'ed on a letter to Mr Wight and Chris Ryall at IDW and I shall reproduce it here.

Dear Mr. Wright,

I loved your "Spike vs. Dracula #3" cover and that is the one that I purchased. It captures both the spirit of the story and the insouciance and insolence that is Spike. Based on my understanding of the character Spike, and the canon of the 'verse, it's clear that he is wearing the uniform because he "ate a Nazi" as stated in "Why We Fight" (and also shown in the comic), and that the salute is more contemptuous (i.e., flipping them off) than respectful or sincere.

I think that many people are reacting viserally to the Nazi theme and not to what the picture and the story are saying. Even more than half a century later, people feel passionate about the Holocaust, which was an abhorrent period in world history. However, the solution is not to forget the horror but remember it. Using this period as a setting is one way to keep the stories of the victims and survivors and the lessons learned alive. I am sure that this is one of the reasons the editors and author chose this era, in addition to the fact that it ties in with the existing canon.

Both the comic and "Why We Fight" clearly state that Spike wasn't a Nazi and that he had only contempt for them. In addition, the fans that are objecting should realize that Spike, evil as he was, wouldn't have become part of any organization, much less such a rigid, structured one as the Nazi party. Though evil, it would be the antithesis of Spike -- his love of chaos and the flaunting of rules, restrictions, society's conventions -- and that anyone writing and/or illustrating for this character would understand this.

I would have weighed in, and publicly lended you support, on whedonesque.com but I'm not a member and membership currently isn't open. I am sorry that you received so much hate mail. However, you can see this as a positive. Your work was strong and, therefore, elicitted strong reactions and emotions.

On a political note - If all the people who, correctly, abhor the Nazis and the horror that was the Holocaust, could direct that passion away from the past and use it to lobby their government to help stop the genocide currently taking place in the world (e.g., Sudan), it would be a constructive and productive use of their time and emotions. As the motto of the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. states "Never again". Let's try to make that true.

Best of luck and keep on drawing.


Chris Ryall, IDW's Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, has replied to the letter at the IDW forum and I would seriously suggest that posters and lurkers as well read what he said.

Here's the relevant link (scroll down to the username Ryall).
That was an excellent letter Simon.
"Chris Ryall, IDW's Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, has replied to the letter at the IDW forum and I would seriously suggest that posters and lurkers as well read what he said."

Seconded.
but I think if trying to force an artist (even by proxy, through the company they work for) to create along certain lines depending on someone else's preferences isn't censorship then it's perilously close

I don't think that's artistic censorship. I think that's a potential buyer's attempts to influence a seller concerning the outcome of a markatable product. It would be up to the company employing the artist to accept or reject their submitted works. And I imagine that happens everyday in companies around the world and has everything to do with the company being influenced by the opinions of their potential customers. Artistic censorship would be preventing an artist from creating, displaying or marketing their art. I doubt that artists consider a company's rejection of a particular piece, for whatever reason, as being censorship. But whatever the reason, I'm pretty sure it would be because the company is attempting to appeal to a certain consumer's preference, usually reflected in their spending habits, but maybe occasionally by email :) (That is also what determines what we watch on our major networks here in the US.)
But please forgive me for being argumentative, because regardless, I agree completely with you about the evils of censorship.
Is this Whedonesque's first auto-Godwinizing thread?
There are far cleverer and more eloquent people here than me, I'm looking at you ramses. :0) But my gut reaction to seeing a Nazi salute on a comic I was looking forward to buying was one of revulsion. It had nothing to do with who was on the cover doing it, I'd feel the same if it were Angel, Buffy, Giles, Xander, etc.

Also, a quick question is there an alternate non-Nazi image displaying cover for people who wish to purchase this in Germany? The imagery and the gesture are both illegal there.
All this raucous debate(of which I've been apparently on both sides) over Spike, anyone else get all nostalgic for the good old days when we had new episodes to digest and brawl over? While this thread was at times maybe contentious, I have to deeply thank IDW for giving us artists and writers of fantastic caliber. I've been totally thrilled with the Spike comics, and the Illyria one was fantastic. Thanks again.

Lynnie brings up a very interesting question, what about the german fans?
Issues about the appropriateness of the cover aside, my main disappointment with that issue is the artwork. The first eleven pages are absolutely awful, with not one image of Spike or Dracula that's at all recognizable as the actors who played them. They're not even drawn the same from one panel to the next. The shading is overdone and clumsy, and everyone's faces have this strange smudge-like shadow right under the tip of the nose. Then there's a sudden, VAST jump in style, and pages 12 through 22 (the end) are much, much better. The inking looks a hundred times more professional, and I can actually recognize the actors, including Nostroyev and the Prince of Lies. So what happened? Did they get someone's kid to draw the first half of the comic? It's absolutely horrendous.

And of the four covers, from an artistic point of view, the only cover I liked was the red one, with Spike recoiling from the cross in front of the Nazi eagle. Eric Wight's cover was the only other one that captured the likeness to any degree, but again, my problem was with the sloppy inking. While that works for animation art, it looks too primitive for comic art, and the possible smirk could have been the single mouth line going slightly off center. A more detailed job of inking with a finer pen would have made it more pronounced.

But, especially since the comic has Spike singing "Der Fuhrer's Face" (fitting that he'd be a fan of Spike Jones' recording, since they have the same nickname), it would have been less shocking and more in character for him to be standing in front of the Nazi flag making a rude gesture than to be doing an actual Nazi salute.

I don't have any problems with the story, as I think Peter David's doing a great job, and it leads nicely into the virgin banquet ruse of Why We Fight, but the artwork for the first half of the issue and three out of four covers was, IMO, way below par.
I agree, Deanna. It would have been much more Spikelike for him to be giving his famous two-finger salute to the Nazi flag.

And thanks for confirming the fact this comic will be illegal in Germany. I thought this was the case.
Now that things have died down hopefully people will see that there was no purposeful intent to offend by Eric and IDW, so perhaps we can actually comment on the issue itself.

I thought the cover art was very 40s and fitted in very well with the context of that era stylistically speaking.

However the interior art was really strange. As deanna b said there is a vast jump in style and it is really noticeable from page 11 to page 12. I've never read a comic book where that's happened before. Though I did notice that there were two inkers for this issue.

Story wise, I'm really enjoying it. Peter David knows his stuff and he writes a cracking tale. And the Oz in-joke was superb. I'll be interested to see which time period issue 4 is set in.
Simon, I believe issue four is set in Italy during the 1950's.
Oh excellent.

SPIKE Ciao.

ITALIAN WOMAN Ciao.

DRUSILLA Ciao.

ITALIAN WOMAN Ciao.

SPIKE Ciao.

Possibly the best 5 seconds of either show EVER!!!
I love that exchange. And of course when it comes to evil Spike and Dru, you can't help thinking they were also saying "Chow".
I have to agree. The ciao scene launched a thousand fan fic, and I'm glad that they are going to take it further in the comics.

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