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September 25 2008

(SPOILER) Buffy #19 delayed until November 12th. It seems as though Dark Horse has officially pushed back the release date of Buffy #19 from October 1st, to November 12th. As a result, #20 and #21 will both be released in December.

I think I will choose to see this as a string of 18 on time issues. :)
Set the Whedon XXXXX Meter to XXXX!
I guess Joss was busy writing the Dollhouse scripts? Or possibly, it wasn't Joss' "fault" at all. It's also oddly fitting that this should happen to a comic featuring Fray ;). Anyway, this'll mean that december will be a good month, comic wise :).

And have I mentioned how much I adore that cover? It's beautifull and scary at the same time.
I have a feeling this issue is worth the wait.
Well, they say issues 20 and 21 will be released in December. But they also said this was going to be released in October...
I demand a Buffy movie be made in reparation.
TamaraC, I like your way of seeing it! I think it is great that they've been getting these issues out on time, especially with some fairly high profile writers.

Plus, think of how overwhelming the next few months will be - two issues of Buffy in December, the Dr. Horrible should be out in December as well, and then Dollhouse in January!
We had a good streak going I suppose. Seriously though... from October 1st until NOVEMBER 12th?!? I can understand if it's a few weeks late, but why is it pushed back so far? I hope with this delay it'll give Joss enough time to start writing the final arc.
Since we're getting two issues in Dec, this doesn't change the timeline. So it probably doesn't free up writer or artist time for future issues so much as allow this and the closer-to-done issues to get coordinated and finished on time. I think Scott Allie hinted that this might happen awhile ago, with certain issues being out of synch with where they'd usually be by a certain point. I got a strong sense of upcoming workflow issues from something he said in an interview or letter.

ET fix bad typo

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-09-26 02:18 ]
Heh, that was an efficient use of words there, cordelia_chaser ;)
Issue 20 is set for a December 3 release.Issue 21 is set for December 17.
Joss: "I will leave you as you left her, as you left me, waiting for all eternity at the end of a four-part arc, buried alive... buried alive... buried alive..."

Joss Fans: "Jossssss!!!!! (echo) Josssss!!!! (echo) Jossssss!!!"

Joss: "Ahhh. Now that was refreshing. And evil."

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-09-26 02:53 ]
Is it cos of Moline, like with Fray?
Well, Scott Allie did kind of hint that #19 would be late in his editorial section at the back of #18.

- "Next month, Joss wraps up the Buffy/Fray crossover. If we're a little late, forgive us. Remember how long it took to get Fray out in the first place?"
I doubt it, Liam Mars. Joss has a lot on his plate right now, and is undoubtedly late with the scripts. Scott Allie's post a few months ago alluded to that, as did the statement issued a while ago that this issue might be late. I don't blame Joss, and to be honest--as much as I'm going to miss reading a new Buffy in October--I'm kind of glad. Compared to the stellar #16, the last two issues have been lacking script-wise. I hope this gives Joss the time to finish this up as nicely as he started it.
Maybe they had to suspend publication so that Joss could fly to Washington and solve the impending financial crisis.

(Somehow I think I'd feel a whole lot better if that were the case!)
Hmm, I think the last two issues, especially #18, have been boffo script-wise so . . . the only down for me is waiting longer for the enjoyment. Issue #21 on December 17 - yay, just in time for the Z's birthday. :-)
As a comic fan, going this long without a major delay was quite the accomplishment to begin with...
I can wait a month. It'll hurt, but the waiting is the most fun part anyway, right?
... right?
I suppose I can read my homework instead.
Good point, hiddenicon. I guess we've gotten spoiled by Dark Horse's reliability up to this point. In the long run, I'd rather wait for quality than rush the story. It's just incredibly sad and frustrating (as tragic as a comic issue situation is allowed to be...apocalyptic?) that this delay happened on a cliffhanger preceding the final issue of a pivotal arc. So either we're seeing Joss' exacting standards and busy schedule at work or he's really milking the dramatic payout in the hopes of winning the Evil League of Evil contest.

* Songs are not required -- singing is a bonus.

More songs - yes, please.

* You must be evil (it's a plus to have a name).

I wouldn't call him evil per se, but he definitely knows how to bring on the pain...what is Joss' middle name again?

* October 11 is the last day to submit.

Ah ha! The real reason for the delay!
I would have thought the issue would have been finished months ago. And lets be honest, I know he has a lot to do but most comic scripts are very short at least compared to a tv episode script.
I am wondering about the reason the delay, but I'd much prefer to wait than get a rushed product. This doesn't bother me.
I'd like to know why it's delayed at least. Just like I'd of liked to know why they couldn't tell me the tarot cards were canned. They say we'll get issues 20 and 21 in Dec. but I'm not really optimistic about that. My interest in the comics has been kind of low since issue 12 anyway, so I can wait.
Does this mean that the last issue with the date of October 4 became more valuable? Like that newspaper with "Dewie beats Truman"? I know I'm probably wrong on the names, but you know what I'm talking about.
It will make me appreciate #19 all the more.
Well, Dec. 1st is my birthday, so I can look forward to that, a couple of Buffy comics, hopefully the Dr. Horrible DVD release, and Christmas with my family, so I guess I can live with that :) I'll have Angel and Spike to get me through October!

/I understand Joss is really busy is busy right now with "Dollhouse", so it's spiffy.
whine <--(i mean I am)

[ edited by nutterbudgie on 2008-09-26 05:44 ]
While season six' dark willow was one of my more disturbing TV experiences on many levels and I would have been happy to see a more convincing rehab of willow, not wishing to see her drak powers again too soon, this cover gives me the goose pimples.

Three issues in december? This is like christmas! ^^
It wouldn't be Fray if it was on time.
Does this mean that the last issue with the date of October 4 became more valuable?

Doubtful, this happens quite regularly in the comic book industry.
Heh, yep, even my meagre collection would be worth a lot more were that the case ;).

Joss his own self said he was having trouble keeping up so this isn't too shocking and they have had a good run by Joss' standards (that's not meant to be insulting BTW, it's just a matter of fact that, for whatever reason, all of his comics have had delays).

I would have thought the issue would have been finished months ago.

The script may have been but if Joss was late with that then it'll have a knock on effect throughout the process (i.e. the art takes as long as it takes, it's hard to speed it up). Re: time taken to write a comic script, don't forget in TV a lot of the work is done as a group, then the actual script is written by an individual - in comics it's all done by one writer. And comics may be even more technically demanding than TV scripts, every comics writer is basically a writer/director. And in Joss' case, also an executive producer talking to other writers about their scripts and relating them to the "season" arc. Quite a lot of work, even aside from his prep for 'Dollhouse' (and maybe 'Cabin in the Woods').
Ha you think this is bad! Comic book saps! Astonishing X-Men started in 2004 and finished earlier this year. 25 comic books in 4 years, that's averaging 1 comic every 2 months. (Even without Whedon, we're only 2 books into the next run and it's already delayed). We're doing alright so far.
In fairness AXM was actually scheduled to be bi-monthly for a lot of Joss' run (about half IIRC).
That is true, and yet, still even one every other month is still managed lateness. Yet it was amazing. So on balance, looking back, I am satisfied. Not that I'll let him by with the same tardiness for Buffy.
Not that I'll let him by with the same tardiness for Buffy.

You'll stop buying the comics? Send angry worded letters? Or just... wait, and buy the comic when it comes out regardless? ;)
I don't know. I spent nearly 20 years as an editor for a group of scientific journals. Deadlines are deadlines, you know? You have to meet them. I have always found the comic industry completely lax in this regard, and in no way can it be the best way to build interest and an audience. Imagine a television program that every few episodes delays those episodes for a few weeks. This would not help ratings. Imagine that this was some other comic, not by Joss)- would we be as forgiving? A 6-week delay is a big delay. It is not a good way to run a business. Once you announce a date, that should be the end of it; otherwise, don't announce dates.
Imagine a television program that every few episodes delays those episodes for a few weeks.

Isn't that what usually happens? A block of episodes is shown and then it's reruns for a bit and then back to the next new batch of episodes.

And regarding the comic book delays, things will change when fans boycott the delayed titles en masse but I won't hold my breath on that one.
The announced date would be (approximately) implied anyway Dana5140 (since it's a monthly comic ;).

Simon's right I think, this is unfortunately one of those things where because we (comic buyers) are used to it, we just put up with it. You'll even see a lot of comics readers respond with "Well, that's just the way it is" or "Don't be such a whiny fanboi" when anyone "dares" to complain.

(software is another area where we accept it because it's the norm - so we expect bug fixes for software to be released soon after or even at the same time as the product itself ships. Imagine if you bought a car with the implied idea that something is already wrong with it and the manufacturer might fix it in the next week, or month, or year if they get round to it. I doubt many people would be very happy with that, and yet with software - especially games - it's the norm)

ETFix a tag

[ edited by Saje on 2008-09-26 13:16 ]
(software is another area where we accept it because it's the norm

Indeed, I'm now like that for my Xbox 360 games. Should I buy the title on release or wait till the patch comes out?
Yep, it has become the norm, I think, in the comic book industry. Dana5140 is right though, as a freelance journalist I work with deadlines all the time and I've never missed one (in fact, one of the ways I use to procure more assignments is to always try and finish a few days early. Editors very much like to hire writers they know will finish on time). Even as the editor of a university magazine, using only non-payed writers and a voluntary editorial staff, I always made sure we finished on time. I was there for two years and we made every deadline, something I'm still quite proud of.

But then again, the comic book industry is simply different. It's structured differently, people have different expectations. I'm sure Scott Allie knew that by doing a comic with Joss, there was a chance of delays as television or movie obligations usurped his time. If he didn't expect that, he hadn't been paying attention to the Fray and AXM release schedules ;).

We know Joss likes to stretch himself thin - sometimes I wonder how he gets all these things done at all :). But if you're mister Allie at Dark Horse, having to make a decision to take on a best-selling writer with a chance of possible delays? Well, it's pretty much a no-brainer. Regular books get delayed all the time as well, as are (some) movies etcetera.

So, what's the difference? I don't know, but maybe it's the amount of creativity involved that determines how acceptable it is to have delays? Certainly some creativity goes into the magazine articles or reviews I write, but it's usually maybe 90% workmanship and 10% creativity, so it's not acceptable to miss a deadline. I'm pretty sure for fiction, that percentile distinction is different and maybe therefore it's become more acceptable? You can't "time" art, but if I don't write my article, then there's certainly quite a few other journalists out there just as good at what they do as I, who can fill up my space in the magazine next time, but you can't just hire a stand-in Joss Whedon, Chris Claremont or Frank Millar.

Then again, it may not be that at all, and maybe it's just a matter of different conventions for different media.
I don't know. I spent nearly 20 years as an editor for a group of scientific journals. Deadlines are deadlines, you know? You have to meet them.

Journals don't rely on the same authors each month. You've got a queue of papers in prep, in various stages of review and editorial input. It'd be different if you had a contract with the same two scientists to write the journal every month. I'm not defending what the comic industry is screwing up within its own process, but this comparison simply doesn't hold. The workflow has some similarities, since all edited publications do, but the sticky points in the process that can really mess things up just aren't operating the same way in comic books as they do in journals.
Atleast we still get After The Fall on time, right?

Uh, I was thinking more like just complain on Whedonesque threads. Nah, in honesty, a delay is a delay, they happen, and even though they shouldn't, I should try and be patient. Which in fairness, for a comic book isn't the hardest challenge ever.
I have noticed in the past that Dark Horse is not 100% reliable when it comes to the release dates on their site. So I wouldn't say with all my heart that the November 12th date is set in stone.
Well, silicon at least - it's stone-esque ;).
This is unacceptable. And I won't let them get away with it. In fact, I'm refusing to buy any new copies of the Buffy comic for the whole month of October. And I'd encourage everyone to join me.

That'll show 'em.

Oh, back issues are okay. Or those "collected graphic novel" things. But we're making a stand here, people!
Announcing deadlines in the comic-book world would appear to be more PR than anything else. (Well, presumably it also serves to light a fire under the creators' toes). That part of the complaint I can agree with. But considering that George R. Martin took over five years to write the sequel to "A Storm of Swords" . . . and that sequel didn't complete the story (and other novels take even longer. And has Axl Rose released "Chinese Democracy" yet? . . . ). I dunno, missed "deadlines" just don't matter that much to me if, and this is the key question of course, the end result is quality. If it isn't, it doesn't matter how on-time it is.
Yeah, suck as it might, delays have merely become part and parcel of being a comic book reader. I mean, if we were talking delays on an epic Fray-like scale, I might be frustrated, but I can wait a month.

And as others have said, it's pretty much a miracle that we got 18 straight issues. (I remember that #5 was supposed to be delayed, but then at the last minute somehow wasn't.)

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-09-26 18:25 ]
If I can summarize comments, it seems that people are not happy with the comics industry for their continued failure to meet published release dates, but accept that because they have no choice but to accept that. And because it is Joss, well, we accept it anyway. I understand all this. I still feel that this issue is not one that can be so easily explained or excused away. I do take deadlines seriously, and I have done so both as an editor and as an author. And I can tell you that I would dearly love someone like GVH when I was an editor- someone who got things in early, rather than on time- what a pleasure that was! Again, if we would not accept this as the norm, we'd probably get some action from the publishers; that we do gives them no reason to amend anything. I cannot honestly believe Scott Allie is happy with this delay, though, not that we will ever know.
I assumed the delay was due to the length of the comic. Issue 18 was 22 pages of story, with 10 pages of advertisements, so if that ratio holds we're looking at 5 or 6 more pages of story in 19, right? Unless (ye gods!) they're not counting the ads, and we're getting 40 pages of story....

I sort of doubt that. But my deal is? A year and a half after the start of season 8, I still pick up every issue with a little thrill of gratitude for it's existence. Somewhere in the back of my brain I know that sooner or later (hopefully after season 15 or so) Buffy will finally come to an end for good. And any delay in the production of the comics is also delaying the day I'll have to say goodbye to her forever. So I'm unruffled. And sooooo grateful to everyone involved for finding time to continue this story at all.
Which means that you are another person willing to accept the delay, birdandbear, and what is more bothersome to me, be grateful for it. I'm just not; it is not a way to treat your fans well, no matter how much we try to excuse it away by saying that the product ends up being good.
I appreciate the issues being on time when they are, but there are so many other things to read and be entertained by that, in the grand scheme of my life, a comic book delay really doesn't bother me. It's just...not that big a deal. It's not my livelihood at stake, they can be late at their own risk. I find other stuff to distract me in the meantime.

Sure, you might lose some readers/the attention of the general comic book-reading public and media, but again...doesn't really effect me. I hope for the best for this title and others I enjoy, but at the end of the day it's out of my hands. Also, creative types are unpredictable in their page rate output, complicated by often being involved in more than one title. I love when a creator concentrates on just one project at a time (unless you're Brian Michael Bendis and can write three or four a month and almost always get them out on time), but I don't know if that pays the bills, usually.

The only thing that sorta bugs me about delays of monthly comics is not being able to remember important details of previous issues or sometimes really losing the momentum and excitement over the arc (this happened with Joss' Runaways). Of course, you have the option of going back and re-reading or skimming the previous issues when the late issue finally does come out, but that can be a bit of an annoyance sometimes. If that sorta thing frustrates you to enough of a degree though, you have the option of simply not buying any more material from those who are consistently late (and probably missing out on stuff you would've enjoyed in the process).

Yeah, I accept the comic book industry's frequent lateness (to be fair, there're a lotta creators who're consistently on time). It doesn't bother me. If it bothers anyone, then they should be giving up monthly titles and going for the trade paperback collections instead, as I have for at least a dozen of my favorite-but-slow creators. TPBs can't be beat. That'll send a stronger message than boycotting/just not buying the monthly title anymore (that would just show the industry we don't care about comics anymore, which would have a very negative outcome), it would show the companies that we want less frequent but on-time and fuller stories each hit.

Scott Allie warned in the previous issue that #19 might be late and, if you've been reading Joss-scripted comics for years now, you would have to have expected this to happen sooner or later.
Ok, could someone else remember that we've already had a one-month delay before this all gets a bit too 1984-ish? And if not, I want the extra issue you all got ;). Between July and August 2007 we only got one issue. (yes, I did look it up to make sure I wasn't being crazy, but I bought and read Fray in that gap so I definitely remember it happening).

Not having been a comic book reader before, I'm a bit grumpy about this current delay, but I understand that Joss has had a lot on his plate.
Wasn't the previous delay scheduled too though ? Seem to remember an intentional month missed in order to catch up.

At the end of the day, if you're not happy with the delay then don't buy the book, it's that simple. Sadly (in some ways) I doubt enough people are gonna do that to make Dark Horse sit up and take notice but you never know (personally i'm not willing to just totally miss an issue of Buffy over a month here or there - that said, I will never, for as long as I live, buy another comic written by Damon Lindelof since the 2+ years (and counting) between issues of 'Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk' has left a very sour taste in my mouth, bordering on a feeling of being defrauded to be honest).

Well, we've been lucky with Buffy S8 so far. It's been remarkably on schedule.
You're right, Saje, that delay was scheduled and intentional. So not actually a delay, though I guess you might could maybe count it.

As for the Lindelof delay, I don't really care. The title wasn't exactly one for the ages.
I thought UWvsH was shaping up to be good fun, if a bit slight but it's not really not finding out what happens that bothers me UpC (although, y'know, two frikkin' pieces ! ;), it's more the fact that i've basically been swindled out of the cost of issues 1 and 2 under false pretenses (the pretense being that we were gonna get a complete story rather than just 2 issues of setup). Very irritating.
I see your UWvsH and raise you Grant Morrison's Authority.
What did he do, like one issue or something ? Not read it but if it was actually any good then yep, that'd be pretty frustrating.

It does seem to be the big names too (or maybe less famous writers also cause delays but we don't notice cos they're, y'know, less famous ;). It's also hard to tell whether they're victims of their own success (i.e. being good they have a lot of projects on the go and become over-committed), whether to produce a higher quality product actually does take longer or whether, in some instances, there's maybe an element of "You'll get it when you get it, i'm a fucking superstar i'll do what I like".

But considering that George R. Martin took over five years to write the sequel to "A Storm of Swords" . . . and that sequel didn't complete the story (and other novels take even longer. And has Axl Rose released "Chinese Democracy" yet? . . . ). I dunno, missed "deadlines" just don't matter that much ...

Just to go back to this, I don't think it's the same thing at all SNT. Novels are written when they're written, there're no guarantees given WRT when or even if they'll write a sequel (same with records).

A monthly comic is, by definition, an ongoing story with a deadline every month. The difference is, for a novel it's a "deadline", for a comic it's a deadline (no quotes) - there's no rough time-frame about it, the regular schedule is part of the deal the writer/publisher makes with the readership and for non-single-issue stories it's what actually makes serial storytelling possible in the first place.
birdandbear - I like your post :up:

Yeah, we were warned that a delay could happen; I'm not particularly fussed. The history of TV and filmmakers moonlighting in comics seems to indicate that you'll either get occasional delays, or no story at all. Personally, I'll certainly choose having Buffy season 8, which has been released about as reliably as almost any other title out there, over not having it at all. This title isn't something that Joss has to do - he's certainly already making a living. If squeezing this into his already full work schedule results in a very occasional scheduled or semi-scheduled one month delay - oh well, IMHO. [Edit to add two sentences:] Especially if we're getting two issues the following month to make up for it! Come on, now!

A bit of the delay problem in the industry in general may be a side effect of the consistent multiple issue, built for TPB, story arc. Back in the 70s and 80s, Marvel, at least, would throw in a fill-in issue, a standalone story, usually not by the normal creative staff of the title, if needed to keep a book coming out monthly. Don't really see that anymore (though, with this particular title, it wouldn't be as simple as just throwing in any old story about the characters, of course).

[ edited by LKW on 2008-09-27 14:23 ]
Well I disagree, Saje, to the extent that, as we've been discussing here, the deadlines in comic-books are sometimes pretty loose. As your example of the Lindelof book shows, not much more than a very rough time frame, no matter what the ostensible definition and deal might be.

Novels are different beasts, sure, but when the novelist (or musician) repeatedly tells his audience that the work will be out on X, while that may not be a guarantee, the effect on the audience of numerous and repeated delays (judging by some online criticisms I've read, at least in the two examples I mentioned) can be quite similar to that of a disgruntled reader waiting for his supposedly regular monthly installment. My point being only that from a cultural/readership POV, comic books are more like novels than like widgets. Or like academic journals.
Sure but there's no requirement for a novelist to tell fans anything about dates until the novel's been written, it's a bonus (and IMO a mistake) when they do (they're effectively choosing to give their fans enough rope to hang them with if/when there're delays). With comics it's precisely the opposite way around - it's if it's not coming out on a monthly schedule that people need to be told because a monthly schedule is the default (assuming it's a monthly comic ;).

And saying the deadlines are "sometimes pretty loose" because some authors don't meet them is judging the whole by its exceptions. The fact is, the vast majority of comics are released month in, month out, without too much trouble. SOP for comics is a fair bit like widgets in that most people produce a nice steady flow and approach their deadlines in the same way everyone else approaches their professional obligations BUT if you can't supply them when people want them then you'd better be damn sure there's something special (preferably unique) about your particular widget.
Okay, you know what? I was too harsh in my assessment of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. I really enjoyed the first two issues. So I guess it's just my bitterness that led to me dissing it.

But seriously, does anyone know why he never finished the thing? I mean, that was years ago, and sure, he has Lost, but...that was YEARS ago.

I'm pretty sure Kevin Smith has an unfinished comic lying around as well.
Not sure if Smith's got any outstanding but I know he had something like a three year delay between issues on a mini-series (while he worked on a couple of films).

Re: Lindelof, last I heard it was supposedly just that he's really, really busy with 'Lost'. IIRC the official plan is that when that finishes he'll write the rest of the issues. Needless to say i'm a) not holding my breath and b) not buying them anyway, even if he does ever get around to it.
...He's waiting until 2010? Wow.
Cebulski told the audience that Damon Lindelof's scripts are all turned in for Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, and the art will be worked on after Secret Invasion.

Hm. Okay. Not quite as bitter now.
Yeah, still not buying it but that's marginally more sane than 2010 (sounds like the first half of 2009 isn't totally out of the question).

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