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September 15 2007

(SPOILER) IDW releases info and cover art for 'Angel: After The Fall' #2. This issue will be out in December.

Spike!

Urru's cover is all right, but the variant is fantastic.
"Spike!"

Pretty much my first reaction to the cover too. :)

Great to see Spike back. Until these canon comics began I'd been missing the Buffyverse in general but I have to admit that it's the character of Spike I miss the most. The guy is a legend. I'm really looking forward to seeing the story behind that cover.
Yeah, I agree. The second is superb. The first version is still very nice though.

And yeah, mores to the point, Spike!!!
Yay, more Spike!

Great covers, though I prefer the angsty one over the red jammies.

But more Spike, what's not there to love!
So who's this "Spike" guy? :P
I may be wrong but I think he's Brian Lynch's agent......:0
I was not crazy about either of the covers for issue one, but the second cover of this one is really nice. Damn, I hope a lot of people can't resist the bunny mansion daydream possibilities so there will be one of the other ones for me. ;-)
While I didn't particularly like Tony Harris' cover to the first issue I reaaly love his cover for this one.
I've always loved Tony Harris' work, ever since the first issue of Starman way back when. Sadly I DIDN'T care for his cover to ATF #1. This one though brings him right back to form. Fantastic picture! Another frame-worthy piece of art... hopefully he'll stay in the pocket like this and we will get a beautiful volley back and forth between his Angel covers and Jo Chen's Buffy covers.
What's with all the skanky demons? I like 'em both. But I'd take Spike drawn with a periwinkle Crayola.
The Spike surrounded by demon babes is fun, but the other one is amazing. I do prefer it to Harris's first one. But the Franco cover #1 is still my fave:)


And I love how the solicitation gives nothing away. Thank God cos I really wanna avoid spoilers, but Im so anxious for more news that I cant help reading them lol:)
I love the contrast: Arrogant v. Tormented.
"I love the contrast: Arrogant v. Tormented. "

Thats a good point. I suppose the first cover is Contemplative vs Kickass :)
Both are great covers that make me want to know what the storyline will be. Classic black-leather clad Spike or Spike in jammies? Tough call,folks...nope I can't make it. Will have to buy both!
OMG!! I want them both!!!! NOW!!! Brian was right, above my bed, poster sized. Can. Not. Wait. Both covers are so beautiful, of course, look at the subject. Speaking of waiting, when does the next Shadow Puppets come out? I have been putting off going to the comic shop until it comes out. Seems like it should be soon.
The next Shadow Puppets is supposed to come out September 26.
Love these covers. Can't wait to get them.
Urru's art has been amazing all through the Spike series of comics. Asylum, and Shadow Puppets have been beautiful to look at as well as great to read, but I like the Tony Harris one here as well.
Spiiiike!

Awesome covers. Urru works miracles with season 6.
When I saw the first cover, it sorta reminded me of the original Star Trek series. I expected to see Kirk in the midst of it, not Spike.
Those covers are beautiful! So impressed with both of them. I really can't decide which I like better but I'm going to have to have them both.
Well, these are...














SO unfairly cool! Urru's art gets better and better, and the Tony Harris one is a sight to behold!
Great covers. Great subject matter.

So good to see Spike, in all forms.
Those pajamas that Spike is wearing - I wonder where you could some like that?
Glad you like'em!
I liked the first 'Angel' covers, but I am really loving these for issue two! I can't wait!!

Koven: you mean you haven't read 'Spike: Asylum' and aren't currently reading 'Spike: Shadow Puppets'? Because they are awesome, seriously.
Man, those covers are great altough slightly confusing.
And i'm getting a bad feeling that Spike might have been dusted..again, which i hope isn't true because the guy already died 2 times already. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that if Angel was able to survive, then so would Spike.
Awesome. I like the second one best. Spike and his demons. Intriguing.
SQUEEE! Niiiiiice.

Hmm, I had a theory after S5 of Angel that our heroes all wind up in hell after the big battle, and have to band together to escape back to Earth. I might not have been too far off, judging by this art.
Now... where's that issue #1 preview? ;)
I must be missing something about the alternative cover because to me it just looks trashy, sexist and immature.
I don't like the Urru cover, either, for the same reasons. So I'll settle for the other one in December.
Beautiful Spike covers, but the Harris cover is just superb!
"...trashy, sexist and immature."

Much like Spike. ;)
How is it sexist? Spike is hanging out with a bunch of ladies in the pic. He is showing some skin, too, you'll notice.

Actually, those demons on the first cover are showing MORE skin, which I think is demonist.

Immature? Not really. He's like, really old. He's OVERLY mature, is the problem.

Trashy? Hello, that is VERY expensive garments they're wearing.

Can't please them all.
I really like the "all the demons of hell are sent to to torment me" cover and shall leave the Spike Hefner cover for others that like it.

Just really wanna read them at this point - they sound smashing, and me hates waiting...
Why is the lyrics of "Inch Worm" beaming through my skull? Nevermind, just me.
Brian, I appreciate that most of your comments are fairly jokey, but you seem to be so keen to rush to the defence of Spike that you've missed what I was saying.

A picture isn't sexist because there are ladies in it? Or because the male in the picture is also showing some skin? I think you need to rethink that one.

I don't know if you misinterpreted my comment by accident or on purpose, but clearly I was calling the picture, not Spike, immature.

That cover doesn't please me because it's everything I don't want to see on an Angel comic. Women are too often depicted in a demeaning and overly sexualised way in comic books and it reinforces the commonly held viewpoint that comics are just for 14 year old boys (nothing against 14 year old boys - I was one once (for a whole year actually)).

Other people are entitled to their opinions and anyone can post on this site as long as they don't go over the line and the admins step in.
Well I was kidding about Spike being overly mature.

But Spike and the ladies are hanging out, and it's hot, so they're not wearing a lot of clothes. That's what I do when it's hot, I dress down. Look, some of them even have a refreshing glass of grape juice. Some have Ecto-Cooler.

I'm sorry you don't like the cover. Spike seems to, though.

[ edited by Brian Lynch on 2007-09-16 17:51 ]
Man, do I ever miss Ecto-Cooler. I often wish they'd make another Ghostbusters movie JUST so I could have some again...
Agreed, Daburcor. In fact, AFTER THE FALL's storyline consists of Angel getting a fellowship together to hunt down the last remaining crates of Ecto-Cooler in a Minnesota Costco. SPOILERS: They don't find it. It's a dark ending.
I love both covers - one cracks me up and the other scares me. Hmmm, funny + scary = a Whedon show/comic.

I'm thinking that Spike has gone "under cover" and, being Spike, is making the best of it - or making a show by playing up people's (or demons') expectations of him. Of course this is simply wild speculation since, other than the covers, we have no idea what's going on and won't until November. I'm loving what I've seen so far and expect to be at my comic store when it opens the morning the first issue comes out.
I don't personally find the cover offensive. I can see that the raunchiness is over the top on purpose, presumably because it is an important part of the story. I don't think the artist would draw some random "hey wouldn't it be cool if..." thing for the second cover of the series just because he wanted to draw some boobs.

The sharp difference in the two covers makes me pretty curious about where the story is going, though. Is Spike in heaven? Hell? Persia? I can't wait to read it.
I think both covers are GREAT!!! I am leaning towards the second one with the flames and demons and all...and is that a black panther Spike is caressing as well???
Anyway...it's SPIKE!!! What's not to love??????

Great job Brian,and all the fabulous artists.
By the way...is the subscription up for preorder yet!!!!!
I like both covers but my favorite is the Tony Harris one.I hope it's okay to mention here but Brian has a small spoiler blurb about the Franco Urru cover at his my space page.

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=335358&blogID=310468878
These days in the comic book fandom as a whole, there does seem to be a growing backlash against comic books covers that could be seen as sexist. However focussing on our own little goldfish bowl, I do wonder about the Angel fans who have never bought a comic book before. There's a lot of older fans who've drifted away from the fandom and I do miss them about the place.
I love both these covers, they are very pleasing to the eye. Brian also gave a small spoiler about one of those ladies in the pic with Spike. She will be very important to Spike's story. Very interesting. Oops, just noticed that Buffyfanatic beat me to the punch line.

In any event, both these covers are amazing. Can't wait to see what the artists do with the other characters. Wes will have one, I hope.
I'm an "older fan" who is really learning to appreciate comics, and I found the "Spike Hefner" cover kind of off-putting, although I don't think depicting women in sexy clothing is sexist (I mean, I love the Jo Chen covers, and nobody could say they're not sexy), and these women are perhaps proportioned rather imaginatively because they're supposed to be demons or something, and the cover makes an interesting juxtaposition with the other cover (pictures of the same thing?), but, still, it's not what I would expect from this 'verse. I wouldn't buy the first one, partly because of the whole "14-year-old boy" aura that cypher mentions, but I like & will buy the other cover.
Could we put spoiler stuff, however small, in inviso-text please. I love BL's work and am looking forward to ATF and want to stay spoiler-free. Many thanks.

I'm liking both covers. Hey, it's Spike what's not to like. In fact the two totally different covers do play on the rich mix of levels there are that make up Spike. Just when you think you've got him pegged he suprises you again.
I'm thinking this sexy cover is Spike dreaming. Looks like something he (or most men) would dream about cuz most women would say 'In your dreams' and so that is what they would have to do, right? I love both covers for different reasons, but the main reason is it's Spike!!
A picture isn't sexist because there are ladies in it? Or because the male in the picture is also showing some skin? I think you need to rethink that one.

Brian seemed to be pointing out that the cover treats the male on it the same way as it treats the females on it, and that is the definition of not being sexist.

Sexualized, sure. But sexist? As long as the cover has relevance to the actual story, I have no problem with it.
AFTER THE FALL's storyline consists of Angel getting a fellowship together to hunt down the last remaining crates of Ecto-Cooler in a Minnesota Costco. SPOILERS: They don't find it. It's a dark ending.

Oh, HELL yeah! I knew you wouldn't let us down.
I'm an "older fan" who is really learning to appreciate comics, and I found the "Spike Hefner" cover kind of off-putting


Yes I know what you mean. And it's still quite prevalent in the comic book industry. It kinda weakens my argument that comic books are a valid form of literature when the counter argument from a non comic book is "then why the need to show a semi-naked woman on the cover?".
I agree that it looks like the Playboy Mansion in a hell dimension, which does nothing to appeal to me as a (mature) woman. I'm sure that Spike would love to be in that situation - and maybe is or has been - but as a cover of a comic book series which is aimed at the fans of a Joss Whedon series, it seems a tad salacious. Not that we didn't see - and enjoy (speaking for myself!)- a fair amount of Spike's naked body in BtVS S6. It's just that that was not the focus of the story, and since Joss is overseeing these comics and handpicked Brian Lynch to write them, I'm sure that's not the focus of this story, either. (I have to say I have definitely enjoyed Brian's writing on the Spike comics to-date.)
I'm not worried about the covers. It's what's inside that counts and I trust Brian to deliver the goods as he has thus far.
If you want to know the genesis of the cover, and this is a WHEDONESQUE EXCLUSIVE (sound the alarms), we talked about cover would be best for issue 2, and figured everyone expects the cover to be down and out, especially with the "pensive Angel" Harris cover and "Angel walking through the ruins" Urru cover from the first issue. Then people would expect more of the same and see the "Spike is a hit with the ladies" cover and go "huhhhh?".

Sorry some of you didn't go "huhhhh" so much as "whaaa? well, I NEVER!" but trust me when I say you should look at Harris' cover and Urru's cover together as kind of a "two sides of the same coin" kinda deal.

And Angel is still the star of ANGEL, don't worry. The covers just kinda spotlight who else is in the book. I do believe Angel returns to full cover duty for issue 3, along with...

...well that would be a spoiler. But it's awesome.
Niels(Telltale): "Brian seemed to be pointing out that the cover treats the male on it the same way as it treats the females on it, and that is the definition of not being sexist."


Well, he does seem to be saying that, but it doesn't make it quite... true.

If one doesn't recognize that the one male surrounded by females, with two of 'em at his feet, for cryin' out loud, is being depicted rather differently than the females, than I dunno what more to say. I will be interested, however, in seeing how this relates to the story. And just 'cause it's got Spike in it doesn't mean "it's all good" in my book, or that it's only what's inside that matters, much as I like the character and the show. It all matters, to me.

My first, second and third reaction to the cover was not unlike that of cypher, and, like samatwitch and jcs, I am not accustomed to seeing a whedon'verse-project showing females - human, demon or vampire or whatever - like this, though I am very aware that many comics have had covers that look very much like this for decades.

However, the demon brothel in the TV Angel series had women portrayed similarly in a way that made some kindof sense - and I can't assume that women being shown in this kind of situation doesn't have greater meaning that will be revealed in the content. To show a sexist situation doesn't necessarily say much about how it's being used, until we have the context - this cover might even be raising such expectations only to subvert them inside.

I'll be looking to see if that's the case when it comes out... but I still probably won't be buying this cover.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-09-17 01:46 ]
Luckily, there's a sweet OTHER cover for you to buy instead.

Though, I'd like to point out, nothing is usually as it seems in the whedonverse, no? Noooooooo...
Which, you'll note, is what I suggested...

However, I think what was a little shaky were attempts to try to explain this cover by itself as somehow not sexist, because all were showing some skin and "hanging out" together...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-09-17 02:10 ]
I absolutely agree that a sexualised image featuring both men and women which treats them the same is not sexist. Depicting women in sexy clothing isn't sexist either. Where I disagree is that I don't think that cover treats Spike in the same way as the women at all - Spike Hefner pretty much sums it up. His shirt being open is not a free pass to portray women in that way and then claim equality.

Being OTT on purpose doesn't sound like a good excuse to me. Post-modernism and irony have been convenient excuses in recent years for discrimination in various forms of entertainment.

The context of that image in relation to the story is important, but with this being a cover it is also taken entirely out of context. It will be seen by many people who will never read the comic and by us before we read it.

I'm glad that we've got a debate going on this. These types of issues have been discussed in relation to non-'verse related films and products and I think it's only right that we've done the same now.

Simon, you're telling us that you have a non comic book that argues with you - how irritating ;). I suggest you leave it near a fireplace. Or start talking to it about Pulp Fiction (Pulp Fiction, pulp fiction, do-you-get-it, do-you-get-it, I'm here all week, try the veal).

Jo Chen's covers are definitely sexy, no argument there.

Brian, thanks for your last two posts - I look forward to the issue three covers (and just saying that they're great and nothing more).

I was wondering how long it would take QG to give it both barrels (very well put as always).

Perhaps I'm taking this all too seriously (not the bit about Simon's book). I'm pretty liberal about this sort of thing in general - in a right time, right place way. If this was the cover of another comic, I would simply shrug my shoulders - it's just a drop in the ocean. My problem is that this is our drop in the ocean.
I dare say that those demon ladies wouldn't be there if they didn't want to be. ;)
Maybe there's something to be said about comic books enforcing stereotypes or whatever, who knows. But you can spend a lifetime trying to make comic books less sexual and it wouldn't mean squat to one real woman who actually is in a situation where she needs help.

All I'm saying is, choose your battles. Instead of speaking out for pretend demon babes, donate $20 to Equality Now or a local woman's shelter. It'll do more good, and you'll feel a lot better afterwards.

[ edited by dingoes8 on 2007-09-17 07:13 ]
Sorry, but that argument isn't particularly pertinent or effective - aside from it being condescending, it assumes one can know what battles the other has chosen - which isn't possible in this case, as this is a whedonesque-blog, and front-page topics are limited to whedon-related projects.

Doing one or some or most or all of of the activities you mention doesn't cancel out my impetus or desire to do any other. Quite honestly, I'd rate my record of helping women in all kinds of need pretty high, from the very personal and one-to-one volunteering and helping, up to and including money, goods and letters sent worldwide.

This kind of argument can only have any kind of limited validity in cases where you have some particular knowledge of the speaker's "battle-choosing" but sadly, dingoes, you don't - at least, in my case, you really don't.

Additionally, I'd venture to say that neither you or I can possibly determine the longterm "real" effects of altering the way women (and you know, or you must, of course, that this isn't remotely about "pretend demon babes," right?) are portrayed in all kinds of media, but I am willing to bet that in this consumerist society, the more folks say they won't buy stuff and why, and then don't, the less it'll be made.

This is not at all to say that I think any of this necessarily applies to this cover in this case - I'll wait to see if this stereotypical depiction is subverted by the story. But the "this battle doesn't matter, pick a real issue" kind of comment is not something I can happily ignore, and was kicked off, if not about, this cover.

It all matters to me, and "it's not a valid issue" or "important enough" or "real life issue" is something I've been hearing about various feminist issues my whole life. It just doesn't cut it.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-09-17 07:57 ]
Strangely enough, I've never seen Spike as a Hefner type. Every time we've seen him, he is a one woman type of guy. Not to say he wouldn't enjoy himself if presented with just such an opportunity!
As another mature woman, the cover in question is offputting - to the extent that if it was the only one around, I wouldn't buy it, and borrow a friend's copy to read. But then I suffered through far too many lurid SF book covers when young, to ever like something like this.
Coming in a little late to this so chances are nobody will see (or frankly care about) my opinion here but I see this debate as being a little pointless for the simple reason that we have no idea of the motivations or desires of any of the characters involved. To me, the scene depicted in itself is not offensive or demeaning to any of the girls shown. I'm not going to argue that equality for women has been a long and hard struggle and that there is still a long way to go before things will ever be truly "equal", if that ever happens at all, but I also believe that there is often a fine line between sexism and just sex.

What I mean is, let's say that this cover was actually a photograph of a guy and four women in exactly the same clothing and positions (obviously with less green skin and horns). Now let's assume that the four girls were where they were because they wanted to be. Simple as that. No sexism involved, no exploitation of the girls by the guy in the centre. Just a group of people who were all enjoying themselves and were equally in control of what was going on and all wanted to be exactly where you saw them. What is the problem with that scenario?

Again, this isn't making light of what QuoterGal has been saying because in many ways I can see her point but on the opposite side of the argument it has to be acknowledged that there are people, both male and female, who very much enjoy acts of group sex and also people, again male and female, that enjoy being submissive in such a situation. Automatically going to the assumption that this image is sexist takes away the possibility that this is just about sex, full stop. I think that it's important that the intent and free will of all involved parties be taken into consideration when discussing any issue of sexism, because like it or not there will always be people that simply like to be dominated. If that happens to be a girl enjoying the domination of a guy in a sex act then surely that is her right? Equality is one thing but expecting anyone to give up their sexual pleasures because the way they are acting could be seen as portraying their own gender as sexual objects seems to be stepping on personal freedoms.
Amen, sir (or madame?). Context and free will are major factors in discussions like this. I certainly wouldn't even TRY to debate that there are issues of inequality between the sexes. But I think oft' times the shouts of protest verge on the kneejerk and reactionary.

Being a fan of the medium of comics for over thirty years now I cringe whenever people discuss the state of sexist artistic representations of women in comics... as if all comics are the same. There's a tendency to forget that comics are, as I said, a MEDIUM, not a genre or category. All kinds of stories can be told in the medium of comics, both good, equality friendly stories, and "bad", sexist and prurient stories. The cliche of comics being about musclebound man-childs and big breasted damsels is, frankly, dated.

More later, I have a flock of flamingo chicks trying to escape their enclosure.
It's a cover designed to sell as many copies as possible. It's saying "let's put some sexy birds on the front so we'll get the young male comic book demographic buying it". It's not a question of free will or the motivation of the characters depicted, it's a a deliberate attempt to use semi-nude women dressed in typical male fantasy costumes to sell a Joss product. And it's incredibly tacky. I'd like to think there was better ways of promoting a Joss Whedon comic book than this.
Well first of all, I'm not sure that that particular "young male demographic" is the one this comic is really marketed for. And even if it were, I think we all know that the content of the book itself will likely not appeal to those fans of T&A artwork that we all apparently feel comfortable looking down on.

I'm curious if this cover is any more tacky than the various examples of scantily clad women that have popped up in the series before? Is this cover more juvenile and offensive than "She?" Or hell, why just scantily clad women? Why not scantily clad men? I mean this is all about equality, yes? What about the dozens of eps that featured naked Spike? Or shirtless Angel?

I just don't feel (personally) that this is really a federal case of sexism. But I'm a fairly liberal, live-and-let-live kind of guy (operative word being "GUY") so it's entirely possible I don't have a f%*#ing clue what I'm talking about.)

[ edited by Haunt on 2007-09-21 17:13 ]

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