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November 16 2009

Buffy Season 8 motion comic web series confirmed. Voice casting has begin. Casting breakdowns are here.

Looks like they are re-casting the roles for the voices of characters like Faith,Kennedy and other past characters.

Maybe this is part of the web thing Joss mentioned the other day.
Would give my right eye to hear Nicky as Xander again.
Ok, the worth of motion comics aside...why does the casting call bother to include race, given that they don't actually appear on screen?
More importantly, why is Kennedy being cast as Caucasian when, um...she isn't?
On that same line: All the demons, except the slug queen, are "all elasticities" come the slug's white?
I mean, I'm a far cry from knowledgeable in the area of race politics but this seems weird.
I thought with these motion comics they had one actor do all the voices. Knowing that they're looking for a number of voice actors (even making the effort to get a Daniel Craig sound-alike for a tiny part) makes this project a lot more interesting to me. Do we know who's behind this? Is it Fox?

"all elasticities" - Studying economics? ;)

[ edited by NotaViking on 2009-11-16 15:27 ]
I'm betting voiceover actors are cast sometimes on the elasticity of their vocal range/register?
This is interesting. Still a little fuzzy on what exactly a "motion comic" is, but I guess I'll find out in due time. My question though is... why are Faith, Kennedy, Robin Wood, and the new characters in the comic the only voice acting they seem to be casting right now? Do they at all expect Sarah, Nicholas, Alyson, etc. to reprise their main characters' voices??
Do we know who's behind this? Is it Fox?

I'm pretty sure Fox is producing it.Based on Scott Allie's refusal to talk about it in his chats at Slayalive,I don't think Dark Horse has any involvment.I don't know how involved Joss is in this.
Sarah, probably not (although AWESOME if so), ditto Aly. I'm betting Ms. Loren will be lending her more than capable services as our favorite Slayer to this project as she did in the video games.

If Nick plays Xander again, that would be great, although interesting considering his concerns about some of the Season 8 storyline for Xander.
Well so much for the theory that Twilight is future Buffy.

Do we know who's behind this? Is it Fox?

Aye. I would imagine that they own the motion comic book rights to Buffy season 8 and not Dark Horse.
I don't think we need these casting sides to dismiss that theory. Besides, the answer will be "it's just a voice disguise".

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-11-16 15:50 ]
Hang on, wasn't there a rumour that the only person doing the voices would be Joss himself?
Not really, Simon, if Buffy is Twilight then she's using magic to disguise her physical form, so she'd have to change her voice too. (Looks like I just proved KoC right :). No theory on Twilight makes much sense yet, so I wouldn't dismiss any.)

Thanks for both replies to my question. I don't have an issue with Fox doing it. It would be nice if Joss was involved but presumably they won't be changing anything anyway. Although from Joss' point of view, someone messing around with something you've worked on might be pretty annoying.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2009-11-16 16:01 ]
I hope they do an adaptation of the entire season 8.The sides here look like they are for No Future For You and Anywhere But Here.

I could see Tom Lenk being gung ho for something like this and doing voice work for it.He's such a fan of season 8 that according to Georges Jeanty,he reads the Andrew lines out loud when he reads the comic.
It all depends on what the budget is.
I'm glad to see there's more being done with the Buffy franchise, but since I've been reading the comics, the only way this would appeal to me if they were to bring in the original cast.
I thought with these motion comics they had one actor do all the voices.

Sometimes they do but apparently not in this case (the other Joss related motion comic for Astonishing X-Men also has a mixed cast). Personally i'm very glad - hearing a man do a woman's voice (or vice versa) takes a lot of getting used to and is pretty distracting. Though admittedly I don't listen to a lot of audio books etc. (wherein it must happen all the time).

I'm pretty sure Fox is producing it.

But, to be clear (before the rants begin), this is the good Fox right (i.e. 20th Century) ?

(though Scott Allie refusing to talk about it could well just be him playing his cards close to his chest. If it was nothing to do with Dark Horse/Joss then i'd expect him just to say "That's actually being produced by someone else but we wish them the best of luck with it. Next question ?". Raises an interesting question though, if they have the comics licence then do they have the motion comics licence ? I.e. is it a comic or an animation or something else ?)
I hate the animation of motion comics, so I'm not excited.

Also, would it be so hard to approach the original actors for these roles? *sigh*
If you're working to a tight schedule and the orginal actors are busy doing other things, then yes it would be hard.
Never mind the cost that bringing back the original cast would involve. If they manage to get actors that sound very like the cast, then this cold be good. But it could also be a load of rubbish. Will have to wait and see how they do it.
I'd be surprised if this is a Fox project with all of the voiceover roles being nonunion.
Now, I've seen Spider-Woman on Hulu, which works relatively well since it was made with motion in mind. However, Astonishing-in-motion looked goofy at best. This really comes down to the voice acting. If they get poor voice actors, this will blow large chunks.
It's not the same IMO. Spider-Woman apparently was designed with motion in mind but when I first heard that I was surprised because it's actually very static with no facial/gestural animation etc. and basically just still images moving relative to their background (disclaimer: i've only seen episode 1). AXM is trying to tread some kind of weird half-way ground between motion comic and animation (animated mouths, limbs etc. as well as the more "traditional" - quotes because the medium's what, 12 months old ? - still images moving against a background) and as such it may be falling between two stools.

Be interesting to see where the "season 8" motion comic falls on the spectrum.
If only many (wish all!) of the original cast members could be lured back into providing their talented-centric voices to their former characters... if only...
I'm amused that they don't seem to realize that Rona isn't a new character. Arguably the 2nd most memorable (ie: hated) potential.
The sides here look like they are for No Future For You and Anywhere But Here.

The sides include "Faerie," "Slug Queen" and "Rona" which would be for The Chain.

I know it's only 3 pages and they'd never do it (DB and SMG not so interested in returning to old roles in this limited sense), but imagine "Always Darkest" as a motion comic.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-11-16 19:04 ]
I'd rather have each volume/arc adapted into an hour and a half animated straight-to-DVD movie. Surely Buffy would sell as much as Wonder Woman or any DC-Animated Movie?

If that were the case, my hopes for getting the actual cast would be significantly higher.
I noticed that Gigi has been aged to her "late 20s" when it was said explicitly in the comic that the party Faith went to was for her 19th birthday...
Hopefully they cut that silly, nasty Faith/Gigi bathtub scene.
Stormwreath, that's FOX for ya. They're always getting the details wrong when they have their eye on the prize ---> $$$$
Riker, what was so nasty about that scene...? I understand why you would say silly, but nasty?
There's also Robin the minder for Issue 10... so they're doing quite far into the first set.

And remember, voices just need to sound a certain way to bring the story across.. not be "accurate" to the actual age of the character. Gigi would defiantly need an older sounding voice for her character. Most all of the Buffyverse teenagers were in their 20s...
"More importantly, why is Kennedy being cast as Caucasian when, um...she isn't?"

Asian, African, and Caucasian are the simple terms for the three races. Kennedy is hispanic, yes? Last time I checked, people of hispanic ethnicity were caucasians.
I'm a little disappointed. The hints all made this seem like it would be something slightly more than a motion comic. Alas, alas, alas.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-11-16 19:47 ]
What do they mean when they say 'nonunion' in the description? Asking as a UK person.
I know Fox wants to get into the web content game but they can make a lot more clams if they go the Futurama route. They can make direct to DVD movies (with fluid animation) of each arc and then break those up into shorter episodes to sell to Cartoon Network or SyFy. Plus after they're done they can sell the whole shebang as "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Complete Eighth Season" alongside the live action seasons. Hopefully the motion comics are just a trial balloon to gauge interest in such a project.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2009-11-16 20:13 ]
When this is released and I try and watch it, am I gonna get the old

"You are not in the United States, whats wrong with you? Are you like, stupid or something? Seriously. So no, you cant watch this. Now please watch more ads then leave."

Cause...kinda over that.
I'm gonna be on my hopeful side about this and hope that this is gonna turn out awesome and that they're gonna bring in most( is all hoping too much?) original cast members for voice overs....and however it turns out, i know for a fact that my inner Buffy geek will watch it no matter what and buy there's at least one confirmed web series follower....
Cause...kinda over that.

You could move to the U.S. ;)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-11-16 20:13 ]
Yes aus-mitch, it's very annoying, especailly as their ads are no where NEAR as funny as ours!
I do wonder, who is this supposed to appeal to? What demographic? I am not sure it will appeal to my specific demographic (ie, 56yo bald white guy with modest income), as opposed to some younger and hipper demographic, but I don't really find this interesting or intriguing all that much.
Interesting that you should say that Dana5140 because I said almost the exact same thing recently. (You said it much more succinctly) Who is going to buy this???

Because it was extremely sexist and unrealistic. How many women here hop into a bathtub with another woman unless it's foreplay?

That scene was pandering to fanboyz, not the typical Buffy audience.
Riker I totally agree with you. I really hated that scene too.

As to this 'motion' comic. Colour me uninterested.
Atcually - I am interested. Mostly because whilst I read the comics, I somehow don't seem to be able to retain them. Having them "acted" out for me will probably help with that!
I imagine it's meant to appeal to any Buffy fan willing to pay for it, including 56 year old bald white guys with modest incomes. If you bought the comics, they (Fox?) probably assume many comic fans will be curious to see how the voices are performed and how the animation turns out. Aren't you a little curious to see how it's acted out, especially if some of the original cast returns ? Maybe not curious enough to plunk down some extra cash for it after already being disappointed by the comics, but at least to see some samples ?

When it comes to Buffy, I'm not sure age demographics are as big a concern as some other properties. Yeah, the marketing folks will have decided on a specific demo (say, 18 to 49 year old females), but they must know the property well enough at this point to realize that it's gonna sell beyond those ranges and with a ton of males as well. Obviously it's gonna sell better with the teen-to-middle-aged crowd than it is with seniors in my 77 year old aunt and 82 year old grandmother's range (not being agist, I know there're more than a few 70-something Buffyverse/Joss fans). If they advertise it in comics, it'll at least be noticed by everyone reading the comics (the monthlies at least, unless they stick ads in the back of the trades and eventual hardcovers), which as we can see from this site is pretty diverse an audience. Who knows where else they're planning on advertising.

I think it might also catch some folks who didn't read the comics, weren't aware of the comics, or don't like comics/weren't willing to check them out. Or at least Fox is hoping so. But who knows if it'll catch on like wildfire (hugely dependant on the quality of this adaptation--I mean I hope folks don't buy it just because it's Buffy, wait to see that it doesn't suck first) or remain a niche thing. Are there sales numbers for previous efforts like this ? Like how well Watchmen's motion comic sold, what's currently out for Astonishing X-Men, and other pay-for-download/pay-for-DVD efforts ?

I'm wary of motion comics, but I'll wait to see a trailer before deciding whether I wanna try out the first digital version of the first issue or trade paperback or however they're releasing this. If they get even one of the major/main-ish cast members on board, I'll almost certainly check it out. Imagine if they got just Nicholas Brendon on board, to hear him throughout the entirety of Season 8 ? That'd be worth it for me (unless they're gonna charge something hugely prohibitive per chunk of story).

Giselle Loren didn't only do the Buffy games, that was also her voice in the promotional reel/demo reel (pitch reel?) for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer animated series that never happened, right ? I remember thinking she sounded great for Buffy (and the other three of the core four, the original actors, sounded great as voice actors as well, from what I remember)

[ edited by Kris on 2009-11-16 21:37 ]
Who is going to buy this???

Probably casual fans and not those that swim in the navel gazing faction ridden goldfish bowl that is our online fandom. I'm thinking of the people who loved the show but didn't go to comic book shops to buy individual issues of Buffy and waited for the tpbs to appear at Barnes and Noble.

I would guess that Fox have done some sort of market research otherwise they wouldn't be going ahead with it.

Also the New York Post has really got the wrong end of the stick.

We should all wait til we see a trailer or preview before deciding to buy or not.

I sincerely hope this isn't a cheap new way of doing animation in the future.
I don't even know what a motion comic is, so how in God's name can they even market this to me? :-) Though, truly, I do not know what it is. I just think that in general I am in the wrong demographic; I get the comic not because I love comics (and Alex, it takes me, on average, just 2-3 minutes to read an issue of Buffy), but because I love, or loved, Buffy. They have to figure out how to market this, but it is not likely I will end up seeing this in the typical things I look at outside of this board. And no, even if the voices are original cast, which I tend to doubt anyway, that would not bring me back since the story has already been told.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-11-16 21:55 ]
Best headline discovery of the day, Simon. I am highly amused.
Riker its not that I'm suggesting that people don't buy this product, I'm just on my soupbox (I cant afford a whole box of soap these days) because it seems the comic companies are continually putting schlocky products out there. I think the most important thing a comic company can do today is put out a quality product that appeals to new users. The motion comics should fit the bill in theory. In theory. Remember that electronic comic that Tom Hanks created in the movie Big? It was a feasible good idea (which actually made it to market) but it was not a realistic purchase for people who were buying comics back then for 75 cents each.

Seems to me you're right about who's going to buy this Simon. Unfortunately that means they're going to sell very few copies/downloads. Now if they can change the medium on which it's viewed, then I think they've got something great. I assume they are familiar with the next generation of tech but with the limited opportunities, if I were Marvel, I'd rather be on the cutting edge versus investing big dollars to be on the "bleeding edge."

I LOVE the idea of the iTablet with a huge 8 or 9 inch screen in beautiful (backlit) color. If that were a common device currently being sold, then these motion comics would have a chance, IMO. And frankly, I think it would be fantastic if we could get the first few hundred issues of Spider-man (or The FF) in a motion comic format. Then people who are unfamiliar or unwilling to read the books can still get the great stories. But on the current 2x4 inch screen, I just can't see it being sold in quantities that justify their expense in creating them.

Lastly, Dana5140 if you're finishing an issue of Buffy in 2-3 minutes, you're not doing it "right." There's lots of great art nuances and thematic expression that you miss if you fly through it at 9 seconds per page.

(edited for spelling errors)

[ edited by alexreager on 2009-11-16 22:01 ]
Wow, that article just linked by Simon is so strangely...well, just wrong.
I don't know what to think of the motion comic, though. Maybe someone's mentioned this, but I think doing season 9 in motion form from the start would be much better.
alexreager I'd like to think we can have a reasonable debate without telling fellow posters that they're not reading the comic book "right".
I don't even know what a motion comic is, so how in God's name can they even market this to me? :-) Though, truly, I do not know what it is. I just think that in general I am in the wrong demographic;

Maybe it just isn't interesting to you. Maybe there are others out there in your demo that are interested. It's kinda hard to tell. ;)
It is a very strange article--and proof that some people do absolutely *no* research: just out of curiosity, I googled "buffy daniel craig" and got an accurate summary of "Anywhere But Here" on the first page. (Maybe I should go into journalism, clearly I have better research skillz than some of the people who get paid for it. ;-)
Bit of an exaggeration, I think, 2 to 3 minutes per issue. Maybe if you're strictly skimming the script to get all the dialogue without really looking at what's going on on the page, facial expressions, and all that (and that'd definitely have to include skipping Scott Allie's sometimes 3-page letters column).

Dana said:
"I don't even know what a motion comic is, so how in God's name can they even market this to me? :-) Though, truly, I do not know what it is."

Really ? They've been talked about here a lot in the past few...months, I think ? In various Dark Horse/Buffy comics threads (which you do read, so I assume you would've seen mention of them). They've also been talked about in the Astonishing X-Men threads, since Marvel Comics did a motion comic/is in the midst of doing one for that series as well.

Truthfully, outside of seeing some very short clips, I've never experienced a motion comic either. They've been around for at least a decade though (I remember seeing a Hellboy one back in `99, I think it was).

"I just think that in general I am in the wrong demographic"

Only if you're being really specific about your demographic, ie "50-something male who isn't into comics". But as the comic book readership/average age of a comic book reader has been getting older for a long while now (kids & teens aren't the ones spending the most money on them, not by a long shot--though I'm not sure if it's 20-somethings, 30-somethings, or 40-somethings who are the biggest contributors), it's not a stretch to say that many 50-year-olds read comics (even if we're just talking parents reading their kids' comics. I mean, my dad never bought comics, but he'd always read mine when I was aged 13 to 19 or so, or at least skim the art if he wasn't interested in the story).

I'm just trying to say that comics appeal to a wide variety of ages. You're not in the wrong demographic if we're talking just sex and age (though yes, the comic industry is also always trying to draw in younger readers and it's very hard for them when movies, TV, internet, and video games are competing for their attention).

"I get the comic not because I love comics (and Alex, it takes me, on average, just 2-3 minutes to read an issue of Buffy), but because I love, or loved, Buffy."

I'll preface this by saying don't worry, I'm not about to try to convince you to read more comics, but just outta curiosity, have you read any other comics besides Buffy (not counting strips in the newspaper) ? Just for the record, there're far, far better comics overall than Buffy Season 8. Some superhero, but many non-superhero--Drama (romance, socio-politcal commentary, sexual identity--more of those than you'd think--coming-of-age, angsty stuff, etc), sci-fi, fantasy, humor, horror, historical, religious/mythological(there're comic book adaptations of The Bible!)...every genre that exists in books, TV, and film, comics covers them somewhere.

"And no, even if the voices are original cast, which I tend to doubt anyway, that would not bring me back since the story has already been told."

Yeah, the story will have already been told, but the actors may bring their own take on a line reading or emotion that I didn't consider/expect while hearing it in my head while reading. That's what I'm curious to maybe see. Whether that curiosity is strong enough to warrant paying for the download or however they release this, entirely dependant on trailers/sample clips and maybe fan word of mouth if I wait for it.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-11-16 22:34 ]
Simon no disrespect intended. And please note I didn't say he was doing it wrong per se, I said he wasn't doing it "right" (What I meant by that was, "he was kinda missing out on some of the best stuff if he's reading it so quickly")

Personally, I can't imagine reading a season 8 comic in 2-3 minutes. I literally wouldn't have any idea of what happened in that issue because there's so much packed into every page.

So to be clear, Dana5140, I didn't mean any disrespect towards you or your reading habits. Simon is correct to call me on the tone of that comment--I appreciate the opportunity to clarify to Dana. We're all friends here!

Honestly, I'm just excited to have this discussion!! This might be one of my favorite things; I'm talking Buffy AND comics online, what could be better?
Also the New York Post has really got the wrong end of the stick.


Jesus I love the internet. Hi-larious ;).
Hey, I'm a huge Buffy fan but I havn't had time to read about the Motion Comic much, will it just be season 8 or will it be new material? I really hope that it isn't new, or that if it is new it also comes out in a normal comic.
(though Scott Allie refusing to talk about it could well just be him playing his cards close to his chest. If it was nothing to do with Dark Horse/Joss then i'd expect him just to say "That's actually being produced by someone else but we wish them the best of luck with it. Next question ?".

I'm guessing from his responses that Dark Horse has nothing to do with it and either himself or Joss (or both) are against the idea. Otherwise I imagine he would be more forthcoming on the topic.

As the demographic on who would buy this, as several comic book companies have have various degrees of success with "motion comics", so there's obviously an audience for it. It seems there's some cross-over of fan who bought the original and the motion comic, but also new fans attracted to the medium who might not step into a comic book stores. Especially when they put the motion comic on DVD or make it available on the iPhone through the iTunes store.
I know I'll be getting my hands on it. I adore the comics and I adore BtVS so it'd be very hard for me not to want to take a peek. I am concerned that poor voice acting may throw me out of the story a bit. What I enjoy about s8 is that I can easily hear the actors saying the lines because the writers are so spot on with their dialogue. If the voice acting is atrocious Iím going to struggle with that. The motion in these things has never been great but Iím still excited to see the panels ďcome aliveĒ anyway they can. What Iím really looking forward to most is THE SCORE because thatís something I missed most of all. So fingers crossed thereís some nice music.
Kris: I own close to 1000 comics, and there was a time when I read comics and collected them, but I no longer do. I read silver age DC comics in particular, Justice League in specific, but I feel that comics have left me behind in many ways. I therefore no longer really follow them, and read only 2 now- Buffy and Runaways. Every now and again I get a graphic novel of some sort, like Blankets. I am not naive here, but in truth I don't know what a motion comic is, and I do not spend time on all the sites you mention in your post, because not having interest means I don't go there so do not read all the posts here on whedonesque nor spend time at Dark Horse or Marvel.

Alex, no offense taken, but please understand that I have always read very fast, a talent that helps in my work. I have to absorb lots of information in short periods of time, but I have always been able to do so. Buffy simply takes me a few minutes to read, and to look over the panels. It might be that if I were more engaged I would spend more time- like I would for work by, say, Alan Moore- but here, not so much. It's not a point worth exploring, it just is what it is.
I read very fast and while it's useful in many ways I find I need to pace myself differently when reading comics. I tend to want to go too fast to process all the information in the images. I've wondered if the motion comics would be a better pace of storytelling, since my eyes can't cheat and skip ahead to the words in the next panel.
I usually read it through once pretty fast and then I go back and read it more carefully again. On Buffyforums some of us have been partaking in a big re-read of the entire season and I've found that after a lot of time has passed, you pick up on things you missed the first few reads.
I tend to read the comics too quickly myself, often stopping every page or two and realizing I haven't been looking at the art at all.

I'm very much not built for this medium, I think, but I still enjoy it.
I'm so confused by the non-union bit since I forget if there even are any for voice actors? Like does this mean they already have any sort of cast in place for the leads they neglect to name? Getting a Daniel-Craig-a-like seems to suggest they'd have the others out of the way already. It would be cool if they could get Giselle back from the game if not someone who'd even be closer to the mark, but I don't know if the production being non-union would be problematic.

As for the Faith/Lady scene, while yes it is to some extent pandering, I don't see it being too far off from Buffy and Satsu. Not that they're both remotely romantic relationships but I can buy it as just a shorthand degree of intimacy or familiarity between the two. Like how much of a character Faith was putting on that she was letting herself be the carefree coed who could be goaded into doing whatever for the sake of a connection. ....Plus at the time I was slightly convinced the new slayer was supposed to be an Elizabeth Bathory type where she thought bathing in the blood of other slayers would make her better and that was some sort of foreshadowing or something.
Please explain why this is necessary. The comics were written as comics, not bad cartoons. They're great as they are. I hope I'm going to be surprised and this will reinvent the motion comic medium with some sort of merit.
It's not necessary, of course. They just wanna milk it and, potentially, cast a wider net to maybe gain some new Buffy comics audience members (not implying that those who see the motion comic will jump to the monthly print non-motion version, but maybe some will stick with the motion comic version until the end).
Why are Buffy t-shirts necessary, why are (non-canonical - hello, nasty ;) Buffy tie-in novels necessary, why are Buffy tarot card sets necessary ? None of it's necessary, they add something to the experience for you or they don't, you take them or you leave them, simple as.

As to reading speed, with a "dense" comic i'd be pretty surprised if you saw every nuance, call-back, visual/verbal homage, general "gleaming" in 22 pages by reading it in 2-3 (or even 4-6) minutes but everyone reads at a different pace of course. And though I read comics regularly, if i've been reading a lot of prose beforehand I have to consciously slow myself down so I don't miss anything, it's very easy to just read the dialogue and glance at the art but that's concentrating on the "finger" and if you do that, as Bruce Lee told us, "you miss all the heavenly glory" ;) (if it's a comic i'm really enjoying - or that I know is plotty or artistically "dense" - then i'll often read once through as a "story" pass and once again as an "art" pass).
Regarding reading comics, I like to read my books about three times to get my money's worth. The first read is usually somewhat fast (mainly because I tend to have a stack to get through), then I go back after a day or two and read it again, taking in the art and some of the subtler dialogue.
That being said, Buffy's art isn't very detailed or nuanced, so I can understand how some readers finish faster than others.
The Buffy comic takes me a very short amount of time to read it I'm afraid. Far quicker then the other comics I have read in the past.

So it's (at most) a five minute read, and then back to the usual long wait for the next issue to be released.

Considering the incredibly long time It's taken for the story to unfurl, maybe I would have liked it more If I'd just read the trades instead of individual issues.
Will be looking forward to the motion comics, but would much rather see the animated series and new stories from the high school years.

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