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March 21 2007

Buffy Is Back—in Print. Joss speaks to Publishers Weekly about season 8.

18 months!?!? Damn, I guess that means the Slayers didn't show up in that alley behind the Hyperion afterall. Hard to believe the comics' antagonist lasted in the Hellmouth for that long. I guess eating people will do that to you.
Well... we still don't know the Slayers didn't show up in the alley. Who knows what happened in those 18 months?

Actually, it just occurred to me (sorry if it was mentioned already in the Angel comic thread), maybe Joss was inspired to do the Angel comic because he realized that the Buffy comic, sooner or later, would have to address what happened with Angel, Spike & Co. in the alley, and he wanted that story to be told through Angel, not through Buffy.
Well... we still don't know the Slayers didn't show up in the alley. Who knows what happened in those 18 months?


Great sex?
I received an email from TFAW.com a few days ago saying my copy of the first issue had shipped.

I don't want to have to wait for it to get here, dammit!
I love these interviews (thank you for the link Simon), Joss sounds so excited and happy to be working on these, and to be working with so many great writers. I'm thrilled with issue number one and I just wish they could come out faster than one per month!
Mine was shipped today, but I couldn't wait and phoned around to find a place that had a copy.

With no spoilage, I like it but don't love it. Mr. Whedon has earned the eternal benefit of my doubt, so I'm in for the duration. But: a few problems for me. Not huge, but given my prior utter and complete adulation of all things Whedonesque, well, it's odd territory for me.
Great minds, barboo. Great minds...
I have to agree with Chris inVirginia. I'm glad the stories are going forward, and I'm glad Joss is so excited about telling them, and not to rain on the general joyfest...but...so much of what made the series so great were the performances by the actors. What kept Buffy from being a "comic book character" so to speak, was Sarah Michelle Gellar's sensitive portrayal of her, and the same goes for the rest of the cast. With all due respect for the wonderful things that can be done in comics without the limitations of budgets, I don't think the comic book medium can deliver the same emotional impact that comes from having real people enacting the characters.

But, we'll see.
I never tuned in for the actors. Not in Buffy, Angel or Firefly. They were totally superfluous albeit pretty. I'm just saying.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that the actors were superfluous, because I tuned in because of the characters, and, well, they were absolutely vital and essential in crafting those characters. But we know them so well, as do the writers, that the way Joss has written "The Long Way Home, Part 1," it feels like they're right back at work.

I think the actors are necessary. But I don't need to see them acting it all out; Joss and Georges have done a stellar job in committing their performances to print.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2007-03-21 05:05 ]
I've always been a much bigger fan of writers and writing than actors. It's my bias. I just don't really care about actors that much and while the actors Joss picks tend to be pretty good they don't matter to me. I know they can add or detract, but I really don't pay that much attention to them.
Well, at this point, I've watched enough Buffy enough that anything related to their characters I automatically envision as a scene from the TV series (which made some of the first Buffy series of comics seem kind of weird... I'm not too crazy about those ones), so... the actors are and aren't necessary. I mean, they're the reason I'm thinking what I am, but at this point I don't need them to enjoy the comic. That sounds so bad when I put it into writing. I really do appreciate the actors.
"...I don't think the comic book medium can deliver the same emotional impact that comes from having real people enacting the characters."

Read "Strangers in Paradise." Comics absolutely can deliver an emotional impact, and these last few issues have proven it on almost every page.
Whether it makes as big an impact on any given reader/viewer is, of course, up to the individual. Maybe it won't for you. But I think that Joss gave his characters to the actors, watched as the actors breathed life into them, and now he's taking those rich, developed characters into a new medium. You just know he's hearing their voices when he writes it, and I can hear them clearly when I read it.
That said, as many have said before me this comic read like the teaser before the theme song, which could be why it seems "lighter" than expected. While it may not have been the nonstop actionfest emotional rollercoaster ride everyone was hoping for, I'll bet it'll read great as a collected trade.
/agree re: SiP and that's just one of a ton of examples.
Dang, now I have to admit that I've been moved to tears in the last couple issue of SIP. If it's this bad now, I can't imagine how it'll be in the next couple. :(

*looks around, realizing that this isn't SIPesque*

Err .... Buffy Good. Also, some self-linkage.
barboo said:

"I don't think the comic book medium can deliver the same emotional impact that comes from having real people enacting the characters."

Did you only mean that in relation to the Buffyverse though, barboo, or overall ? I can point to a couple areas where the Buffy comics did it for me. There was at least one moment in Fray that was emotionally impactful on the same scale as scenes in some of my favorite TV shows and films. I think Tales of the Slayer had one or two shorts stories that brought the emotional satisfaction (and almost all the stories were entertaining or interesting for their relation to show details, expanding on stuff).

Seconding the Strangers in Paradise recommendations. Only, with the helpful warning that, if you start it--and you absolutely need to start at the beginning--you know that Volume 1 of the SiP trades are to the rest of the series what Buffy Season 1 is to most of the rest of the show. Volume 1 is good, but most of the rest of the series is excellent (I didn't like Vegas, personally, though I know many SiP fans wanted more of the slice-of-life stuff and had problems with so much of the crime and manipulation elements later on).

And yeah, there're tons more of comic books that can make you feel, sometimes make you cry. A Distant Soil, Y: The Last Man, The Sandman, Clan Apis, Maus, The Coffin, Pedro & Me, just a few off the top of my head.

Oh and We 3. If you like animals. That one was incredible, but gut-wrenching.
Totally second the Pedro & Me recommendation. That is absolutely brilliant.

And, of course, Maus is great. Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns always seem to do it for me as well.
In order to catch up with Strangers in Paradise (after being hooked on it after reading a volume called Love Me Tender) I ordered the five pocket books which (I think) are excellent value.

I would also recommend Runaways, which may have been mentioned several times on this blog ;-)
Great sex?

Yes but who with ?

* ducks *

Oh and We 3.

We do not talk about WE3 in this house. OK, OK you forced it out of me ;), I blubbed like a large, semi-muscular baby.

Yep, even superhero stuff can have a huge emotional impact. 'The Dark Knight Returns' does it for me in several places (it's a much more hopeful, humane book than 'Strikes Again' IMO, basically it's a younger man's creation, before the world happened to him) and more recently i've just read 'Spider-Man: Reign' which was also good drama (in the same vein as DKR in some ways). 'V for Vendetta', especially 'Valerie' just blows me away, every. single. time. Yay freedom ;). And yep, 'Maus' and 'Watchmen' of course.

Might add SiP to my ever lengthening 'to-be-consumed' list.

Is that '18 months' definitely official, BTW ? Seems a long time and previous impressions have been that it'd be set sooner after 'Chosen' than that.

(I do get that the Buffy comics in particular might be harder to accept because the actors just totally made those roles their own but, as others have said, when I read 8.1 I see and hear the actors in the roles anyway)
It's early days I know, but I suspect that the Buffy comic just isn't going to cut it as well emotionally for me as the show did.

Unlike some others here I saw the original show as very much a 'group effort' with the input from the actors as being an important part of that.

Having said that though I know comics can deal with emotional issues well, but so far I'm just not getting the same 'hit' from these images as listening/seeing an actor say those lines. The 'spin' that a living actor brings to the table can make or break a piece of dialogue, and so reading them in this format still doesn't seem to cut it for me as well. But as I said it's early days yet.

I'm also not a huge fan of the artwork, but then again art like humor is a very personal thing indeed.
Yes, V for Vendetta - the Valerie/Evey story is very powerful (and one of the few aspects of the film that worked, imo).

I just don't really care about actors that much and while the actors Joss picks tend to be pretty good they don't matter to me. I know they can add or detract, but I really don't pay that much attention to them.

I can't separate them that easily. When I watch the show I'm concentrating on the characters, of course. But if I had tuned in one week and Buffy was being played by a different actress it would be very hard to deal with. Like others here, when I read the comics I'll be hearing the voices and seeing the mannerisms I've come to know and love.
As I have often mentioned, for me, it all begins with the writing, and in the comic, there just isn't enough of it. There are snatches of excellent dialogue in it (the comment about Buffy not knowing much about religion was hilarious...but I was troubled that, after all these years, she doesn't know the difference between a crucifix and a cross), but the superb character interrelations that helped define the show just don't make it to the illustrated page.

I'm sure the overall story will hang together, surprise, shock, amaze, etc., but the overall impact will be so much less than the TV version.

Hell, I guess I should be happy that there's new, canonical Buffy available, and I am, I'm just not overjoyed, which is what I've been spoiled to expect.

The show's writing was, as a professor friend (Ph.D, and a published historian) said, probably the best ever for TV (I'd delete the qualifier.) That said, the casting and acting were simply superb, from the main characters all the way down to extras, with very few exceptions. (I think "Family" would have been a lot more effective had Tara's father been cast as an outwardly warm, loving, protective and jovial fellow...and then exposed as the misogynist he was, for example.) The mix of writing, plot, character development, acting, music, etc. just made for the most gratifying TV experience ever.

There is one potential plot development that would be a deal breaker for me. Won't mention it, and I hope my fears are unwarranted.

[ edited by Chris inVirginia on 2007-03-21 16:30 ]
Great sex?
Yes but who with ?


Ah Saje, that would be telling.

Thanks, everyone for the comic book recommendations. I will definitely check them out, seeing as how, thanks to comments in this space, I have discovered many more high quality television shows in the past year than probably I'd watched in the previous 20 years put together.

And just to make it perfectly clear, I am not dissing comic books as a medium. I was a reader for most of my life, up 'til I went off to do fieldwork for 2 years, and by the time I got back had lost all continuity, plus I couldn't afford the frickin' things any more. There are great people who do what I consider brillaint work in them, and some of it can be very emotionally affecting. Watchmen, of course, just about anything Alan Moore touches. I loved his run on Swamp-thing - anyone else think John Constantine was something of a model for Rupert Giles (both got into some bad magic in their rebellious youth, both go by their last names)? Also loved Steve Gerber in his time - Howard the Duck may be my favorite comic book character of all time. Yes, Frank Miller's Dark Knight series packs a wallop, as does the whole Elektra sequence in Daredevil, what Chris Claremont did with the X-men, Mike Baron's Nexus and Badger, okay not so much with the emotional punch but really fun to read. And I was really sorry Sisterhood of Steel ended so quickly, I wanted to read more of that.

But...it's different. The emotional punch that comes from the best comic books still isn't the same as from seeing people do stuff. Seeing the emotions on their faces, in their body language. A static medium doesn't convey as much, no matter how wonderful the artist. So Fray, yeah, great stuff, and it had its emotional power, but, for me, not as much as watching a single BtVS episode. Reading Fray made me want to SEE more Whedon writing enacted.

But then, I also tend not to like comic book characters when they are transferred to the screen, as I've said before, so maybe I just don't have the flexability to jump media. Whatever way I see something first, is how I like it to stay. (With the exception of the fact that Patrick Stewart was obviously born to play Professor X, and Ian McKellen's rendition of Magneto exceeds my ability to come up with adequate words of praise, but then, he could play a rock and make it captivating.)

[ edited by barboo on 2007-03-21 18:04 ]
If we're plugging our favourite comic books which made a huge impact on our reading lives, I'm going to recommend Robbie Morrison's Nikolai Dante and Grant Morrison's Zenith.

The former is a sprawling romantic epic about a rogue in a future Russia and the latter (for me anyhow) is the definitive superhero tale (even more so than The Pyscho, Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, The Authority or the New Statesmen).
If it's eighteen months wouldn't that make this season nine? :)

Also:

"The series—or season—will run between 20 and 30 issues," said Whedon. "I'll be writing the beginning story arc, the series finale and some others in-between. I've got former writers from the show and some comic book heavyweights, so I'm lucky. The series will have an overriding giant story arc, and the other writers' story arcs will act as episodes that fit into the larger puzzle."


The 20 to 30 issues thing again. Joss, if you're going to have ten writers write four issues each (and I reckon there'll be a few arcs that spill over that limit), there is no way you'll be able to do this in that few issues. You're talking forty at least. So please stop telling people this, cause something isn't true!!
"The 20 to 30 issues thing again. Joss, if you're going to have ten writers write four issues each (and I reckon there'll be a few arcs that spill over that limit), there is no way you'll be able to do this in that few issues. You're talking forty at least. So please stop telling people this, cause something isn't true!!
daylight | March 21, 17:11 CET "


I'm pretty sure I saw something somewhere that indicated that some writers may just do one shots rather than four issues. So maybe it isn't Joss who is wrong...

(whistling)
"But if I had tuned in one week and Buffy was being played by a different actress it would be very hard to deal with."

See, this is the difference. I simply wouldn't care. If an actor is good, I don't see them and only see the character. The actor doesn't exist. If the actor is not so good, they stick out like a sore thumb. So, for me, good actors are invisible and I don't notice them. They could be replaced with an actor of equal ability and the story (which is the only reason I'm there) would flow just fine for me.
Jane Espenson said she'd be doing four one-shots instead of a four issue arc - this may be what you're thinking of. In which case, no difference at all.
For me the actor's performance adds depth and meanings that may or may not be explicit in the text. Unfortunately I rarely get that even from the greatest painters, though I have tried. I think it is the way we are wired, all a little differently. I think that is why comics have never been that appealing to me, though I have never had anything against them.

"But if I had tuned in one week and Buffy was being played by a different actress it would be very hard to deal with."

See, this is the difference. I simply wouldn't care. If an actor is good, I don't see them and only see the character. The actor doesn't exist. If the actor is not so good, they stick out like a sore thumb. So, for me, good actors are invisible and I don't notice them. They could be replaced with an actor of equal ability and the story (which is the only reason I'm there) would flow just fine for me.
TamaraC | March 21, 17:41 CET


Oooo. This is interesting because a change of actor should bring about a change in the character. Any decent actor will interpret a character anywhere from a bit differently to dramatically differently from the way another actor will. This happens all the time in theater. People will see the same show multiple times to see different actors' takes on the same role. People refer to [insert name here]'s Hamlet etc. Sometimes re-made films will be approached that way but not TV. Maybe it is the intimacy.

Out of pure curiousity TamaraC, part of me wants to run some experiments to see how big a difference in performance by really fine actors it would take to make an impression on you. (Rubs her hands together with a manaical look in her eyes.) ...And here Saje keeps thinking I don't have a bent toward science. pshaw. ;-)
My enjoyment of issue #1 in large part grows out of my imagining everything taking place in three dimensions. I can "hear" the characters speak and I fill in the gutter spaces between panels with flowy action and movement and all that good stuff. The comic version is inherently and necessarily different from the TV version and given a choice, I'd always - always - take the latter. Yet I'm thoroughly enjoying what the comics medium has to offer here and am augmenting the experience by bringing all my TV Buffy knowledge to the party and sort of laying it over the comics words and images. I hear and "see" the SMG Buffy and the Nicholas Brendan Xander and the Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn, etc.

Speaking of which, while I think no single actor *owns* a character, I do think that actors for better or worse contribute greatly to the creation of a character. The Spike we know has in large part been formed by the choices of James Marsters (in collaboration with others, of course.) Dialogue and direction ain't everything. Actors are more than mechanical mouthpieces. TV is a collaborative art form and actors are part of the collaborative process. I can envision other actors doing a wonderful job as Spike, but those Spikes would have different flavors than Marster's Spike. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. As for how different actors interpreting characters affects the overall *story*, that's an interesting point to ponder. I'm not sure it's entirely answerable, at least to me.

I've wondered over the past few weeks whether the BtVS actors have any interest in following the characters they portrayed for so many years on TV into the comics. In interviews with BtVS actors over the years, many (all?) of them evidenced a lot of affection for, and interest in, their characters. You'd kind of have to, if you were putting yourself into, say, Buffy's head and heart for seven long years. I wager if it were me, I'd want to see where Joss was taking "my" character next. I wonder if the real-life actors feel this way or if they've moved on and couldn't really care less.
Going to extremes here, but TamaraC, I think it would make a huge difference to you if say - Ernest Borgnine - played Buffy. Or Willow. Even Giles - imagine tuning in one evening and there was ol' Ernest, polishing his glasses and affecting a British accent. Wha' the who now?

Just can't agree that the actor is completely irrelevant.

...and newcj and phleb posted same time as me, so sorry if I'm redundant. ;P

[ edited by Willowy on 2007-03-21 18:33 ]
I have to weigh in here because to me, the actors are extremely important. I fall in love with a show or movie (or not) based solely on characters and how they develop (which is why I prefer TV to movies every time). Joss created a universe inhabited by certain characters whom I fell in love with..to me Buffy IS Sarah, Willow IS Aly and so on. When I watched the original pilot with another actor playing Willow...well, it just was not the same! Intellectually I have no difficulty separating the actor from the role but the wonder of the verse depends, for me, upon the performances of the actors involved.
Again, I watch Bones and immerse myself in Seley Booth...David IS Booth for me so it's not a matter of me being unable to divorce actor from character but when I watch Angel or Buffy, David IS Angel. I greatly enjoyed volume one of Buffy season eight but make no mistake...I heard in my mind, the voices of Sarah, Nick and Michelle when I read the panels.
It's also good to keep in mind the actual amount of time it takes to put out a "season" in comics is going to be different than what we're used to with T.V. Additionally, it seems to me some stories may take more than one issue to feel like a full episode. So thirty issues will take more than two years (as opposed to September-May) but may end up playing like a short season in terms of episodes.
Let's get rid of all actors. They're messey, imperfect egomaniacs, demanding, self-aggrandizing, wrong half the time. You have to pay them for changing the pristine art of the script. They get mad, argue and kiss-up. They're, let's face it, ugg, humans. Talent? Make me laugh! Anyone can act. Wait a minute! Posters are human! Geez, anyone can post, and half of them disagree with the other half! That means half of them are wrong, and the other half are wrong the rest of the time. They complain and pontificate and blather. That's it! All actors and posters into the dark hole. What could be lost anyway? Actors and posters are interchangable with other actors and posters. Neither have any particular talent. One goes into the hole and another pops up with the same characteristics. Shoot them all. Only Joss and the writers, should post here and the rest of us, God it hurts to put myself in this class, but humans, should just read. Read art and canon and learn. Let the talentless and useless disappear. What did they ever mean or change? Let the new order commence.

Sorry, just one (1) view of a Utopian future.
newcj, I do recognize when a specific actor is in something, but when the story starts it all falls away. Very rarely I might later think, "wow that was impressively acted" but mostly I will think, "wow that was an amazing story."

Willowy, that is a bit extreme and those actors would color the character a bit differently, but then I would just think that is how the character is written.

Calledon, I think actors are very important for movie and TV as well because without them, we have sock puppets on the moving screen. I'm just saying that I might enjoy the story just as much if it was played by actor A or Actor B or drawn beautifully in a comic book. The story is the story is the story.

cmbackshane, I'm not saying anything negative about actors and I resent the implication that I am. I think there are some great people who happen to act for a living and I have met quite a few of them. I am just describing my particular view and bias when enjoying a story. YMMV
I understand going where the good writing is, whether that be in print or on screen, but if I didn't care so much about the performers delivering the lines, I probably wouldn't watch any TV. Your point of view is interesting TamaraC, but I think you'd agree it's rare among TV viewers. Sure, there're those who're concentrated on the writing, enjoying and dissecting the story, but in every TV fandom almost everyone comments and cares about what the actors bring to the shows.

Personally, I hate actor changes. It creates such a visual disconnect. I didn't even like the switch on Nikki Wood, especially since they went with someone more prettied up and way less tough looking than the original. Heh, there were no lines delivered from the original and it still bothered!

Were there any other actor switches in the Buffyverse? Did more than one actor play Skip the Demon on Angel, or was it always David Denman ?
Skip was always the same actor. The characters being played by different actors each week would totally screw my appreciation of the show, just can't imagine being able to separate the two that cleanly. Very interesting (i'm trying not to say 'weird' TamaraC ;-).

I think that is why comics have never been that appealing to me, though I have never had anything against them.

Do you mean just the Buffy comics newcj (or, more generally, any comic based on a film or TV show) ? Or is it comics full stop ? Cos then i'm curious how you feel about novels (i.e. are they incomplete without actors) ?

And here Saje keeps thinking I don't have a bent toward science. pshaw. ;-)

Well, that sounds like psychology not 'proper' science but it's a start ;-).

(me and 'Bones' Brennan ? Two peas in a pod. Two cuddly peas. With arms. And broader horizons than your average pea ;)

... and half of them disagree with the other half!

I don't.

My enjoyment of issue #1 in large part grows out of my imagining everything taking place in three dimensions. I can "hear" the characters speak and I fill in the gutter spaces between panels with flowy action and movement and all that good stuff.

Yep, reckon that's sort of how you're 'meant' to read comics phlebotinin(everyone's different of course) it's certainly how I do it. Scott McCloud talks about mentally filling in the gutters (he calls it 'closure') in his truly excellent 'Understanding Comics' which i'd recommend to anyone not used to reading comics who wants to get the most out of them.

I'm going to recommend Robbie Morrison's Nikolai Dante and Grant Morrison's Zenith.

Not read enough Morrison and I haven't read 2000AD regularly since I stopped my paper-round (think it was 42 Puffin Crescent that used to have one delivered every Saturday ;). Been inspired to move 'The Invisibles' up the TBR queue partly because of Morrison's recent Batman stuff, might have to add 'Zenith' to the list too.
I'd have to say the actors are of some importance. A TV show is made by a group of creative people, and the actors are part of that group. Spike would be a completely different character if James Marsters hadn't played him. Actually, the character would probably have been killed off in the middle of season 2 and would never have become the iconic "Spike."

But TV is definitely different than comic books, which is exactly the reason that comics shouldn't be judged by TV standards. Different medium, different rules, different ways to get under your skin. I think it's probably wise to wait more than one slim issue to find out whether Buffy season 8 is a worthy addition to the canon.

That said, though, I have to say I'm already hooked.
While I think actors are extremely important, I can't help but think of the world of soaps and the continuous changing out of actors to play often beloved characters. Fans seem to willingly accept the new actors in most cases. I remember one instance where a character is seen remembering her 'life', it was even believable when they showed clips of the character when she was in fact being played by an oriental actress instead of the blonde one doing the remembering. What was perfect was that they had the blonde actress look slightly confused:)
"newcj, I do recognize when a specific actor is in something, but when the story starts it all falls away. Very rarely I might later think, "wow that was impressively acted" but mostly I will think, "wow that was an amazing story."

Which is what most really good actors want to have happen with the general audience. The critics, producers, director, other actors and anybody who can get them their next job, on the other hand, they would really like to have notice the performance. ;-)

So I take it, TamaraC, I should cancel the lab space and Hamlet DVD rentals. (Nobody ever lets me have any fun.)

"I think that is why comics have never been that appealing to me, though I have never had anything against them.

Do you mean just the Buffy comics newcj (or, more generally, any comic based on a film or TV show) ? Or is it comics full stop ? Cos then i'm curious how you feel about novels (i.e. are they incomplete without actors) ?"


Any comics full stop, Saje. Novels, on the other hand, I'm totally into and after much careful thought, these are reasons I have come up with for why that is:

My first love was acting. Over the years I have found that the way I think and relate to things is very much that of an actor. Novels, short stories etc. are meant for the words to meld with the reader's imagination to create the characters very much in the same way that Stella Adler used to define acting itself.

So when I read a book, all I need to create the characters is in the text and in my mind. I can become totally immersed. When I watch a performance by actors who are any good at all, I am also right in there with them.

With a comic book there is very little text, similar to a script, but the stage directions are all in pictures. Unlike actors, whose subtle movements and expressions register with me automatically, my eye zips over the picture in a comic to get the basic information and then looks for more words. Unlike the experience the comic book readers here seem to have, I have to remind myself and work pretty hard to search the picture to see any detail and when I do, it is not very satisfying.

For me, the "that is so cool" factor does not really happen very often with comic book art either. (I can only remember seeing one cover that was linked to Whedonesque that I actually found cool enough to think might be worth worth owning, and it made such an impression that I don't remember what it looked like. I may have just been trying too hard to feel the coolness.) This is probably because the things that comic book art does really well, are not what usually grab me, but I'm not sure. I haven't gotten that far in my self anaysis. :-D
Saje, "weird" is just fine and I am sure I am in the extreme minority because I do notice that most people in fandom do focus their interest on the actors most of the time. I can't help that this bores me senseless. :)

ramses 2, very good point and maybe growing up watching DOOL is one of the reasons I find actors less than integral to informing the character and see them as totally replaceable.
I have to agree with Barboo, watching real live people using their years of acting skill, knowledge and talents to enact great TV writing is more enjoyable to me than just reading great comic writing.

But like bigsofty said, it's a different medium and requires different standards. I'm enjoying the new comic series mainly because it's allowing me a canon peek at what everybody's up to right now. But for me, it can't hold a candle to watching it play out on my TV screen.
I wonder whether we are ultimately doing ourselves, as readers, a disservice by imagining the pictures and words of the Buffy comic as dramatized scenes played by Sarah and the gang. I understand why we are doing it -- I do it, too. The world of Buffy was known to all of us, until now, strictly through the TV show. While we may certainly draw on the show as our frame of reference in understanding the characters and plot points, we are probably setting ourselves up for a diminished experience if we view every issue through the lens of the TV show. As many have already pointed out, comics and TV shows operate on different principles, and make different requirements of their consumers. It would be very interesting, as an experiment, to show the Buffy comics to someone familiar with comics generally but not at all acquainted with the TV show. If you then introduced that person to the TV show, I wonder which experience would be more satisfying?
Re: different actors playing the same character. I didn't have a problem with different guys playing James Bond and Doctor Who.
1starbuckstown, that is sort of my point with tending to prefer whichever medium I start with. I don't usually like to see comics made into movies because, with the aforementioned exception of Patrick Stewart who was genetically imprinted on Professor X, none of the performers ever look right to me in the role. They don't match up with the image in my head that's come from years of reading the stuff. However, when I read Fray, I wanted to see it in live action. For me, Joss' writing makes itself want to be heard, not just read.

Let me also make clear, that I am speaking totally personal preference here. Not trying to imply that one medium is necessarily better than the other, or that I object in any way to cross media enterprises. Just talking about how I experience the stuff.
I have to say that recasting James Bond made me lose all interest in the Bond films, but I felt that the changes in Doctor Who have brought continuing new energy and life to that series. I know that when I read the Harry Potter books I imagine the characters as being other than the actors (Lupin looks a lot more like Clive Owen in my imagination), and I had no trouble with their recasting Dumbledor (admittedly a minor character). I actually embrace the comics as a way to get purely into the characters, and letting them live more in my mind's eye instead of exclusively on the screen.
I have to say that recasting James Bond made me lose all interest in the Bond films, but I felt that the changes in Doctor Who have brought continuing new energy and life to that series.

They've been good James Bonds and bad James Bonds and now there is Daniel Craig - the very proof that recasting and remoulding a franchise can be worth doing.

Otherwise, recasting for a TV series is a completely different kettle of fish. No other actor can just step in and take the place of one who you've watched for several year interacting with those same other actors. The chemistry would be different. The acting would be different.
"Yes, V for Vendetta - the Valerie/Evey story is very powerful (and one of the few aspects of the film that worked, imo)."

AHHH! Blasphemy! I have never been so moved by an entire film than V for Vendetta! I am watching you Moley!

And Saje, I totally hear you on the V for Vendetta love.

About the actors, yeah I think they are important, but I have no great philosophical argument for that, so I am right. Uh that works right?
If I read a play script I find it interesting, picture the characters in my mind and imagine what they would sound like. If I read an illustrated play script I may mentally superimpose those images over my reading of the script and maybe get a better overall picture. If I see a play performed by great actors the play lives and the situations become real.

I read the comic, then I read a Buffy script. Then I watched an episode. The comic represented maybe ten minutes of script at the most. The script was fun to read. The episode completely sucked me in and involved me in the story.

Ultimately I found that the comic was interesting yet unsatisfying. I'd need nine issues in one sitting to make one decent episode. Maybe I need to wait for the trade paperback :).

Frankly I'd have prefered a short story, penned by one of the writers to Joss' specifications.

Actors and directors and lighting and music and SFX bring so much to the words of the writers, the same scene can be played in so many different ways, the same words can sound kind or sarcastic or loving or cruel.A small change in facial expression can completely change a scene . If you've ever watched any dailies you can see the immense change in the "feel" of a scene which a small variation in acting or directing choices can bring.


As I read the comic I heard the voices of the actors I know and love in my head and that helped. But it was all a bit flat. Plus (whisper it) I didn't think the chracters looked that much like the characters. Part of BTVS's charm was that our heroes looked like real people( albeit unfeasibly pretty ones cos, let's face it, Joss didn't exactly hire trolls). Now they look like comic book heroes .

I'm glad that the cannon is continuing but I guess I'm never going to be a comic fan.


* goes back to my DVDS*

Edited for typo.

[ edited by debw on 2007-03-22 00:06 ]
I wonder whether we are ultimately doing ourselves, as readers, a disservice by imagining the pictures and words of the Buffy comic as dramatized scenes played by Sarah and the gang.

Well, it's not really a choice for me, that's just how it happens (always has been the case that, once i've seen someone play a role, I can't usually read the book/comic/whatever without seeing them in my mind's eye - it's one reason why I almost always prefer to read the book/comic/whatever before seeing the film, to have a chance to form my own impression).

Re: different actors playing the same character. I didn't have a problem with different guys playing James Bond and Doctor Who.

Well, Doctor Who has the possibility, even requirement, for different actors built into the character (and i'd bet you still have some Doctors you prefer to others Simon). James Bond isn't the best comparison either since as crossoverman says, 2 hours every 2 years isn't the same thing as 22 'hours' a year for 7 years (and again, most people have a favourite, maybe even definitive, Bond. Big Sean if they've any sense ;).

AHHH! Blasphemy! I have never been so moved by an entire film than V for Vendetta! I am watching you Moley!

Ah, but I seem to remember you saying you hadn't read the comic jerryst3161 ? I don't think as badly of the film as moley75 seems to (IMO it's one of the better comic adaptations on the whole, one or two ill-advised changes aside it could've been much worse. On the "please don't fuck this up"-ometer it scored "Relieved" ;) but I do vastly prefer the book, it's just more layered and complete IMO.

Unlike the experience the comic book readers here seem to have, I have to remind myself and work pretty hard to search the picture to see any detail and when I do, it is not very satisfying.

Ah, maybe just lack of experience with the medium then newcj ? It's true comics aren't as dense (usually that is, i'm looking at you Moore ;) as other media but what density there is comes from the combination of words and pictures in a greater-than-the-sum stylee, takes some getting used to. It's interesting though that in one sense you have too little information (not enough dialogue - agreed I wish every issue was a hundred pages long. Damn you, lack of Joss-cloning technology ! ;) but in another you have too much (the pictures seem to get in the way of your imaginative process - for me and I assume others they're more of a prompt or a 'key').

(not every medium's for everyone of course, it's no reflection, just personal preference)

BTW, googling revealed that Stella Adler was an acting coach and that she disagreed with some guy called Lee Strasberg over 'the method' but not specifically why or in what way. I did find this quote of hers which I liked though:
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.

James Bond isn't the best comparison either since as crossoverman says, 2 hours every 2 years isn't the same thing as 22 'hours' a year for 7 years (and again, most people have a favourite, maybe even definitive, Bond.


James Bond fans are equally devoted to the character as we are to Buffy characters. So 2 hours every 2 years or 22 hours a year, it's really not much difference when you're a devotee of a character.
AHHH! Blasphemy! I have never been so moved by an entire film than V for Vendetta! I am watching you Moley!

Ah, but I seem to remember you saying you hadn't read the comic jerryst3161 ? I don't think as badly of the film as moley75 seems to (IMO it's one of the better comic adaptations on the whole, one or two ill-advised changes aside it could've been much worse.


Oops, wasn't trying to upset anyone :-) I know that I would have liked the film more if I hadn't read the comic and, unfortunately for the film, I had just finished reading it.
Indeed. A load of Bond fans appeared all over the UK media banging on about how dire Daniel Craig was going to be, organised boycotts, set up websites and tried to make the film fail. They caused more print and TV publicity over the issue than Serenity had full stop here. The film went on to be the best performing Bond film ever.
Yeah but that wasn't because Bond was being played by a different actor, that's an accepted part of the film version of the character, it was down to the specific choice including the fact, and this will no doubt amaze the casual observer, that he's blond. I mean, FFS, is Bond really defined by his hair colour !?

And the "film went on to be the best performing Bond film ever" because it's bloody good. And hell slap it into those so-called fans.

(it's the same feeling of entitlement I mention on the 'Endings' thread and just as annoying)

So 2 hours every 2 years or 22 hours a year, it's really not much difference when you're a devotee of a character.

OK, for the sake of argument let's say each Bond actor does an average of four films and that totals 8 hours. The equivalent would be 3 different Buffys per season. And then adding the fact that films (or Bond films anyway) are self-contained, discrete 'units', surely that makes more of a difference to continuity of performance and interpretation ?
"Oops, wasn't trying to upset anyone :-) I know that I would have liked the film more if I hadn't read the comic and, unfortunately for the film, I had just finished reading it."

LOL, Moley it was a total joke I promise.

I actually didnt read the comic saje because, well, I dont really know actually, a friend demanded that I see it and I adored the movie. I read the comic afterwards though, and though I liked it, I loved the music and the movie much more. Maybe thats what it is, whatever we see first, thats what we like, and thats what we associate. Hence, for Buffy, we saw Buffy first, so the actors do matter...

BTW, my favorite bond is Brosnan, followed by Connery, but Craig isnt bad either. And Bond are passionate, if you ever visited those Craignotbond sites, you know that alot people took it seriously, though I have never understood how you can claim that Craig couldnt be Bond without seeing him as Bond...
Ah, but V is one of the very few comics to also have music jerry (Beethoven's fifth appropriately enough ;). It's a fair point about the first representation we experience usually being the preferred one though, most other things being equal.

... though I have never understood how you can claim that Craig couldnt be Bond without seeing him as Bond...

Quite.
My sister is an actor and I am a reader of books. We have similar conversations all the time because she puts much more store in the actors and less in the writing than I do. But I agree that how the actor performs affects the story greatly. I remember one Spike scene where Marsters played it much more sympathetically than it was written. Had it been a different actor, the whole mood and result would have been different, I believe.
And in reading the comics, I can't bring that interpretation to my reading. Perhaps my sister can.
And I haven't learned how to read either the pictures or the gutters, so I am with you, newcj.
But Hamlet? They are all good. Because the play is.
"I remember one Spike scene where Marsters played it much more sympathetically than it was written. Had it been a different actor, the whole mood and result would have been different, I believe."

Wouldn't that be up to the director and not so much the actor?
TamaraC:
ramses 2, very good point and maybe growing up watching DOOL is one of the reasons I find actors less than integral to informing the character and see them as totally replaceable.


I'm just the opposite. I've watched soaps for about 20 years now and I find it very difficult to accept new actors in roles were the previous actor did a great job. The new actor has to prove they understand where the character is coming from for me to eventually accept them as the character. Some of my favorite characters have had a such a revolving door it's not even funny, and I find it difficult to reconcile that the new people are the characters because I tend to compare them to the original one even if it was ten years ago. So for me, some actors aren't totally replaceable.

For the Buffyverse, there are characters that I would never accept being played by other actors. Like Buffy for instance, even though Sarah wasn't the original Buffy, if the role ever had a replacement actor there would be no way I'd accept them as Buffy. It's just the way I am when an actor makes such an impression on me.
"But Hamlet? They are all good. Because the play is.
Lioness | March 22, 02:31 CET"


Ohhhh, I so wish it were true that a bad actor could not ruin Hamlet, or that I had never been shown exactly how that ruination could be done. ;-)

"BTW, googling revealed that Stella Adler was an acting coach and that she disagreed with some guy called Lee Strasberg over 'the method' but not specifically why or in what way. I did find this quote of hers which I liked though:
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
Saje | March 22, 00:45 CET"


Hee hee. Yes, that was Stella Adler. She was an amazing woman and very quotable. I took acting from her many years ago and still hear her voice in my head sometimes.

She had gone to Russia and met with Stanislavski (you could call him the father of modern acting) and felt she had a more accurate and healthier way to interpret Stanislavski’s technique than Strasberg did. Neither was shy and both were passionate about acting so fireworks ensued, and continued until her death...because he died first.

A simplistic and therefore inaccurate summation: Both believed in finding the truth of the performance and not manufacturing a performance. Strasberg taught sense memory and finding the character totally within the actor. Stella believed that the actor had to use not only his/her own personality but his/her imagination amd intellegence combined with everything else they could call on in order to do justice to the art he/she was part of.

Stella would say something to the effect that "Not one of you was born to be King of Denmark. Your uncle did not kill your father, marry your mother and take your crown. You need to feed the play through your imagination in order to bring yourself up to the level of the art. Don't bring the art down to you. Don't be pedestrian.” (That is a stripped down version that does not do justice to Stella's passionate delivery.)

Stella believed that Strasberg’s method was dangerous for the mental/emotional health of the actor (even though JM does not use strictly Method acting, see some of JM’s comments about the results of Method acting when used for a prolonged period of time on television and his personal experiences in that respect during s6 and s7 as illustration of this point) and that it risked leading to a masturbatory performance that was all about the actor rather than the play, character or audience. (My words, I don’t remember how she phrased it.)

Most actors would study with both along with other teachers and take some from what Strasburg was teaching and some of what Stella was teaching and some of whatever else they studied and mix it all together to find what was right for them. Hence both would claim many of the same actors among their successes. (From what I saw in class, Marlon Brando was Stella’s favorite success, though she did not agree with all his career choices.)

Stella and Strasberg were also very different in demeanor. Stella was a larger than life character and loved it that way. She was very smart, funny and extremely theatrical. It is hard to tell which stories about her are true and which were made up, since she enjoyed some of the ones that were made up so much that she would tell them on herself with the quiet statement that it wasn’t true, but she wished it were.

Example that she wished were true: She was buying some items in a 5th Avenue store and gave her NYC address to the clerk. “But Miss Adler, aren’t you British?” said the clerk. To which she replied casually “No, dahling, just affected.”

Example that I have no idea whether it is true or not.: During the McCarthy era, everyone who had been in The Group Theater was investigated. The story goes that Harold Clurman, who was one of the founders and also Stella’s husband, was asked by the investigators for the House Committee on Un-American Activities whether Stella was a communist. He purportedly laughed heartily and quoted her as having said that she would be happy to join the Communist Party as long as *she* could be Queen.

This is longer than I wanted it to be, but could have been much, much longer. ...And hey, it's off the front page anyway, so no one may ever see it.

If you want to discuss any of it, feel free to e-mail me.

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