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April 07 2008

Den of Geek article about licensed comics. Discussion includes Season 8 and After the Fall. No plot spoilers.

"The comics, no matter how official they might be, no matter how much good faith they're written in, only happened until something more important says they didn't."

None of these things ever really happened. -- Bart Simpson

I got the quote wrong, alas. Here's the correction, which is even better!

Comic Book Guy: Philip K Dick! It can't be! It's as if Superman moved to Gotham City!
Martin: Which he did, in World's Finest Comics #94. (Points to the comic.) See?
Comic Book Guy: That was an imaginary story, dreamt by Jimmy Olsen after he was kicked in the head by Supergirl's horse, Comet. It never really happened.
Bart: None of these things ever really happened.
Comic Book Guy: Get out of my store.

[ edited by heliograph on 2008-04-07 18:37 ]
"The comics, no matter how official they might be, no matter how much good faith they're written in, only happened until something more important says they didn't."

Like the fourth Batman movie.
This guy claims that Joss has said something that I find kinda hard for Joss to have said; that if he could do a TV Movie he would gladly contradict Season 8 or something. Is there an actual quote anywhere?

Other than that, I agree with the article.
What's wrong with the fourth Batman movie ? I really liked it and thought Christian Bale was excellent.


Fair points I think. I've gone on ad nauseum about Big Purp's recent comics comments so i'll stop beating that corpse but it's still a shame when commerce slaps art around so overtly IMO. We all know it's true, doesn't mean we have to enjoy our noses being rubbed in it.
Dark Tyler: It's a reference to what Joss said at the Paleyfest Conference, that he would "shoot down" the season 8 storyline if he had to to get a movie off the ground.

There was comment about the Paleyfest on this thread

[ edited by Furball on 2008-04-07 16:18 ]
I like how articles such as this hold Buffy up as an exception to tv/scifi/comics/whatever and simultaneously claim it isn't exceeding the usual limitations of the thing it's doing exceptionally well. Which means it's still Buffy, to my mind.
dark_tyler, as Furball mentioned, he said it at the Paley Fest reunion. Here's a blog with an account which contains this link to a recording of the event (the quote about shooting down season 8 is at about the 25 minute mark).

In fairness, it was an offhand comment and also a hypothetical given that he seemed doubtful that a Buffy movie would ever happen but to me it also sounded like he meant it.
I think Joss was probably being realistic about the situation. If a movie ever were to happen, the amount of stuff to arrange, in terms of getting all the cast and crew together at the same time, getting a good idea and a script written, financing and so forth, would be monumental. And if something had to give to make that happen, then he would let the comics canonicity slide to get that movie made if that was the only way. Not to put words into anyone else's mouth of course, but that was how I understood his comment.
I think heliograph said it best, they are all fictional stories. The truth is I just love the characters and the world that Joss has created. Being able to escape into that world and spend time with those characters, no matter what medium, is always a treat. I think many of us would agree that even if there was a movie that got rid of the "canon" of the comics, you would still pick up the comics each month to see what was happening in this world (as long as it is by Joss, or Joss approved). I guess, canon or not I'm still incredibly interested in the stories being told.

Although I've only read the first issue of AtF I feel like the argument in this article regarding that book is absurd. Would he have the same complaint if it was a big budget movie that allowed larger demons to be fought? L.A. GOT SENT TO HELL. I think there would be some different baddies because of that, which they alluded to at the end of Not Fade Away.
Trouble is TOASTERslayer, it wouldn't be what was happening in that world, it'd just be stories with similar characters and settings. Not even Joss can decree mutually exclusive, contradictory events as both being canonical in one world. For instance, Buffy is either insane as in 'Normal Again' or her world is objectively "real" - both are valid readings of the series but both can't be true in the Buffyverse.

(if we don't have direct contradictions then i'm not bothered by it in practical terms - I don't expect constant allusions to "season 8")

I think Joss was probably being realistic about the situation.

That's how I understood it too Furball. And if he meant all previous events, then i've no problem with it (depending on how big the stuff he's willing to "shoot down" it might be hard to swallow but I could understand it).

I just wish he hadn't singled out the comics because in doing so he's saying they're less important to the ongoing Buffy story than either the series or any potential movies and for that reason, i'm gonna assume he also meant the previous 7 seasons to be included in that until I hear otherwise direct from the purple horse's mouth.

(and aren't I doing a great job of not flogging the equine's remains ? ;)
TOASTERslayer, I agree. I have room in my imagination for lots of BtVS, canon or non. If something jars internally, I tend to smooth it over myself or ignore it if I can't. For me, comics and movies could exist side by side quite happily, although for some folks canon/non-canon is a major issue I'm sure.
Saje wrote:

For instance, Buffy is either insane as in 'Normal Again' or her world is objectively "real" - both are valid readings of the series but both can't be true in the Buffyverse.

Well, they could both be true. Since it is fairly well established that the Buffyverse is a multiverse, i.e. it has possible infinite dimensions such as Pylea, Glory's hell dimension, the 'Wish' dimension, the dimension of shrimp and so on, then, conceivably a dimension where Buffy is insane in an asylum could coexist with the dimension where Buffy is the Slayer.

In fact, if those alternate dimensions are indeed infinite, then it is impossible that Buffy is not insane in an asylum in at least one of them.

Yikes, I think I just channelled Willow for a moment there...
They can't both be true in one world. To be clear, by "Buffyverse" I (and I think most people) mean, the world we're shown week after week and which is presented, week after week, as the same place. Otherwise the serial character development the series is (rightly) lauded for is meaningless since we haven't been watching the same characters for 7 (plus) years.

Why do deaths in the Buffyverse upset us ? Surely because we've triumphed and suffered through events with the characters - if any number of them are assumed to be from different dimensions then we haven't because they're different people.
Regarding the article, the writer should have looked at more licensed comic books. There's Battlestar Galactica, Stargate and CSI comic books for starters. Secondly his objections to Angel seem a bit silly when Buffy season 8 has gone for the same approach.
Well, unfortunately the multiverse nature of the Buffyverse is canon (sorry to use that argument). If it were not so, then the events in 'Over the Rainbow' couldn't have happened as there is no Pylea, Lorne could not have existed for all four seasons of AtS he appeared in, Vampire Willow could never have walked the streets of Sunnydale in 'Doppelgangland' etc.

It is a leap to suggest that there is a dimension where Buffy is insane, for sure, since the episode in question didn't portray that as a dimensional thing. But that's not to say it couldn't be true, given the Buffyverse's nature as a multiverse.
Thanks for quote, I had somehow managed to miss it. I also think that, in context, Joss meant that he'd probably "shoot down" anything necessary if a movie could happen.

By the way, 'Southland Tales' was in my opinion one of the rare occasions where the comics preceding the movie are essential in plot and character development. It was the plan from the beginning, of course, but nevertheless it was a ballsy move. I mean, what's the target audience for something structured like that? 147 people? ;)
This discussion of the canon of Buffy multiverses and the multiverses of Buffy canon make my mind hurt in a new and interesting way.
I'm not saying it couldn't be true Furball, it's an interesting take on NA, what i'm saying is, the Buffy we're shown in each episode is presented as the same person, what you're suggesting would mean in some episodes (e.g. 'Normal Again' and maybe others at our whim) she wouldn't be our Buffy, she'd basically just be someone else that happens to look and act similarly.

Which makes the idea of canonical events that happen to our Buffy and the idea of serial character development pretty much nonsense. Either you have a different Buffy at whim OR you have serial character development but you can't, for instance, have 'Normal Again' Buffy be in Universe A and "our" Buffy learn something from the experience she didn't have because she was in Universe B. See what I mean ?

There's no throughline, no emotional connection to the character because they could actually be hundreds of different people. And this is my issue with the comics being less canonical than the show, i'm now effectively reading about someone else NOT the Buffy we laughed and cried and hurt and cheered with for 7 years, the comics version is, as it turns out, just a copy. Which means it's purely about enjoying the story (which I am) rather than seeing it as part of Buffy and the gang's ongoing story.
I agree with you 100%, Saje. I only brought up the point, if I am honest, to illustrate that some people's idea of canon (and what is acceptable within canon) is much, much broader than others, which is neither a good nor bad thing. And I'm sure we knew that anyway.

Actually, I brought it up solely to mention the dimension of shrimp again...

I am interested in your view of the 'Wish' episode, though, given your previous thoughts. In that alternate dimension, Buffy quite specifically wasn't our Buffy. How did you feel when she was killed by the Master? Was there an emotional connection for you in that episode? For myself, even knowing that she wasn't our real Buffy, I was still distraught to see her die.
It was affecting Furball though not anywhere near as much as e.g. 'The Gift' partly because with 'The Wish' you have a pretty decent idea (even before "Buffy" dies) that the resolution to the episode is gonna be a reset. I got a sensation of a hero dying (with the music and slow-mo, it's pretty tough not to feel something - it seemed designed to be epic, whoever we were watching) but it didn't really feel like our hero to me. It also seems true that if the creators only do it a few times then they can "hijack" the emotions we'd feel towards the "real" Buffy - the alt looks, sounds and acts (more or less) like Buffy after all.

That said, there're probably ways to make several alt-Buffys work on an emotional level ('Stargate:SG1' did it a few times, once even with an android alt-SG1 whose deaths are actually pretty emotive - not because we think they're the "real" SG1 but because we and more importantly they know they're not). You'd just have to tie them into one "real" timeline i.e. one that really mattered (which you'd pick arbitrarily because in an actual quantum multiverse no universe is privileged over any other - or rather, only the one you're in is ;).

(Larry Niven wrote a pretty decent short story called "All the Myriad Ways" which looks at the idea of how people would react if we really knew there were multiple branching versions of ourselves scattered throughout the multiverse - in the story the suicide rate sky rockets. Cheery thought ;)

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