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April 19 2010

(SPOILER) Buffy #34 vs Swamp Thing #34. Bleeding Cool ponders the similarities that the Buffy issue had with Promethea #10 and indeed the aforementioned Swamp Thing issue (contains NSFW images).

Can we have J.H.Williams III for S9 please? Maybe then the next sexposition issue wont be quite so laughable?

...on second thought, let's just not have another one of those.

[ edited by Changeling on 2010-04-19 17:36 ]
Well we do know that Joss is a big Promethea geek given how he admitted he borrowed from it for Buffy's season four finale (not Restless necessarily). However, that series at least convinced me I was learning something as it was basically a very pretty lecture whereas I was vaguely not that into the Buffy go. (I think it has something to do with the art. I'd have sort of liked a more ethereal artist.)

That's an interesting framework to try and read into Buffy. Never checked out that Swamp thing though.
orangewaxlion, I read all of Allan Moore's Swamp Thing, and it is in, in general, his hyperliterate writing style. Obtuse.

It seems to me what these comics have in common is unsexy sex scenes. We could make it multi media by throwing in Eyes Wide Shut.
Very interesting similarities. But not being a fan of comics puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to things of this sort.

So I must ask: is this a big deal or what?
I admit, I thought of both Promethea and Swamp Thing as I read the latest BtVS: S8. The magical nature aside, I think there isn't much in common. Moore's scenes are (IMO obviously) beautiful, mystical, revelatory, didactic. And beautifully drawn/inked/lettered. Love them both to bits.

BtVS 34, by comparison, is a story that features some magical sex. And the art, which seems a little tentative and, dare I say flat, doesn't rise to the same level as the other two works. Again, IMO.
Moore's scenes are (IMO obviously) beautiful, mystical, revelatory, didactic.

I would agree with that, just by seeing what was in the article that Simon linked. The style of art is very different.
that series at least convinced me I was learning something as it was basically a very pretty lecture

I don't really believe the Twuffy(?) sexcapades was meant to teach you anything. Not yet, anyway. And besides being obviously influenced by Moore I doubt they are intentionally 'homaging' his work like they did with Uber!Buffy in S4.


...on second thought, let's just not have another one of those.

Seconded. But not because of the art or anything--I like the art--but because I don't really think Joss is very good with exploring explicit sexuality as a subject. Dollhouse, for me, proved that. I felt the whole sexual undertones in Dollhouse were incredibly awkward, except for maybe that Topher/Whiskey scene, and felt forced. Joss works best with metaphor and theme, finding a way to talk/show something without actually showing it.

I think this whole sex crap has stemmed from another instance where Joss has gone, "Well, this is what I wan't to do", and nobody (like the other writers or the actors themselves) have been there to say to him "Ummmm, really Joss? I mean, really?" which could make him stop and think for a minute. I just didn't see any reason why they made the sex that 'explicit' and drawn out. What were they trying to show? Except maybe boredom ;)

I think, going ahead, whenever Joss comes up with a new plot point someone--like Allie perhaps--has to say to Joss, "Cool. Now how would you have done that on the show?" As in how would he express whatever themes he wanted within the confines of the show and build it up from that, because like it or not Buffy IS the show, and the comics should be doing more to express what people love about the show than they currently are.

But this is all just coming from someone desperately jonesing for the next issue. :)
I think my problem with the sex is not so much the way it's portrayed or the amount of skin shown .... it's more that I fundamentally don't get "the Buffy of it." I don't get what's going on in her head, I don't know what her emotions are, I don't know why she's doing this or what it means to her.

Therefore I don't really care. (As opposed to, say, IWRY, where the the much-less-graphic sex was much more effective, 'cause the emotions made complete sense.)

The linked scene from Promethea has tons more emotional resonance. I have no idea who these characters are or what the context is, but the writing and the art create an atmosphere in the way Buffy #34 just didn't (for me, anyway).

Even so, I don't think I like the idea of someone asking Joss, "how would you do it on the show?" Because one of the things I loved about Buffy-the-show is how the creative team was never afraid to take risks, to experiment, to shake up the show's formula. Sometimes I thought the experiments failed, but the failed experiments were more than worth it for the successes, IMO. The "sexposition" (good coinage, Changeling) didn't really work for me .... but I guess there's part of me that's glad to see that Whedon is still experimenting with the Buffyverse, still trying to do things in ways he hasn't done them before.
I think my problem with the sex is not so much the way it's portrayed or the amount of skin shown .... it's more that I fundamentally don't get "the Buffy of it."

I'm not sure I got "the Buffy of it" either but I can tell you how I viewed those sex scenes.

Angel may have initiated the sex but the driving force behind the sex was not him, it was her. Get past those first few scenes and into the sex itself and Angel becomes a non-entity in panel after panel. It's all about Buffy and her will: what she wants, what she feels, what she needs. He's just *there*, doing her bidding.

I'm not sure what that says about her as a character or of it has anything to do with the story being told, but that's what I saw while I was reading the issue.
Even so, I don't think I like the idea of someone asking Joss, "how would you do it on the show?"

Yeah erendis that kinda came out the wrong way I intended. What I meant to say was more along the lines that because of the limitations of the show, and TV in general, many aspects/plot points had to be stripped down to their most basic elements. Each episode contains only the key moments that matter the most. And I think they've lost sight of that essence in the comics a bit because of the "limitless budget" potential of the medium. There are things happening that just don't make sense, that seemingly don't add anything to the emotional story of these characters. And I'm not talking about the Twilight stuff 'cause that's yet to be explained (but I agree with you in not getting "the Buffy of it"). I'm thinking more in terms of things like Mecha Dawn. What was the point of that? Buffy suddenly having a submarine - why was that needed in the story?

Look, I love the comics, but I see them as only one aspect of what made Buffy great. It's all EPIC, all the time, and it's starting to get wearisome.

Back in the murky internet archives, SMG had this to say about S6, which I think can be applied to the comics:
(emphasis added by me)

"It wasn't who Buffy was, or why people loved her. You don't want to see that dark heroine; you don't want to see her punishing herself. You want to see her killing vampires and making quips. It didn't feel like the character that I loved.
...
But I think the heart of the show lies in the humor of the drama."


Damn do I miss those stakings and quips.
I think the comics have decidedly lost a lot of the "humor of the drama." And I just hope at some point Joss will rediscover that.
I think that's a good observation erendis. And really makes sense. Ever since Buffy came back from the dead in season 6 she really hasn't understood her purpose or her own motivations a lot of the times. She's had to work through a lot of "isolationist slayer crap" and rely a lot on instinct. I think we're finally coming head to head with her having to take responsibility for her actions, and extremist slayerism.

and Kaan, I think you can be pretty sure Buffy will get back to that. Season 7 was grim grim grim and then Chosen was one of the funniest and quippiest of the series. It just takes time.

[ edited by narky on 2010-04-19 21:54 ]

[ edited by narky on 2010-04-19 21:57 ]
Can we have J.H.Williams III for S9 please?

Sadly, I don't think so. He takes longer than a month to draw an issue (much longer I think), so Dark Horse might be reluctant to ask him for that reason. More importantly, he's about to launch the new Batwoman series for DC, so he'll most likely be involved with that for the next year or more.
It seems to me what these comics have in common is unsexy sex scenes. We could make it multi media by throwing in Eyes Wide Shut.


Except they were supposed to make the audience uneasy.
And I think they've lost sight of that essence in the comics a bit because of the "limitless budget" potential of the medium. There are things happening that just don't make sense, that seemingly don't add anything to the emotional story of these characters. And I'm not talking about the Twilight stuff 'cause that's yet to be explained (but I agree with you in not getting "the Buffy of it"). I'm thinking more in terms of things like Mecha Dawn. What was the point of that? Buffy suddenly having a submarine - why was that needed in the story


The absence of a show's budgetary limitations disguised the defining limitations of the format itself and it's incompatibility with Buffyverse. I enjoyed some of the pre-S8 Buffycomics as interesting expansions without feeling that the weight of the show was resting on them -- they were holidays or perks, "wouldn't this be interesting to have seen ON Buffy?" But now the weight of the show's conclusion is resting on this -- and it just won't bear the responsibility of being an authentic extension. It's simultaneously excessive, with all these flips & doo-dads & scribbles being thrown into the story, but it's like all truly & truthfully felt emotion has been flushed out. "All EPIC, all the time" is a good way to describe it . . . a Black Lectroid should've made an appearance at the end of #34 saying "Soo whaat, beeg deeel".
Except they were supposed to make the audience uneasy.

There were a lot of people retreating in dark room with the comic
There were a lot of people retreating in dark room with the comic


That would be the only possible way to read it.

Oh, you meant a not absolutely dark room. Never mind.
As a long time Buffy promoter, mostly I find myself feeling a little embarrassed. I mean everyone knows I'm a big Buffy fan, and I find myself hoping that no one I know in real life sees issue 34. Or this link. Or any other links to the issue 34. Not because it's "dirty" but because I find it all a bit silly. For years I've been talking about how deep and intellectual Buffy is and now....cringe.

[ edited by Xane on 2010-04-20 15:14 ]
For years I've been talking about how deep and intellectual Buffy is and now....cringe.

Yes, exactly that. I stopped recommending the comics a while ago, waiting on how they would play out in the end, but it's now that I begin to think they're best forgotten asap, so that they don't ruin the legacy of the series.
I showed it to my boyfriend who I have to constantly defend my deep and intellectual Buffy-love too, and it actually made him more interested, not less. And it was fun to explain, and the more I explained the more sense it made and fun to guess with him what would happen next. It takes a true intellectual to see something for the bigger picture.Nothing to be embarrassed about.
yeah, all of my college-age friends who are most definitely NOT Buffy fans happened to flip through #34 (I think the valentine lovey looking cover was intriguing?), they all thought it was kind of awesome. Many people in my age range, 18-21, remembers Buffy and Angel from their child hood, either watching it with an older sibling or alone.

Buffy and Angel as a 'thing' is still a big deal for people who stopped watching at Season 4 or beyond. I understand the hardcore fandoms reaction to this, but I think there is a less vocal segment of readership that is actually interested in this dynamic, graphic sex or no.
Comparing all those strips the first thing that strikes me is how poor the art and layout is to the others.

And as for the whole thing appealing to the intellectual side of somebody. Oh dear, that was the furthest thing from my mind after reading this daftness. Sorry Joss, I thought it was truly awful. :(
It takes a true intellectual to see something for the bigger picture


Here, the bigger picture is a much shallower picture, one stretched to fit a pretty frame & hung over truly hideous sofa.
I begin to think they're best forgotten asap, so that they don't ruin the legacy of the series.


To quote Buffy, "It's a big black pit of a mistake." Sad that the query 'What do we do now, Buffy?' has been answered with this grab bag of recycled, almost parodistic material (and not just the superfrak, either . . . )

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