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March 24 2010

(SPOILER) IDW's Angelverse solicitations for June. Includes Angel #34, Angel:Barbary Coast #3 and Spike:The Devil You Know #1.

On a totally random note... IDW is also launching a "Jurassic Park" series... right at the top! :)
Will be picking up all three Angel books.
I saw that!I would be so tempted to get the Jurassic Park:) I'll never forget the 1st time I saw that movie!

And yes I will be picking up all 3 too:)
I won't be wasting my money on an outfit that has no respect for characters or continuity.
Am I the only one getting tired with all the Angel books. At first it was kind of fun having additional Angel stories but, I'm at the point where even though I have every other Angel IDW book, I don't want to order any of these.
What Maggie said. Even the three-sentence summaries betray the OOCness that awaits you inside.

[ edited by Enisy on 2010-03-24 16:57 ]
So happy to see a new Spike series!! Can't wait....
Oh I dunno. IDW have done a heck of a lot for the franchise and the fandom. Might be nice to cut them a little slack. They're the only Angelverse game in town.
Finally a new Spike series, it's the only comics i buy from idw.
I'd cut them slack if they showed any signs of caring about the negative feedback they've gotten. The product they are putting out is not faithful to the characters created by Whedon. Just because the characters have the same name as the ones created by Whedon and Minear et. al. I don't see why a website dedicated to Joss's work should be supportive of commercial enterprises that hold licenses to those characters without showing any artistic interest in being faithful to the source material. From where I sit, the story and characters I care about would have been better served if IDW had nothing to do with them.
Well by and large they were faithful to the characters. Scott Tipton's Spike Angel season 5 one-shot tales were excellent. Peter David's Spike vs Dracula was a personal highlight for me. Asylum and Shadow Puppets wowed just about all the fans. And After The Fall was an epic continutation. And I loved what John Byrne did with Angel in WWI. So I think IDW has a good track record so far.
Sorry you feel that way Maggie. But I'm with Simon. You may not like what the current storyline is, but maybe you should throw a little blame Joss's way. After all he abandoned the Angel franchise post After the Fall, so Angel could be in Buffy.

IDW are putting Angel comics out every month. I doubt we would have had that if DH had kept the license.
*Reads blurbs*

*inserts every facepalm pic ever made*
I really like the Angel comics and, since I appear to be the voice of dissent around here about this, I'll tell you why: the story is totally different. After the Fall was great but it was, quite literally, a moment in time and all of it was the aftermath of season five. The story we're getting right now is a totally new direction for the cast and it's exciting to not be able to predict where it's going.

Some people see characters acting in ways they usually don't and cry foul. I guess, for me anyway, I assume they are all still damaged from having spent a whole mess of time in a hell dimension, many of them being brutally killed only to have everything reversed (kind of). It's jarring and I imagine very traumatic. I think a lot of them feel aimless. I think you're watching people who no longer feel like a team be their own worst enemies.

See, to me, that's really interesting. It may not have been the narrative I would have told if given the chance but, hey, the comics, contrary to popular belief, aren't meant to be fan service nor should they be. I want to hear the story that IDW wants to tell, not the one that a handful of angry fans demand.

And there's a reason for Spike's leg dusting. You just have to, you know, *wait* for it.

[ edited by project bitsy on 2010-03-24 18:47 ]
Angelic, if you want to spend money on a group of people who have as little respect for the characters as IDW has, it's your privilege, of course. But it's my right to object to having characters I love completely trashed by IDW. So I'm exercising my right to say in public that I'd rather have nothing than the dreck IDW is putting out. There's lots of fanfic in the world, some of it good. I don't need BAD commercial product to get my story needs met. And it just hurts my heart to see what IDW is doing with one of the best TV shows ever.
Much as I'm hating the recent outpourings from IDW right about now, in my eyes the above sentiment could be applied to whats going down in season 8 too.

I'm now coming to the rapid conclusion that neither the Buffy/Angelverse translates very well, if at all, into the comic medium.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-03-24 19:07 ]
I mostly agree with Maggie and sueworld, although I see where Simon and others are coming from . I dropped the Angel book after last month's issue, mostly due to the incredibly bad characterization of Spike who is one of my favorites, but also because of other characters like Illyria, pretty much all of them honestly. I also don't like the 'Illyria mating' plotline, and from what I've heard about this month's issue things have only gone downhill. I'm still reading Season 8 but I REALLY didn't like how things went down is #33. However, there are still so many possible directions so i could end up enjoying it again, despite a lot of the problems I have with it. I enjoyed issues 1-20 a lot, as well as 'Always Darkest', the Willow Oneshot, and #31 and #32.So, I don't think BS8 is anywhere near as bad as Angel is getting to be. I really enjoyed 'After the Fall' but after that I've pretty much only like 'Boys and Their Toys'. That said, I don't think I could drop BTVS if I tried, especially since I already dropped Angel. I just hope Brian Lynch's SPIKE series gives me something to enjoy from IDW again. Brian Lynch is definitely my favorite ANGEL comics writer, =)
My adittedly ignorant take on IDW's Angel comics (but nevertheless an informative take for people out there who are interested in how consumers make their purchasing decisions): I bought the first couple issues of Angel: After the Fall, and I was immediately put off by the art, which, like Jeanty's on Buffy season 8, was hit or miss with the likenesses, but which, unlike Jeanty's, was dark, muddy, convoluted and unclear. I often literally didn't know what was happening in a given panel, and I've been reading comics off and on my whole life. It took me a very long time to even recognize Gunn or Connor when they appeared. Then all of a sudden, there was a psychic, floating fish. The fish was the last straw; I dropped the series and that was that. I was a fan of Angel's TV show and I would have very much liked a continuation, but once again--just like in Buffy, Season 8--Joss has allowed the medium to dictate the story. From what I've read online, this psychic fish apparently appeared in earlier comics from IDW, but that's the problem: it was a comic book creation. As a fan of the TV show the ridiculous fish threw me out of the story completely and I just gave up. The comics medium is already offputting enough to potential fans of the TV shows who want to check out a continuation of the story; throwing in psychic fish (not to mention Mecha Dawn) is like putting up a sign that says: "This is the Comic Book Version of the Whedonverse. Unless You're a Comic Book Fan, Don't Bother."
Bitsy, I'm interested in stories Joss wants to tell. If you think the storytellers at IDW are worth the nickels you want to throw at them feel free. But they've got no more purchase on Joss's world than the random fanfic writer (less so, IMHO) -- and I see no reason to give them any deference whatsoever just because they have a commercial right to publish crap about these characters. This is Whedonesque, not IDW-esque.
On the other hand, this is Whedonesque, not Anti-IDW-esque. Since you've made your point, let's call an end to this particular line of discussion. If that's OK with everyone. Thanks.
The Angel:Lorne Special came out today.I just got my copy and loved it.
Yeah, the Lorne special was really, well.. special. Loved the pictures and notes from Mark Lutz and Ryall.

[ edited by Wyndam_ on 2010-03-24 21:45 ]
On my way to the shops to pick that and the Guild #1 up. Really looking forward to both. Glad to hear that the Lorne one-shot has been well received so far. Getting that comic right feels important.
Great to hear about the Lorne special.Am looking forward to getting it tomorrow.
I, for one like Willingham and Williams comic book writing. I am looking forward to Eddie Hope appearing in more pages.
IDW is wonderful.
I concur. The main IDW Angel-series is great (bar Aftermath). I think that a lack a strong leader with a vision on the department could do them well. An excecutive producer-role isn't the same as an editor's role and it would be great if someone were to take up that mantle at IDW, but other than that, I have nothing but loved their output.

Also, since nobody mentioned it as far as I see; the art in the current Angel-arc is amazing!
Do we know when will be out TPB for the Barbary Coast? (I have to limit my shopping to TPB/HC)
I really don't have a huge dislike of Betta George myself. I don't know though why I tend not to pick up on some of the characterization issues with the main bunch though. It makes me annoyed at myself lol.
I also think IDW is wonderful. If it weren't for these comics I would have no Spike stories at all. I don't care if they're canon or not, Brian Lynch does a great job with him and dag'nab it, I need my Spike!!! Thank you Brian & IDW!!
If it weren't for these comics I would have no Spike stories at all.

Might I suggest fanfic? Because there's some truly excellent fanfic out there that characterizes Spike so that he, you know, actually acts like Spike. Voice (vocabulary, grammar and syntax), psychology and inner character motivation, sensitive knowledge of the character's history. While there's obviously bad fics out there, there's a greater pool of choices and you'll find writers who absolutely nail it. Higher likelihood of success than the current situation with the comics where one writer is, uh, not nailing it nor properly incorporating 'verse mythos. ;-)

And someone just told me that the creators of Lost said that when the hardcore fans say a character is being written out-of-character, that the hardcore fans are right. That's quite interesting, isn't it. I would only hope that IDW were that open to this sort of feedback and story interpretation. I think in some ways professionals are prone to underestimate the intelligence of the fans, many of whom have impressive credentials in terms of analyzing literature and years upon years of experience with Whedonverse text.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-03-26 04:26 ]
I think in some ways professionals are prone to underestimate the intelligence of the fans...

Pros have to walk a fine line. On the one hand, there is the oft-repeated axiom that you need to give your viewers/readers what they need, not what they want, because if you just gave them what they wanted every story would be about your characters having a wonderful time and living happily ever after (and maybe having lots of sex) and nothing bad would ever happen to anyone and the viewers would become bored very quickly and tune out. Joss Whedon has said this too, and he's right of course.

However, the trap pros seem to often fall into--in fact it seems to happen so often that maybe it's simply inevitable if writers stay with a certain series long enough--is that they begin to treat the chracters as simply pieces on a chessboard, pawns to be sacrificed for the grand design. A writer has a story to tell and he/she is very enthusiastic about the story so the writer manipulates the characters into doing whatever is necessary to make the story happen, and often the manipulations are comically obvious (my favorite current example of this tendency from Joss Whedon's work is Boyd.) Plot and character should be working together toward a common goal but at the end of the day plot and character often work at cross-purposes, because some writers--maybe most writers, after awhile--fall in love with certain story ideas that require their characters to be manipulated to varying degrees, or even to act completely contrary to their established personas. And also, writers can begin to feel a kind of fatigue when it comes to their characters. Not every character can be continuously interesting and rife with dramatic potential year after year. Looking once again at Whedon's work, the character of Cordelia is a perfect case in point. By the mid-point of Angel, Joss and his writers (and I'm not going to quibble about who wrote what when, Joss was in charge so I give him all credit and all blame) were obviously scrambling to find her meaningful things to do, so then we got Vision-Having Cordy, Goddess Cordy, Pregnant Cordy, Evil Cordy and Possessed Cordy, before we finally got Dead Cordy. The tendency to yank your characters around so your story can come off is something every writer needs to guard against, and, speaking as a Buffy fanfic writer myself, I think hardcore fans, while invariably and lamentably tunnel-visioned in some respects, are great guardians of the characters. They see those shark-infested waters that the pro writers are too busy to notice, and if professional writers would listen to the fans more often, they might avoid jumping a few of those sharks on occasion. The fans are not privy to all the specifics of future story plans; unlike the writers they don't see the overarching plan of the plot, only the journey of the characters. The fans therefore can never become so enamored with a future storyline that they're willing to sacrifice a character to it, because they don't get to plan the storylines. But they do begin to see the overarching plan of the characters' lives; and if that plan begins to look contrived or false--Willow/Kennedy, anyone? --the fans make their displeasure known. Some professional writers find it annoying, and some professional writers are also disdainful of fanfic, but I think they should thank their lucky stars that their fans are so engaged with the work.

[ edited by Hellmouthguy on 2010-03-26 16:48 ]
The current fine line being walked by the pros is this:

Bill Williams: "You can't forget that these characters are valuable corporate properties. AS much as I want Eddie Hope to erase Gunn, it might not happen. [Upon being asked to clarify, he adds:] I meant kill. After the done-in-one Electric Gwen story in ANGEL #32, Eddie decides to add Charles Gunn to his list. That sends him spinning into Team Angel."

I'm still reeling from the idea that Bill Williams who's been writing Eddie Hope's character arc is so wrapped up in his OC that he's after Gunn. And to so cavalierly drop that into a fan forum.

Hellmouthguy, doesn't that resemble exactly what you said about how writers "begin to treat the chracters as simply pieces on a chessboard, pawns to be sacrificed for the grand design." It seems Williams has become so enamored of his character, he's dreaming up ways to kill off the original characters from the series.


I miss Lynch. When Lynch was writing, I got the feeling he was really tormented about writing a beloved character's death scene. That Connor's death (even though it doesn't last) was an incredibly emotional experience for him. But this thing with Gunn? This bloodthirstiness? To erase, to kill? It's seriously disturbing me.

I mean, who doesn't love writing a good death scene? But to be chomping at the bit to do it like this seems to be in poor taste. And to announce this on a fan forum is just disastrously insensitive.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-03-26 18:29 ]
Hellmouthguy, doesn't that resemble exactly what you said about how writers "begin to treat the chracters as simply pieces on a chessboard, pawns to be sacrificed for the grand design." It seems Williams has become so enamored of his character, he's dreaming up ways to kill off the original characters from the series.

Well, I haven't followed the books, but this is another example of a fine line for me, only it's the line fanfic writers have to walk. There is always a temptation to create your own characters and see how they play with the established cast. I've done it; we all do it. But the reasons you're doing it matter. Are you doing it merely to put your stamp on the property, or is there really a compelling need for this new character? (The first new character I created in my Buffy fanfics was a Watcher for Faith, because I was telling Faith's backstory.) Assuming you're creating a new character for the right reasons--for the story, not your ego--the first hurdle is then the dreaded Mary-Sue dilemma: can you actually create a real three-dimensional person with both strengths and weaknesses, a person who isn't just a fantasy stand-in for yourself? Can you resist the impulse to create a perfect person with no flaws? Then, if you can pass that hurdle, the next hurdle is, can you appreciate the characters the original work is presenting you with and not go stomping on that flower garden just for the sake of doing it?

Personally I didn't find the notion of Gunn as a villainous vampire particularly interesting at all, partly because I'm tired of the whole "the moment someone becomes a vampire they lose their soul and are therefore eeeeeevil" routine in the Whedonverse. Also, I just never found Gunn compelling enough to care about his villainous turn. I have nothing against the character, I just don't see him as interesting enough to make a good villain. Wesley, on the other hand, would have made an excellent villain in my opinion. I disliked the psychic fish and I'm pretty sure I would have disliked this Eddie Hope person too, simply because I think new characters in licensed fiction should be used sparingly and should not be stars. I have also killed off characters; I killed Xander, because my first story concerned the apocalypse, and I wanted there to be casualties, to really hammer home the fact that this apocalypse is real, and also because Xander for me is a dead-end; there aren't a lot of storytelling possibilities with him. I replaced him in the gang with Tara and never looked back. But still, you have to be careful. You have to really delve into the original characters and try to appreciate what they bring to the table. Before I killed Xander I got some good use out of him in his relationship with Willow and his legitimate complaints about the way the gang operates. And his death has had profound implications for everyone else, especially Buffy: because if you're going to kill a character off and never get to pull that particular crayon out of the box again, you'd better be damned sure the story you get out of it is worth it. So I may have killed him, but I made sure his death wasn't wasted (as I would argue Tara's death was wasted on the TV show.) So the question then becomes, why kill off Gunn? How does it enrich the story? I couldn't answer the question as I don't follow the books, but if I was writing them from scratch I personally wouldn't kill off Gunn, but then I wouldn't have turned him into a vampire either; probably, I would have let him stay dead, as he was about to be in the series finale. Then again I wouldn't have killed Connor either (and if I did kill him I wouldn't bring him back--that's another very tired routine in the Whedonverse) because I think Connor is a real fountain of storytelling ideas. He was never given very good storylines on the show, and he's just begging to star in his own well-written fanfics.

At the end of the day, the trick is to do no harm: you don't want to stomp on that flower garden.

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