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May 20 2009

Comics chart for April. Sales for last month's Whedonverse comics are out, and it looks like they have slipped quite a bit from March.

Also, have estimated sales.

Yeah, Buffy dropped from 10th place to 22nd, and Angel from 56th to 81st. (I must say that the latter, at least, is deserved.)

[ edited by Enisy on 2009-05-20 21:05 ]
I've purchased all but the last 2 of the Season 8 books. I'm losing interest... the Twilight arc is beginning to feel WAY too stretched out and the series has seemed to stagnate since the Fray arc. Hopefully "Retreat", which starts in July, can get things back on track and the sales will witness an uptick.

[ edited by hiddenicon on 2009-05-20 21:25 ]
That's a deep dive for Angel, but my god that last issue was . . . well, I don't know what it was. *Shudder*
Time for Buffy to explore "alternate lifestyles" again?
I've bought one issue of the Predators v. Prey arc and although I plan on buying the first of Retreat, I have completely zoned out of the story. It just feels tired at the moment.

Hopefully a bit of Jane will get the fire burning again!
Last issue I read was #22, to be honest, and I've heard nothing about the others that made them seem worthy of my time... I might pick the series up again when/if something interesting happens.
Both Buffy and Angel had off-arcs. "Predators and Prey" and "Aftermath" are both pretty weak parts of overall great stories.
I'm still enjoying Season 8, but the last two arcs have been pretty mediocre, and I no longer feel the urge to buy the new issues the moment they're out. I hope it picks up toward the end of the season.
Interesting that the fall in terms of position for 'Buffy' was so steep, but the actual quantity sold only went down from 64,000 to 61,000. So about 3,000 of the readers of 'Safe' were so put off they decided not to pick up 'Living Doll'?
That's still around a 5% drop, which is not insignificant. Especially when it is an arc ender. I think the comic is in a rut.
stormwreath--where did you get those numbers? Just curious.
where did you get those numbers?

From this line in the OP:
Also, have estimated sales.

That link goes to April, but the page in turn has a link at the bottom for March.
It says Buffy Chen Cover. The Variant Cover by Jeanty had a different order number. It looks like the numbers for both covers were counted separately. Assuming the Jeanty cover had orders below 3699 it wouldn't show up in the Top 300. In the past both covers had the same order number.
The drop is mainly because of titles that didn't ship an issue in March shipping one in April, and an extra issue each of Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men and Green Lantern. It's consistently about on par with Captain America.
Well, frankly I think it's deserved. Predators and Prey was just awful. Still, the series up to that arc has had some pretty great moments (though there are more than a few things I have big issues with eg. the stupid retcon that Xander has been friends with Dracula since 'Buffy vs Dracula') and I really hope the series can improve. I'm looking forward to Jane Espenson's arc but I'm not really sure what to think - she's one of my favourite TV writers but 'Harmonic Divergence' was by far the worst issue of season 8.

As for Angel, I have no interest in non-canonical stories and the only reason I slogged through A: ATF was because it was official; it was pretty dire IMO
I've been losing interest since issue 12, but I continue to stick with it. Season 8 has it's moments, it's just not the Buffy I remember from the series.
This whole outing the slayer storyline is banal and boring to me, and the idea that the public would support vamps while at the same time hating slayers seems so, I don't know, comic-like but not really real. One thing about Buffy the show; on a weekly basis it could break your heart. This? Not so much. Well, not really at all.
See, I thought The Chain, and A Beautiful Sunset, and the No Future For You arc, and the Wolves At The Gate arc, and even the opening arc, had heart-breaking moments, or at least moving moments. But recently... no.

The last Joss arc with the Fray crossover was weak, and to follow it up with the even weaker Predators and Prey stuff... yikes.

It's become just a sort of fun action comic with little depth. Very disappointing.
After Angel After The Fall, which I loved, the series - fell.

I'm looking forward to a certain artist and certain writer's departure.
My opinion on the series is really up and down: I enjoyed issue 1, loved 2, was disappointed be 3, really liked 4, didn't like 5 at all, thought the first issue of Vaughan's arc was brilliant but was underwhelmed by the next 3 issues, though issue 10 was some of joss's best writing ever but thought issue 11 was pointless and boring, enjoyed Goddard's 12-15 quite a bit (though didn't like the tired and predictable death of Renee or the Dracula / Xander retcon) and loved the Fray arc and Jeff Loeb's 'animated Buffy'. And I can hardly bring myself to talk about the issues after that; I just want to forget they happened. So I just don't know - the series has had its moments. But I was so excited when season 8 was announced and now I just wonder whether it might have been better to leave the story at 'Chosen'. And I think Joss should really think hard about whether he should do season 9 - if he's actually going to devote time to it then he should but if he just keeps losing interest like he seems to be doing then I think many of us would be glad if he just gave it a miss

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-05-21 01:44 ]
Yeah, those are sales for BtVS #24, not #25. The sales for "Living Doll" will be listed next month (and will hopefully be higher than issue 24's, as they, IMHO, deserve to be).
It's a leap to assume Joss has lost interest. He's busy with other projects and there hasn't been an issue penned by him since last fall (although that was planned and foreseen, if Scott Allie's letters column commentary is anything to go by), but that's not an indicator that Joss is as out of the picture as some might think.

The bulk of "Predators & Prey" probably didn't help much with sales and the retention of certain fans (although maybe peeks at various corners of the Buffyverse was exactly what people were clamoring for and maybe some readers out there aren't as critical as we here on Whedonesque are, I dunno), but I don't think the entire thing was a wash, just two or three of the issues (okay, so half or more than half of the five issues kinda sucking is pretty bad). Looking forward to the next arc though, I think the series overall will have done better with its multi-issue tales than the one-offs.

Whether the story should've stopped at "Chosen" (technically "Not Fade Away", but for Buffy and her closest, yeah, "Chosen"), gonna wait 'til canon comics are completed before deciding on that. Worst-case scenario, if the comics were more frustrating than enjoyable for you, sell 'em and pretend the story ended with Season 7 (frankly, if I had the patience, I'd make a severely edited down version of Season 7 to make the concluding year of the show better, while retaining the bulk of Season 8 as a so-far better and more worthy continuation of the franchise).

My feelings are still mixed about Angel: "After the Fall", but I'll reserve final judgement until the fourth hardcover is released, the one that finishes off Brian Lynch's first term on the book. It has felt somewhat fan-fictiony at times, but given that Season 6 apparently would've been a huge departure from what came before it and a lot of confirmed by-Joss ideas made it into "After the Fall"...well, regardless of how "real" or "true to the show" it feels, it really comes down to whether you enjoyed it or not. So far, I can say "sometimes". As far as art...sometimes it's poor, sometimes it looks like storyboards for what an epic Angel film might be like. I've been reading comics for years, so I'm used to this, but it really would've been nice to have a consistent look for nearly the entire first few years of the book, the way Buffy Season 8 has managed--primarily George Jeanty with a fill-in rarely. "After the Fall" has suffered from inconsistency in this regard. It's a shame IDW didn't contract an artist for an extended period of time at the outset.

Mileage may vary on that though, some readers prefer to see many different artists' take on the characters & story (personally I think that's what variant covers and pin-up/fan-art galleries are for).

I'm happy to be getting more story (especially with Angel, whereas I didn't think a continuation of Buffy was necessary or even desired by myself at the outset), but whether it was worth the cash or not remains to be seen. So far ? Mostly (Buffy) and sorta (Angel).
Where is the real emotional resonance here? What is happening with Willow that we go to sleep at night worrying about her? What is happening with anyone that we really care all that much? I know this is not the TV show, but it seems such a pale imitation of what was. Maybe I should stop living in the past and let this go, but I just, you know, care about Buffy the show, got excited when it seemed to continue, but then it has just lost me in the lack of any real attention on anyone we care about.
Kris, I shouldn't have said Joss has lost 'interest' in season 8. What I was really saying is that it seems to have gone from a big priority for him to something he doesn't seem to be spending much time on. I don't think I'm just making this up: he was going to write the final arc but is now considering getting someone else to do it, which seems to mean that he won't write a single issue in the second half of hte season. He basically never talks about it in interviews anymore (although admittedly maybe this is just because of the questions he's asked). And Scott Allie has made it plain that contacting Joss about Buffy is much harder now (fair enough given that Joss has been doing Dollhouse and Cabin but I think Buffy has been suffering from it).

Anyway, let's see what Oz brings. I think Jane Espenson can do a much better 5-part story than a one shot. Fingers crossed
Personally, I've moved to getting just the trades instead of individual issues, and wonder how many people are like me. Except for the comic book fans who are part of the "Wednesday crowd" (the day of the week comics are released), I imagine that for most Buffy fans who aren't big into comics that picking up a monthly comic can be a bit of a chore. Especially with changing release dates. However, overall tradepaperback sales are harder to come by since they sell over time instead of just one month and are spread out among a lot more types of retailers. So it's anyone's guess outside of Dark Horse, how the trades are selling.

As for quality of the series, there have been some ups and downs like any season, but so far I'm really enjoying it and think it ranks up there with any of the existing tv seasons.
I thought "Predators and Prey" and "Safe" were among the weakest entries in the series, but "Living Doll" was a big swing the other way. I'm mostly still really enjoying the book and I'm interested to know where these characters are headed.
I'm still loving the series very much, but I think the problem with the latest arc has been the standalone structure that prevents the big story from being told. It looks sketchy, more than a coherent flow.

About sales numbers, yeah, apparently Jo's and Georges' covers are counted separately. So in terms of sheer quantity it hasn't fallen that much.
I tried the comics. I really did. I bought 18 issues of Buffy, and 4 or 5 of Angel. And they had no emotional impact on me whatsoever. It's the medium. For me, you just can't take a real, flesh-and-blood, kinetic story, turn it into drawings and dialogue bubbles, and call it equivalent, or a continuation.

The comics are not the show; if it's not the show, it's not Buffy (or Angel). I can't accept this ersatz version. So as far as my own little world goes, the official stories remain where the shows ended.
I think the comics suffer alot from the slow release schedule, which is unfortunate, but necessary. They are much much better read a full arc at a time, instead of just single comics, but that stretches the time between readings to 5 months... Buffy falls in a hard niche, trying to appeal to people used to weekly tv-series, while struggling with a coherent story arch written by several writers and artists. I'm not quite convinced the quest-writer thing is as good or necessary in comics as it is in TV, but Buffy seems to be pulling it off quite well.

Still, I like the S8 alot, and not just because it's Buffy but it's a good comic on its own. Sure, it's not Watchmen or Sandman, but it still beats the unliving crap of most other serialized comics out there. Yes, there are faults and some slow progression (not surprising, as it's from writers used to writing TV), but still nothing to be ashamed of.

All in all, there will be worse than average episodes (and arcs). And they will feel much worse than the ones on TV because of the time schedule, you could forget Beer Bad the next week when the next episode came, here you get to wait up to half a year before the next arc starts... For those gentle viewers who only read the story once, while it's unraveling at snale-pace of a comic/month, I urge you to re-read the first few arcs in one sitting. They really feel like a different animal that way, I wish I wasn't such a whedonesque-junkie that I'd be able to hold off reading new comics until the full arc is ready... (Less relevant with the stand-alones still, but still somewhat relevant with them too).
Funny, jlp. I had pretty much the exact opposite reaction. In my own little world the stories ended at S5 finale, I had decided that for sure and then the comics came out. To me, it's maybe not the show (how could it be?), but it's still Buffy. And it makes even S6/S7 worth it! But then again, I do love comics in general, so the medium doesn't irk me.
Think I went about ten issues in before I stopped. Had maybe two or three wow moments at most. Was really disappointed.


If you want a "real, flesh-and-blood, kinetic story", I urge you to pick up the TPB of "Fray". That was an exceptional addition to the Buffy verse in comic book form. The best I have read.
I've read "Fray" (and "Watchmen" and other stuff that's supposed to hook people on comics). It's nice enough, but the problem (for me) seems to be the medium itself. I simply can't connect emotionally to comics. I don't know exactly why. Books - fine. Film - fine. Comics - not so. It's particularly acute with the Buffy comics, as the world and characters have already been established on film. My brain simply cannot make a 1:1 match between the two versions: Does Not Compute.
I'm looking forward to a certain artist and certain writer's departure.

The artist as well? Really? As hot as I'm not on Kelley Armstrong... I feel like Dave Ross is the best regular artist the series has had. Although it's not like that's saying much - but I think he's a firm step above the rest of the artists.

To be honest though, I kind of regret giving this story arc a go. I've committed myself to read through the Drusilla story, but after that, I think I'm done...
Sorry, Daylight. I haven't been a fan of Dave Ross since West Coast Avengers. I was hoping he might have improved over time, but I fear not. Quite possible that I just don't appreciate his style (I like Stuart Immonen for example.) It bothers me, because not liking this arc seems unpatriotic.

I've come to like Franco Urro very much.
Am not loving "living doll" but I is loving the "Blood & Trenches". The black & white sketching style and the special paper stock is just so cool.. oh the story is not bad either!
I like Blood and Trenches very much. Been a Byrne fan since Superman. I'm impressed with his depiction of Angel, since he's not known as a likeness artist.
To me, my problem with Dave Ross's art is not the art itself, it's the storytelling. This may fall on the shoulders of the writer, I'm not sure, but there were quite a few times where I couldn't tell what was happening in a panel or from one panel to the next. I haven't seen Ross's previous work though. Also, the word balloons seem to break the 'lettering laws' at times, making me naturally read them in the wrong order and causing further confusion. All in all, I've been severely disappointed.

Anyone who has trouble connecting emotionally with comics: have you tried Sandman? I'm biased because that's my single favorite story in any medium, but I have honestly cried while reading some of those issues (the last few issues of Starman did that to me too).
I've said it before and I'll say it again. More Fray. And I mean more Fray Fray, not more Fray in Buffy. Those 8 issues held my interest and have had me wanting issue 9 more than any other comic I've read. More Serenity wouldn't hurt either. :-)
@ jlp
i love comics and i do not give a hang about Watchmen.
And I would pointedly steer someone new to comics away from it.
It is supposed to be great, and may have been in the mid-80's
but what was new about it is not new anymore. It's old.

Some of us love the medium, some are puzzled by it.
I imagine there are those among us that could enjoy the scripts for comics
more than the finished books.

such is life.
And looks like Buffy season 8th is coming to Brazil, by Panini.

However, with a very strange:

a Panini Comics coloca nas bancas, em breve, a primeira das 5 edições de uma minissérie com os dois primeiros arcos produzidos pela Dark Horse. O primeiro deles conta com roteiros do próprio Whedon, que é sucedido pelo prestigiado Brian K. Vaughan

That roughly translates as:
The Panini Comics will soon release the first of the 5 editions of a minisseries with the 2 first arcs produced by Dark Horse. The first one with Joss' scripts, followed by the prestigious Brian K Vaughn.

Probably only the first arc and the stand alone will be edited as a experince.
I've found Buffy Season 8 a bit hot and cold, but I'm willing to show a little faith because it's Joss... sort of like the first episodes of Dollhouse.
I'm also enjoying Angel Blood And Trenches. Great art work!
Overseas editions tend to print more than one comic in each edition, so that might be why it's talking about five editions of what we know to be ten.

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