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January 08 2008

Comic Book Resources looks at how Robin Balzer's appearance in Buffy #10 came about. Has spoilers for the issue for anybody who hasn't read it yet.

Hope you didn't miss Jerrod Balzer's post to a previous review that fell off the front page. Powerful, beautiful, enlightening.
Very interesting, thanks. I read #10 yesterday, and I cried over it, because I was very moved that Joss included a woman who in real life struggles with mental health issues, and he's depicted her as a heroine of kinds, and even her condition is given a kind of greater meaning, which is part of how she's a hero. She's depicted as dignified and powerful in the comic, whereas so often in real life someone suffering from some kind of mental health issue could be labelled in a reductive way and have their self-esteem ground down by the way people see their differences.

Despite the fact that one in four people around the world will suffer from mental health problems at some point in their lives, there's still often a negative stigma to mental illness in many societies, and often a negative portrayal of the people who suffer from those experiences in the media. I was touched, and I felt hopeful reading the comic, because I feel that Joss' sympathetic portrayal, and Robin's moving story can inspire people to be more understanding of others who struggle with those issues on a daily basis. Man, even commenting about it now, I'm crying. Phew! That's powerful, beautiful writing.
Truly, this is such an inspiring story. Jerrod Balzer's letter on behalf of his wife was deeply moving. The way Joss incorporated Robin into Buffy S8 was organically, powerfully beautiful. I love the metaphor Joss built for Robin and her struggle - it may be the best portrayal of schizophrenia I've yet seen. A family member of mine suffers from this illness. Joss just captured it all. What a gift to such a deserving couple and what gift to readers of Buffy S8.
Good article - I hadn't read the comic yet, and I tried not to peek, but I couldn't help it. Call me ZeroWillpowerGal.

It's so good, even with pages and plotline missing. I'm very glad about Robin as the Minder of the Unstable Field - it's just feels so right. Doris Lessing used this kind of mental illness metaphor - or very similar - with her character Linda in The Four-Gated City and also with Charles Watkins in Briefing for a Descent into Hell.

It really works for me - my (very limited) experience working and interacting with the similarly-troubled led me to think that, in a way, approaching someone schizophrenic almost as if it were literally true was the most rewarding way to communicate with them.

Jung wrote (something to the effect of) that if his client was on the moon, then he would be on the moon with them. It's not espousing actually joining them in their delusions - it's just that empathetically going with that particular kind of metaphor frees you from the judgment, fear and distance that interferes with understanding (and that most schizophrenics can usually pick up from those around them so extra-keenly.) It also allows you to imaginatively experience just a bit of the way life feels to them.

Well, now that I've lost you all, I'll be quiet, and just say that I had really hoped (quietly and to myself) that this is what Joss would do with Robin's illness, and he did, and I'm very glad.

I must pick this issue up on the way home. And Jerrod, I dearly hope that Robin takes some fresh enjoyment out of this new article and seeing that all of us are continuing to read about her...
Nothing to add, really but, beautiful, just beautiful.
You didn't lose us all, ZeroWillpowerGal. Now, quickly, to the impulsive-mobile! Not the hair, never the hair... Good thoughts, thanks for sharing them.
Who is this QuoterGal and what are these words she speaks?

HaHa, not only did I understand completely, but you are 100% correct. Thank you for that wonderful insight.
I wish I'd entered the contest; it would just be an honor to be ranked 498th below these people.

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