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July 20 2007

Buffy, the Gateway Comic Book. The Buffy Season 8 comic is responsible for bringing in more non-comic book readers than any other comic in a long time.

Apparently fans come for the Buffy but stay for the Runaways and much more. To pull a quote from the article, “Dark Tower customers mostly are sticking with the Stephen King material. Buffy customers are more willing to try some other things."

Found the link via

My wife has gone nuts and regularly buys a bunch of other comics. Of course, she was doing that before Buffy. My regular habit now includes Buffy, Spike, Angel, Fallen Angel and Dark Xena. I'm not into the cape-wearing super heroes. I like adult stories, where there's some drama and humor, not just zip, zap and bang.

[ edited by quantumac on 2007-07-20 15:48 ]
Quantumac--Lets not cast any aspersions about the cape-wearing hero books being juvenile in the world of comics. If it's grown up, adult stories you want, I'd suggest you pick up POWERS, Astro City, The Authority or Planetary. I assure you they will be adult enough for you. Zip, zap, bang, snark.
I'm not into the cape-wearing super heroes. I like adult stories, where there's some drama and humor, not just zip, zap and bang.

Huh? You mean superhero comics from many moons ago? Do they even do 'zap' 'bang' anymore? I don't go much for Superhero stuff either, but mainly because it's so continuity laden it's hard to jump into. Shulkie is the only 'typical superhero' thing I read. I prefer things like Preacher, Y, Fables, etc. But as a X-men loving geek's wife, I feel called to defend the superheroes in funny costumes. Their storylines can be as compelling and mature as anything on Buffy or any other comic, for that matter. (My hubby sometimes gives me continuity-free synopses...he's a great storyteller.)

Anyway, I always knew Buffy was like crack.

Huh? That wasn't everyone else's gateway drug into the really hard stuff??
I must admit to Buffy being my gateway. I had never set foot into a comic book store but now I am dragging my husband in. It's worked out great, I'm getting into Buffy & Angel comics as well as perusing some others and hubby is re-kindling his love of old Conan the Barbarian comics (which I also have a soft spot for as my Dad as a newly divorced father got me a Conan comic when I was little not knowing it had sex in it. It opened up whole new worlds to me! lol)
Okay, okay, I put my foot into my input digestive orifice again.

I admit I have read Joss' X-Men comics, and there have been some caped crusaders wizing around in there on occasion. And I must admit, while not a comic, I loved "The Incredibles."

No capes, zarling! No capes!
I have been enjoying a widening selection of comics in addition to the ones Joss is writing: ALL of Brian K. Vaughan's books are amazing, and Seth Green's The Freshmen is a hoot. And I find myself going back to the graphic novels I loved from the 1980s.
That applies to me and my sister, I guess.
I haven't read a comic book in over a decade that has actually used sound effect bubbles in anything other than an ironic way. Thank or blame people like Frank Miller for that. Thought bubbles are also currently a big no no, all narration or though is done in rectangular blocks.

If you want to read some good stuff with capes try Powers, it can't get any more adult than that. Nextwave was absolutely hilarious while it lasted. Also try Invincible by Robert Kirkman. He also writes The Walking Dead which is just incredible on so many levels. If you like zombies even a little it's a no-brainer. ;)
This is definitely me. I hadn't read any comic books or graphic novels (aside from Maus) since I was a kid in the 1970s. Now I've got all Season 8 issues to date, Fray (LOVED Fray), Tales of the Vampires (Tales of the Slayers is way back ordered), the first Omnibus... and just this past week, when I found the first two volumes of Joss's X-Men from an eBay vendor, I noticed he also had the first volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. So those are en route to me. My first steps outside of the Whedonverse...

It's funny, by the way, that it's taken me a while to get used to the structure of comics - the jumps, the segues, etc. Plus I find I zoom through reading the dialogue without taking enough time to look at all the details of the drawings, which is why going back again and again is so much fun.

ETA: I forgot to add Those Left Behind to the list! (Almost a completist... don't have Runaways... yet...)

[ edited by Kirochka on 2007-07-20 20:01 ]
If you like zombies even a little it's a no-brainer. ;)

No braaiiiinnnsss ?

I haven't read a comic book in over a decade that has actually used sound effect bubbles in anything other than an ironic way.

Or maybe as post-modern intertextual commentary (as in Grant Morrison's recent Batman stuff where one issue has Batman fighting in a museum of comic art, large comic panels in the background - ostensibly part of the exhibition - commenting on the story and Biffs!/Zonks! etc. accompanied by internal narration like "Sounds great on paper" - hint: think about homophones of 'great').

Worth the newbies/re-introducedbies remembering that comics writers don't create in a vacuum anymore than screenwriters or novelists do, they're well aware of the potential silliness of grown men and women running around with their underwear on the outside and often use it in exactly the same way a wacky title might be used. You know, like, say, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ? ;).

I like that folk are trying other stuff once they're hooked by Buffy, the more new (and varied) blood in the comics market the better IMO. Good retailers will be pressing the message home that comics aren't a genre (superheroes), they're a medium which can tell pretty much any kind of story there is.

[ edited by Saje on 2007-07-20 19:58 ]
Some of Simon's favourite comics by Simon.

Zenith by Grant Morrison - The best weekly superhero story ever. Perhaps even the best superhero story full stop.

Nikolai Dante by Robbie Morrison - Epic Russian scifi tale set in the future. Ranges from slapstick comedy to doomed romance (on a Joss Whedon scale). A hell of an underrated British comic book strip.

Fables by Bill Willingham - I wish more people read this. It's a wonderful fairy tale.

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles - I haven't bothered much with the followups but for me it's the definitive 21st Century vampire story.

The Ultimates by Mark Millar - a breath of fresh air into the superhero genre.

WE3 by Grant Morrison - This will make you cry.

1602 by Neil Gaiman - Jaw dropping writing.

Orbiter by Warren Ellis - I love his stuff but if I had to pick one book it would be this (though Ministry of Space came a close second). Sheer bloody space optimism.

Leviathan by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli - The definitive ghost ship story. I'd love to see it as a movie but Hollywood would only go and ruin it. Those two also came up with Scarlet Traces which is a really good sequel to War of The Worlds.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman by Alan Moore- Classy stuff.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Watchmen yet.

While I've been reading comics on and off for 15 or 16 years now (and even worked in a comic shop for a while), it was a TV show tie-in that was my gateway back in the day: The Batman Adventures, based on Batman the Animated Series. One of the first books that I bought (and the one that made me a fan) was Mad Love by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Good stuff.
Yep, this article describes me, too. I hadn't picked up a comic book since the early 1960's. (The Beatles came over and my allowance all started going to records and music-related publications.) Now I have my very own subscription box and the guys at the store know my name. I'm also starting to accumulate books other than Buffy Season 8. And now I have to consider Simon's list. Sigh.
It's a great book but personally I try and avoid mentioning 'Watchmen', it comes up so often that it starts to feel like the comic world only has one truly great piece of work to offer - which is way off beam, obviously.

(started to avoid mentioning 'The Dark Knight Returns' for the same reason)


Kingdom Come
Secret Identity
Batman: Year One
Batman: The Killing Joke
Sin City (now 'The Hard Goodbye')
V for Vendetta

Best of the more recent stuff:

Whiteout: Melt
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 1)
The Escapists
Queen and Country (any)

(sticking to trades/complete stories with a deliberate bias towards "flights 'n' tights" - cos they're really not just for kids ;)

WE3 by Grant Morrison - This will make you cry.

And not just manly, single-noble-tear-trickling-down-your-stubbled-cheek type crying, we're talking small-child style sobbing the likes of which is never, ever going to be covered by "Something in my eye, yeah ?". Or so i've heard ;).

'Orbiter' was well done, reminds you of what "up there" is all about, 'Ministry of Space', not so much IMO. Interesting ideas, bit lacking in implementation, YMMV.

(and 'Leviathan' sounds very interesting, might have to look that out Simon)
I too am one one of those started-with-Buffy-now-spending-way-too-much-money-on-comics people.
The article mentions that some shop owners worry about comics in libraries, but boy have they got it wrong. You see, the library always has Vol.1 and Vol.5, but Vols.1-4 are checked out or lost, so you get hooked and then you have to go to the shop & buy the missing ones. And then you have to buy the ones you read from the library because what if you want to read it again and Vol. 1 is checked out?
Libraries not hurting business, trust me.

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