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April 29 2010

(SPOILER) Scott Allie's Buffy Zone update. He hints at things in next week's issue 35.

Doesn't sound too promising.

To me the porn part was less the prudish pictures, but more the total lack of emotional build up. When two people just start to fuck for no good reason, that's porn.
Biggest plot twist ever Twilight bad - Angel good.

Yeah, didn't see that coming after 32.5 issues
I chose to feel optimistic. Scott says that all the cards with be on the table so hopefully we can make informed decisions. Wow, I feel like I'm discussing the passing of some big legislature...
Ummm,Scott - not *all* Angel fans were happy at that outcome. Bangel fans yes....but Bangel fans do no always equal Angel fans.

Hope theres a good explanation for all this - cos right now it screams of 'clutching at straws'.
I'm sure not all Bangel fans have like it as well, so I wouldn't be complaining about someone making blanket assumptions whilst making one yourself.

And how can a storyline that has been going since the very first issue be seen as 'clutching at straws'? It might not be a good storyline and you might not like it, but this is where it's always been headed.

Anyway, back on planet earth …

That had me laughing so hard!

Okay so hopefully when SA says: "pretty much all those cards on the table", it actually means real answers, cause I think we've been pretty patient so far but we're really past due for some right now.
Any un-school safe pics? Cuz I'm at school....
Ya know, since this is my first comic book series that I've read, I was taken back by the intense nature of Buffy and Angel's reunion. But... I'm over it.

When I think back to those pages, I think they're quite nice actually. Of course it took some time to put on Buffy's shoes, but if one of my true loves (who I had no problems having sex with when he was human), came back and we were god-like people who could fly? I'd probably do the same thing and "tap that".

Because in that moment, you're not thinking about anything else. After re-reading, you can tell with Buffy's thought boxes that at first there was that rush of anxiety and doom, but that all gets swept away by the historical emotions and love you feel for that person.

I feel like I've matured as a comic-book reader.
Just the #37 cover.
Quote: "that's not exactly who Angel is" which might be intriguing, or just as easily very disappointing.
You know I feel a sense of DH trying to have their cake and eat it too in this.

I mean he's shocked that people are calling issue 34 porn, and yet the title chapter was called 'Them f*cking'.

For me it was the idea/execution that came across as so utterly ridiculous, and not the slightest bit erotic. Just crass nonsense, that didn't really show either lead character in a particularly good light. And what shocks me the most is that he seems to be saying in this post is that this has only just occurred to them, which can't be good.

Also there are fans out there who aren't Buffy/Angel shippers? I mean who would have thunk it. *g*

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-04-29 17:55 ]
Fucking does not equal porn. In my head.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-04-29 17:57 ]
I'm not any kind of shipper by any means but I thought his "Anyway, back on planet earth …" line was a rather obvious swipe at shippers generally. I don't buy these books and I long ago stopped even considering them canon but I must say you can count me among those folks who find Mr. Allie's attitude in his posts just a bit offputting.
I wouldn't call issue 34 porn (taken strictly on its own I might, but that would be unfair as it's the continuation of a story arc and isn't meant to be read in isolation) but I would certainly call it tasteless, quite crass, and shamelessly manipulative.
I've really enjoyed S8. Still, I agree the execution of ish 34 was less-than-great. An event that seemingly should have been mind-blowing was something much less than, IMO. Assuming the lack of emotional build-up was partly the point, I would have liked to see more intense (though not necessarily more explicit) graphics, to drive home the physicality of it all. As it was, it was a little, erm, flaccid . . .
Wow, really not happy with how Scott wrote this. He sounds kinda condescending to the fans. I'm not an uber crazy shipper, although I do enjoy certain ships much more than others, but it seems kind of clueless to suggest that if you are a fan of Angel or Spike then automatically you must also love whatever ship they are assosciated with.

I personally am a big fan of Spike and parts of his relationship with Buffy( mostly Season 7), but I can honestly say I would be HUGELY upset if it had been Spike behind the mask and they had started doing it like bunnies, even though I prefer their relationship to the Buffy/Angel one.(That's ok to say here right?) I would actually be much more upset than I was with it being Angel( which was still pretty upsetting.)

Ugh, I'm probably going to drop the comics very soon, I seriously don't know how I've managed to last this long....
Regarding complaints about lumping factions of fans indiscriminately, he does say this: "There were plenty of readers that just didn’t want to see Buffy sleeping with the guy in the mask, no matter who he was, because he was behind all this horror".
So, yeah, I think he's aware that there are Angel/Spike/Buffy/Satsu/Bangel/Spuffy/Spangel/Spuffel/Batsu/etc factions who weren't happy either.
Wow, really not happy with how Scott wrote this. He sounds kinda condescending to the fans.

I'm not any kind of shipper by any means but I thought his "Anyway, back on planet earth …" line was a rather obvious swipe at shippers generally.

Allie has said repeatedly that he doesn't quite 'get' or understand 'shipping. And yet every time he opens his mouth he get's slammed for his seemingly Joss influencing, 'shipper-swaying comments. Seriously if I was an outsider with no historical context looking in on this fandom over the last few months I would be pretty shocked and disgusted with how some people have conducted themselves.

If Allie doesn't understand 'shipping, or looks down on it somehow, it's only a reaction of what he perceives 'shipping and 'shippers are generally like. When anyone has to continually preface his comments with, "some fans are gonna hate me for saying this..." it's an utter disgrace.

Respect, even to one's audience, is not unequivocal. Respect is given where it is shown.
I think Allie not understanding shipping means he was quite surprised that the big Buffy/Angel reunion was NOT what fandom waited for ten years.
@Simon: Spuffel=Spike/Buffy/Angel. :)
That would explain a lot. Cause I was thinking why would anyone ship Spike with a duffel coat?
@anca: No, the Allie bashing started way before anyone even knew Angel was Twilight.
Shipping really isn't rocket science. Some fans really get into the romantic relationships between certain characters. There. I've just defined shipping. I don't think Scott Allie "doesn't understand" shipping, because, really, what is there to understand? I think, judging from his comments, that he doesn't appreciate the influence of shippers in the Buffy fandom, that he thinks shippers don't have the proper perspective on the stories (a fair point actually), and he doesn't appreciate constantly having to address their concerns. And I think his annoyance comes out sometimes, like in the comment I quoted above. Kaan, I'm not sure what "utter disgraces" you're referring to. Is Allie being burned in effigy somewhere? He isn't the most diplomatic of spokespersons and he occasionally seems rather tone deaf and people have reacted to that, but "disgrace" is a harsh word. Like I said, I'm not a shipper, but I've noticed a tendency in Allie's comments to disparage them. It seems to me that if Allie doesn't like shippers his wisest course of action would be not to mention them at all in his comments, but instead he keeps on bringing them up. He is, after all, trying to sell comic books, and alienating a segment of his readership seems a strange choice to further that goal. And actually, his current comments read to me like a simple case of sour grapes: he's been taken aback by some of the negative reaction to Twilight and so therefore shippers have goofy nicknames and are apparently residing on some other planet. (As if being devoted to specific Buffy ships is any goofier than the inherent concept of the Buffy franchise itself? This is a girl who fights vampires doing kung fu, and we're arguing about the fact that the ships are what's ridiculous?)
Did. Not. Help.
@Kaan: Oh, sorry, I picked up S8 train after Angel was revealed as Twilight

[ edited by anca on 2010-04-29 19:24 ]
Like I said, I'm not a shipper, but I've noticed a tendency in Allie's comments to disparage them. It seems to me that if Allie doesn't like shippers his wisest course of action would be not to mention them at all in his comments, but instead he keeps on bringing them up.


And I agree it does seem a bit like sour grapes to me also. But then the cynic in me thinks that it's easier for some to blame the negative feedback squarely on the shoulders of shippers, rather them *gasp* the actual story.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-04-29 19:29 ]
Hellmouthguy: I was referring to Scott Allie, not you. I liked your post a lot. I'd like to agree and add: there are shippers and there are shippers. Three things I think he needs to know 1) all shippers are not teenage girls or Eleanor Rigby, 2) They aren't the happiest or angriest. The fandoom is complex, and if I were to guess the majority of people who are disappointed by the story line and it's emphasis aren't actually shippers, 3) Fans are fans, if you talk down to any of them, they're not going to respond well. One last little snippit: It's dangerous to imply you know people who don't know you.
Wow. I was going to give my opinion but found that so many of you had expressed what I think already.....

I thought his "Anyway, back on planet earth …" line was a rather obvious swipe at shippers generally. I don't buy these books and I long ago stopped even considering them canon but I must say you can count me among those folks who find Mr. Allie's attitude in his posts just a bit offputting.

I agree.

Assuming the lack of emotional build-up was partly the point, I would have liked to see more intense (though not necessarily more explicit) graphics, to drive home the physicality of it all. As it was, it was a little, erm, flaccid . . .

I agree.

And actually, his current comments read to me like a simple case of sour grapes: he's been taken aback by some of the negative reaction to Twilight and so therefore shippers have goofy nicknames and are apparently residing on some other planet.


Fucking does not equal porn. In my head.

I totally agree.

Now...what's a duffel coat, where's the popcorn and the Angel/Lindsey porn?
Rather see Parker and Scott Hope boff... didn't Scott go gay? Could've sworn...
About duffel coats... click HERE to be educated. :)
Yep, Scott came out some time before S7.

Oh hey that coat looks like it should only be worn where it gets really cold. Thanks for the link, wenxina.
Ah Hellmouthguy, I do love your posts you know. So passionate.

I started to deconstruction your entire comment and add my arguments to pretty much everything you just said... but then I couldn't be bothered anymore. (Would anything I say seriously change your mind? I doubt it.)

Except I will address this:
It seems to me that if Allie doesn't like shippers his wisest course of action would be not to mention them at all in his comments, but instead he keeps on bringing them up.

I think this is one of the only times SA has ever brought up 'shippers unprompted by a specific question, which is usually geared towards him making some preconceived desired answer. He doesn't talk about it because he doesn't think about the story in those terms, doesn't look at things from that angle.

He answers a question about any character and then every word he says get's twisted and suddenly he's a '[insert character] hater who is influencing the story to his own outcomes.'

And thats it for my SA vs. the Shippers discussion. In the immortal words of Vamp Willow: Bored now.
I don't think Scott Allie "doesn't understand" shipping, because, really, what is there to understand?

I think Scott Allie's (and to a lesser degree, Georges Jeanty's) online Q&As with fans are a pretty good indication of what else there is to know. I really like what both of them bring to Season 8 and how they interact with fans generally. That said, it's been pretty clear to me as I've read those Q&As over time that they entered this without really understanding fan community dynamics and particularly shipping factions. It's not a dictionary definition they've had some trouble understanding, it's a whole subculture with various factions and historic internal contentions. One that's emotionally invested in the series in a way that really jars with how someone working on the comics would even begin to think about them. And while I don't excuse some of the PR problems I do think it'd be highly unusual if they did understand these things from the beginning.
Hmm. I've read(here and other places) a few opinions about what orifice of the human body Allie is, but I have to say I disagree. He might just in a bad mood, not thinking straight, so I'll give him a break on this one. But the guy either needs to be educated in PR or the fandom of Buffy, bad mood or not. It's one thing to have "strong" opinions, it's another to now get that he's actually being narrow-minded, which I doubt he gets. Maybe he should have a fan proof-read his statements before posting? Just to give some pointers so he can avoid stereotyping shippers, being rude, etc etc.
Does that last paragraph hint at Joss' Marvel Movie involvement?
Or maybe just the Cabin in the woods movie.
I thought it was a good interview and a nice reminder that we don't have all the answers, that it's not all black and white, particularly as it pertains to Angel as Twilight so I was happy with it.

And I'm a shipper and wasn't overly bothered by the "planet Earth" remark - I took it more as something alien to *him* in that he just doesn't get the act or idea of shipping rather than as a swipe at all people who ship.

Then again, I'm not inclined to over-analyze his interviews looking to find something to nitpick and view negatively.
I'm definitely a shipper, and I thought Allie's grumbling was hilarious--the "planet Earth" line in particular. *shrug*
Imblack, are you aware how condecending this sounded "Then again, I'm not inclined to over-analyze his interviews looking to find something to nitpick and view negatively."?

Just because someone people viewed the statement differently doesn't mean we're over-analyzing it so we can find something negative. It just means we viewed it differently. It could mean we were looking for bad stuff, but not necassarily. Kinda judging all of us, for what only a few of us do, isn't it? Which was Allie's problem too.

Not sure if I mis-read you, so be free to ignore this comment if you wish.

[ edited by Skytteflickan88 on 2010-04-29 23:38 ]
So wait, now 'shippers are special interest groups that need to be catered to and not stereotyped? Seriously? Someone can actually get offended? Scott should have some kind of special 'shipper sensitivity training or something?

I agree with Allie, now back to Earth and things that really matter. Stuff like this is what makes some people turn away from Whedon work in general. At times I find the whole concept of "fandom" completely tiresome and the comics have really brought out the crazy in it all.
And yet here you are taking issue with people about it. I think Allie is being disingenuous; he has to understand the nature of fandoms since he has been in comics for a long time and this can hardly be the first exposure he has had. I felt his comments were snide and pointed; I agree that this is hardly the way to sell comics to your fans. What I think caught him by surprise was the lack of universal acclaim for the issue; I believe that he felt the more hard-core sex they had there would earn him some sort of accolade for risk taking, since Buffy had never been that explicit before. But that is buying into the idea that if Joss writes it, it has to be not just right but perfect. What surprises me is that, as I read the above 30+ comments, there are more critical ones than supportive ones- on a board that loves what Joss does. That may mean nothing, but it may also mean they have misread their audience, not for the first time. Should they change anything? Maybe not. But that does not mean there will world-wide huzzahs over ever little development. I have followed this comic since it began, but have no desire to do so into S9. They have done the impossible, turned me off of a series I love to pieces. And I am apparently not the only one. All I can say is, this is what you wanted?

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-04-30 01:41 ]

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-04-30 01:42 ]
Well, Joss didn't write this. And even if he did, I doubt that anyone here would proclaim that Joss is beyond reproach.
I don't think that Allie was caught off guard by the non-universal acclaim for this issue. I don't think the fandom was ever supposed to react positively as a whole to the latest arc. True to form, it's pretty split. Some love the latest developments, others loathe it. Some loved the sex. Some hated it. Some were okay with it, but didn't care passionately for it, either way. Just because he's not a shipper per se, and doesn't quite understand how passionate the whole shipping deal is, doesn't mean that Allie is clueless as to how the fandom-at-large works. He's never discounted the intelligence, passion, and zeal of the fandom, despite some of his more off-color remarks.
I'm actually quite excited to see what #35 will bring to the table.
I agree with Allie, now back to Earth and things that really matter.

Why is this hard? Sales matter. He's the editor of a comic talking to the readers of the comic, and offending some of them. He isn't posting on a message board, he isn't writing an opinion piece about the pitfalls of Buffy fandom. He's promoting a comic, and doing it in such a way that he is offending some of the people he is trying to sell to. That's it. That is the only argument that matters here. Maybe shippers are goofy. So what? They pay their $3.50 like everybody else. Or not. As the sales keep on decreasing.
Word, Dana5140.
Although Scott is a part of a business and Dark Horse is profit-motivated, I don't worry that his comments might be turning away buyers or readers. Buffy is their best-selling title, isn't it ? Losing a few or a few dozen buyers because said customers are too touchy when the editor offers his personal not gonna sink the book (this isn't Joss or any of the other writers making these comments, no one who has creative influence on the story, but even if it was...seriously, can there not be differing opinions among the writers and the occasional jab at the admittedly nuttier and/or fiery passionate and/or sophomoric aspects of the fandom without these individuals being taken to task over them?). Keep in mind that I'm not saying I enjoy the fact that many Buffy fans aren't enjoying Season 8 on the merits of its story, that's too bad and understandable.

I'd rather have Allie voice his honest opinion, for better or worse. We already have politicians, CEOs, and higher-ups in other entertainment media bending over backward to pander to as many people as possible (even though they might be lying in many cases--would you guys prefer that Allie lie ? I wouldn't muzzle him, either, which is what asking him to refrain from commenting on certain subjects amounts to). It's often refreshing to not see self-censorship, hope to continue to see more of it. We aren't Dark Horse employees, so unless you have company stocks, quit jumping on Scott from the "this is bad PR and it so matters" angle. Why do folks wanna see just another company puppet ? Especially if you're not reading with much enthusiasm anymore, have written the title off, or haven't been buying the comic for a while now, why does it matter to you whether Allie is being the model of PR anymore ? His effect on the rise or decline of Buffy comic sales shouldn't matter to you anymore. The book's not in any danger of getting canceled, but it's also not gonna flourish as well as it could've, based on your opinion of how the editor is promoting it and interacting with fans, so why continue to gripe about how the guy's handling himself ?

Thicker skin required for enjoyment of and participation in fandom where folks, including the creators and business folk behind the property, are going to have--and are perfectly entitled to voice--their thoughts on, well, anything. Didn't realize so many fans were made of glass.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-04-30 02:45 ]
Perhaps Dark Horse should consider making PG and R versions of their comics, so readers can choose between "Ken-and-Barbie-land" and the real world, where nearly every single one of us is here because our parents dared to have sexual intercourse.

Then again, maybe we'd have a lot fewer neuroses about sex if we approached the subject honestly and openly, like it was say, the 21st century.

The earth is no longer flat, women are no longer the property of men, and maybe we should go ahead and drop the guilt about sex while we're at it.

[ edited by quantumac on 2010-04-30 03:37 ]
I haven't loved every single thing about S8; some things leave me unmoved, others have question marks pending. But, as with Kris, I appreciate Scott Allie not doing something that some people seem to think he should be doing: mindlessly pushing product. Just as he seems to appreciate (and is clearly, emphatically *not* dismissive of) the passion in the fandom, what counts for me is that he seems to be passionate about the book.
And maybe some us feel that the story does not need to display that much sex, but are not prudes either. That's sort an unfair comment, quantumac. I am a bit tired of the "porning of America," and one thing is for sure, some of the readers of this comic are going to be young kids. And if Joss hates torture porn, he sure ought to hate porn porn.

Wenxina, people wearing t-shirts proclaiming that Joss "is my God" certainly has made some think that Joss is beyond reproach. I don't know how many times I've read that people will follow Joss wherever he goes, no matter where he goes. But I get that this is a fanboard. Were I DH, I would be a bit concerned about the fact that on the one board in all the world that is most likely to sing praises of Buffy and Joss, there are one hell of a lot of pointedly negative comments. Look, I spent nearly 20 years as a journal editor. Had I seen something similar, I would be worried, truly. I would not simply think, great, I've upset some people and the controversy will help me sell more books. 'Cause, I know that's not true. It hurts sales. I would always do my best job, but not paying any attention to my audience- that would be sheer idiocy. And pissing some of them off- stupid. There is diplomacy and tact, and there is bluntness and obstreperousness. In public, it's a hell of a lot wiser to pick the former. Scott could have tempered what he said here. Now, he's upset, as Hellmouthguy has said, the very people he is trying to sell books to. In my world, that's just wrong.
And were I Dark Horse, I'd also expect some degree of fan backlash, no matter what the story was. The same has been seen since the TV medium days, so it'd be foolish of them to not expect it.
Allie himself has said that if there was one arc that would have benefited from a weekly release, it was "Twilight". Having to say "Wait and see" is a requisite response, but one that's largely unsatisfying to many.

And no, I don't think Allie has upset "the very people he is trying to sell books to". He's upset some of them. Given his rather dry humor, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that dry humor doesn't always transfer very well, verbally, what more in writ.
What SNT said. Allie seems to genuinely care about the story, and that's the more important thing. From what I can tell, he's also made genuine efforts to understand where the fans are coming from (and apologized when he's gotten it wrong--as in the case of his "Spray" quip not too long ago).

But then I tend to find his comments gracious and funny, in general, and it never would have occurred to me that any of them were offensive/upsetting/what-have-you. So ... I guess we're each constructing our own Scott Allies from our own disparate readings of the texts. ;-)
There's still a problem Scott may have missed -- even if they can shovel Angel out from being the guy in the mask who's behind all this horror, Buffy didn't know it at the time. So it's already a settled thing, as far as she had any rational intelligent reason to discern, she did sleep with the guy in the mask who was behind all that horror. She either did so involuntarily -- which I really doubt based on him even bothering to try to soften the blow, which is all this post feels like -- or she took complete leave of her senses, if not her very morality, which is SO what everybody was hoping for out of Season 8; Buffy's journey into moral compromise being for nothing more profound than an impulse lay.

I asked in his last Q&A if Angel's explanation in 8.33 would basically be the last word on the moral implications of what he is responsible for in his Twilight scheme, and he (rather indignantly) said it was not. But... surely if we're supposed to be able to look back on it and say that Buffy knew enough not to be sleeping with The Bad Guy in her mind, doesn't that make it at least somewhat the last word on the moral implications? If the 8.33 explanation is, canonically, enough to convince Buffy that he wasn't evil, than there's not really a way to come back and say that he really was over the line in the choices he made. Unless they're just having Buffy go over the line with him and then they'll deal with the moral implications for both of them.
I go with Joss 80-85% of the time, but there's that 15-20% which is just dreadful, and he really hit the splat-pot of rotten banananess with this.

It's odd to read a comic book editor writing 'Back on planet earth . . . ' Uhm, it isn't by a close connection to the planet that the company functions . . .

I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't have published this damage-control 'We hear your concerns, we think of the fans, and it's not as bad as you might think, honest' if there weren't deep concerns. It's an old retail adage that, for even one customer who complains, there are 100 dissatisfied customers who don't. There were an awful lot of very vocal, very angry people, who felt, as one blogger put it, 'sucker-punched' in the manner that Xena fans felt in that show's finale.

They -- and until Joss actually writes something on the topic, I'm including him in Scott Allie's defensive editorial comments -- don't seem to get that porn is not a matter of showing parts, but a matter of perceived intent, with the audience perception being the key. The Buffy audience is not one which cries out 'Porn!' on seeing skin nearly-naked folks in a sexual encounter, so when the response from a noticeable portion of the audience is exactly that, the perpetrator should be asking themselves if they missed the mark, not whether the audience is just prudish or impatient.

I'm not going to find out what the resolution is because the basic author-reader compact has been chucked for reasons that have nothing to do with as-yet-unexplained plot points.
Quote from Dana5140
And if Joss hates torture porn, he sure ought to hate porn porn.

This sentence made zero sense to me. Are you implying all porn = torture porn? Because thats the only thing that can possibly make sense from that sentence, and then I'd have to disagree with you.

The one thing I don't agree with Scott Allie's post is that, personally, I haven't seen the Spuffy shippers up in arms over this. Like, not an army of us. We still don't have the whole story here guys (!!!!), so once again, can't really claim that this story is coming down pro-Bangel when the world is falling apart around them. What's more, as much as I love shipping, it should only occur when it's not at the expense of the plot or it helps move the plot forward. Which I think is what Allie was saying, or at least thinking; sure he understands that some people are invested in two people being together, but why thats more important than the story that is being told is beyond him, and I agree with that.

What's more, I have to say I'm with him on the not getting the huge overreaction from the fandom about the sex. Seriously, I'll say it again; if you've seen the entire series up to this point, you've seen simulated sex. You've seen partial nudity without nipples or genitles. On multiple occassions. I think its a little late to get indignant.

[ edited by CarpeNoctem on 2010-04-30 15:08 ]

Simon | April 29, 18:36 CET

Chuckles awarded to Simon. :)
Carpe Noctem At what point sexual content wanders from being part of the story to being more pornographic in effect is not an on/off switch. It's a continuum. #34 is further out on the continuum. We know it's further out because there is no way they could have showed this on TV. And for me there's also the question of how it serves the story, but that'd take too much space to argue here. Bottom line is that when we get Meltzer being happy when fans say they've gone off to wank with these images the sex is in service of something other than just the story.
So, no one found the invisi-sex scene in "Gone" simultaneously hot, hilarious and disturbing? Because that's exactly how I think both that scene and #34 are intended to be viewed.
I agree its a continuum, but we've been this far down the gradient before.
CarpeNoctem Yes to hot hilarious and disturbing but not necessarily in that order. Also Gone is a one joke pony and #34 is a whole horsey herd (if that's the right collective noun).
@Maggie: For me, seeing them boff was pretty much the creative people doing what we always say we want more of: show, not tell. Yes, we have Giles, and then Willow chiming in, telling us what the hell is going on. But having people sit in a room talking about the world falling apart is not good storytelling. And so we saw glimpses of the world falling apart, with Andrew, Dawn and Amy calling out more off-panel destruction. And then we get the cause of the chaos interspersed with the main plot, that is the earth-shattering sex. For me, the sex wasn't the focus, but rather a plot point. In fact, it's not until a few rereads in that I started actually paying that much attention to the sex (this was AFTER the hoopla that went down). In short, it served the story, just as Buffy allowing Spike to screw her above the Bronze, in plain sight of her friends served the storyline then. Just as Invisi-Buffy performing oral sex on Spike furthered the story they were telling.
I'm not going to rewatch all 7 seasons of BtVS and 5 seasons of AtS with a yardstick, trying to measure every square inch of exposed flesh to make the argument that the amount of skin seen here surpasses them. It's nudity. And pretty covered up nudity for that matter. I saw the same things back then... that extra inch of thigh notwithstanding. Heck, it's such demure nudity that asscracks aren't being flashed, and god knows how many unwelcome asscracks I've seen in my life (occasionally partitioned with thongs... which PS, have never appealed to me).

Meltzer may be happy that the presentation of his work was hot enough for some people to use as masturbatory material, but to take his word to mean that that's the sole purpose of the work is to take authorial commentary to another level. He had said previously that the last 2 issues of his arc were very mythology-heavy, and that's what he liked. That's what he wanted to do. To dive into that, and build it up. So I don't think that he was merely selling the sex. He was addressing the elephant in the room, which was what that CBR interview/feature was mostly aimed at anyway.

If it was merely supposed to be hot sex, then yes, they probably failed, authorial intent and all. But showing the world ripping apart at every climax is far from sexy. To me, it's kinda disturbing, and to more than a degree, ironic. But the sex ties into the whole mythology bit. It's a product of the mythology that we're being introduced to. So, IMO, I don't see it as purely gratuitous titillation, but rather an element that does further the plot, and more than likely, the character arcs of all involved.

[ edited by wenxina on 2010-04-30 19:43 ]
Re: Scott Allie's tact or lack thereof. My grandpa used to like to say "the peas are always too cold for somebody at the church supper." To which I'd look at him blankly trying to figure out what the hell he meant. He finally explained it to me when I was in my teens. For the benefit of those of you who are smarter than me, please skip the next sentence and then read on. Basically, his point was that it is virtually impossible to make everyone happy. It's just not going to happen. We live in this society where we are constantly forced to apologize for almost everything we say and it absolutely drives me crazy. I don't think Allie meant to be offensive or condescending to anyone. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not much of a shipper, but overall, I've found the press releases and comments by Allie to be generally supportive of this fan base.

I get why some of you felt offended and I'm not saying you were wrong, either. You feel what you feel and I'd be a huge jerk to say you shouldn't feel that way. I just don't think every single thing Scott Allie says or writes should be vetted by a fan-just as I don't think Joss Whedon should take into account exactly which ship is most popular when he writes a story. I'm invested in BtVS because I think Joss is a spectacular story-teller. As much as I love the characters and feel like I know them, they aren't mine. They're his and I'm still fine with paying my $3.50 once a month to go along for the ride. When I'm not, I'll stop buying the comics. It's as simple as that.

Dana5140, I'm so sorry you are unhappy with the comics (if I'm interpreting incorrectly, I apologize-I'm basing that on this thread and previous comments you've made). I know a lot of people who feel that way and I totally get it. I'm glad you are on here voicing your opinion-this kind of rational debate is one of the things I appreciate on this board. Having said that, I don't think most of the comments regarding the porny/not porny stuff are negative. It's pretty evenly split down the middle, which TPTB predicted. There's a lot of hate-there's a lot of love and a teensy-teeny bit of in between/undecided. When I'm feeling negative or bitter about something, I tend to notice the posts that agree with me more than those that disagree. You may be different there, and to that I say you are way more awesome than me. That's just my observation.

It's entirely possible I'm rambling now. I'm finished.

ETA: my friend just looked at this post and said "Wow, it really shows how you're from Texas with that folksy crap." So yes, I'm from Texas. No, I'm not a fan of George Bush. That is all.

[ edited by Betsy on 2010-04-30 22:11 ]
Why can't we all agree that both offense and porn are subjective things?

Say I get offended by a joke I perceive as sexist. Other women may not. But that doesn't make my experience any less genuine--just because another woman doesn't find it sexist doesn't mean it isn't sexist. The same goes for racism or homophobia or ableism or whatever. The same goes (on a vastly smaller and less important scale) for Allie's (tone-deaf, in my opinion) words. It's all subjective. Those of us who are annoyed or feel patronized to aren't wrong, nor are we making any statements about his intent (I'm sure he's well-intentioned). Those who aren't annoyed or who think his words are hilarious shouldn't have to feel offended. Our experiences are all valid.

Those of us who think that 34 crossed a line aren't wrong either. Neither are those who found it moving. Whether something is porn--where it's all about titillation, where the humanity, the souls, the personalities of the people involved are secondary to the physical act--is in the eye of the beholder, in a lot of ways.

Some people think that S6 of BtVS went over the line as far as darkness goes; those people tend to think the characters became unrelatable. I completely disagree--S6 is my favorite season, and I never relate to Buffy more than I do in that season (though I do think it did go over the line with depictions of JM's nudity, as he has made it quite clear he was uncomfortable with it. The fact that his body was being used the way women's usually are in Western media doesn't seem to have gotten through to him, though). But I wouldn't tell anyone that they're "wrong" about their feelings about that season. It's all subjective.

That said, I do think if an artist wants to make a living via her or his art, then that artist does have to play to an audience. If you lose your audience, you lose your income. Sometimes you have to compromise your pure "vision" for the sake of sales. There's nothing wrong with that; it's what you have to do to keep selling. Obviously, Allie and Joss and everyone else shouldn't base their every move on the internet posts of people who don't like what they're producing, but they should look at the numbers and see if it's working for people across the board. From what I know (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), the numbers have been steadily declining throughout the season run. If I were involved in the production of this comic, I would really take that to heart.

If you really, really don't care about income and about numbers of readers...maybe you should be writing fanfic for free on the internet? It works for me! :D

Also, whenever Allie makes a statement...I want to make lots of "thoughts on yaoi" jokes. But I think he's clueless enough about fandom that that would go right over his head....
I think Allie's actually pretty clued up on fandom. Here's the basic rule of fandom: if you say ANYTHING, you'll annoy somebody - and quite often, a lot of somebodies.
Really? Because he seems to act as though the whole phenomenon of shipping is something he's never heard of. I would easily believe that he knows comics fandom very well, but I think it's clear he doesn't really understand Whedon fandom and Buffy fandom in particular very well.

Also, if you contrast what he tends to write with what Mariah Huehner wrote just the other day about her Spike is a whole lot more diplomatic and sympathetic to fans.

I tend to be surrounded (in fandom, obviously: no one in real life cares) by people who aren't happy with the direction that both S8 and the IDW comics have taken (and there are a lot of reasons for people's distaste for both: to boil it down to "they're just shippers" is offensive, because it's blatantly untrue). But without exception, everyone I know who read them thought that Mariah's comments were classy and awesome. She actually changed some people's minds. Which is kind of mind-blowing, really.

Probably quite a bit of that has to do with lack of baggage--I hadn't even heard of her before, whereas Allie's comments are in the context of comments he's made in the past. But I do think that her comments showed a great deal of sensitivity and respect to her readers. I still have a huge problem with the "TRUST US!" meme, simply because writers are definitely fallible and mess up all the time. But the way she phrased her response to fandom was awesome.
The "yaoi" comment certainly went right over my head. No idea what that means.

I take your general point about business, Lirazel, but I'm not sure (especially in light of your preceding discussion about different viewpoints being equally valid) what the message is that these guys are supposed to be taking to heart. I see some very vocal members of our community (and, presumably, vocal members of other online communities) making sometimes quite specific points about why the S8 comic book doesn't work for them. Others make very general statements. Clearly, the criticisms are not identical. (For example, I thought issue 34 should have had *more* focus on the sex, not less.) Some think the whole thing is rubbish, in some cases because "comics don't work for them." Others complain about bad plotting, or mischaracterizations.

And these are just the vocal tip of the iceberg. We don't know precisely why most of those who have stopped buying the book stopped. Could be for opposite reasons than the majority of those discussed here. Many other readers, 90%+ of whom don't comment here, or anywhere else, are presumably content. Maybe those readers would stop reading if the criticisms found here were taken to heart, resulting in a net wash, or loss? Who knows? Even agreeing that the producers should respond to each criticism, and I don't, how could they as a practical matter?

As I've said before, I'm chiefly interested in the vision of the creative team. If I like the art/product, I'll buy it and read it. If I don't, I won't. But when I get the sense that the creators are reacting to the wishes of readers, I, personally, lose interest. A diluted vision, to me, is a dumbed-down vision. I don't have the institutional memory to say, not having been an online fan before 2003-ish, but I strongly suspect many many fans were appalled/angry/irritated by many many things that happened during the original run of the TV show. As gossi says, annoyance happens. (Now, if one's talking specifically about Allie not riling the fans -well, as you say, it's a subjective thing. I, for one, didn't find what he wrote offensive at all, and several other self-identified shippers apparently didn't either.)

(ETA: Ah, you just posted again. This was in response to your first post above. :-)
@Lirazel: At no point in the linked article did Allie state that the reason for the dissatisfaction with S8 was simply due to the "they're just shippers" reason. In fact, his entire post starts by addressing the outrage at the "porn" (the post is called ""Accusations of Porn" for a reason). Then he mentions that some of the outrage came from shipping factions (which is true). Then, he talks about the "moral" angle, the one where people are unhappy that Buffy boned Angel, because of all the things he's done so far (also true). That's 3 different reasons, and at no point did he "boil it down" to it just being about shippers. In fact, discounting nuance, those 3 points of dissatisfaction that he pointed out are pretty accurate groupings of most of the dissatisfaction that I, personally, have seen.
Wexina, I realize I was unclear. That specific line about "just shippers" wasn't aimed at Allie, but at attitudes I most definitely have seen in the fandom at large. I have seen people flat-out say that the only reason people don't like S8, #34, and the sex scenes in particular is because of shipping. I have seen that. I have seen people dismiss very rational, cogent arguments from thoughtful, passionate fans simply because of shipping affiliation. And I hate that.

SoddingNancyTribe, when you write keeping only your own vision in mind, you could easily get something like Finnegan's Wake. Which is awesome, if you're okay with only being read by graduate students in English classes. If you want to sell a bunch of copies? Probably not the best route to take. If Joss wants the watchers of BtVS to stick around for his comics, I think he needs to keep their reactions in mind. If all he's interested in his writing his pure vision, that's cool, too--but he shouldn't be surprised if he loses readers.
Sometimes a pure vision is more marketable than other times. I'd say now is one of the times when his vision isn't working for people. That's all I'm saying.

Also, I do acknowledge that listening too much to your audience is a bad thing. Back before my epic breakup with Supernatural, I grew very annoyed with the fact that Kripke and his writers would always write off/kill off any female character they introduced because the audience--well, fandom, really, who knows about the wider audience--raised hell every time a vagina got near the Winchester boys. I think that was sacrificing way too much of the vision to the audience.

I think it's a balancing act, all depending upon what you want to do, what kind of audience you want to have, and, yes, how much money you want to make (and no, I don't think it's mercenary to want to make money off of your art).

And I agree that it's nearly impossible to know why people have stopped reading.
Thanks for clarifying. :)
Oh! I almost forgot!

"Thoughts on yaoi" is an extremely popular fandom phrase that, in essence, means when someone decides to share their thoughts (usually of the tl;dr variety) with people who didn't ask for them and just don't care. It's one of my favorite pieces of fandom slang because it's so often applicable. More here.

And you're welcome, wexina.

I don't think the sex is there just to tittilate. It plays the role you point to. But somewhere I saw a link to pages from a comic that did the exact same thing, but in a way that wouldn't make the word 'porn' pop into my head. I wish I could remember where I saw that link -- but anyway, it dramatically worked very well there, without being off-putting or (worse) subject to some pretty easy mocking. In the communities I visit, I'm on more on the pro-comic side of the discussions than not. But I don't think this element was well-done. I also don't think the big exposition was well done. And I think it's particularly unfortunate that the character of Buffy ended up intentionally or unintentionally serving as wank material. I wouldn't say I'm outraged so much as disappointed.
In fairness, re Supernatural: I doubt the Supernatural boys killed off (or otherwise wrote out) female love interests because they didn't like ladies and were listening to the fans. I suspect it was because that is the show. (And their show). They wanted the boys to be roaming - it's much easier to write, it's easier to plot, it's easier in terms of actor availability and cost and, well, it is more fun.
Thanks for the links, Lirazel. With respect, I think such metaphenomena are why Whedonesque is as deep into the fandom world as I ever want to get. (And, honestly, I continue to detest the appropriation of the delightfully-smutty word "wank" for other uses. But, that's my cranky lost battle to fight.)
gossi, the writers of SPN seem very, very, very aware of fandom's reactions. I believe I read an interview in which they pretty much said straight out that they decided not to pursue the Jo plotline because of fan reactions to her. (I loved Jo.) Add to that, they continually spoof their own fandom within the show (which I think is unprofessional, if occasionally hilarious). On any other show, I wouldn't think that the writers were being swayed by audience opinion, but many of the things I've read from both the creator/writers and the actors make me think they're all too aware of fandom and want to cater to it...without crossing lines (despite how much the fandom wants it, there's never gonna be Wincest, for instance).

But you're right about that being the show--it's one of the most aggressively sexist shows I've ever seen, and I wish I'd figured out earlier that that's just the world they're creating and that it was never going to get better. I wouldn't have wasted so much time on it, despite my mad (and still pretty much untarnished) love for Ben Edlund.

[eta] I don't have a problem with the roaming boys, and I didn't particularly want any romance, either. What I did want was a show that didn't kill off female characters in incredibly sexualized ways, didn't use the word "bitch" in such a nasty tone so often that I thought if I heard it one more time I would hunt down Kripke and hurt him, and a show in which women's stories were not always in service of men's stories.

But I guess that's wanting too much.

God, I'm so thankful for Buffy.

SNT--To each their own. I often think I should quit visiting whedonesque as it tends to raise my blood pressure (and has, on occasion, made me cry), but I'm mad about fandom history, meta fandom, etc., and journal fandom is my happy place. I've made amazing friends that way.

And those, my friends, were my thoughts on yaoi!

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-01 01:17 ]

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-01 01:23 ]
Re: why the comic is steadily losing sales. Though I would love to say "because they lost the characters" it might not be so simple. As anyone who follows modern comics knows, nearly all comics lose sales steadily. Readers just sort of float away. Sometimes they hate the direction the book is going in, but oftentimes they like it fine but just can't be bothered to keep up. I think a monthly pace hurts comics pretty much across the board and makes it hard to sustain interest.

Having said that I know for a fact they lost my three bucks because I find the book largely pointless and insipid, and I know I'm not the only person who thinks so. Whether or not that really is a significant percentage of the initial sales that have been lost, or whether it's a blip, I have no idea. But even if the majority of lost sales are of the "I like it fine but just can't be bothered this month" variety, that's still an indictment of the writing because at the end of the day, you have to be spectacular enough to keep people wanting more. You have to make your stuff essential. Not easy in comic book land but it has been done, and even recently.
"Essential" to whom? Even if S8 were essential (in your eyes) to the fandom, it wouldn't necessarily be essential to the general comic reading public, what more society at large. Even works like Neil Gaiman's Sandman and Alan Moore's Watchmen which are largely considered essential reading by fans have only about a fraction of the readership of the next Dan Brown novel. Unless of course Oprah comes out and gushes about them tomorrow, at which point, sales will more than likely skyrocket. As BtVS fans, we're a pretty niched community. As readers of S8, we're a sub-niche. And then you have casual fans, or casual readers who flit in and out, and buy the trades instead (the trade editions are still selling very well). And then you have fans who don't like the switch in medium because it's unfamiliar, and the pros of the comic medium don't surpass the cons in their personal opinion. Legit reasons to either not pick up the books, or drop the books. And for every fan involved in fandom, actively discussing the books, there are plenty who treat the entire experience as a solo event. And because of that, we don't know if they love it or hate it. Maybe it's essential to them. And essential reading is purely a subjective matter, as compared to things like essential nutrients, which are pretty much set in stone.
Wenxina, there are readers who don't show up at all and readers who did show up but then wandered off. At the end of the day, the ones who wandered off read the book and didn't feel compelled to keep reading. Once you have them you have to keep them. Sure, it's a tough, sometimes nigh-impossible nut to crack, but it is the nut the book is faced with. Lots of people read the first issue, the first arc, the first year. The numbers have steadily declined. People's socks, for whatever reason, were not sufficiently knocked off.
I know that shipping wars are nasty things, and that taking sides can lead to much animosity. I know that this board is not the place to air these sides.

That being said, I am a shipper. Not just with Buffy, but with most shows I watch. It's part of my emotional investment with the story. I'm assuming, through discussions with other fans, that this is more the case with female than with male fans (which is not to say all women are shippers.)

Comic book readers are traditionally male (though I have been reading them all my life.) I wonder if gender issues are colouring the discussion.

I won't apologize for shipping, or mention in this reply who I ship in regards to Buffy. I will say, I love both Spike and Angel.
@Hellmouthguy: I think I sufficiently covered the group you mentioned in my previous post. I still don't think that the drop off is necessarily simply attributable to the writing. 4 years is a long time, and people will drift off. Sure, the entire season could've been tighter, and that's a fault that has been admitted, and will be addressed in the next season. But for Joss' vision, S8 became a 40-issue story, with a handful of ancillary books and stories to boot. As I said, the trades are still selling pretty well, and they are the more economical way to go, especially for readers who don't want to pay a monthly shipping cost from places like The gist of my earlier post is that there are a whole slew of factors that can cause a dropoff, writing being only one of them. Making something "essential" is one of those things that sound good on paper, but is nigh impossible to put into practice, given the utter vastness in subjectivity in the fandom (the current arc being a perfect example). What's essential for one person may not be essential for a dozen others. This is the story that Joss wants to tell. The story that he feels is essential, just as he's always done. The execution may not be perfect, and he's admitted to his misfires (the pacing being but one of them) just like he's admitted to his previous missteps.

Joss doesn't pander, nor does he really compromise. And Dark Horse seems to be perfectly fine with that. Dropoff or no, S8 is still Dark Horse's best-selling book every month.

[ edited by wenxina on 2010-05-01 04:44 ]

[ edited by wenxina on 2010-05-01 16:11 ]
gossi, just dropping in the conversation to back up Lirazel. I've also seen/read interviews from Kripke et al about how they decided not to pursue the Jo plotline because of fan reaction to the character. I believe the same was true of the character of Bela, as well.

Lirazel-SPN continues to tease its fandom with the possibility of Wincest. Just a couple of episodes ago, an angel insinuated that the brothers were erotically co-dependant on each other. It's almost like watching the Are they or aren't they? thing that Xena episodes did every week.
Yeah, menomegirl, but I highly doubt they're ever actually going to embrace the Wincest and have it actually happen (thank God). The writers are all about teasing their fans, dangling things in front of their faces, mocking them, etc. Which, again, I find unprofessional and actually pretty immature, but it's their show. And I'm not watching it anymore!

I was pretty sure that I'd read something that said that they had much bigger plans for Bela, but everyone hated her so they made her role much smaller. Which was again a shame, because I liked Bela, too.

The thing they--and whether that "they" includes the writers or just fandom at large, I can't say for sure--didn't seem to understand is that you can actually have female characters who aren't love interests. It can be done! But the fandom seemed to think that any female characters would automatically become love interests. Which says a lot about perceptions of women, honestly: that they can't have their own stories, that they exist only in relation to men. It's awful.

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