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April 20 2010

(SPOILER) Bill Willingham talks Angel at C2E2 2010. He drops some pretty big spoilers about what's to come... it pertains to Spike. If you're a Willingham fan, there's also plenty of spoilery stuff about Fables, and his other projects.

Wow. That sounds like the worst, most boring plot idea for Spike ever. But I haven't been keeping up with the Angel comics since ATF ... How is Willingham's writing for the series? Does he just not get Spike?

Then again, sometimes it's all in the execution (e.g. Shakespeare!), so maybe I'm misjudging him. Maybe what sounds terrible in a one-sentence summary will actually make for a compelling and/or funny story.

...Maybe.
Actually it sounds like a wonderful idea to me, and very much like Spike to look at some mildewed old bit of magic trivia with a realist's eye and try to figure out how it really works. This is the guy who taped Buffy's fighting moves, the guy who hired assassins to kill her, the guy who wouldn't accept the idea that there could only be one vampire with a soul so he went out and found a way to get one for himself. He disdains all establishments, societal or magical, and calls bullshit on whatever he deems to be bullshit (even, once in awhile, when it's himself.) All these Buffyverse characters have been unceasingly yanked around by infallible "prophecies" since the end of BtVS season one. Why shouldn't someone try to figure out how it works?
Sorry but to me this comes across to me as being so incredibly weak as well as incredibly stupid. Does he actually get Spikes character at all? I mean really?
I've been on the fence about continuing with his arc given the out-of-characterness of his writing. This pushed me over the fence. No more Angel for me. Which is sad because I feel like the Angelverse is ripe with stories to tell.
I'm not trying to pick an argument--I don't read the IDW comics so really, I don't care about this at all--but I am curious: why the hostility to this idea? Why exactly does it seem out of character for Spike to be doing this? BtVS and Angel gave us about a zillion storylines that were far goofier than this one. Basically, as I understand it--admittedly I skimmed the article but I think I read the relevant Spike part--Spike is trying to figure out how prophecies work and who can write them, and so he decides to see if he can't get some people to write one for him and whether or not it will actually stick, because he's tired of being the world's whipping boy, as he might put it. Is there some other part I'm missing that isn't making sense to people in regards to Spike's character? Buffy season seven and Angel season four alone gave us half a dozen ideas that strike me as being far more ill-conceived and nonsensical than this.

I've never been the biggest Spike fan, maybe I'm just out of step with his fans about what works for his character?
This sounds... Very stupid, actually. I can't picture Spike doing that now; Maybe a while ago, when he FIRST got to LA, but not now. As I've pleaded before: Please, Brian Lynch, save Spike as soon as you can!!!
@Hellmouthguy: I can only speak for myself (obviously), but that was just my instinctive reaction to the idea. I'm not a huge Spike fan either (I like him, but he was never my favorite character), so my reasoning may be different from Spike fans. I don't know.

But here's an attempt to explain my reaction: I see Spike as more of a "screw destiny" kind of guy than a guy who cares about prophecies. Angel's the prophecy guy, the one who worries about doom and fate and destiny; Spike's the guy who does things his own way. Sure, at one point he thought the Shanshu could apply to him, and liked the idea. But I saw that as at least half him screwing with Angel. (Granted, it's been a while since I watched that episode, so my interpretation could be off.) There was also an element of him wanting to take center stage--but ultimately I just don't see him being motivated by prophecies. Not seriously or for any length of time, anyway.
erendis, one of the big reasons this idea seemed so natural to me was specifically because of the Angel episode in which Spike and Angel have their knock-down dragout fight to drink from that cup. And even after it turns out to be Mountain Dew or whatever, Spike still seemed motivated by a desire to be "the one" who fulfills the Shanshu prophecy after that. Maybe part of it is his desire to compete with Angel and maybe part of it is his desire to prove to Buffy that he can be her "Champion" (God, how I hate that frigging word) but Spike didn't seem at all dismissive of the Shanshu prophecy. He even liked being the "ensouled Champion" or whatever who got to wear the Great Shiny Plot Contrivance Necklace in the final episode of Buffy, so it seems to me that he loves being Prophecy Guy. Granted though, I know nothing at all about what they're doing with him in the comics and maybe they've taken his character in different directions since Angel season five?
@Erendis, I couldn't have said it better.

Also, the whole thing about him coming into a lot of money and hiring unemployed lawyers to write the prophecies for him? It sounds crazy.

As far as the shows having crazier, more wacky elements than the comics - that's true. But it was done well (for the most part) and you actually had actors. I feel like in comics, the 'verse needs to be more serious... more serialized (for lack of a better word)... if they want it to be taken seriously. Otherwise they're going to be spending months trying to tell a story similar to one of Joss' fun, standalone episodes. Readers lose interest and think it's dumb and overdone. Whereas in the show itself, it was one episode out of 22. Those kind of stories were usually told in the middle of a serious arc to give us some room to breathe for an episode before continuing on with the seriousness.

I don't think I explained that very well... but there you have it.
Interesting,I think this idea is a little out there but they did sort of set up this sort of thing on the show in season 3 with Sahjhan.
RE: Spike wanting the Shanshu,
In Not Fade Away, Spike asked Angel if he thought one of them would get to be a "real boy" after the big fight. When Angel mentions they're both gonna be dust, Spike shrugs it off simply saying "as long as it's not you then". That seems like Spike's most honest response to the Shanshu; "Yea, it'd be nice but I don't really care as long as Angel doesn't get it". Yea, there's their big (epic) fight but a lot of that comes down, in my mind, to Spike wanting to be the one on top for once, rather than always being second-best to Angel(us).
As i see it, this has all been touched on in show.
Didn't Sahjhan rewrite a prophesy?
And as erendis said "it is all in the execution",
and on account of how i have read
11 volumes of Fables trades in the past week,
i feel comfortable saying Willingham
is one of the top 5 writers in comics today.
He can make 22pp work.

edit: sahjhan not skip

[ edited by espalier on 2010-04-21 00:40 ]
That sounds cute enough that I almost want to pick up Angel again, after giving it up two issues into Aftermath.
I don't have a problem with Spike looking into prophesies.

The part where he suddenly, randomly comes into tons of money and hires out of work lawyers that however seems corny and is just a really bad plot point.

I can picture Spike figuring out how to write prophesies and writing them himself, using it as a joke to make Angel's head three sizes bigger, or more likely as a weapon, since they are essentially suggesting that writing something as a prophesy makes it come to pass.
I can't even work up the will to fully comment on the wrongness. This is me fading away...
Everytime I think they've gotten as bad as they can get, team IDW limbos lower.
Huh? Seriously, Willingham could at least bother to come up with something he hasn't used before (not even to mention how OOC this is for Spike)!

This is exactly the beginning of the Jack of Fables storyline, where Jack wants to write himself bigger and more powerful, by buying a Hollywood studio and making movies about himself.

I'll be back for Brian Lynch, but I'm not touching this series with a ten foot pole.

[ edited by Changeling on 2010-04-21 11:34 ]
This sounds funny - it might actually get me back into the IDW comics (I felt that the first few issues of "Aftermath" were insufferable urban fantasy drivel, and I haven't taken a look at the Angel comics since). Willingham is a great writer, so the execution will probably not be as sloppy as some people here seem to be afraid of.
I also think that it is totally in character - I agree that Spike has always been the "screw destiny" guy, but writing your own prophecies sounds like a pretty good and original way to screw with destiny. It shows that he has no respect, that he is not in awe of the wise women and men of old with their ancient knowledge. It sounds like an "if they can do it, I can do it" thing. Perfect for Spike.

Of course, there's the danger that it turns out a "Jack of Fables" rehash. But there could be worse things.
*Sighs* And has nothing more to say.

I'll be back for Brian Lynch, but I'm not touching this series with a ten foot pole.

Yup. Reading Brian Lynch's Formspring Q&A, I'm feeling optimistic for his Spike stuff. He was recently asked how he'd like to see Spike back in the mix in Season 8, in view of his upcoming appearance. Other than wanting Spike to comment on the Buffy/Twangel nonsense, he says 'panel time with Xander and Dawn'. A big yes to this. Would be great to see the Xander/Spike snark back and a glimpse again of the Spike/Dawn friendship.
Shazzam,yeah, Lynch obviously gets the character and has seen the show. He also has a certain focus of one side of Spike, but it's still Spike all the way, while Willingham just writes Jack with a Spike-skin.

Sorry but the character is only interesting with a soul (and I don't mean that in the Buffyverse sense).

@Jakob Schmidt: I'm a big time Fables fan and I saw Willingham as a great writer before this, but we are already three issues into his arc, so there's no way around it: The execution IS sloppy. Most of the characters sound nothing like themselves and while the plot could have been interesting, so much canon and lore from the show is ignored that it doesn't fit in. It reads like he watched maybe ten episodes of Angel.
I didn't realize that we're already three issues into the Willingham arc ... it has obviously been a long time since I took up an Angel comic.
If Willingham really is sloppy with Angel, then that's quite a letdown. However, I still like the idea outlined above. I think I will give it a chance, but I'll wait for the trade paperback.

[ edited by Jakob Schmidt on 2010-04-21 18:39 ]
Maybe have a look at it in the comic shop first, because really, aside from all the pointless characters from Aftermath being there, the characters from the show, especially Illyria and Spike are unrecognizable.

I really wanted to like this and I even defended it through the beginning, because I thought maybe he'd just need some time to find his footing, but it's getting worse instead of better.
Trouble is, if I want to have a look, I'll probably have to order anyway. There's one comic shop here in Berlin, Germany that has Buffy and Angel comics, but normally, they don't have the back issues in stock ...
He also has a certain focus of one side of Spike, but it's still Spike all the way

YES. Very true, but at least Lynch writes Spike. I'll be back for Lynch's series.

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