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May 05 2010

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #35. It's the final part of Brad Meltzer's much-talked about Twilight arc. And if you're interested, he'll be taking questions about his Buffy run on Twitter today. Brad also talks about the issue in the second part of his Buffyfest interview.

What a ride! Angel is Angel! Although, maybe Spike was right when he told Buffy he wore lifts. Why is he so short?! And... will people start questioning how come he still has his soul? I mean, all that happy sexy time... Buffy is back to being Buffy! I feel like the whole "Don't you know me by now, Angel? I NEVER do what I'm meant for." was exactly what was needed to bring her back to form. Go kick some ass! And I just hope the last page is enough to heal Andrew. Sigh.
"Don't you know me by now, Angel? I NEVER do what I'm meant for."

Ok, I'm officially surprised. That sounds good.
To keep things together, I've added Buffyfantic's Buffyfest interview link to the entry. Hopefully it will add to the discussion of the issue.
OMG I think Joss's brain has finally broken. I know I haven't read it yet, but I have to say that the whole things sounds simply awful.
I don't have my copy yet but based off the one panel from the Buffyfest interview, and Gustage Drew's quote from Buffy,"Don't you know me by now, Angel? I NEVER do what I'm meant for" plus some of Meltzer's quotes it looks like Buffy and Angel hand in hand are leaving Twilight together to save everyone?The panel where they are looking through a portal back to earth I assume and Buffy says,"I'll take the ones on the left."And Angel says,"Then I get the ones on the right."

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-05-05 17:31 ]
Sue: Try reading it first then because it was great and it brought everything back to where it should be. All your prayers will be answered. Well, at least some of the big ones anyway.

Loved the issue. The start was a bit clunky but once Buffy told fate to shove it I was pretty much "Hell yea!"ing my way through the rest of the issue.
The final page reveal was sorta predictable once you saw the boots and the quote but it was still nice. Shame we've gotta wait four months to see the fallout from that...and to know why he/she (yea, I'll be nice and vague) came in that weird pod thingy.

Also loved Willow calling Angel out on everything at once. Nice way of showing the readers that no, the characters haven't forgotten any of what's gone down.

[ edited by trunkstheslayer on 2010-05-05 17:39 ]
No need for hiding spoilers. Will someone please give us a summary?????
But it's so much more fun this way.
That and the Buffyfest interview says exactly who it is...and shows the weird pod/tank thingy that I really need to know what the heck is about.

Anyone know if it's a reference to something that I'm just missing?
Ok, if we're playin' it this way... I figured this person would be showing up sooner or later. But, can we get a watercolor summary. Pretty please.
Yeah, tell us who it is!!!
Not got my copy yet, but from the sounds of it people seem a lot happier with #35 than #34. Buffy sounds like she's getting back to normal Buffy, some of peoples questions from the last issue are answered satisfactorily (?) and I'm guessing He's back by the end, which makes me a very happy bunny indeed, and it sounds like his arc may carry over into the continuation, which makes me even happier. (I say 'he' to fall in line with others, but can't we just say the name? :D ).

Also liking the second part of Brad Meltzers interview with Buffyfest. If his continous 'not my story to tell' comments mean anything, the next issue may be a corker. And have plenty of 'my favourite character'. Yay!

ETA: Excellent. We're saying Spike now. Thanks Simon!

[ edited by shazzam on 2010-05-05 18:18 ]
Yeah, just tell us! Is it Spike btw?
So is anyone not surprised that Spike turns up?
OK confirmed lol
I think pretty much everyone had a feeling Spike was showing up at the end of this issue lol. Sounds like he has a cool entrance.
Not surprised at all. You can't have an Angel moment (or rather storyline) without Spike showing up at some point. Both are her loves and deserve attention.
I think it's a little soon for Spike, I dunno it seems like they're trying to flair up the shipper row more now that we won't get any answers til after summer. And i'm very curious about this entrance...
Sounds more like they're to build up to a dramatic finale rather than flair up a shipping war. If anything it reminds me of the great "I'd like to test that theory" scene in season 6.
From what I'm hearing and seeing and again,I don't have my copy yet but it looks like,and this is pure speculation, that Buffy,Angel,Spike and the whole gang will be fighting together to stop Twilight in the last arc.
Still so many frustrating/confusing questions--chiefly, I still don't understand how the Angel I know could do that, or that Buffy could square it away with, "Hey, we're in love, stop it with the whole evil thing, let's go fight the demons WHOSE ARRIVAL YOU CAUSED!" At least Willow's menacing aside to Angel gives hope that there will definitely be fall-out for this.

However conflicted I may remain with the story, what a welcome ending. I've been waiting for more Spike ever since After the Fall ended.

And wow, that Meltzer interview. Those answers were squirrelier than any the Lost team's ever given.
Haven't got hold of it yet, but I like what I've heard so far! Here and on Buffyfest. I'm a bit annoyed about being spoiled about Spike, but that's my fault. I can't stay away from here!

I'm not that surprised that he turns up. I knew it would happen sooner or later. But I kind of hoped it would be later - I wanted to see how the Twilight situation played out first before Spike was brought in. I'm also a bit wary of 'shipping getting in the way as he's been brought in at this stage. I'm not keen on the fact that it seems whenever Angel is mentioned, Spike is too and vice versa. I think if it's about Buffy's loves then it's not fair to bring one up without the other but I'd rather have their own character storylines dealt with first before dealing with the romance. I want each to have their own moments. But then again, the comic is about Buffy so her story is the priority here and they are both important to her.

I am looking forward to some much needed Spike humour, though.

When will Joss' arc come out? How long is the break?

[ edited by Shep on 2010-05-05 18:35 ]
Shep said, When will Joss' arc come out? How long is the break?

Oh yeah, that's perhaps the MOST frustrating thing about the story--we won't know what happens until freaking September! (There's also a Riley one-shot in August.)

Oh well, at least Patton Oswalt's Serenity comic is out next month.
Yep, Buffy's on break till school starts back up. That's more than a little bothersome but at least it takes the edge off of going back I guess.
Gonna be a long few months.
This issue sort of made me glow. Three different moments made me want to cheer:

-Buffy rejecting Twilight.
-Angel's "Okay. Let's go."
-And of course, Spike!

Me = grinning.
So ... as far as Angel is concerned ... is he reset back to his original 'vampire with a soul that can't be happy?' or do we know yet?
We know very little about what's up with Angel or why he chose to do what he did. He's not showing his best side here -- since he apparently couldn't care less if the world comes to an end today. But once he realized Buffy wasn't going to join him in not caring about the world, he signs up to be her sidekick.

Maybe this is all Twilight-induced, but they aren't doing his character any favors here that I can see.

The rest is nice. Buffy's back with the program -- so I'm not clear why Allie said we should be worried about her character -- unless more is to be revealed on that front. (Maybe Angel was channeling her and she was channeling Angel and so it's really backward about who wants to be where and for what reason).

I'm rather baffled as to why Spike's mere presence is read as all about the shipping. Uh, he's a major character and he might be worried about the world ending or whatnot.
"There’s another word for it, apocalypse."

I have not read this yet, but given all the apocalypses over the years, is this one, like, apocalypsier? Or something?
Thanks Maggie ... re the shipping worry. Not here but on some other boards it's already intense and nasty. So my worry (and I guess some others) is that this will just fuel the fire.
I guess I'm in the minority here but I didn't like it. I've only read it once so far but my intial reaction was WTF?
I was fearing how Angel would be treated as a character because it's Buffy's story- not his and I feel right to have feared that. I don't understand how Angel would not care what's going on on earth? Unless Connor and all his other loved ones are gone already...But even if they are, I can't imagine him not caring what happens to Willow, Giles even Xander because a)he cares about people and b)because Buffy loves them and therefore Angel wouldn't want to hurt them.
And I thought this was the issue we were supposed to get a lot of answers from? I don't see a lot of them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad to see Buffy ready to jump back to save her family. And I like that Angel will be by her shoulder to shoulder but I don't want him being her sidekick. He's way too evolved as a hero for that.

I knew Spike was coming so his entrance wasn't a surprise at all. The reactions from Willow and Buffy were more interesting.

I dunno. It's just all not sitting well with me. :( And if issue 34 taught me anything, it's that I will only visit certain places online from now on because the wank can be extreme in this fandom.

[ edited by CrystalSC on 2010-05-05 19:51 ]
After reading this I'm left with Buffy=Good, and Angel=kinda not good. The thing I will be waiting for the most it to find out if Angel can truly be redeemed, or if the character will remain no longer a hero in my eyes.
Did Angel respond to Willow's attack on his actions???? I know everyone else feels the same way about needing more of an explanation than "Twilight made me do it!" Anytime Angel has been possessed by something in the past: "The Dark Ages" any time he was Angelus, he was very regretful and showed remorse for his actions. I would like to see more of the old Angel in his actions. I am holding out for Joss's arc though. Almost all of my favorite episodes in the verse were penned by him.
I will be picking up my copy of this issue today; perhaps I will change my tune after a few reads.
He does respond to Willow with "Had THAT coming."
luv4whedon said:
You can't have an Angel moment (or rather storyline) without Spike showing up at some point. Both are her loves and deserve attention.


I'm not surprised or displeased that Spike showed up. (We all knew he was coming from the "soon" panel in 34) but I don't know why it's a given that if there is Angel - there is Spike. Or that if we're talking about Buffy and love that both of the men must be shown.
I love one of my exes. I always will. But I love my husband more and I don't equate them to each other in my mind. (every time I mention my love for my husband I don't feel the need to mention my ex.) And people don't love everyone equally. Feelings are stronger for one person. It's human nature.

I'm NOT trying to get this conversation into ship mode. I just wanted to state my take on the idea that Angel and Spike must always be linked.

[ edited by CrystalSC on 2010-05-05 20:49 ]
CrystalSC, I felt the exact same. Yes, Angel joins the fight because he'll follow Buffy to the end and back, but the fact that his first choice was to leave EVERYTHING (loved ones, redemption, his whole life) to start anew? Isn't that the easy way out? A shortcut to everything he's ever wanted? Not really the Angel we know and love.

Spike in the yellow subterranean (flying pod? submarine? the drawing on Dawn's not-an-iPad looks like something with a horrible underbite). Willow seemed to know exactly what it was when she stated "That's not a weapon. That's... Oh, this is gonna be good."

He must have a crew with him, yeah? Can't see him operating that thing all by his lonesome. Speculations? Also? When's the last time he wore all that clunky jewelery?
Cosmic afterbirth.

That's the explanation we get -- from Giles -- for what's happening on Earth as a result of Angel's and Buffy's "ascension."

The universe gave birth to them, as some sort of super (more evolved) beings, leaving them on a "higher plane" to write their own reality. The reality they left behind is "utterly expendable."

Their ascension ends the world. Lest there be any doubt, Angel flat out says: "This is the end. The end of what's down there."

Yet, he also says that Willow, Giles, Xander, and the rest will survive because they "always do." How? Buffy's obviously not convinced, so she rushes back to the lower plane to rescue them.

Must under ... stand. Can't.

Oh, well. It's good to see Buffy going back to being self-sacrificing and heroic again. And, Jeanty drew some very expressive Buffy close-ups that really register the character's emotions well.
Review: How to Redeem a Hero


I almost didn't buy this comic today. It's the first time in forever that I didn't make it a priority to go to my local comic store. But I'm glad I did because it was great to read this and feel a moment of clarity. My primary motivation for getting up and driving across town was the rumored appearance of Spike and yes, he never fails to satisfy (when not being written by Willingham).

Where to begin? Expectations. This issue is the one where we're supposed to get answers, where we hope that Buffy and Angel will be in character, where we hope to learn why Angel is Twilight, where we hope to have the distressing consent and rape metaphor issues of #33 and #34 addressed, where we get a philosophical discussion between Angel and Buffy.

Good news: Buffy is in character again. (Kinda. For the most part.) Buffy remembers her priority, the reason she fights: "That's what I need to fight for. Not happiness. Not humanity. Them. Those people ." Yes, Buffy has always found the strength to fight by prioritizing her friends and she returns to them to help save the day. However, fighting for humanity is also what she does because her friends symbolize humanity. So yeah, not a well-written line at all. It ignores the reality of her heart because Buffy does care about the people.

Buffy delays discussing the issue of what happened in #33 and #34--"Do not talk about it yet. We're not talking about it yet"--but doesn't stop herself from referencing how satisfied she feels, so the consent and rape metaphor that was making some readers feel ill hasn't been addressed and we also get a reminder of how great it felt to have mind, body and spirit violated by the Universe (which doesn't make its presence felt in this issue). See, it's not rape if you enjoy it. What's worse, I believe this delaying tactic means the consent issues, the rape metaphor, Angel deceiving Buffy and corralling villains to kill Slayers and "push" her into becoming this Übermensch--it all won't be addressed.

This is standard protocol: good guys do something bad, the apocalypse happens and they bond over fighting side by side to save the world, working out their anger through fighting literal evil; once the apocalypse has passed, they look at each other and realize how those issues before weren't as big as saving each other's lives and thus decide to move past it and let go because the bad guy has demonstrated an ultimate good and deserves forgiveness. Normally I wouldn't expect this of the Buffyverse because actions have consequences and Buffy's indignation would be expected, though she would eventually forgive as she always does, but I'm not hopeful because...

Then you get to the horrifyingly bad. Angel is not in-character. At all. Sure, his voice kinda sounds right, but it's the words coming out of his mouth and the philosophy he's spouting that spin your head around and make you go buzzah at the pod!Angel. Angel continues to work hard convincing Buffy they're in paradise and belong there. Buffy remains suspicious and demands to see her friends, ripping a tear in their Twilight reality to see what's happening to them. Angel's reaction? Dumbfounded. He didn't realize that his and Buffy's ascension would result in this chaos. He promises "we can help them. We can fix it. We can fix everything, Buffy," but his proposal isn't to save them. No, it's to sacrifice them for "the universe we're going to make... After all these centuries-- no more fighting--no more failing--no more dying... It's not just that we get to be together, Buffy--we finally get to be happy." Angel's solution is ultimately selfish, the world is being destroyed by his and Buffy's orgasmic and pornographic (no argument: it's softcore porn, folks) ascension, but he feels no responsibility for his actions. All the people dying down below "can handle this, Buffy. It's no different than when you died. They'll survive. They always do."

Buffy (because she's in character) rejects his proposal: "You're just saying that because you can live without knowing the outcome. I can't." Angel insists: "The outcome is beyond us. The only absolute in the earth is that it will end." Yeah, okay pod!Angel, glad to see you're not at all worried that the world is ending and your son, Connor, is going to die. Okaaaay. Angel has given in to destiny, negating Buffy's insistence that the reason she fights is for her friends, to keep them safe. He insists staying in Twilight means she is "fighting for them. That's why you were sent here! This is the end. This is the beginning of us. You don't have to choose. The Universe already chose us! All we have to do is leave behind the lower plane." Leave behind humanity to die, leave behind free will because the Universe has chosen, leave behind your family, those you love more than your own life: Connor and Dawn and Xander and Willow and Faith and Giles.

Angel is now the voice of destiny and submission to that destiny. It's not shocking that he'd lose his selfless principles for a selfish reason, that urge has always been there. He wanted to "screw the world" to save Fred from Illyria overtaking her. He wanted to, but he didn't. The key difference there--he didn't want to "screw the world" for himself, but for an innocent. Because Angel saves souls. He's screwed over his friends for the sake of Connor, essentially mindraping them in order to save Connor's life and very sanity. But when it comes to Angel's wants and needs, he doesn't believe he deserves forgiveness. He doesn't deserve happiness at the cost of others. That's why he beseeched the Oracles to turn back the clock in I Will Remember You--he gave up his personal happiness with Buffy, his humanity, to save her and others. He offered his life to save Darla. Angel is ultimately selfless even in his ultimate selfishness--his acts of selflessness are inspired by those he loves (just as Buffy refused to "kill Dawn"). Whoever Twangel is, it's not Angel. This is not Angel being written as faithful to character. Even when he reached that darkness of leading Drogyn to death by his own fangs, of ordering Lindsey murdered, his ultimate goal wasn't selfish. It wasn't about himself. He expected to die for stopping the Circle of the Black Thorn. He expected to go down fighting for stopping (or even if it just was delaying) their apocalyptic plans. Because the world is worth more than his life. And it's damned sure worth more than his happiness.

Buffy's wrong, Angel couldn't "live without knowing the outcome" of the world, but most especially of Connor's life. Not at the price of his happiness. This isn't Angel. This is anti-Angel. He's doing the exact opposite of who he is and all he's professed to be. The philosophic mouthpiece he's been forced into becoming (perhaps by the Universe, that's the only textual excuse I can fathom) is the exact opposite of his most profound epiphany and mission to save souls.

"If there is no great glorious end to all this, if - nothing we do matters, - then all that matters is what we do. 'cause that's all there is. What we do, now, today. - I fought for so long. For redemption, for a reward - finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never got it... All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because - I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness - is the greatest thing in the world." - Epiphany

The Universe has convinced almost everyone--Willow, Giles, but most especially Angel--that there is a "great glorious end to all this", that there is a "bigger meaning." But that does not negate what Angel cares about. Saving souls, stopping suffering.

Buffy saves the world. Angel saves souls. Twangel is a selfish git who says "screw the world" and means it. He wants his reward, his happiness, to stay in Twilight with Buffy so they can evolve. Buffy says "F#*% evolution." But Twangel is still the spouting the Universe's agenda--anyone else getting flashbacks to WWII and the Nazis Aryan' race agenda? I'm not bringing up this context to be purely controversial. The callback is literal. "Screw the world", let the lower plane burn so that the supremacist beings may ascend to a perfect, pure existence absent from the pollution of imperfect lower beings. Angel and Buffy are the master race and no other living beings matter.

Buffy was marginally redeemed in this issue (I say marginally because the story hasn't addressed a majority of the concerns it's raised). Meanwhile, Angel's character--the core of his self--has been decimated. Why? Apparently because he's in service to Buffy's story. Buffy gets to be the hero. It's her 'verse and Angel's only here to make her ultimately look good. Screw that. Angel is a protagonist with over fives years of history as a hero in his own right with no Buffy influencing him. But this comic doesn't respect his history, his character, instead warping him to fit its plot contrivances. The only out is if Angel isn't behind the wheel because the Universe is driving. Pod!Angel, Twangel. Whoever this is, it's not Angel. This person only cares about being with Buffy. He's even willing to sacrifice paradise if it means being with her. Angel doesn't realize he needs to go back to save the world, but only goes because Buffy goes. He spends all his energy convincing her to stay and give in to destiny. Buffy says 'screw that, I'm leaving' and so Angel buckles down and smirks, "Okay. Let's go."

Buffy returns triumphant and full of remorse. Angel? I don't see Angel in this comic (and no, that's not a dig at Jeanty's art). Willow sneers to Angel, "Can I just mention that I preferred Angelus?" Me, too, Willow. Me, too. Because Angelus was actually in-character for Angel and received a proper character arc to set-up this change. Twangel is a MacGuffin, a Straw Villain who exists to only offset Buffy's development, but has no earnest story devoted to establishing his own in-character motivation. Bad writing. This is like Angel's appearance in Chosen, only the disregard for Angel's POV and development based on his experiences in LA have been multiplied to the degree of exponentially prefixey.

Final page, Spike appears triumphant and acting (so far) in-character. So Buffy's back (and this is what I care for the most, y'all know how I love Buffy), Spike's finally here (this is what I've been waiting for what feels like forever) and Angel's character has been assassinated (I should've known I couldn't get everything I wanted--looks like Angel is the collateral damage here along with Andrew and Amy it seems--yeah, they get slashed down. Andrew's death is reminiscent of Anya's in Chosen... if he did die). It seems like Joss' reassurance to IDW that Angel's role in their comics won't be affected will play true simply because Twangel isn't Angel.

How do you redeem a hero? You attempt it. Buffy made great strides towards redemption in this issue while Angel forgot he even needed to fight for redemption (wait, is Kelley Armstrong now co-writing this comic?).

Questions that remain:

- Does Buffy already know Spike is undead again?
- Will Angel's OOCness be textually relevant? Will Angel remember he loves his son, Connor?
- Will Buffy get her indignation on for Angel being a arrogant, lying, manipulative douche all season?
- Are Amy and Andrew really dead?
- Will Giles get taken to task for once again being forced to play the role of patronizing mentor who refuses to trust anyone?
- Will the text clarify the actual source of Buffy's and Angel's powers? Buffy wearing the outfits of dead Slayers in Twilight raises the question of whether Angel or Willow is right about her powers being sourced from dead Slayers.
- How many people in the world died because of the Übermensch sexcapades? Not how many Scoobies and their the-enemy-of-Twilight-is-my-friend allies (Amy, the General), but the actual people of the world. While Meltzer may enjoy writing that Buffy doesn't care about humanity, the readers actually do care and would like to know the casualties aren't being treated casually.
- Will the text address the consent issues and rape metaphor, or will the plot necessity steam roll over them with all the sensitivity of a freight train of dramatic prioritization?

It's going to be a long wait until September. We'll see how many of these questions will be addressed in Joss' final arc. Sadly, Season 8 has taught me to not expect much. I suppose that's a good thing. Lowered expectations means you won't have far to fall because you've lost hope for something better.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-05-05 22:08 ]
I can't believe I'm saying this, but: It was just ok for me. Not to say it didn't have its moments! I loved that Buffy did what Buffy does and left "Paradise/Twilight" to go help save her friends (and so did Angel). I don't like that this was pretty much the whole reveal: The universe had an ages long plan for the evolution of the world and it was to get the 2 best suited heroes to repopulate a new world and leave ours to burn. Yeah. I kinda HATED the last frame when Spike showed up...like what's the purpose of that? Throw a bone to some shippers? It better fit the story. Not enough time spent on Giles going into how much he knew and what EXACTLY the "myth" was. AND HOW DOES ANY OF THIS TIE INTO THE FRAY FUTUREVERSE? Ok, I guess if it has me asking all these questions it didn't exactly suck; but I just expected something more/else?
I haven't read the issue yet, and I plan on taking my time getting to. This arc just makes no sense to me. It seems like it just suddenly popped out of no where. The Universe is the big bad?! Sounds like a bunch of bull to me. Sounds like the Buffyverse has run out of interesting villains. I still hope that Angel isn't Angel. He just isn't himself. And his Twilight arc makes no sense. At. All. It's stupid, and just a way of trying to surprise us with his reveal. And yes, it did surprise us... In a bad way.

Glad to hear Buffy is in character (Which is something that should have always been.). And that Spike shows up. Maybe he and Joss can save Season Eight together.
I have my copy.

First of all,I really loved this issue.Now there are still questions that haven't been answered yet.Specifically about Angel and how he ended up the way he did as Twilight.That's not really answered in this issue and I am suspecting that Joss will probably tackle this more fully himself.But Angel is on the road to redeeming himself and I love how it's Buffy who lays it on the line with him and Angel following her back to help her stop what they've caused.I do think more info is coming though

I think the final arc by Joss will be Buffy,Angel,Spike and the rest of the gang all working together trying to undo the Twilight mess.

I'm also wondering if Spike brought some backup on the vehicle.Maybe some members of Angel Investigations?I know Angel created characters are supposed to be off limits but at this point I wouldn't rule anything out.
holy [cabbage]
I don't care about any of this funny business, buffy's back and so is spike
I don't think ive seen a reveal like that since Renee died, thank god this wasnt spoiled like the twilight reveal was
While a lot of fans will undoubtedly be happy at the "Spike ex Machina" moment, the rest of the book was crap.

-Big reveals and explanations? Nope.
-Characters continuing to act wildly out of character without explanation? Check.
-Baffling references to convenient prophesies that can't be disputed because they didn't exist before S8 writers dug them out of their dark crevasses? Check.
-And of course the previously mentioned Spike arrives on the mole man equivalent of the Nautilus at just the right moment because only he can save the day...

I wanted to believe. I did. But the story has fallen too far and I have no faith left that Joss can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. S8 has for me, been demoted to high level fanfic....

At least the cover was fantastic....
There were a few laugh out loud lines, including this one, that I had to read twice to make sure it wasn't a typo:

Buffy: Willow, I'm sorry...
Willow: I know, I know-- you don't know what came all over you.

I still don't buy Angel just accepting the destruction of the world, for any reason. Rooting for it, even. It's outside his character unless he's under the influence of something, and he didn't seem to be under the influence of anything. But for the purposes of this story, I've accepted it.

The Spike reveal sort of reeked of fanservice. I wish they'd given him a cooler line.

More later, once I've read it again. Overall I liked it, although the constant sex references did get tiresome.
But for the purposes of this story, I've accepted it.

I'd urge you to not accept it. If everything you know is telling you this is wrong, then expect the story to justify it. If the story doesn't or can't, the story is flawed.
I don't think Spike is there so much for fanservice as he is for meta-service. He's the antithesis of Twilight-style romance, so he's there to put an end to all that twilight crap. His function has always been to knock over narrative conventions, that's why his entrances always involve things being knocked down. It's why he's a polarizing character.

I really wish I knew if Joss et.al. are deliberately trashing Angel's character; have some cards up their sleeves; or honestly think they've done him justice and that his decision to not stay in paradise by himself constitutes him redeeming himself. It's so hard to make any sense of this and a four month hiatus on top of it leaves me feeling just -- tired. I wonder if I'll still be interested when September rolls around.
Emmie- huzzah! I'll acknowledge your lengthy post and give it a FB "Like." Well said!

Screw this higher plane crap. Buffy works best when it stays firmly on terra firma.

I have all sorts of thoughts as to why this comic has gone off the rails, but not here, not now. I'll just say, I wish the writers stopped thinking they pulled something big off because they got sex in the comic. Enough preening, by the characters and the writers.
I am baffled by one thing most of all: why Joss chose this direction for the Buffyverse. To put it bluntly, he couldn't think of a better story than this? After three years and counting this is what season eight amounts to? Really?

As for Angel's "character arc", season eight has no good options. If he really is Angel his character has been destroyed, as his actions in season eight simply do not logically follow from his actions in previous seasons. Just the fact that he has apparently forgotten about Connor demonstrates this. However, if he is Angel "being controlled by some outside force" then that would be a dramatic cop-out of staggering proportions.
Couldn't of said it better myself Hellmouthguy. I'm really really disappointed in the way my favorite series of all time is turning out. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Oh well, time to go study and watch Supernatural. It may not be anywhere near the quality that Buffy and Angel were, but I'm fairly confident in saying it's never going to disappiont me the way Season 8 has, =(.

Well unless Castiel suddenly admits that he has unrequiteed feelings for Lucifer resulting in super mega-angelic space sex which shall be referred to as 'Wingcest( I crack myself up) while Sam and Dean watch in confusion and awe. Unfortunately for them Cas and Lucy revert to their true forms thereby burning the poor bros eyes out so they have to hunt demons blind. Then Ruby walks in and reveals herself as God. Meanwhile, the Giant teddy bear and the slow dancing aliens from a few seasons back appear to serve as the big bads for Season 6! Actually, all of that sonds significantly more plausible than Season 8. Maybe the impala should be God.....

Also, am I the only one who thought the fashion decisions on Spike were a bit...odd? He hasn't worn the red shirt with any regularity since Season 4, and from my recollection not a single time after Season 6, correct me if I'm wrong. Also, what's with the goth rings and bracelets? I know this sounds nitpicky, and in some ways it totally is it's just the red shirt, to me anyway, is very symbolic of Evil!Spike and felt out of place. I guess kind of like the Angel calling Buffy "Buff" thing stuck out to a lot of people. He resembles Season 2 or 3 Spike, not the one from the later seasons IMO.

Anywho... ramble over. Hope some 'SPN' fans were here to understand my long and idiotic references....
I'll be getting mine Friday at earliest.

I relaize that for three reasons this can't be done now but seriously, it's time to accept that the two shows were separate shows with their own different internal narrative and moral logics. But both shwos are over. After S-9, it's time to re-assess; if the Buffyverse continues , should it be in a proeprty ebaring the title of either show? My feelign is no.
Just clarity here: Angel didn't call Buffy "Buff". It was fairly clearly written in a way to show that he was cut off by Buffy yelling at him. Not that it's really so relevant.
I just looked at Issue #33 again and it says something along the lines of "Buff? I know you're out there." So he wasn't actually cut off. But I agree it's not really relevant. I just mentioned it because I know I was being kind of nit-picky and that's something other people have been nit-picky about.
Won't get mine 'til Friday, but as a massive Angel fan I shall say this....I'm scared.

Oh, and Emmie......great post.
Nifty! What's the thing Spike arrived in?
Okay, I admit, at first I really felt Angel was being written out of character. For him to turn a blind eye toward humanity, not to mention his friends and loved ones (Connor) really seemed like the writers were ignoring his own series and with it the five plus years of development he had underwent. Just as Emmie's post had exemplified, Angel always put others first; no matter how flawed or controversial his methods may have been.

But then I thought: okay, even being a champion, hero, or whatever term used to describe his noble character, isn't he allowed to have a moment of weakness? He just had some crazy space sex with the love of his life. Granted, they hadn't been around eachother for a while, but wouldn't that make the thought of being in paradise with her forever all the more appealing? Who wouldn't want that? Even if for just a little while?

It seemed as though he had no idea the horrible things that were happening on the lower plane were going to happen because of their sexcapades. And when he saw that, it seemed as though he was not only trying to convince Buffy that they could somehow help Giles and the crew, but it seemed he was trying to convince himself as well. Angel fought so hard for so long, sacrificed time and again for so many people and for a little while all he wanted was a chance to be happy. He's wavered a bit from the righteous path before, even on his own show, but he has always ended up doing the right thing. And what did he do when Buffy was the stronger of the two and chose to return to her friends? Did he get angry at her? Did he storm off into Daffy Duck land and throw a tantrum? No, he realized that Buffy was right and without hesitation joined her in battle. At least that's the way I read it.

Even the best of us want to give into temptation every now and again. Buffy wanted to give in when Angel was human and decided to swallow the day and become a vampire again, but in that instance Angel was the strong one.

There are still 5 more issues left and I'm pretty sure there will be more to Angel's Twilight back-story which will hopefully shed light on things. Plus, him bickering with Spike is always a hoot. Point is I'm not going to pass final judgement on this season until it's all said and done. I didn't turn off season 5 when Dawn conveniently forgot Ben turned into Glory. Explanations as well as a CHANCE for a great ending are still on the horizon and I for one wish to enjoy the ride. :)

[ edited by jay swif on 2010-05-06 02:04 ]
I always felt that issues 33 and 34 were written primarily to freak out the fans, and I'm glad that Buffy (at least) is 'back' before we face the long break. I have to say that I do expect some explanation about Angel's behavior (besides wishful thinking or insanity) but I'm not sure we'll get it before Christmas.

I loved the Spike appearance, but of course we all saw it coming a mile away. However his mode of transportation is something new and different, it has a kind of 'steam Punk design, and looks like something Spike would enjoy tooling around in. I'm definitely along for the ride!
Spike and Angel are both Buffy's ex's and until she chooses one, moves on completely or one of them dies I think they will both continue to play opposite one another. So when I say of course Spike would show up I mean he's in the verse, he's the anti-Angel and vice-versa.

Question: How did Willow know it was Spike and why was she happy to see him? I mean yay reinforcements but I'm hoping we'll get more of an explanation.

Also, I want Angel's back story.
Great issue and all, but you know a small thing that really stuck out for me is Warren's legitimate concern and hurt when Andrew got hurt. It's disconcerting that he showed actual feelings towards someone other than him. Now, he is only .1 percent redeemed to me. He still needs to die. Again. Just a slightly less painful and horrible.
Agreed crazygolfa.
But then I thought: okay, even being a champion, hero, or whatever term used to describe his noble character, isn't he allowed to have a moment of weakness? He just had some crazy space sex with the love of his life. Granted, they hadn't been around each other for a while, but wouldn't that make the thought of being in paradise with her forever all the more appealing? Who wouldn't want that? Even if for just a little while?


Although I'm willing to grant any fully realized character a moment of weakness or even complete selfishness, the thing we have to understand about Angel is that Connor is the most important thing to him. More important than Buffy, more important than anything. Consider Angel season three: even after Angel realized that Wesley had kidnapped baby Connor out of legitimate concern for the baby's safety, Angel--who was not evil, soulless, or "possessed" at the time--tried to smother Wesley to death with a pillow. Because he was reacting as a parent whose child had been stolen. His emotions overwhelmed his rationality. With Angel that almost never happens. At the end of Angel season five he ruthlessly--yet very logically, every step of the way--devised and implemented a plan to take down the Circle of the Black Thorn which not only involved killing an innocent friend, but also included him signing away his role in the Shanshu prophecy, which to him always equated to his one real chance of happiness with Buffy. He did all that without even flinching. He sacrificed a friend, he sacrificed (as far as he knew at the time) his future with Buffy. And he did it all in the furtherance of his plan, he did it all in the service of an abstract, idealistic goal. But with Connor he doesn't think that way. With Connor, he's emotional, he's selfish--as any parent would be. When Connor is at stake Angel doesn't put the needs of the many above the needs of the few. When the last battle came at the very end of his series Angel made damned sure Connor wouldn't be anywhere near it even though they could have used his strength. This idea of a new universe (or whatever the hell it is) being born, and so what if humanity has to die first--that's the kind of abstract thinking Angel allows himself to indulge in when it doesn't involve Connor.

Buffy has Dawn (and to a lesser extent, Willow and Xander and Giles.) Buffy simply wouldn't ever allow Dawn to be sacrificed in the service of some greater goal (and the fact that she told Giles she would during a conversation in season seven was one of that season's typical out of character mis-steps; refer to her speech during "The Gift" for the actual, correct, in-character Buffy's ideas on that.) And Angel has Connor, and he would never allow Connor to be sacrificed for some greater goal either. When Angel "killed" Connor at the end of season four, he wasn't doing it to save all the people Connor might have gone on to hurt. He was doing it to save Connor from himself, and give him a better life. In the end, greater goals are abstract concepts, but the people we love are flesh and blood and real and right there in front of us. When we allow good and evil to become a simple numbers game, we allow our morality to become a mere abstraction, and we become the monsters. Maybe Angel could see everyone living in, say, Europe as an abstraction as he had sex with Buffy and the world started quaking. But Connor? Not an abstraction. Never in a million years.
Oh, very well said, Hellmouthguy. I totally agree with you about Angel and Connor--and about Buffy and Dawn and that stupid, stupid, stupid line in LMPTM (I remember the first time I saw it, I literally said to the screen, "Oh, yeah right, Buffy. You so would not.").

But.

As much as I think you are 100% right, Scott Allie has said, several times, that Joss believes that Buffy is more important to Angel than Connor (and clarified that yes, he meant she really is more important to Angel period, not just that she's more important within the context of BtVS). At the time, I rolled my eyes at this, thinking he was just saying that Joss thought this because he, Allie, thought it. I assumed that Joss didn't really think that at all, because the idea was laughable.

But the text here seems to support the idea, doesn't it? And I find that both sad and troubling.
Thanks, Alex. And word, Hellmouthguy--Angel forgetting about Connor is the first and only sign you need to know that all is not right in Angelville.
Of course, we don't know if Connor is even still alive. There is a time lapse between After The Fall and Season 8.
Lirazel, I'm not a parent (so if any parents out there want to correct me if they think I'm wrong, feel free) but I think the math goes like this: your spouse and your only child are both hanging off a cliff and you can only save one of them. Which one do you pick? You pick your child.

Frankly, I have felt for a long time now that Joss has lost these characters. We can say he created them and therefore they're his and what he says goes, but that is actually doing Joss a disservice. Because when characters are written well they gain a kind of life. And it is possible for their original author to attempt to bend them out of shape to make them fit into a story while ignoring how they would actually act. There is a way Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Faith, etc. would actually act in any given situation that has nothing at all to do with whatever particular story Joss might want to tell, because over the years, thanks to his hard work and the hard work of many others, not least of which are the actors who portrayed them, these characters have gained a kind of verisimilitude. And Angel simply would not act this way. He would not put Buffy above Connor, and it doesn't matter to me if Joss Whedon says he would. Angel, and all the rest, gained verisimilitude. There is a way they would act and a way they wouldn't act that is no longer dependent upon Joss's whims. Which is actually the greatest compliment I can give Joss. Real characters that have beating hearts and bleed for us don't grow on trees. There is a kind of magic to their creation, a blessed alchemy.

Glad you agree with me about that terrible Buffy line in LMPTM by the way. It's one of the little thorns season seven sticks me with every time I watch. And a complete betrayal of that beautiful moment in The Gift. Season seven, for me, wasn't just a letdown. It was a betrayal of much of what came before, it damaged the legacy of the show profoundly, and it still leaves me angry and bewildered.
I didn't turn off season 5 when Dawn conveniently forgot Ben turned into Glory.


Wait wait wait. Are you saying Ben has some connection to Glory?

Oh, come on! I can't believe that was just laying there that long.)

Also, interesting issue. Not sure I'm 100% sold on it yet, but I'm also very tired and the implications haven't sunk in.

Also, Spike. 'Nuff said.
Oh man, I think that was the best issue of S8! So many good character moments. And the art was good for the most part.
Things are starting to feel right in the Buffyverse again.
Time for a re-read.
The design of that machine Spike arrived in is awesome. Very steampunk as someone has said. Interesting that Willow seemed to know who and what it was...the mind reading thing, did she know he was alive, did they all? Or is it something else? And Andrew! :(

Angel: Reserving judgement til we get the rest of the issues and the backstory.

Buffy: Yep, she's on her way back to being Buffy at last.

Just so frakking happy that Spike is back. Please can we have him in character, with some Spike/Xander snark, Spike/Dawn interaction and the Angel/Spike bickering we know and love (presuming Angel himself goes back to being the Angel we know and love).

I can't wait to see all these characters interact together again.

[ edited by shazzam on 2010-05-06 20:14 ]
Angel loves Connor. But Angel's way of expressing that love includes effectively reinventing him. Wiping his son's memories to allow him to be the happy well-adjusted platonic Connor of Angel's hopes and dreams. Before Buffy tears the opening that reveals what's happening to her friends Angel seems to believe the way his brave new world works is that whatever he wishes will come true:

"You know where they are.They're wherever you want them to be."

Twilight, or so he seems to believe will allow him to write/create the Connor who was always meant to be. It's a higher plane. People who believe in such things believe they represent the true reality not the imperfect, doomed material world.The tantric sex motif of #33 was a pretty straightforward homage/allusion to Alan Moore's Promethea. As I understand it that story ends with Promethea ending the world so a new more real reality can be born. I can see Angel being tempted by that kind of anti-materialist philosophy. Angel is weak (he's always been weak) and Angel has very little underlying faith that the world can be a better place. He plays lip service to it with the champion talk but his last stand in NFA was never supposed to save the world only slow its decline. Becoming Twilight's subject seems to have taken Angel's natural fatalism and amplified it to the point where it dominates every thing else in his personality but the idea that he would be more tempted and more easily convinced of the Universe's rightness than Buffy is not, I think, out of character.
Yes hayes62. And some of you griping about the LMPTM line I think are just bound not to like anything in the comics, because you are choosing not to see certain developments of Buffy's character that the writers are obviously keen on following.

I am no shipper by even a stretch, but I think the loose thread of Buffy and Angel's love for each other is the big hole in the Buffyverse that is now being filled with this story--it's actually not destroying anything. And I think if they didn't deal with it, many would be griping about that. In "Selfless" Buffy says that she loved Angel more than "she will ever love anything in this life" and she gave him up. With Dawn in 5 she went back on this mindset, but in 7 and in the comics, she is back there. She see the world as a war. She's even now willing to steal,create her slayer army, and go to war with human beings, who are now siding with vampires. It's not pretty, but it is Buffy's current situation, and for me, a very realistic and compelling direction that makes me want to see what's next for Buffy and Angel, and how they can negotiate their blinding love for each other with the fact that Angel probably just started an early war with the humans because of it.

[ edited by narky on 2010-05-06 10:25 ]
Wow, narky, I think that's a pretty big assumption. I actually adore a great deal of S7, including Buffy's character development there (while acknowledging that it's weak in many, many areas and screws up a lot), but the writers had given us zero reason for us to believe that Buffy would have changed her mind about sacrificing Dawn. And what you're talking about? Moving back to where she was at S2? That's called regression. I don't tend to be fond of that, although I could forgive it if I'm given a reason for it happening. That didn't happen with Buffy in S7. In fact, S6 ends with Buffy's big epiphany being one that is built around Dawn, and then nothing happens between "Grave" and LMPTM for me to think she would change her mind. I'd love if you could point out where the writers laid down the foundation for that.

[eta] Also, I had a conversation literally yesterday with a bunch of people who agreed that line was out of character and nonsensical and that Buffy was probably only saying it because she knew that's what Giles wanted to hear. So clearly I'm not the only one who thinks that line came out of nowhere.

Plus, there are things about the comics I do like. I just demand some lead up to character development. I really don't see why disliking one line in S7 would make anyone disregard all of the comics. That seems like a huge leap.

but I think the loose thread of Buffy and Angel's love for each other is the big hole in the Buffyverse that is now being filled with this story Well, I disagree with that. I thought that show handled the ending of their relationship at various times very well. I didn't really see anything more to say on it...unless you're going to have a ton of character development wherein these two people get to know each other again, which clearly isn't going to happen here (there's no time for it to happen). Buffy and Angel no longer know each other, they haven't seen each other in years, and they have whole lives the other knows nothing about. If I'm going to believe in them, if I'm going to be moved by them and invest in them, you have to address all that. And a good writer could cover all that ground and make it interesting. I think that would be really fascinating, and I tend to be one who has zero interest in their relationship. Basically, I feel as though the comics are asking me to invest in their relationship because once upon a time they were in love. Since I didn't really invest in their relationship the first time around, I see no reason to do so now, when there's no foundation for it anymore.

Which is a shame, because, again: I think you could do some really, really interesting things with getting these two people back together again. Their have different enough worldviews that watching them play off of each other could be quite fun.

[eta again!] Which, of course, could be the point: they leaped into this thing without thinking. I hope so, and I hope they deal with the fallout of that, but I just don't see it happening. Also, I ship another direction and have always had zero interest in B/A, but this is making me really want to seek out some well-written post-NFA B/A fic that deals with these very issues I'm having to see what someone can do with this if they try. And that is really shocking. I never thought that would happen.

hayes62, I think that's quite a grim view of Angel. I agree with a large part of it, though--I do tend to have a grim view of Angel. But I do think that if Angel were really acting like himself, he'd show a bit more concern about Connor, and the contradictory statements he makes about the nature of Twilight lead me to think he's not even thinking about his son.

And if Connor's dead, I'm gonna be pissed. But I don't think they're allowed to do that, since he was never on BtVS.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-06 14:12 ]
My comic book shop is getting this week's comics tomorrow. Not sure if it's delayed cause of the bank holiday or the volcanic ash no-flight rule.
I have lots of thoughts but I'll probably sit on them for a while. I will talk about one thing though: the infamous LMPTM line. Here's my take, but it's probably unpopular. I think it was probably a bad move to have that line for various reasons.

But.

The fact that Buffy says it doesn't mean she would go through with it. Similarly, the fact that she says, in "The Gift," that she would let the world be destroyed and everyone in this and every other dimension suffer unbearable torment and death, including Dawn, doesn't mean she would have. "You know you have to let me [jump]," Dawn tells her, and Buffy looks at her sadly in the seconds leading up to her blood-epiphany and she gets on some level that, yes, she does have to let her. She doesn't have to make that choice: she kills herself, on a hunch, instead. And that's heroic, it really is, and it's one of the most beautiful moments in the series but it's still showing someone who gratefully accepts death, rather than have to live in the world "where these are the choices, where everything gets stripped away."

In season six, Buffy learns to love the world again. She loves Dawn and Dawn is The World to her, but her prioritizing the world over Dawn isn't regression but an indication that she is putting the fate of the world and the most recent apocalypse as her number one duty, which, honestly, she hasn't done before. This is after "Selfless" and she's relived killing Angel, after season six and she's learned to appreciate the world qua the world and see that destroying the world because you lose someone you love is wrong. It's after months of being hardened by Giles, the potentials, the threat that the First will kill everyone in the world. We in the audience can be sceptical about how Apocalypsey this Apocalypse is, but Buffy can't. I think Buffy means it, that she would sacrifice Dawn to save the world. I also don't know whether she would go through with it.

After she finds out Giles is using her/distracting her, she catches herself. She obviously hates herself for being as hard as Giles, which is why she goes and watches Dawn while she sleeps, and it's also why, I suspect, she sends Dawn away in "End of Days," so that she knows Dawn is safe and merely part of the world she's trying to save and to ensure that there's no chance that choice will come up. But I don't think taking on the mantle of world protector, at the expense of her sister, is inconsistent with Buffy's development nor in conflict with "The Gift."

Re: Angel & Connor. I dig hayes62's take but feel like there would have to be canonical support for me to take it as being in the text.
some of you griping about the LMPTM line I think are just bound not to like anything in the comics, because you are choosing not to see certain developments of Buffy's character that the writers are obviously keen on following.


What developments exactly? At the end of season five, Buffy threatened to kill anyone who harmed Dawn, even if it was one of her friends. At the end of season six she wanted to embrace life again specifically to show Dawn the world. Then, in LMPTM, for some reason, she is suddenly willing to sacrifice Dawn's life as if she's one of the expendable potentials. What development, exactly, preceded this about-face? What changed in Buffy's relationship with Dawn? Sure, the First was tough and the apocalypse was once again upon them. But I recall Glory being pretty tough too, and Buffy was just as much in despair about her chances of beating Glory as she was about her chances of beating the First. Sarificing Dawn would have actually given Buffy a guaranteed victory over Glory and she still wouldn't even entertain the idea. Now in season seven sacrificing Dawn is suddenly okay? Why? Character development needs to build from what came before and it needs to make logical sense. Precious little has made sense in the Buffyverse for years now because the writers have been consistently cutting corners, bending (and in some cases breaking) characters to serve their plots.

I think the loose thread of Buffy and Angel's love for each other is the big hole in the Buffyverse that is now being filled with this story


What loose thread? It was wrapped up pretty well and also pretty definitively at the end of season seven. Buffy needs time to grow, Angel's going to wait fo her.
The reason I rejected Buffy's line about Dawn is that she seems to be saying that she wouldn't die in Dawn's place again. Which, speaking as a big sister (who would most certainly die for my annoying but wonderful little sister), yeah, feels like a regression. Plus, it ignores the fact that the awesome thing about Buffy is that when she's offered two evils, she always finds another way out instead of picking the lesser of those two. She definitely does it in "The Gift," she does it in "Checkpoint," she does it in "Chosen" (just to name the first examples that leap to my mind). Perhaps she doesn't realize that about herself? But I see no reason to believe Buffy wouldn't die for Dawn all over again.

Of course, I'm also one of those crazy people who doesn't think Angel was right to kill Drogyn because I would rather die than take an innocent's life--I could hurt someone in self-defense or the defense of someone else (probably), but violence is never okay with me in other circumstances, even if, as Twilight has been telling us, it ends up saving more lives. I sacrifice my life, not someone else's.

But I do agree that what she says and what she does are often two very different things.

Re: Angel & Connor. I dig hayes62's take but feel like there would have to be canonical support for me to take it as being in the text. Well, that sums up my feelings as well. Except that you said it a lot better and more clearly. :D

Oh, and Hellmouthguy, I just read your comment and agree. Except that I know you hate the last couple of seasons of the show, and I love S6 and like a lot of things about S7, despite acknowledging its weaknesses (which are many).

[edited for grammar!fail]

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-06 15:03 ]
I said up thread that I enjoyed this, and I am definitely along for the ride, but I do have to say that there is one big problem to the comic: it is all well and good to fool the reader, and even cause shipping wars if you can confine the fall-out to a short period of time, but this will drag on until next fall! I think it is too bad that we all have to fight over Angel's character motivations for months waiting to find out that there is (probably) some kind of explanation for his (seemingly) out-of-character behavior. We are all trying to justify Angel's decisions in the comic based on what he has done in the past on the TV shows, but I'm sure there will be new information that we won't get until Thanksgiving (or Christmas) to resolve our feelings of 'wtf?'.
Oh, yes, Buffy would absolutely die to take Dawn's place again--I have no qualms on that part. I never interpreted the line in LMPTM to suggest that Buffy would let Dawn die rather than take her place, though. I agree that this line shows an inability to think laterally the way she does in "The Gift" or "Chosen." But the season has been setting up Buffy's difficulty thinking laterally when being inundated with responsibility beyond what she's accustomed to. I don't think it's regression, because, again, between Dawn or the world I don't think it's a bad thing to want to save the world. I would think very ill of someone who would actually kill six billion people to save one, though I know many parents apparently would. I guess that's part of the thing: I see her attitude in "The Gift" (including "I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn") as a symptom of her depression, of her not being fully grown, even if I agree that she made the right decision at the end. (Willingness to let the world die so Dawn can have a few more minutes alive: bad. Willingness to die to prevent Dawn from dying: good.)

I agree that Angel was obviously wrong to kill Drogyn. But he wasn't in a "kill Drogyn or save the world," situation, but a "kill Drogyn or be killed and have his plans foiled" situation.

ETA: OK, I checked the transcript. "Faced with the same choice again," I see what you mean about Buffy being willing to sacrifice Dawn instead of herself. I still interpret it differently, I guess? Oh well.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-05-06 15:18 ]
(Willingness to let the world die so Dawn can have a few more minutes alive: bad. Willingness to die to prevent Dawn from dying: good.)

Okay, that I could agree with, at least as a starting point. The wording of the line was strange, I think. Your reading of that line is one I'm more comfortable with.

I agree that Angel was obviously wrong to kill Drogyn. But he wasn't in a "kill Drogyn or save the world," situation, but a "kill Drogyn or be killed and have his plans foiled" situation.

Which is yet another reason I can't understand the people who defend his actions there. *shrug*
LikeWilliam the B said. Buffy's S7 line isn't that she would kill Dawn. What Giles asks her and what she agrees would now be true is that she would let Dawn die. What neither she nor Giles considered a possibility in The Gift was that Dawn has her own agency and could choose to sacrifice herself but that's what Dawn did. In the event she didn't need to but having seen her choose is something that could change Buffy's understanding of what the choices were.

@ Lirazel I don't think Angel is entirely himself in Twilight - I think he becomes more himself again in response to Buffy's rejection. I do think his attitude to Connor and the Deep Down quote about Champions living in the world "as it should be" suggests a susceptibility to the idea of Twilight. He's like a Platonist who's been shown a way out of the cave.
What neither she nor Giles considered a possibility in The Gift was that Dawn has her own agency and could choose to sacrifice herself but that's what Dawn did

Which is a good point, but I still think that when it came right down to it, Buffy would die for her again. I do.

I see what you're saying, haydes62, but I think you could argue the opposite with Angel, and I'm gonna quote Emmie from above on this:

Angel is now the voice of destiny and submission to that destiny. It's not shocking that he'd lose his selfless principles for a selfish reason, that urge has always been there. He wanted to "screw the world" to save Fred from Illyria overtaking her. He wanted to, but he didn't. The key difference there--he didn't want to "screw the world" for himself, but for an innocent. Because Angel saves souls. He's screwed over his friends for the sake of Connor, essentially mindraping them in order to save Connor's life and very sanity. But when it comes to Angel's wants and needs, he doesn't believe he deserves forgiveness. He doesn't deserve happiness at the cost of others. That's why he beseeched the Oracles to turn back the clock in I Will Remember You--he gave up his personal happiness with Buffy, his humanity, to save her and others. He offered his life to save Darla. Angel is ultimately selfless even in his ultimate selfishness--his acts of selflessness are inspired by those he loves (just as Buffy refused to "kill Dawn").

Which is where I'm coming from. And I've got major problems with Angel, his morality, and the decisions he makes. But I'm with Emmie on this one.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-06 15:36 ]
I always interpreted the line in LMPTM as that Buffy, at last resort and without the option of sacrificing herself for Dawn, would allow Dawn to die.

Buffy is all about sacrifice, by her personal nature and by her being a Slayer, and everytime she fights she goes in with the knowledge she may not come out alive, whether she's fighting a Big Bad to save someone she loves, or fighting a random vampire to save a random teenager - Buffy's always been ready to sacrifice herself because she knows that's what being a Slayer is ultimately about. 100% of the time she would go down fighting a vamp to rescue a stranger, and 100% of the time she would end her own life to spare Dawn's.

With that in mind I think her development as a character, especially through season six, became less about "fighting the good fight" to "ensuring that we win." Not to say she became ruthless or only saw the means as a way to the end; rather she took the same journey that Angel took in his own season two: realizing that life was not epic, good versus evil battles with the side of good infused with moral righteousness; but rather just events that needed to be transgressed as best as they could with respect to her own character's integrity.

Much of the latter half of season five was about Buffy absolutely refusing to allow Dawn to be killed: it wasn't about defeating Glory, it wasn't about preventing the Key from opening a hell dimension, it was about protecting her sister. I think the entire point of the LMPTM line was to show that unlike season five, Buffy had realized that despite her best efforts and intentions, Dawn may have to die. It wasn't so much her thinking that Dawn should have died instead, or even that Dawn dying was the easier option; it was Buffy realizing that death was a possibility.
I still don't think Angel could just 'sign away' the shanshu. I still think he's got a part in it that'll be addressed somehow, eventually. In the Buffy-world, you just don't get out of a prophecy that easy, and they have a way of getting fulfilled no matter how you think they won't.
Is haydes62 my devilish alter ego? Cool.

I think my thing with Angel is that he thinks he should save souls but he’s never been entirely convinced that it's possible. He doesn’t believe that he can be, he failed with Darla, he only succeeded with Connor by completely rewriting him. Add in what happened to Wesley, Gunn and Fred and you're left with Faith as his one great success story but on a bad day he probably thinks she's the exception that proves the rule. From some philosphical standpoints Angel isn't being selfish by ending the old nasty, flawed, sinful material world and being the Universe's instrument for creating a higher plane of existence. He's not doing it for him he's doing it for reality, he's saving all the souls because the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh.
The trouble with Angel is that he seems to be the Buffyverse character who gets hassled/manipulated by higher powers the most.

To date:

The Powers That Be
The First
Jasmine
Wolfram and Hart
The Universe

Poor guy can't get a break.
Actually, MattManiac7325, I can agree with all of that.

Watcher's Pet, I'm one of those people who thinks that Connor is Angel's Shanshu and that he knows that. So I was okay with him signing away the prophecy from a characterization perspective (plus, I think him giving away his chance at human life--which I don't think he'd really enjoy anyways--is a nice moment, even if I have major problems with all the decisions surrounding that one). But I do think it's impossible in that unvierse to sign away a prophecy, so if it's real, it's probably not off the table.

Ooops! Sorry, hayes62! I'm blushing now!

I absolutely think that Angel could get to this place. I do. But I'd need to see what road takes him there, and we haven't got that. And what little we do know, we're being told, not shown. It's so entirely not from his perspective that we have no clue what's going on in his head. And it's nearly impossible to tell which actions are his decisions and which aren't. He's contradicting himself all over the place. It just feels like he's being used as a plot point, not as a character. And that's disappointing.
I know you hate the last couple of seasons of the show...


I do think the show would have been better off ending with The Gift, but my outright disdain is reserved for season seven alone. Although six gave us the trite "magic addiction" cop-out, the plotting was still generally sharp and the characters were still acting like the characters. And six simply had too many great episodes--Once more With Feeling, Tabula Rasa, As You Were, Normal Again--for me to hate it. I do indeed see it as failure compared to what came before, but a noble one, and I think it's a pity that Dark Willow only amounted to a hill of snark in the end.

But seven was the beginning of the end for me. The Big Bads were terrible--one was an idiot and the other one just made annoying speeches. The plotting was routinely slapdash. Willow and Xander and Giles were shunted off to the side, and Willow jumped into bed with Kennedy for some reason which escapes me. The writers treated the characters like game pieces; Amy's ridiculous transformation into a leering supervillain is ample illusration of this. "You saved my life a bunch of times, Willow! And for that--you must die!" Whatever.) There was a real drop in episode to episode quality too, with only one classic episode all season (Conversation With Dead People.) The potentials were ants ruining the picnic with the exception of Violet (and I don't just say that because she was Felicia Day; even when I first viewed season seven, she was the only potential I actually wanted to see survive.) Mostly though, for me, seven is where they lost the characters, sacrificing them on the altar of their increasingly contrived plots. And the trend has continued in season eight.
Perhaps we could get back to the actual discussion of the issue instead of general Buffy discussion. I know the 8aters and pro8s have been looking forward to this to debating this issue for a while. And I would hate for them to be disappointed.
I think (after almost 24 hours to absorb and obsess over this issue) the biggest problem is the pacing.

This is all happening so fast now. For 33 issues we had a build up of Twilight then in 2 issues we have star-crossed lovers reunite, have sex that is a big deal, look around at a new world and instantly dismiss it and go back to everything.

There really was NO development in this issue for Angel and Buffy in Twilight. She looked around and instantly decided "no" and went back to earth and Angel, loving her, goes too. So his very brief argument for their staying, comes across as selfish and damaging to his character. But would it have if it were played out on the show? If we had a whole hour-long episode or two of the actors describing what had just happened, how this effects them, what this could mean, would it come across the same? I truly don't think it would. We'd probably have a much truer look at where Angel is coming from. The hope he felt for them and, looking at the panel of him trying to ignore earth, the desperation.

I'm starting to think this is a real problem of the comic writers. They should've introduced this twist in the story sooner so that it would have more time to develop.

That said, I'm still very unhappy with how Angel was portrayed in this issue. Above all others, I'm worried about him.
CrystalSC said:

This is all happening so fast now. For 33 issues we had a build up of Twilight then in 2 issues we have star-crossed lovers reunite, have sex that is a big deal, look around at a new world and instantly dismiss it and go back to everything.


I definitely agree. Maybe it's because I was not a comic reader before (although I do like Maus, Persepolis and Fray) but I've been waiting 3 years for this reveal and the fallout and now I keep wanting to hit the pause button. I kind of like the story they are suggesting but I don't feel like we're getting to enjoy it or even really understand it all. I know there are 4 issues left and Joss is an amazing 11th hour writer but I have felt throughout season 8 the pace if off and I'm not enjoying it as much as I'd like to. Maybe I will feel different in another year when I can read all of Season 8 in it's entirety but as I was for the above mentioned comics; for now, I feel frustrated.
CrystalSC, i'm not sure about the no development theory..as I see it, Buffy throughout season 8 wanted exactly what she got in Twilight, "great muppety oden" loads of sex and the happiness from the post season 5 pre season 6 time in heaven. The season 8 Buffy is just so jaded with all of it and is seemingly willing to forgo her morals to steal and ride the supposed bad guy. This kinda leaves the reader seeing her as a "willing to sacrifice it all" kind of person now! But!!! Yes BUT! she seems to have had a "you're welcome" moment, minus Cordy, in that she now realises where best she's needed and what heaven really is to her. Goodbye little miss I want heaven, hello Badass Rogue Demon Hunter!!!
"There is a way Buffy, Angel, Willow, Xander, Faith, etc. would actually act in any given situation that has nothing at all to do with whatever particular story Joss might want to tell, because over the years, thanks to his hard work and the hard work of many others, not least of which are the actors who portrayed them, these characters have gained a kind of verisimilitude."

Reader response! Yes! :-)
luv4whedon we actually have 5 issues left. Joss' arc will take us to Issue #40 :)

I enjoyed many things about this issue but I too think Angel needs far more story for this to work with his history. It’s not that I don’t think he could get to this place – and for the record I’m a huge Angel fan – it’s that I need to see the steps he took to get here. In Deep Down Angel says that a Champion lives “as if the world is how it should be” and I can buy the idea that he was tempted when he had the power to actually make that world a reality. I really can. However, only when he no longer has any ties to the world or when he’s gone through something pretty horrific and traumatic that has caused him to feel defeated and detached. That, or he’s still being effected by Twilight and whilst I can certainly believe that’s responsible for manipulating him up until Issue #34, I get the impression both he and Buffy are supposed to have snapped out of it by now. I love the guy and I want the best for him but I'm not adverse to a story where he ultimately falls, as heartbreaking as that’d be. But I am upset if that story didn't have the proper build up and right now this one does not.

I am slightly conflicted though, as I did *almost* grin when he decided to join Buffy and get back into the fight. I wanted to cheer in that moment but the problem I have is that it didn't feel earned because I have no idea why he needed to re-learn that lesson in the first place. I don’t understand why he was prepared to sacrifice everyone (including his son!?) to reinvent the world into a better place. As I said, I can see it being a possible way for the guy to end up but not without adequately showing what caused him to fall. So I really, really HOPE that Angel is addressed more in Whedon's final arc because his character deserves better than that.

On the other hand I loved Buffy in this issue and her story HAS had the necessary groundwork. I mean, they even built-up her sex drive from the very first issue – “Great muppety odin I miss that sex” – so that’s pretty impressive! :D

Issue #34 tells us that a force was "urging Buffy on" and that she "should be staking Angel right now" but that "something isn't letting her." Twilight was effecting her but IMO what this issue (and Issue #33) conveyed to us is that she let her guard down and let the glow overtake her. That’s what makes her still partially responsible for what has happened and I suspect that’s how Joss is still going to milk some drama out of this.

I can totally understand why Buffy gave in – even for a moment – when Angel offered her a connection. All season Buffy has been feeling disconnected from her friends and her slayers and Angel offered her that feeling she's longed for. Willow remarks how exhausted Buffy looks in The Long Way Home and even in After These Messages Buffy asks herself if “saving the world has ever been this hard.” She collapsed in Xander’s bed and longed for a simpler world where she wasn’t called “ma’am” (a role a part of her clearly resents) and she whimsically echoes Oz’s words of “just giving in” during Retreat. She revels in her new powers in Turbulence because the power of flight (it's no coincidence this is the power emphasised the most) enables her to feel free from it all. She admits it feels right and worries that it means. Perhaps subconsciously she was worried that she was giving in, letting go. And of course on top of all this she’s been turned on by humanity and hunted down like an animal. So they laid down the foundation for this moment of weakness from the very beginning and I’m very satisfied with her story after Issue #35. It’s not as if Buffy knew she’d have “destiny sex” with Angel or set in motion the apocalypse, it was just one moment of weakness and now she’s paying a huge price for it.

I loved that she refused to give in to what Twilight wanted of her and I love the irony of this because it’s those kind of qualities that made Twilight recognise her as special in the first place. Marvellous! I also squeed when she called the Scoobies her *family* because that's always been what's appealed to me most about this show.

Other things I liked;

- Xander's unshakeable faith in Buffy. Awwww...

- Willow's cautionary words to Angel which were justified by also damn scary. I wonder if there's more to that since the demon says he can smell both good and evil in her. I know Scott said a lot of her story would spill into S9 but I wonder if she’ll get a pivotal moment in the final arc. ‘Goddess and Monsters’ alluded to her heading down a dark path (the demon warrior doesn’t want her to pass because of this) and of course in ToYL she’s dark and allowing Harth to spread vampirism. I wonder if she’ll do something dark to end out her story this season or if we really won’t get any resolution until after S8.

- The BRONZE!!!!!!

- Spike's entrance was epic and very cool. I have no idea what that thing is he crashed through the wall but I like the suggestions that it comes from the Frayverse. Which would mean that Spike has travelled through time and back. Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to the vamp nail polish or the red shirt, as I’d just see it as Georges referring to his more iconic look to ensure that people definitely recognise him. However, I distinctively remember Jeanty saying we should look into the clothing choices “as much as we want to” and I can’t help but notice that Spike is wearing a lot of rings which is an odd creative choice, and that Buffy is wearing the exact same ring in the Twilight dimension. Hmmm...

- I actually loved the idea that Twilight is a reflection of Buffy and Angel's thoughts and feelings. It's a nice idea that it looked like Eden when they were still in their blissful stage and how it changed as Buffy figured out what was going on. I think the significance of the Bronze is that it represented her connection to her friends and it was a way to depict what was on Buffy’s mind as she pieced it all together.

Overall it was a pretty good issue but I'm just unhappy with Angel's characterisation. At least he sounds like Angel again (in regards to speech pattern, words ect) so that gives me some hope. I think Meltzer excelled better at the earlier issues of the arc as they were more comedy-focused but I do agree with IGN that he overindulged in all the comic book references. Nevertheless, he handled Xander’s pep talk with Buffy like a pro and in general his humour was very Buffyesque. Where he faltered is when it came to all the exposition and I get the impression it’s not his forte. Some of the dialogue was clunky and a bit tedious and it didn’t flow as well as other exposition scenes in the book. I also feel that he was holding back explaining everything which is odd as it really should have been straight-forward and concise. This wasn’t the time to be coy.

I’m looking forward to the last arc and have faith in Joss that he can tie this all together. It’s very annoying we have such a long break so I really hope that DH release lots of covers/preview pages/interviews ect to satisfy us in the meantime.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-05-06 19:59 ]
Very well said vampmogs.
One of the biggest problems with Season 8 is its failure to properly build context. Without this context, the emotional impact isn't grounded. We're not carried away by the story. Our emotional investment is negated.

It's making me wonder if this contextual grounding relied heavily on the familiarity of the live action in the TV shows. The city of LA, the Library, the Magic Box, Buffy's house, the Hellmouth, the sets that had a life of their own.

In Season 8, the attention to worldbuilding and building up characterization has been largely ignored in crucial areas (humanity's response to this global event, Angel's motivation and pov). In ye olden days of the TV shows, there'd be a character who was emblamatic of humanity's response, who symbolized humanity and was a foil to Buffy. Without this character to ground the perspective, the context is lost. Instead, we have Harmony propaganda and Stephen Colbert spinnage.

It's why the storyline of Season 8 reads like a kite that's string snapped and now flails wildly into outerspace. Literally.
Judging from all the highly emotional reactions to the last two episodes I'm less sure that the necessary context is missing. This is Buffy's book. #34 had half of fandom feeling that she was lost to them forever. After #35, she's widely acknowledged to be back and the relief is palpable.
The English teacher in me is whopping and hollering at the level of discourse here. I am proud to be part of a fandom that can articulate an argument in thoughtful and investigative ways.

I miss the TV show. A lot. While it's nice to still have the characters around to talk about nothing will ever compare to the show and how the actors brought the characters to life and how the familiar settings felt like home. I don't know want to be a 8ater because I've enjoyed a lot of the comic but I just don't feel as connected.
Is anyone else seeing a resemblance here between the conversation between Angel and Buffy and the conversation between Alpha and Echo in Omega after Echo has been given all of her personalities? It seems like a similar idea:

He: We have evolved, ascended and become a new type of being. Leave the old self/world behind.

She: No thanks. I like the old self/world.

Obviously there are differences, but thematically it feels like the same point (or at least similar). What do you think?
"It’s not as if Buffy knew she’d have “destiny sex” with Angel or set in motion the apocalypse, it was just one moment of weakness and now she’s paying a huge price for it."

Boy, I hope this is not the case. For several reasons. One is that if something bad happens after Buffy has sex with Angel, well, we already saw that happen before and the take home message is, don't screw Angel. Second, is that the trope of bad things happening after sex is old, old, old. Now, I am not happy that they had sex to begin with, not because I am a prude, but because it is simply unrealistic to me. They have not seen each other in years, have had major changes in their lives, are not the same as they were, and as soon as they see each other, and as soon as Buffy finds out Angel is the bad guy, she boffs him? Please. This goes back to the writers planning for "the sex" way back before they had an actual story. This is poor man's Buffy, not resonant Buffy. I agree with Emmie; there is no context, hence no resonance. And I disagree with hayes62 that there has been a highly emotional reaction to the comic; there has been a reaction, but it sure seems to me it is based upon considerable thought and processing.
Is anyone else seeing a resemblance here between the conversation between Angel and Buffy and the conversation between Alpha and Echo in Omega after Echo has been given all of her personalities?

Yeah, that was a very Buffy-like scene on a lot of levels.
Awesome, 100th post.
Good issue but not great. Angel to me is a lost cause, i hope he leaves soon. Spike's arrival was great and i look forward to his interactions with the scoobies. Don't know how i feel about Buffy, she did come back and choose her friends over 'heaven'+Angel. But at the same time it seems that it was her decision two issue back to go from trying to kill the murderer to boinking him in less then 1 minute. And how many millions of people have died are dying because she had an itch to scratch. Seems like a reset might be coming up.
The Twilight arc has been my least favorite.
Yeah, Sunfire, I think you are right.

You've reminded me that part of what I liked about that scene with Echo and Alpha (and "Caroline") was that it felt like a Buffy scene.

But in that case Angel is playing the role of the self-serving, egocentric, even insane/sociopathic villain. And, as many have pointed out in this discussion, this doesn't fit his past character development on either Buffy or Angel.

I just hope the end of Season 8 doesn't turn into what was, for me, a somewhat disappointing episode of Dollhouse: Hollow Men, when Boyd's character inconsistencies were revealed to be due to Boyd being essentially sociopathic. It felt to me like an easy out. I wish they'd had more time (100 episodes, maybe :-)) to develop all the stories.

But I loved Epitaph 2!
I was expecting a lot more exposition. We still don't know what Twilight is/means, what Giles knows, and how Angel got involved. Saving that for the last arc, I guess.

The issue was pretty good, though, until the vilest creature in the Buffyverse decided to pop up on the last page. *sigh*
Wow. Caleb's back? Really? On the last page there? Musta missed that.
Er, Lirazel, Spike is the vilest creature in the Buffyverse, not Caleb. At least Caleb never tried to rape Buffy. BOOM!!!

Anyway...

Wonder if Brian Lynch's Spike series has been delayed because it is going to explain how he gets to this point in the Buffy series.
That was called sarcasm. I knew who showed up on the last page.

I'm not even gonna touch the rest of your comment, as I can see nothing good coming from it.
Riker-Spike may be many things but he was not a misogynist. Caleb was.
This thread was going so well until recently. If we could please stick to the issue and avoid the petty infighting over how awful Spike is or isn't.

But in that case Angel is playing the role of the self-serving, egocentric, even insane/sociopathic villain.

I don't think it's that simple. I expect his perspective is probably pretty nuanced and will make a lot of sense. And I think it's very important that Buffy persuaded him to take the risk and go back to help. For her it's turning her back on a lot of surprising stuff that promised a certain kind of happiness. For him it was walking away from years of patient plotting toward a goal. He left more on that other plane than she did, in a sense.
Dana5140,

Issue #34 clearly states that "however much Buffy and Angel may love or miss each other that this is the pull of something far more ancient." It also states they were being “urged on” and that this force was even preventing Buffy from “staking him” like she “has before.” They’re blatantly stating that Buffy and Angel wouldn’t be having sex right now if it wasn’t for the ancient power urging them on and state that no matter how much they may miss each other it’s not the reason they were screwing. It isn’t how they’d normally react but it needn’t be because something was controlling them here. What makes Buffy somewhat culpable is that in a moment of defeat and weakness she let it take over her and these are the consequences.

And can you please, please, please stop speaking for an entire fandom. When you make claims about why people are responding to a comic and if it's "highly emotional or not" you don't get to speak for people like myself, who are emotionally invested in this comic. I don't appreciate being told how I feel and wish people would just stick to talking about how they feel and not how others do. If you don’t feel emotionally invested that’s fine but I do.
Sunfire: You make a good point about how much Angel is leaving behind and how nuanced his motivations and reasoning might be.

And you've helped me realize that (not to strain the Buffy/Angel//Echo/Alpha comparison because I think it's breaking down) Alpha's reaction to Echo's rejection of assuming superhuman status was far different from Angel's reaction to Buffy's rejection of it; Alpha threw a psychotic tantrum and threatened her life and Angel said "OK. Let's go."
Buffy doesn't seem back to being Buffy. She did an awfully quick turn around from (a) absolutely rejecting Angel's splainy about why he took on the Twilight disguise to begin with to (b) stopping the fight to (c) the sex sequence to (d) announcing that the Twilight realm was a trap to (e) re-iterating her rejection of the notion that following a million-year-evolution-intended-by-the-universe was a good thing & yanking Twangel out of Twilight and back to the fight.

And I'll ask what I asked on another forum: Has anyone else noticed the similarity of Blank-Page place to . . . the White Room at Wolfram & Hart . . . ? Pretty juicy piece'a clue-age, doncha think . . . ?
Read it now, and not much to say at the moment except, dear god what a waste of paper.

Does anyone else here remember a show called 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and the characters within? Because if you do can you write what you know and send it to Mr Joss Whedon and Brad Meltzer care of Dark Horse comics asap please. Thanks.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-05-07 07:55 ]
Having read this thread, and not yet having read the comic (which traditionally turns up almost a month later at my local comic shop, sigh) I can't reply in much detail about the quality of what's on the page. In fact, I too have found season 8 lacking in the quality of old in bits and places.

But it would be interesting - if you're me - to see how this season would have been received if it had been on television, with the actors we know selling us the character's feeling and reactions and - possibly even more important - the music rising and falling in the background to anchor everything emotionally.

It's one of the things we least notice, consciously, but it has a huge effect on how we react to scenes. I remember people saying, with the recent Trek movie, how surprised they were to be moved when they saw the Enterprise - well, that was probably due to the music swelling to emotional heights in the background :).

So there's actor deliverence, music, different timing of a comic book story (which has been discussed here before; in this very comments thread actually ;)), etcetera. Regardless of the quality of the story - which I feel has indeed been lacking from time to time - I feel lots of us oldschool Buffy fans were always bound to find that the comic book spoke to us a lot less than the show did.

Having said that: I find that the Firefly comics - so far - have managed to be much closer to the experience of watching the show than the Buffy comics have been. So there's probably something else the Buffy comics are doing wrong (or the Firefly comics are doing right).

Anyway: sorry for this digression; please continu with the on-topic discussion of #35, which I'm hoping to get my hands on sometime this decade ;)
I went back to re-read from the beginning, and the early issues DO have the feel of the show.

That sense of being linked to the show seems to drain out of them as it progresses. Some people did find their interest re-kindled by 'Retreat' and found it absolutely reduced by 'Twilight'. I found it waning through the 20s. I just finished the re-read of 35 & saw that the attempt to give it a strong misread (a la Harold Bloom) just failed.

The early issues have that dense texture that sustains interest and feels like a world. The Twilight arc has nothing but the feeblest fanfic feel to it, with all the references to the show abounding, but with an entirely bafflingly dimwitted supermythos attached. The machine is there & Buffy references are fed into it, and the result is utter garbage. But some people just want the machine to keep turning out the images, whether or not they have any substance or texture.

The early arcs showed very well that it *could* be done. Oddly, GJ's cover for #32, the take on the original Action Comics cover, shows Joss looking horrified and alarmed & looking at it now, it looks as if he knew the shite was going to hit the fan, and not in the good way. And it did.
I am not speaking for anyone but me, have never spoken for anyone but me, and am tired of being told to stop speaking for everyone but me. If I don't make my point well, well, that's fair in that regard, but my point was- some people might have an emotional response, but not all people do- which is so boilerplate it really need not be said, but someone else made a comment speaking for everyone- and round and round we go.

So, the universe made Buffy have sex. She lost agency- and if she lost agency and is having sex not from her free will, that is a horrid story line for Buffy to go. I really don't want to go there.
It is horrid but their sex brought on the end of the world so it was never meant to be a positive development. It’s already happened to her once before in Where the Wild Things Are when something urged Buffy and Riley on and they were turned into mindless sex zombies who had "no control over themselves." This time it's only has larger and more disastrous consequences.

It may be squicky but I’d still prefer that story to a story where Buffy knowingly jumped the bones of Twangel and didn’t care that the world started crumbling down around her.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-05-07 12:56 ]
Buffy doesn't know yet that her sexcapade brought the demons, didn't she?
Oh what fun fan-fiction. Really - whatever fan wrote this has a wild imagination.No handle on the characters voices or what they would do...I mean Angel is totally OOC and looks more like Robert Pattinson that David Boreanaz. Is that why he is nicknamed Twilight?Ah what funny japes....funny fan fiction.

What's that?....

It's not fan fiction?...

This is real?!...


This is canon?!!...


Jaysus....!!!!
their sex brought on the end of the world


I know it's an accurate summary of the current story arc, but wow--that sounds so painfully stupid when it's actually typed out.

Buffy season 8: The season in which the universe has decided Buffy and Angel are perfect super people who are superior to everyone else (and if you recall all the ridiculous crap they've put themselves and their friends through over the years I find that statement laughable on its face) and so it is somehow mind-controlling them (or whatever) into having sex, which will destroy the world.

Really?
Having finally read the issue, I can say it really reminded me of the Angel season 3 finale where Cordelia ascended and became one of those higher glowly things. I'm sure in years to come there will be some wonderful retroactive foreshadowing fan theories but for now it was a good solid read.
Sometimes I wonder if when there was an incident or plot point on Buffy-Angel that is mostly unpopular, Where the Wild Things Are, Cordelia's Ascension, The First, that it just makes Joss stubbornly try the same thing again, like he's trying to prove "NO really guys, look how cool this idea is!"

I'm sorta kidding but....
Uhm, I like the First, okay I wish that it had become corporeal and an epic solo battle with Buff ensued, but still, it was good from my POV. Maybe that's why, dare i say it, I liked this issue, although maybe I'm also alone in saying I didn't like Spike's entrance, and totally didn't get Willow's excitement to see him. I thought all the Scoobies hated him? maybe that was me projecting personal feelings onto them...WHO KNOWS?!?! but that really didn't make sense to me.
IF, and I say IF, this Spike is from the future, or that ship/tank/bubble thing is a time machine (as I've heard speculated; don't have my issue yet... flooding somewhere delayed shipment to store), Willow may have been happy to see him, since Willow has displayed a understanding of time that isn't linear. Just throwing that out there.
wexina I see where you're coming from...but i still don't get the 180 turn...maybe it's just me...although everything else seemed to make sense in this issue...so it's defo just me...nevermind...
Buffy season 8: The season in which the universe has decided Buffy and Angel are perfect super people who are superior to everyone else (and if you recall all the ridiculous crap they've put themselves and their friends through over the years I find that statement laughable on its face) and so it is somehow mind-controlling them (or whatever) into having sex, which will destroy the world.

Really?


'You have a superiority complex and you have an inferiority complex about it. Kudos.'

In order to keep AtS the show from being a meandery show, the whole trope of Shanshu & Angel's Big Role in the Apocalypse (which one? oh that one . . . no, THIS one . . . no . . . wait) was introduced. The Big Metaphysical Plan, which was largely a pretext in BtVS3 to move Angel out of Sunnydale to LA, mutated into the loud machinery that you can hear functioning every episode of AtS. This Big Metaphysical Machine comes with the character now, which has to occupy space in any plot concocted around him. The arc of Buffy-et-all-find-their-way-in-a-new-world has mashed up against the Complete-the-Great-Machine-of-Destiny Maguffin and the two are extraordinarily unmixy.

But if you thrown in enough sex followed by moist cow eyes from Buffy as she is basky-basking, it's all peaches & cream.
Simon said:

Having finally read the issue, I can say it really reminded me of the Angel season 3 finale where Cordelia ascended and became one of those higher glowly things.



I didn't even think of that but you're right: it is rather reminiscent of that episode. Thankfully, this time Angel is not being locked into a watery grave.
Thankfully, this time Angel is not being locked into a watery grave.


I beg to differ. Figuratively.

I'm not the character's number one fan but I am a fan and I am mourning his loss, because I honestly don't see how Angel comes back from this disastrous arc without some fairly major retconning which would be required in order to "reset" him. This guy is not the guy we saw for five years on his TV show. He acts as if those five years never happened, actually, and he's still Buffy's love-sick boyfriend wishing he could take her to the prom. This series really reads as if it's being masterminded by someone who just didn't care for Angel's show and is choosing to ignore it completely, which is bewildering since it was Joss's show. Still, as many times as Joss has played the "being controlled by an outside force" card in order to reset his characters, I suppose it could save the day again here. I just wish I understood why people think playing that card constitutes good writing. It's a way to have your cake and eat it too, a way to create conflict without having to pay off the consequences.
Dunno, will see hopefully tongiht, but based on the diea of an impulse (not a compulsion) for B&A to share soem whocka-whocka...Angel's diea of "If I wweren't their leader they'd have been even harder on you" justification makes a whacky, overly logical, Kiplingesque, US-&-the-Phillipines kind of sense.
Glad that we've finally got Buffy back, the good ol' sod-destiny Buffy: 'F#*% evolution!' And I loved Willow's threatening words to Angel. Oh and Yay! Spike! Although I didn't think his lines sounded at all like something Spike would say.

My main worry is about Angel. It just doesn't sound like him to want Buffy to forsake her friends for her own happiness. He himself has sacrficed his happiness many times for others and it doesn't make sense for him to ask this of her now. That's not the Angel I know and love. I also don't believe Angel could live without knowing the outcome. (He might try his hardest to if he wanted, but he'd eventually end up brooding about it and soaking up some more guilt) He still has Connor - there is no way Angel would choose paradise over his son! The only reasons I can come up with for Angel's behaviour are if he is being controlled by Twilight/mastermind-Universe or if something has happened that has caused him to completely give up hope in this world. Buffy seems to have snapped out of the being under the influence of the universe (still not buying this idea) and it's possible Angel's 'ok, let's go' was a sign that he has too, although I hope that line isn't supposed to be the end of it. In that case he's just gone from spouting crazy-paradise-philosophy to let's-go-save-the-world which to me is just bad writing.

I'm just scared that Angel will end up going the way of Cordelia. I did not watch five seasons of Angel's struggle for redemption for his journey to end with this. I hope there's a good reason for Angel going from the end of ATF #17: "But for now...I'm here to help", to this. I hope Joss's arc fully addresses Angel's motives. I also want more 'splainy on this 'controlling Universe' stuff.

And I completely agree with your first post r.e. Angel,Emmie, though I'm holding onto hope that Angel as a character has not been destroyed just yet.

I agree that the comics lack the ability to make us feel as connected as the show did, but I think that's hard to achieve with the comics because we've already seen the characters and stories played out perfectly and so it's hard to try and get that level of investment from the fans. With the show we watched the actors, heard their voices and saw their body language, all of which helped us to connect so deeply. We also had the score, which was important in guiding our emotions and reflecting what the characters were feeling. I think it's not fair to expect the comics to achieve that. But I also think that we're lucky to have that because what keeps the comics going is that we're already emotionally invested in these characters' journeys.

The wait for September will be painful.

[ edited by Shep on 2010-05-08 10:55 ]
I agree hellmouthguy; I hadn't think about it that way. I also worry for Angel's character and hope the creator of said character can bring him out of his watery grave. Hm...perhaps that's who Spike is bringing: gravely voiced Wesley, resurrected by the PTB to once again save Angel. I know I'm grasping at straws here but I miss the rogue demon hunter: he was my favorite Angel character. Oh I digress.
I also want more 'splainy on this 'controlling Universe' stuff.


I wouldn't mind an explanatory 'splainy but this inany-non-splainy-supersplainy has clogged Joss' tale-telling arteries too much.

I agree that the comics lack the ability to make us feel as connected as the show did, but I think that's hard to achieve with the comics because we've already seen the characters and stories played out perfectly and so it's hard to try and get that level of investment from the fans


Going back to the first year-plus of S8 issues after not having read them for some time, I felt that they were successful in connecting with the show, that the change of medium had been navigated. But the navigation console seems to have short-circuited.

He still has Connor - there is no way Angel would choose paradise over his son! The only reasons I can come up with for Angel's behaviour are if he is being controlled by Twilight/mastermind-Universe or if something has happened that has caused him to completely give up hope in this world.
For some brief moments, I thought that the Blank Slate state Buffy & Angel entered looked like the White Room, which we know can have serious effects on people's characters. But it looks like the resemblance was accidental.
Re: Emmie's review. There's a good reason why one can expect that the "rape metaphor" in this storyline will remain unaddressed by the writers: there is no rape metaphor in this storyline. Familiar with the term "projection"? There seems to be an awful lot of it going around.

And no, issue #34 was not "softcore porn." There are many significant literary and artistic works that include depictions of sex. Most of those works were, at some time in the past, banned by folks who refused to be grownups about the subject. I prefer to live in the current century; it's air conditioned and the food is better.

Amusing side note: Years ago, pornography was defined as works that fail to have scientific, literary, artistic or political value. By that definition, the average sitcom is pornography.

[ edited by dorkenheimer on 2010-05-08 11:14 ]
Ugh, S8 mostly makes my head hurt...I'll keep reading because of my love for the characters, but with each issue, I lose enthusiasm.

Buffy is my favorite TV show and I'd always hoped that S8 would match the excellence of it, but, IMO, it's just mediocre. I was hoping S8 would do for comics what BTVS did for TV, but instead it's just another average licensed comic series. There have been some good runs (I was a fan of Brian K. Vaughn's Faith arc), but overall, just average stories - nothing profound, nothing worth getting excited over (well, there was the whole Twilight mystery but in all honestly, I thought Twilight was kind of a lame villain) and really, nothing worth re-reading (which is the opposite of the show - which can be rewatched & rewatched & rewatched etc.) With Joss Whedon at the helm, S8 could have been the next great comic series, but it's not. That's what I think anyway...

And yes, I admit, I'm glad that Whedon & Co. decided to do this, and yes, I do believe it's way better than the non-canon Dark Horse Buffy stories, but still...this should have been EPIC. Instead, it's so-so.
Years ago, pornography was defined as works that fail to have scientific, literary, artistic or political value.


#34-35 fall under that definition.

And no, issue #34 was not "softcore porn." There are many significant literary and artistic works that include depictions of sex. Most of those works were, at some time in past, banned by folks who refused to be grownups about the subject. I prefer to live in the current century; it's air conditioned and the food is better


If pornography is OK, then it doesn't require literary or artistic significance; if it requires literary artistic significance, then it has to be judged according to that. But if it fails that test, if its primary appeal is to prurient interest, then it is porn, only disguised to salve the consumer's self-regard. It's Zizek's "Borrowed Kettle" problem.
"nothing worth re-reading (which is the opposite of the show - which can be rewatched & rewatched & rewatched etc.)"

So true. Everytime a new comic comes out, and I am compulsed to look at it even thought I vow I'm going to stop, the only way for me to feel better after is to read more fan fic, and watch more episodes on my DVDs.
dorkenheimer, you're my hero.

Re: Emmie's review, I have to agree with you, dorkenheimer. There is no rape/consent metaphor that Joss is trying to explore with the sex issue. That's like suggesting there was a rape/consent metaphor going on when Angel and Eve had sex "under mystical influence" in Angel season 5. Why can't two people who love each other have sex? The universe may be egging them on, but it's apparently been doing that since they first met.

I just read the issue today and I loved it. I don't understand everyone's reasons for disliking season 8 as a whole -- bits and pieces, sure, but the whole thing? (It's not even over yet!) Sometimes, I feel like Buffy fans (and Whedonites in general) tend to expect a Joss "formula" or pattern in his works. Season 8 should have changed the face of comic books? Season 8 was made as fanservice for the dedicated legions of us Whedonites. We should be grateful for it. I certainly am.

The characters seem to be acting a bit out-of-character, but a few years have passed for these characters since "Chosen" and they're free to develop into different people from the ones we recognize. And honestly, I don't think the OOC-ness is as large as some people are making it out to be.

Some people are expecting huge, beautiful metaphors -- which I think will come into play soon -- but season 8 isn't over yet. This issue definitely redeemed Buffy in my eyes, not that I felt she needed redeeming in the first place.

To summarize: yeah, Angel's acting really bizarre and not like himself. I wonder why? Instead of getting upset about it, maybe I'll just keep on reading, because season 8 isn't over yet, and Joss' arc is coming up next (and I trust Joss to handle his own characters). We'll know everything soon.

[ edited by Waterkeeper511 on 2010-05-08 01:07 ]
CrystalSC, i'm not sure about the no development theory..as I see it, Buffy throughout season 8 wanted exactly what she got in Twilight, "great muppety oden" loads of sex and the happiness from the post season 5 pre season 6 time in heaven. The season 8 Buffy is just so jaded with all of it and is seemingly willing to forgo her morals to steal and ride the supposed bad guy. This kinda leaves the reader seeing her as a "willing to sacrifice it all" kind of person now! But!!! Yes BUT! she seems to have had a "you're welcome" moment, minus Cordy, in that she now realises where best she's needed and what heaven really is to her. Goodbye little miss I want heaven, hello Badass Rogue Demon Hunter!!!
BlueSkies | May 06, 18:08 CET
________________________________________________________________

Yes Buffy had her "Great Muppety Odin" sex, but muppets only move by the will and manipulations of and outside force - muppets do not control themselves.

Personally, I was so disappointed in this issue, it was promoted as the "big explanations" issue and I did not see much on the big explanations. Perhaps it's because I don't come from a comic books background that I missed how this was suppose to give answers to some very important questions. Was this Angel's road back to "the white hats camp Just because he agrees to return with Buffy? Wasn't that Angel/Twangel right in the middle of that battle in Tibet? And wasn't that the same person that kicked Buffy and Satsu around like they were little toy soldiers? I'm I took take it that he is now back in the Good Guy Camp and all is forgiven?

This arc from Mr. Meltzer has done nothing but make me feel a sense of loss for a series that I truly love and have always felt such a strong connection with. Right now, not feeling all that love and connection.

What I am missing, as others have stated, is that emotional investment with the characters and this Super Hero Buffy & Angel story.

The only character that touched my heart even remotely was poor Angel: "After all these centuries - no more fighting- No more failing- no more dying." this one little section was worth more to me than the entire issue. The despair and the pain and the defeat of this once heroic man/vampire who fought so hard to try and make up even just a tiny bit for all his past sins, it's hard to see Angel come down to this.
posted the scans for all the Issue 35 minus the large battle scene which only had text with 4 characters shouting "Buffy" - in the interest of time I went ahead and posted all the other pages - sorry, I just ran out of energy to do the fight scene will try to get to it tonight and post it later.

IMPORTANT that you click the "all sizes" to see the easy to read large size. Hope you enjoy, especially for the fans that do not yet have their copy -

[ edited by Simon on 2010-05-08 19:05 ]
Posting links to scans is actually against our rules, so I edited the link out. But I appreciate you trying to be helpful.
Hellmouthguy, you have been pretty much verbalizing my exact thoughts on the Twilight arc way better than I could have, so thanks for that :) i haven't posted on any other issues up to this point because i didn't feel the need to just repeat what others have said previously... but no longer! the internet will know my contempt for this story!

ok, so i'm being a little melodramatic, but i do really loathe the place that Joss and Meltzer have taken my beloved buffyverse friends. on the up side, i definitely liked #35 way more than #34...especially after giving it a second read. there was a lot of stuff that made me smile... the daffy duck cartoon analogy (i watched looney tunes way too much as a kid), "Stop yelling people's names, Xander!", Buffy being Buffy again, and did anyone else notice that Buffy was in Nikki Wood's outfit during most of the "daffy duck" scene? if this wasn't Buffy, i might actually enjoy the story that is being told.

but, it is Buffy (well i guess there are some who would debate that statement now :-), so i expect more than a typical comic book plot that has already been done to death in other series' (i admit that i am just generalizing... i haven't been a comic book reader in over 10 years, so feel free to correct me if i'm wrong). how many new/alternate realities/universes/earths/dimensions have been "birthed" in the DC and Marvel universes over the years? did we really need to go there with Buffy too, just because it's in comic book form now? even still, i could've gone along with it if we at least got some kind of intelligent, well thought out explanation, other than "the universe wants it that way". really guys? for a series that has always been praised for it's writing, that's the best we get? to me it feels like nothing that transpired during the first 31 issues of this season is even relevant anymore. what was the point of it all, other than that the gang thought they were fighting a bad guy called Twilight and that those events supposedly "needed" to happen to turn Buffy into SuperBuffy. everything in the past two or three issues seems to have come completely out of left field, in the context of everything else that has happened this season. and i think it has been made abundantly clear that they have no intention of revisiting the events of this season to try to explain how everything ties together. i have no hope that Joss is going to come in and magically redeem season 8 for me in the last arc. He clearly has a place he wants to take this story (kicking and screaming), and i can't imagine, given the way we have been force fed this plot in the past two issues, that he is going to spend the last 5 of the season explaining everything for us. i think Scott Allie has said as much (he also said that #35 would clear up a lot of confusion and look how well that turned out).

before issue 35, though, i thought it couldn't get worse than that. i was wrong... to me, the irreparable damage that has been done to Angel's character is the worst thing to happen this season. as someone said above, it's like the Angel that is being presented to us here is the one who left Sunnydale in season 3... like none of the events or growth that occurred during his time in LA even happened. hey, maybe that's the way to explain his sudden rejection of all of his core principles and beliefs... this is really Angel from 1998 who time travelled to this era to get superpowers and have sex with Buffy in space! i figured it out guys! honestly, however ridiculous that sounds, it is maybe the only way to salvage the Angel that we have all come to know. because, if this is "our" Angel who is not being compelled or manipulated by some mystical force, than Joss just undid 6+ years of character development. and, if the excuse for his actions is that he was being controlled by Twilight (whatever that means), well that's just bad writing. i'm not a shipper, but i do wonder... could these turn of events even make the buffy/angel fans happy? what good is buffy and angel together if angel is now just a shell of what made him a hero? not trying to incite a ship argument... it's just an honest question.

i really was enjoying season 8 right up until #34 (although i did start feeling uneasy about it at the end of #33). even though it was a little slow in parts, even though sometimes there was a "where are they going with this?" feeling, everything that was happening felt reasonable to me in the context of what had come before it in the Buffy and Angel 'verses. i was even cool with Buffy getting superpowers! and i definitely agree with whoever said above that many of the earlier issues did have the "feel" of the show. but, at this point, i'm just sad about the whole thing. the DVDs are great palate cleansers, though. i've been rewatching season 5 (my favorite) over the past month or so to help remind me why Buffy is the greatest work of fiction ever created by anyone in the history of the universe :) S5 is a great example of how to tell an epic story, while still retaining what made Buffy such an amazing show. it seems like the writers were aiming for epic in S8, but just ended up with epic suck. hopefully Joss will go rewatch the series a few times before writing the last arc, to remind him of what Buffy is really about, because, to me, it feels like he has forgotten. or maybe it is just all Meltzer's fault :)

so, that's my first review-y type post.... hopefully it contributed something meaningful to the discussion and wasn't too incoherent and rant-like.

[ edited by buggerthis on 2010-05-08 20:33 ]

[ edited by buggerthis on 2010-05-08 20:41 ]
You're not alone Buggerthis, I understand your disappointment.

[ edited by Xane on 2010-05-08 22:59 ]

[ edited by Xane on 2010-05-08 23:00 ]
At least one 'good' thing has come outta all of this. Nobody can say with a straight face that fanfics are sub par anymore, because I have to say I've not read anything online as cracky and out and out poor as this, and that's saying something.

I mean imo the last few issues have been so sub par that it's starting to scare me a little. I mean how could somebody as talented as Whedon sign his name to all this daftness?
At least one 'good' thing has come outta all of this. Nobody can say with a straight face that fanfics are sub par anymore, because I have to say I've not read anything online as cracky and out and out poor as this, and that's saying something.


There was so much in it that was familiar even to fairly cursory tourists of fanfic. Joss almost certainly doesn't go to those places, and maybe this allowed him to be captivated by BM's pitch, and once he'd been captivated, become committed to it, and locked it down way too early. Most of the themes in fanfic are, as several posters have mentioned, the result of the work in the show proper.
I was under the impression, though, that Joss had outlined the whole season in advance, along with all the major plot points, hadn't he? I know he gave each writer room to work but the actual major beats of the last arc--Twilight's identity, the universe influencing Angel and Buffy to have sex, their sex causing thge world to end...would Joss really have allowed Meltzer to just add all that in himself? I will admit though that Meltzer's superhero style is in my opinion a poor fit for the material; Buffy reads like a typical DC or Marvel comic to me. In my opinion only Brian Vaugh has hit this series out of the park, taking advantage of the comic medium while keeping it grounded in pure Buffy style.

And as for loopiness, outrageousness, craziness...I have no real problem with those things in Buffy when they're done properly. The show gave us plenty of that stuff. But it needs to be of a piece with the show, it needs to fit with the show, not with comic book culture. It seems to me that Buffy has been turned into Comic Book Buffy. Also, the characters shouldn't be forced to accommodate weirdness for the sake of weirdness just because they happen to be in a comic book now and there are no more budget considerations. Everything needs to flow from character concerns, but instead, it seems to me that the Big Events are in the driver's seat and the characters are just sort of along for the ride.
I definitely see where you're coming from Hellmouthguy, and actually after reading this issue and from what I've gathered in recent interviews, I'm getting kinda worried that this four year long season is going to wind up like After the Fall. Which disappointed me.

While After the Fall wasn't a dream, per se, it basically was the same as one of those tropes, even if the characters retained the memories of their actions.

I would feel like it would be a cheat to have this season end up "not mattering" in the scope of things. The past year or so has really taken a step into a direction that I don't understand - because it doesn't feel like Buffy anymore. Honestly, I don't think it has since Wolves at the Gate.

Five more issues to go, though. So we'll see.

(Oh and I just wanted to add that I realize Buffy should feel different because it's a comic - but that doesn't mean the spirit of the show should be lost. Which I feel for many various reasons it has transformed into something that hardly feels familiar these days.)

[ edited by didifallasleep on 2010-05-09 18:53 ]
And as for loopiness, outrageousness, craziness...I have no real problem with those things in Buffy when they're done properly. The show gave us plenty of that stuff. But it needs to be of a piece with the show, it needs to fit with the show, not with comic book culture.


I was wondering what other directions Joss might've taken S8, since he had wide open space in front of him, but thinkign of the ones that might've been consistent with Buffy, I kept thinking of prominent examples from comics, even tho' my acquaintance with comics in recent years has been sporadic. In the show, the comics references could be playful -- but once Buffy goes 2D, the independently-standing Buffyverse is contained in a medium which is much larger than the tv universe. Buffy was groundbreaking in tv, but not in comics. Brutal death, resurrection of very definitely dead characters, all very old old stuff for the stapled pages.
Trouble is for me AtF seemed pretty much like a natural continuation of the source material, where as on the whole season 8 so far hasn't. Weird.
Trouble is for me AtF seemed pretty much like a natural continuation of the source material, where as on the whole season 8 so far hasn't. Weird


Was it that AtS was already framed more within the conventions of contemporary comics than it was in BtVS' territory? The AtS demographic always appeared to be closer to the former than the latter . . .
There is no rape/consent metaphor that Joss is trying to explore with the sex issue. That's like suggesting there was a rape/consent metaphor going on when Angel and Eve had sex "under mystical influence" in Angel season 5. Why can't two people who love each other have sex? The universe may be egging them on, but it's apparently been doing that since they first met.

Oh, thank you so much, Waterkeeper511! I'd forgotten about that scene between Angel and Eve--I can now add it to my list of moments of questionable consent in the Buffyverse. Because, yes, absolutely, that was just as shady when it came to consent as what's going on here in S8, and yes, I absolutely have problems with such a scene being played for laughs. We have every reason to believe that Angel (and Eve, too) wouldn't have had sex with each other if they were in their right minds. Every reason. So yes, that was another case of questionable consent.

A metaphor doesn't have to be intended to be a metaphor. Because guess what? The author is dead. His intentions don't matter in the least.

SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS WRONG. Period. If you have reason to believe that someone would not have sex while not under the influence of something--whether that something is magic, drugs, or alcohol--then that has connotations of rape. Some people think that Buffy would have sex with Twangel if the Universe wasn't egging her on. Some people think she absolutely would not. Some people think Angel would have sex with Buffy if the Universe wasn't egging him on, some think he wouldn't. And because the text hasn't made that explicit, then yes, absolutely there is room for people to be worried about consent here.

None of us are saying that Angel raped Buffy (at least, I don't see anyone saying that). What we're saying is that if the Universe is "urging them" into doing things they wouldn't, that has scary connotations--for both characters. They're both placed in such a situation, and I'm upset on both of their behalves.

The fact that dorkenheimer is so quick to dismiss this as "projection" is just evidence that yes, indeed, we are living in Rape Culture in which people's genuine concerns are dismissed as nothing more than prudery or "projection."

If only wanting people to have sex when all parties involved choose of their own free will to do so makes me a prude, then I bear that title with pride.

It's amazing to me (and by "amazing," I mean, "Infuriates me and makes me want to weep with despair") how every single time I visit this website, I end up having to do Feminism 101/Racism 101. Every. Single. Time.
Thank you for posting this Lizrael! I'm so sick of the consent issues of this being downplayed.

That was actually what squicked me about #34, I'm quite fine with explicit sex scenes, but I'm not fine with rape being treated as if it was nothing.
I am completely with lirazel here. I have found the idea of the "universe" egging Buffy and Angel on truly disturbing (it removes agency, which is a prerequisite to consenting to sex; no agency, no consent- and I have seen some on this board argue that B and A were predisposed to having sex anyway, because they love each other- even though they have not seen each other in years- as if therefore removing agency makes that okay), and I have no idea how Joss writes himself out of this one.

I agree that I find dorkenheimer's comment poorly stated, at the least. His words are "There's a good reason why one can expect that the "rape metaphor" in this storyline will remain unaddressed by the writers: there is no rape metaphor in this storyline. Familiar with the term "projection?" There seems to be an awful lot of it going around." So, he has decided, on his own, that there is no metaphor here, even though others have commented on it; he has further decided that people he has never met and cannot know are guilty of "projection." Lirazel properly notes one of my ongoing issues- the idea of reader response theory, when she says that "the author is dead." Meaning: we, the reader, construct meaning from the text we have in front of us. And some of us have constructed a meaning different from the one dorkenheimer has constructed, but to dorkenheimer, it appears that his reading is the only one that matters- though his reading is based on no more of the text than mine or lirazel's. We all have viable readings. This should not even need to be said. I understand this is an uncomfortable matter we discuss here, and that it is in the context of a writer we love, but despite that love, we should respect others' reading and interpretations, not try to diminish them, but rather seek to understand them, even when we vehemently disagree. It would have been better all around for dorkenheimer to simply say, I disagree with your interpretation and here is why, not simply deny another person's interpretation because you think they are wrong, when no right or wrong per se actually exists. Some people felt that the Flaming O was a magic spell and nothing more, and others felt it was a metaphor for sex- both are "right," and there may be other ways to read that scene beyond these two obvious ones. Lirazel decries having to repeat Feminism 101 and I do the same for Critical Analysis 101.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-10 19:04 ]
I have found the idea of the "universe" egging Buffy and Angel on truly disturbing


Them higher powers really don't give two hoots about human morality. They never did in the Buffyverse. I have a feeling that the days of them using humans for their purposes are coming to an end. If that's the way I think Joss is going.

As for the non-consent issue, well what about the elephant in the corner? The amount of rape fanfic in the Buffyverse fandom is staggering to say the least. And it doesn't seem to be going away.
Thank you so, so much Dana5140.

Especially for this part: (it removes agency, which is a prerequisite to consenting to sex; no agency, no consent- and I have seen some on this board argue that B and A were predisposed to having sex anyway, because they love each other- even though they have not seen each other in years- as if therefore removing agency makes that okay

Which is exactly what I was trying to get at. Exactly.

I don't have any problem at all with someone saying, "I don't really see that here; I came to a different conclusion than you did, but your feelings are genuine and valid." It's the dismissive tone and absolutism of dorkenheimer's statement that infuriates me.

And I have appreciated each and every one of your Critical Analysis 101 "lectures," for what it's worth. They've all been awesome. And they make me miss college....

As for the non-consent issue, well what about the elephant in the corner? The amount of rape fanfic in the Buffyverse fandom is staggering to say the least. And it doesn't seem to be going away.

Frankly, Simon, that reads like derailment to me. So because some other people in Buffy fandom write rapefic, the rest of us can't complain when questionable consent appears in canon? WHAT.
I, as a reader, disagree with the interpretation that Buffy and Angel were given no choice but to follow the Universe's urgings. I respect the concerns people have but in this I would follow the principle that in cases of sexual assault the people who decide whether they were assaulted or not are the people involved. Not Giles and Willow watching and hypothesising but Buffy and Angel themselves. We didn't get much to go on what these two thought was happening in #34 but that changed in #35 and with it the interpretation. If glowphypnol were a straight metaphor for Rophypnol then neither Buffy nor Angel would have any clear memory of what happened but they clearly do. I think (although this is just my reading) that they equally clearly don't see it as something they were drugged into doing against their will or better judgement. While in Twilight Buffy seems perfectly of exercising her own agency and acting against the Universe's wishes. With Angel things are less clear although even there I think the Universe's worst crime is influencing him to have make war not love. However, it's not the end of the story and, the issue of consent having been raised by Giles and Willow, I think their concerns should be addressed in later issues, possibly through confronting the two returned superheroes. For now though I'm happy to stick with my initial impression (when this all started at the end of #33) that Buffy chose to do this.
Frankly, Simon, that reads like derailment to me.


Well I would disagree. Because if there's fans seeing characters violated on screen or in the comics and that somehow is ok then I think that that's feeding into the attitude that writing rapefic is fair game.
With respect, Lirazel, I didn't take that to be Simon's point. I understood him to be saying, "not only is there *this* issue that you've identified, there's *also* a ton of other non-consent stories out there." I don't read that as a ploy to stop people complaining about this particular instance. If anything, doesn't the fact that such stories are possibly quite widespread (don't read fanfic, have no idea) support your cultural thesis?

As for the sex in the book, I thought it was supposed to be disturbing.
Because if there's fans seeing characters violated on screen or in the comics and that somehow is ok then I think that that's feeding into the attitude that writing rapefic is fair game.

Perhaps I misjudged the message of your comment. Are you saying that by using questionable consent so often in canon (honestly, when I started making my list, I was shocked at how many times it came up), fans are then spurred into writing more rapefic?

Because I can see what you’re saying there. I do think it’s important to realize, though, that there are different reasons for writing rapefic. Many women I know who do write it (and yes, it’s mostly women) write it as an attempt to work through their own sexual assault experiences. It’s a way of healing, and it’s cathartic for them. I wholeheartedly defend their righ to do, since it’s always done with a great deal of thoughtfulness and compassion. I can rarely read such stories, as they’re just too intense and realistic for me, but sometimes when I need to be reminded of how much other people have suffered (and how lucky I am not to, thus far in my life), they’re good to visit.

But I would agree that if culture keeps telling us that consent isn’t a big deal, that’s going to be reflected in fic. Absolutely. Many women have rape fantasies—but then you have to ask yourself why that is, and surely, “Because society tells women it’s not okay to embrace their own sexuality, and disregards the seriousness of rape,” is one of the reasons.

Perhaps we don’t disagree as much as I thought we did.
Lirazel properly notes one of my ongoing issues- the idea of reader response theory, when she says that "the author is dead." Meaning: we, the reader, construct meaning from the text we have in front of us. And some of us have constructed a meaning different from the one dorkenheimer has constructed, but to dorkenheimer, it appears that his reading is the only one that matters- though his reading is based on no more of the text than mine or lirazel's. We all have viable readings. This should not even need to be said. I understand this is an uncomfortable matter we discuss here, and that it is in the context of a writer we love, but despite that love, we should respect others' reading and interpretations, not try to diminish them, but rather seek to understand them, even when we vehemently disagree. It would have been better all around for dorkenheimer to simply say, I disagree with your interpretation and here is why, not simply deny another person's interpretation because you think they are wrong, when no right or wrong per se actually exists. Some people felt that the Flaming O was a magic spell and nothing more, and others felt it was a metaphor for sex- both are "right," and there may be other ways to read that scene beyond these two obvious ones. Lirazel decries having to repeat Feminism 101 and I do the same for Critical Analysis 101.

A+ dana5140! I do love your explanation of Critical Analysis 101. As a lover of literary discussion myself and one well-versed in these conversations in an academic environment, I appreciate your eloquence on the matter.

Lirazel and Dana, consider the irony of being told we don't know what we're talking about when we possess academic degrees on the subject. Apparently we need to all go back to our universities and tell them: "You're doing it wrong!" The answer in these discussions is always more about "I disagree as I see it differently as shown here: example A, B, C..." and not "you're wrong because I'm right." Because while everyone sees it differently, no one is wrong who can show supporting evidence in the text. Interpretation is always based in one's personal bias, but that personal bias is relevant to how the story is received and is valid as personal bias constructs viewpoint. There is no universal right answer, there's only interpretation based upon individual viewpoint and contextual relevance. This isn't mathematics, it's literature.

Simon, I think the discussion of rapefic isn't so much a derailment argument, but a tangential topic in the discussion of the comics that does obscure the focus of critical analysis. I don't see how Buffyverse fanfic exploring rape is directly relevant to the comics except as a parallel reflection and the trickle down effect of living in a Rape Culture. However, I do see how essentially relevant discussing rape metaphor/consent issues is to #33/34/35 in the comics.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-05-10 21:19 ]

Perhaps I misjudged the message of your comment. Are you saying that by using questionable consent so often in canon (honestly, when I started making my list, I was shocked at how many times it came up), fans are then spurred into writing more rapefic?


Whilst I would probably disagree over the extent of questionable consent in the Buffyverse, I would believe that the issue of questionable consent is one of the factors in why there's a lot of rapefic in the fandom and why in some quarters that's viewed as acceptable. For me to pretend otherwise would be a bit daft.

I think the discussion of rapefic isn't so much a derailment argument, but a tangential topic in the discussion of the comics that does obscure the focus of critical analysis


It's an issue which is rapidly turning into a War and Peace post from me (well anything over two sentences is like that) but it's something that I'm going to have spend another day writing about. Cause there's some interesting and controversial aspects to it.
HOW TO REDEEM A HERO: fantastic post,Emmie! I totally agree with you!
This is not Angel, they wrote him poorly and have betraying the characrer and his fans. So, this is the manpire who tried to save this world so many times,who let Fred die in order to save thousands of lives and who, in AtF, was offered the option to give up, to pass on, but he refused in order to help the helpless? And now he's saying "Screw the world, being a hero is so boring, flying sex is wonderful!". I don't buy that. Ah Joss, Joss.
I am completely with lirazel here. I have found the idea of the "universe" egging Buffy and Angel on truly disturbing (it removes agency, which is a prerequisite to consenting to sex; no agency, no consent- and I have seen some on this board argue that B and A were predisposed to having sex anyway, because they love each other- even though they have not seen each other in years- as if therefore removing agency makes that okay), and I have no idea how Joss writes himself out of this one.


A yes here too.

The 'Universe is egging them on' sounds an awfully lot like the Universe is, having set up the scene, is directing it too, having dosed them, if not a date rape drug, at least with meta-stimulants.

Lirazel and Dana, consider the irony of being told we don't know what we're talking about when we possess academic degrees on the subject. Apparently we need to all go back to our universities and tell them: "You're doing it wrong!" The answer in these discussions is always more about "I disagree as I see it differently as shown here: example A, B, C..." and not "you're wrong because I'm right." Because while everyone sees it differently, no one is wrong who can show supporting evidence in the text. Interpretation is always based in one's personal bias, but that personal bias is relevant to how the story is received and is valid as personal bias constructs viewpoint. There is no universal right answer, there's only interpretation based upon individual viewpoint and contextual relevance. This isn't mathematics, it's literature.


Feminism, queer & literary critical concepts arrived in sf as part of the New Wave, and while I've never partaken much in sf/fantasy fandom, I've always kept glancing at its course. BtVS pulled me in again, probably because the show seemed to ignite all those energies which seemed to have drained or dissipated in the field, with a return of some of the old divisions between writers/fans with primarily science backgrounds working in one genre & writers/fans with humanities backgrounds shifting over towards another.

[ edited by bluegrrl on 2010-05-10 22:40 ]
You can say what you want about this arc -- but it sure got us talking.

There are a lot of long posts so I'll try to be brief. I too, think Angel is acting out of character, but until I know that that is not for a reason, I can see a long arc here that while it doesn't make me happy, has been there all along: Angel's fall.

With the acceptance of a contract with Wolfram & Hart, all of Angel's people compromised their ideals and morals for selfish reasons. Angel kills a human being in the very first episode of Season 5 -- something that would have been either unheard of or extremely consequential years before, esp. in Buffy. Over the course of that season, he starts sacrificing more and more, until finally, one of his major solutions is ordering the death of another person, because his existence would mean another nuisance.

After the Fall then gave us a glimpse of Angel, not Angelus, being the instrument of the Apocalypse on the side of Evil.

It has been alluded to many times that as much as there was distance put between Angel and Angelus, the human and the demon of a vampire, that they aren't actually two different beings as much as we would like to believe.

Joss has said that the culmination of this arc is about bringing forth a more shared universe between the two titles again. This may not just be about Buffy, but about Angel -- an explanation for how Angel, tragic hero, could be on the wrong side of the Apocalypse.

Buffy is going through a similar arc. Becoming a general rather than a fighter, she is starting to sacrifice one for the many, and then they are both put to the extreme (sacrifice the many for each other) and choose to go back. But is that the end?

It is also a mirror of Season 2, with Angel bringing about the end and Buffy perhaps being forced to fight him or sacrifice him because of the things he set into motion (we don't know that this won't still happen), with Spike at her side. The context this time, however, will be completely different, in that both of these "men" will have their souls this time... If that's where we're going.
Also, while I think all of the consent talk is a valid point to debate, I do not feel that consent is as much of an issue in this story, at least not in the way Dollhouse brought up the issue. I feel the universe's "urging", for various reasons, is less rufie and more superpheromone. I think the innate, natural urge to have sex with the person you're in love with was as enhanced as their strength and speed. That there has been, the entire time, a force beneath both of their intentions driving them to this moment, and in that way, even their love could seem to be cheapened by destiny.

But think about it -- Angel was always a pawn. Darla, a gypsy curse, Buffy, Wolfram & Hart, The Powers that Be, Shanshu, even Connor's birth and life -- his entire existence is dictated by forces out of his control.

Spike, on the other hand, represents the rebellious notion that we make our own will. As a demon, he is toyed with by all sorts of forces, a pawn himself -- but he breaks the bonds of his stock at every turn. As a vampire, he loves, and loves truly. He fights his own kind, and eventually, wins his own soul. The First tries to use him, but through the help of his friends and loved ones, he is the one to defeat the First's plan for both of them. He is more like Buffy than Angel will ever be.
The 'Universe is egging them on' sounds an awfully lot like the Universe is, having set up the scene, is directing it too, having dosed them, if not a date rape drug, at least with meta-stimulants.

Yes, but sex any other way would be boring ;)
Joss has said that the culmination of this arc is about bringing forth a more shared universe between the two titles again. This may not just be about Buffy, but about Angel -- an explanation for how Angel, tragic hero, could be on the wrong side of the Apocalypse.

Buffy is going through a similar arc. Becoming a general rather than a fighter, she is starting to sacrifice one for the many, and then they are both put to the extreme (sacrifice the many for each other) and choose to go back. But is that the end?


Interesting possibilities, but trying to bring forth the more shared universe has shown the same effects on Buffy as taking Spike over to AtS.

With his death, Spike recognized autonomy in Buffy, although Buffy was simultaneously recognizing that her love was deeper than she thought, because it strengthened her own active agency AND she sees it in the light of Spike actually feeling his soul: she says "I love you" and he says "No, you don't" because they're both looking from the same peak, truly discovering each other in the last moments, even while the mere dictionary meaning of their words suggests the opposite.

While this could be used as the reason for Spike remaining with Angel rather than going to Buffy -- "she doesn't need me, therefore she's better off without me" perhaps being Spike's reasoning -- it threw Spike back to an earlier phase of his development. And now with 'Twilight', Buffy seems to've been thrown back to an earlier stage of her development, despite the fact that, yes, she does seem more like herself in the dialogue in #35.
while I think all of the consent talk is a valid point to debate, I do not feel that consent is as much of an issue in this story, at least not in the way Dollhouse brought up the issue


This article in Slayage 29

http://www.slayageonline.com/essays/slayage29/Stommel.htm

smacked me between the eyes, especially paragraph 7, because the citation of Judith Butler reads as if it were a prospectus for "Dollhouse"

For Butler, we are agents not subjects, and our actions are culturally-scripted not self-determined: "The act that one does, the act that one performs, is, in a sense, an act that has been going on before one arrived on the scene. Hence, gender is an act which has been rehearsed, much as a script survives the particular actors who make use of it, but which requires individual actors in order to be actualized and reproduced as reality once again" (277). This raises a bit of a question (or paradox), because it seems that gender both prohibits individual subjectivity ("going on before one arrived on the scene") and requires it ("requires individual actors"). Sadly, even if there are subjects of a sort in Butler's world, they don't speak their own scripts.


But the immediate response of readers who reflexively rejected #34's whole scenario is absolutely keyed to the consent issue & I don't know whether those who shared my response reacted as immediately as I did, but I believe they probably did, to its abundant absence. If Drunk Girl lunges for Drunk Boy, it's not consent, especially if Drunk Girl got that way because she didn't know that her club sodas were something else. Buffy attempted, so to speak, to leave the party with her friends when she couldn't counter the present danger, but it didn't matter -- ANGEL PURSUED HER IN ORDER TO PUSH HER FURTHER AFTER SHE'D GONE, not for sex explicitly, but so she could 'ascend' together with him.

[ edited by bluegrrl on 2010-05-10 23:20 ]
I said it in my life journal, so I'll say it more succinctly here:

I believe that JW can't afford to keep silence for four months about the consent issues that won't be quelled over the next four months, issues which are breaking out and tainting our consideration & enjoyment of all the rest of his work.

I understand well the wish not to reveal any further developments, with the assurance that it's going to make sense, that it's all going to be OK, because Joss wouldn't do X or allow X to be done if it in any way really compromised his primary creation & her bona fides as someone who embodies, to some extent, both the empowerment of women and the problems that that empowerment brings. I'd like to believe that the denouement will be brilliant, overwhelming, subversive, etc.

But September -- heck, his arc won't conclude until Jan. 2011 -- is way too late. Yes, the story got people talking, it got people even roaring & raging . . . but it's also spreading like an oil slick and a cone of silence as a containment dome is just not going to work. We need something. A defense that makes sense, not "trust me". An explanation that says "Y'know, I DIDN'T really take this into account because it didn't seem like the central issue in this story." Chastise the complainers & critics.

Something. Anything. Soon.
Joss owes you nothing.
You're right, gossi. And I don't owe him anything, either. Not even the benefit of the doubt, unless he proves to me he deserves it. Which, really, he hasn't. Not to me.
And that's fine, is my take.
Joss owes you nothing.


I didn't say he did. I wouldn't presume to think that he does.

But there's a certain affection that has always drawn the fans, and which he & Jane & Marti & David Fury have always reciprocated, even through difficult times. The Nerd Trio, as he said, reflected the sort of discussions they'd have in the writers' room . . . one of the reasons that they worked so well (for most) as foils in S6.

I'm not demanding an explanation, but saying, given a long-standing relationship with fans, it'd be best not to stand on one's authorial rights in this case, but to step out with some kind of statement which at least acknowledges or allays concerns in a manner less condescending than the 'Accusations of Porn' posting on the Dark Horse Buffy Zone did . . .
So that Willow and Spike thing...yeah that's really getting to me!
Ehm, anything else to drag conversation away from rape and "Joss is so mean that he's leaving us in suspense cause we decided to create the worse case possible?" I'm just scared that all these other college English grads are gonna make me go back to those days...
If Joss starts explaining the story before people have seen the story, you end up with more questions. It's just throwing fuel on the fire most of the time. Scott Allie probably knows this well.
In response to BlueSkies's quip (and, in general):

This discussion thread has, for the most part, been conducted in a manner respectful of each others' opinions and comments, despite its occasional focus on painful issues. Let's not ruin it now with needless snark, eh? As always, focus on the substance, not on other members. If you don't want to discuss rape and/or Joss's imputed responsibility for the comic book story, that's fine. But if others wish to, please allow them to do so without feeling stifled. That's how this site works, and what makes it work. Thank you.
Whilst I would probably disagree over the extent of questionable consent in the Buffyverse, I would believe that the issue of questionable consent is one of the factors in why there's a lot of rapefic in the fandom and why in some quarters that's viewed as acceptable. For me to pretend otherwise would be a bit daft.


It's an intriguing discourse, but it's the sort of supposition that's impossible to prove because of other numerous factors. I still maintain it's not as directly relevant to comics discussion, but it's certainly a worthy tangent to explore and speaks to the larger issue at hand in how viewers assimilate the message the story tells without filter. That's a dangerous message to perpetuate--that using rape/love spells as a plot device and not exploring the consequences of questionable consent in depth is okay because it's a worthy story phlebotinum that doesn't require sensitive awareness of its controversial message. If the questionable consent issues of Season 8 aren't addressed later on, I'll consider this to be the message and yes, it disturbs me greatly.

What influences and creates a fanfic trope? Trying to determine that... madness, probably. And perhaps there's all this rapefic/questionable consent because it was something a fan read, then went on to write fic that copied the idea. I think there is a correlation between episodes like Something Blue and fanfic that uses spells to result if love between unlikely characters. I do see that connection.

But another factor is the culture we live in, not just the show. The concept of a love spell is something deeply ingrained in the societal consciousness of stories and storytelling. What I do find disturbing is the correlation that the issue of questionable consent is even less likely to be addressed in fanfic than it has been in BtVS. Clearly fic writers need to address this because the show hasn't, imo, and doesn't appear to be planning on addressing it. That's what good fic does (and yes good fic does exist to all non-believers). It picks up where the show left off, where the show blundered, where the show didn't have the narrative space to fully devote to a story (see: Giles in Season 5-7 though 6 is excused for his absence, Xander and Dawn's lack of relationship development after Turbulence when Buffy got to make her sad face, Dawn's character development being lost in 7, etc). I'd love to see more fic addressing the way characters felt when they blundered into areas of abuse, violation and loss due to questionable consent. It's a psychological, moral and relational exploration that would be fascinating to read.

It's an issue which is rapidly turning into a War and Peace post from me (well anything over two sentences is like that) but it's something that I'm going to have spend another day writing about. Cause there's some interesting and controversial aspects to it.


Looking forward to reading your take on it.


Thank you, SNT. Personally, I find it important to talk about this disturbing issue now more than ever because I'm afraid it won't be addressed. If it were addressed in the text, I'd have nothing more to say than, "Well done."

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-05-11 01:04 ]
Two comments. One, sort of minor, is that I think maybe that this series is heading not toward Dawn's death, as I thought, but to Angel's. Second, is that I now truly doubt Joss will address this consent issue. I say this because he has already gone to the extreme with this issue in Dollhouse, in which consent was completely subsumed, so given that I cannot see him taking back what he has set up here. I say this with complete sadness, because I think he is at risk of seriously damaging his cultural credibility, which is exceedingly high.

Emmie, you said this" "What influences and creates a fanfic trope?" I have some thoughts on this, which I cannot prove empirically. I believe that fanfic is based around identification and investment, which I have often discussed on this board and others. There is a psychological identification with a character and as a result, that identification allows the viewer to project him or herself into the story. I see this all the time over on yourtaxdllarsatwork, where so many story lines are filtered through what is known as "geek baby"; that is, the relation between Sara Sidle and Gil Grissom must lead to a pregnancy on CSI, despite the fact that Grissom is off the show and Sara is now only on part time. You will read some interpretations that have to go so far afield to get to the pregnancy, but they find ways to get there. And the fanfic is written to have the GSR have sex, in order to make babies- and most of this is female written, where the writers have identified with Sara, and see themselves as Sara, having sex with Grissom, doing things to Grissom (because he is withdrawn and cannot express his feelings), so Sara opens him up- and these same women- usually!- note their own family situations akin to Sara's- abusive fathers, etc. I am not in any way suggesting something similar here, but am using this example to note the power of this identification. I could see this in the Bangel v. Spuffy debate- why pick one relation over the other? How could it matter? I could go on here and apologize for making short work of a complicated subject I have thought about a lot.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-11 01:15 ]
I now truly doubt Joss will address this consent issue. I say this because he has already gone to the extreme with this issue in Dollhouse, in which consent was completely subsumed, so given that I cannot see him taking back what he has set up here. I say this with complete sadness, because I think he is at risk of seriously damaging his cultural credibility, which is exceedingly high.


Sierra's story seemed to be designed specifically to address the concern in a series based on its contrary: a way of saying "It's not being ignored, we're going to handle it primarily through her, but otherwise it won't be at the forefront." There was an interview in which Joss mentioned that he wasn't specifically concerned with feminism in Dollhouse the way he was, or claimed to be, in BtVS. There I was patient because I hoped for a longer run.

AtS seemed to be almost a counter-BtVS when it was on, and whether this marriage of Heaven & Hell issues in a vaster & more anguished unity, no one knows . . .
Dana5140, I had a very long post about the need to write and all the reasons people write fic and why some people might be drawn to the dynamic of a certain relationship over another and why people outside the fanfiction writing community have never really understood us and why they think it's all about over-identification....

But I don't really want to go there, because I think the mods wouldn't like it. So all I'm going to say is this: identification can't be the main impetus behind fanfiction writing. Not even when it comes to sex. Because if it were, there wouldn't be so many lesbians writing slashfic. I can tell you this right now: those women don't want to have sex with Dean Winchester. There's got to be something else there.

Also, bluegrrl, I love what you said about AtS being almost the antithesis of BtVS. I wholeheartedly agree, and I think it's a great point. There's a reason why Angel always feels like a completely different person whenever he comes back to BtVS, and that's because the worldview he developed on his show doesn't fit into the one on BtVS. We can act like they're in the same universe, but the rules are completely different. I think that's really coming through here in S8, and I wonder if the writers have acknowledged that to themselves and have some future plans to accommodate it (I kind of doubt it) or whether they're going to continue trying to fit this square peg into a round hole and be confused when some of us tell them it doesn't fit.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-11 01:59 ]
identification can't be the main impetus behind fanfiction writing. Not even when it comes to sex. Because if it were, there wouldn't be so many lesbians writing slashfic. I can tell you this right now: those women don't want to have sex with Dean Winchester. There's got to be something else there.

For my own part, I think identification is the impetus for all storytelling. And this is pure speculation on my part, but a lesbian identifying with Dean Winchester having sex perhaps has more to do with experimenting with and identifying with the Other. In exploring that which is your opposite, you discover that you share the universality of humanity. So identifying with the Other removes the existence of the Other as it bridges the divide between Self and Shadow, showing what you thought to be Shadow to be as real as your Self.

Someone said to me earlier this weekend that watching TV was about escapism. And I countered, yes escapism through identification. You watch what you can identify with. Your interest is keyed into what triggers identification because it's a projection of you. How you relate to a story informs and is informed by how you relate to yourself, your family, your world.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-05-11 02:36 ]
Well, sure, I would agree with your spin on it, Emmie. That's insightful and awesome and nuanced and I agree. But I was reading his comment as saying, "Women write [shippy--what about genfic?] fic about X [male] character being with Y [female] character because they can then imagine that they are Y character and so be with X character in their dreams." Which seems like a vast, vast oversimplification to me and certainly doesn't reflect my own experience of writing fic at all. Plus, whatever his intentions, it reflects the popular perception of shippers as just being blinded by so-and-so's cheekbones or abs, a perception that I, for one, am sick of (but you already knew that ;D ).

Plus, after a week of fanfiction getting attacked right and left by people who don't understand it all and aren't even trying to do so (clarification: not including anyone here in this statement), I'm just tired of defending/explaining it. Thanks a lot, Ms. Gabaldon.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-11 02:32 ]
For my own part, I think identification is the impetus for all storytelling.


From #3, Ethan Rayne's "We are all dreaming every dream at the same time" sugggests how Joss takes it.

I identify strongly with Willow of the C4, so possibly my interest in stories featuring Buffy owes to identification with the friendship, but the elements I identify with in Willow aren't those that include friendship with Buffy. But I completely identified with Kenlow. I identify strongly with Dawn (second, therefore annoying, child) & did a driblet scene in which Dawn finally comes together with Xander, but not because of my identification with her.

The Judith Butler quote goes towards the idea that it's less a matter of identification, myself as subject projecting, as a common source existing in the culture that anticipates & outlines younger sister relationships.
lirazel- this is why I apologized at the end, because I knew I would muff it up. I did not mean to imply what you said I did; I was trying only to use the idea of the GSR as an exemplar, not meaning that (all) women wanted to be with the lead male- I really meant that in this case, women identified with Sara Sidle, and as far as I could tell from their own comments on the site, in many cases, it was because they had real life situations similar to the fictional one created for Sara. I would suspect that reasons for identification are wide and varied and cannot be boiled down to one single reason- why is it, for example, that I, a straight white male of advanced years, identify strongly with three fictional characters- Tara Maclay, Sara Sidle and Sophie (In Treatment)? Why did I lose sleep over these characters? I do know they share some similarities- all are fragile, damaged and yet strong. They have risen above. But I don't know- and said I had no data- why people invest; I just know they do, and was theorizing as to why one fandom did. Not all.
I can appreciate that, Dana5140. Here's where I'm coming from: I have seen--often, you have no idea how often--people dismissing fanfiction as just women writing themselves into shows so they can get the guy, and that's the part of your comment I picked up on. Obviously, that's where I got stuck. I enjoyed this second comment a whole lot more. :D

Just like you identify with those characters with whom you'd initially seem to have little in common, I'm a straight white woman in my early twenties, and I identify with Spike, with Fox Mulder, with Ted Mosby...and with Annie from Being Human and Buffy in S6 and with Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women.

And isn't this why we're all reacting differently to S8? I would think that a lot of our enjoyment of it depends on the depiction of the characters we identify with. If you really identify with Xander, for instance, perhaps you're enjoying the comics quite a lot, as his characterization is very strong. Perhaps if you identify with Buffy, you're suddenly not enjoying things quite so much, since much of what you identified with in her seems not to be motivating her in this season. Or maybe someone else also identifies with Buffy...and is enjoying this season a great deal because the aspects of her character that that person identifies with are coming out to play.

I know this is the case with S6 of the show--quite a lot of people couldn't stand it because the characters they identified with were now acting from different motivations than those they prioritize. I know that I, personally, love S6, perhaps partly because I can identify with Buffy for the first time since it's her introversion, her depression, and her deep loneliness that are driving her that season. And now, with Buffy as she's depicted in S8, I can no longer relate to her anymore because her morality seems askew, so different than my own, and it throws my out of her headspace. And my enjoyment gets tossed out the window, too.

Look at that! I tied it back to S8!
I've come to the conclusion that I'm never gonna catch up on this thread.
It's the thread that keeps on giving!
Good comment and good points, lirazel. I think there is a lot of truth in your comment that "I know this is the case with S6 of the show--quite a lot of people couldn't stand it because the characters they identified with were now acting from different motivations than those they prioritize." It is that word prioritize that seals it for me; you are right in that once we invest or identify with a character, we have done so for a reason or reasons that we might not even be able to define, and when a character acts out of, well, character, we feel that something has gone wrong- which is why I hate S6 at the same time you love it.

But there is even more to the tale. Some people love the story because they identify with the characters, and some love it because they love the story- we have seen this tension before on whedonesque. For those that identify, I think that they may feel a sense of a kind of betrayal when characters don't act they way they feel they should, while those who love the story don't lose sleep over this because it is the story that interests them, and these characters serve as a means of advancing the story. I simplify, of course, again- there can be bleedover into either way of enjoying the tale. I know that there is interest in the etiology of fanfic amongst scholars that post on buffyology, since the issue comes up regularly, and there have been papers about it on slayage. Fanfic is an interesting phenomenon, in terms of slashlit, femlit and so on- why do people create their own scenarios? My online buddy jetwolf wrote an entire S8 of great detail (www.btvschosen.com), and began an s9 before the real world slowed her down- what a commitment of her time and energy to do this! But I never thought to ask her why? And hers is not a sexlit- as, for example, so many of the Wara stories on the kittenboard are. It is such a fascinating subject.
Yes, it’s certainly a Richardson versus Fielding sort of thing, and I have to admit that I can’t really understand investing in a work on a pure plot level. I can enjoy a story that’s just a good story, but I can only invest in and love a story if that story arises from the characters. It’s why I can’t, by and large (there are certainly exceptions), enjoy sitcoms or procedurals or lawyer shows—it’s all about the story, and I’m sitting over here wondering how prosecuting that guy affects the DA and does it sometimes seem like a losing battle, engaging in a legal system that’s so bogged down by beauracracy, and can we have more than one episode dealing with that? And how does it affect the detective’s home life, fighting crime all the time, and does it make him lose hope in humanity, and can we address this with more than a few tossed-off cynical one-liners? I’m never satisfied by a story that’s all about plot. But I understand intellectually that others don't have those reactions, even if I'll never understand it on a visceral level.

As for fanfiction, as someone recently said in the debate surrounding it, it’s like fantasy football except with stories instead of math and done by women instead of men. People ask why would you write these stories when you won’t ever make any money off of them, but no one asks a bunch of guys why they play pick-up basketball when they won’t ever be pro players. You do it because you love the characters, the world an author has created, and you want to spend more time with them. All sorts of questions arise, and a plot bunny bites you, and off you go—writing. It’s the same impulse any writer has: to tell the story that comes to them. I find the impulse to write fanfanfiction is, for me, incredibly similar to the impulse to write my original fiction.

Sometimes you want to get more detail about a particular aspect of the story that isn’t going to ever be explored—so I write a story about who Drusilla was before she was turned. Sometimes you want to fix something that didn’t quite work in canon for you—so I write a story about Spike and Dawn finding some grace in S7. Sometimes you’ve got a big “what if” hanging above your head—so I write a story about the Shadow Men forcing more demon essence into Buffy in “Get It Done” and then her going on a rampage when she returns and killing anyone who gets in the way of her mission to fight the First (yeah…it’s dark). Sometimes you want to see two characters interact who never really got the chance to do so—and so I write a story about Cordy and Spike talking during “You’re Welcome.” Sometimes you just want to spend more time with the characters—so I write a story about Buffy rebuilding her life post-Chosen.

And sometimes people just want some erotica, and they write the sexy stuff. Not my thing, but since women’s sexuality is so marginalized by the larger culture, I’m very glad that there’s a space for women to explore their sexual fantasies in a completely open way.

I expect the same motivation that’s behind fanfiction is behind published works of fanfiction—whether that’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Wide Sargasso Sea, Paradise Lost (which is totally Bible fanfic), or Wicked--to see a story from a different perspective, to continue and ask what happens after happily-ever-after, to spend more time with characters and tales you love.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-05-11 15:15 ]
It's a good thing you acknowledged that you were simplifying (Dana) :). Being into the story doesn't mean you see characters as chess pieces advancing the story. The story to some of us has to be driven by the character motivations or it isn't compelling. I do find that in some instances "out of character" translates as "not highlighting what I like about the character" or "not acting how I would prefer they act" - whether a character is truly acting strangely or not seems almost immaterial in the face of the root justification for that judgment. I'm not touching the fanfic motivation stuff and I especially don't have enough time to talk the psychology of lesbian slashfic'ers; maybe some day in the future? :)
Speaking as a Buffy fanfic writer who has occasionally explored consent issues in my work, I can say categorically that I do not write, and in fact have never encountered, this so-called "rapefic" people are talking about, but then I don't read much fanfic. (I have however encountered lots of fanfic that is nothing but a poorly conceived stringing together of random sex scenes; I have no problem calling that stuff porn.) And I would argue with the notion that any work of fiction that contains a scene depicting rape is "rapefic"; does that mean "Pulp Fiction" is a "rape movie"? Or perhaps we should call the enire private detective fiction genre "murderfic" since murders and gunplay are such a standard and pivotal element of the genre? If there is fanfic out there that is nothing but a rape scene designed to titillate readers, well, yeah, that's simply porn. But I would like to talk a bit about my take on "consent" in the Buffyverse, from the perspective of someone who actually writes Buffy fanfic novels (yeah, they're actual novel-length stories) and has done a lot of thinking about the Buffyverse.

First, it seems pretty evident to me that erotic situations with questionable consent are built into the Buffyverse; the latest issue of the comic certainly isn't the first or most notorious example of it, as we all know. I don't think that was Joss's intent from the beginning but that's where the show ended up going, and it went there often: not only because of specific storylines that confronted it directly (Angel and Eve, Buffy and Spike in "Something Blue", Faith and Riley--and by the way, as much as I love Faith, what she did to Riley was just as despicable as what Spike tried to do to Buffy as she most certainly did have sex with Riley without his consent--Angelus telling Lilah he might just "rape her to death" and of course the infamous Buffy-Spike scene in "Seeing Red"), or have hinted at it (Angelus and Drusilla, Vamp Willow and Angel in "The Wish", Angelus biting that gypsy girl in the thigh, not the neck) but also because of the very nature of the stories they're telling. These are stories about vampires and there can be something erotic about taking another person's blood. Erotic and, of course, non-consensual in nearly all cases. The show has given us this link between blood-taking and eroticism on numerous occasions: the most notorious being the late season three scene in which Buffy allowed Angel to take her blood in order to heal the poison Faith put in his system, and then very obviously orgasming as he took it from her. But there was also Spike trying and failing to take Willow's blood in season four and Willow feeling just a bit inadequate, as if she somehow wasn't sexy or "biteable" enough for him, before that scene went on to a parody of male performance anxiety; Vamp Willow, who was of course revealed as a lesbian, very erotically taking the blood of a pretty girl in the Bronze in "Dopplegangland"; Riley allowing a female vampire to take some of his blood, which Buffy immediately saw as "cheating" on her, and Dawn going on her date with a vampire boy who wanted to taste her. Vampires are seductive creatures; the very concept of vampires can be seen as a sex metaphor that invites consent issues. That's what vampires have been about in our culture since Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it goes back a lot farther than that. And once Joss decided Buffy would have a dashing vampire boyfriend, the genie was out or the bottle I'm afraid and the link between vampires and seduction in BtVS was drawn. Buffy's relationship with Angel can be seen as a long seduction and her relationship with Spike certainly became that over time as well.

And of course the show was aways unflinching in its willingness to depict its characters' sex lives: Angel and Buffy consummating their relationship in season two, Faith basically using Xander as a dildo in season three, Buffy's torrid sex scenes with Riley in "Where the Wild Things Are" and then with Spike all through season six, and Willow and Tara's beautiful lovemaking which started metaphorically in season four but eventually became very real. And who can forget the finale, in which basically everyone in the house has sex the night before they go to battle the First? Sex between Buffy characters wasn't something fanfic writers invented the way, say, Star Trek fanfic writers invented the Kirk/Spock stuff. Depicting sex between Buffy characters in fanfic does not require identitifcation on the part of the writer. The sex between various characters was always right there in front of us because Buffy, at its heart, is a romance. And also because Joss at some point made the decsion that he wanted to actually show sex in a naturalistic fashion rather than just keep it "tastefully offscreen". Buffy and Angel's ridiculous sex scene in the comic isn't ridiculous because of how much skin it shows, or the passionate abandon with which the two of them are going at it; in my opinion it fits right in with the show's style in that regard. We've seen this with Buffy and Spike and Buffy and Riley and Faith and Robin and Willow and Tara and Willow and Kennedy and Angelus and Dru and Wesley and Lilah and the list just goes on and on. Like it or not, Buffy and Angel became very erotic shows during their runs, and since vampires eventually came to be depicted as more than just the simple monsters they might have been had the Buffyverse gone in another direction (a direction I might have preferred actually, but that's another post) their blood-taking is sometimes a meaphor for sex and we have seen sex and romance from their perspective, which is at times that of a predator.

The most important thing to remember when writing fiction is that characters come first. There is no such thing as a taboo subject, there is no such thing as a story which shouldn't be told. There are only stories which explore characters and their conflicts honestly, and stories which don't. Rape has become a radioactive word in our culture but the idea that it should be off-limits in fiction (I'm not accusing anyone here of saying that by the way) is absurd. Shying away from a particular subject because it might offend someone is the first step on the road to being a hack. You can't write for your readers, you can't allow their concerns to sway you in the slightest. You have to write for your characters. If consent issues arise naturally within the tale you're telling--and in Buffy the potential is always there--and if you explore those issues honestly as a way of saying something about your characters rather than as a base attempt to titillate your readers, then you're doing your job as a writer.

One more thing about sex in general and sex scenes in particular. Why is it that our fiction in the United States--whether it be in movies, books, or television--can and does give us unflinchingly detailed portrayals of violence, but the moment we are given a similarly unflinching view of sex, people cry "porn"? Millions of people went to see Freddy Krueger dissect people like lab specimens, in slow and exacting detail. Why isn't that considered porn? Sex is a natural part of our lives. A sex scene doesn't automatically equate to porn, whether it's explicit or not, and neither does a rape scene. Porn requires an intent on the part of the author to titillate the reader without thought to characters or story, because the sex or violence or whatever is the point of the story. You could write a story about rape that's just bursting with non-consensual sex but nevertheless still isn't porn, as long as you're writing honestly--writing about characters. And you could write a story with no sex whatsoever that most certainly is porn. It all comes down to authorial intent. Are the characters real, or do they exist to facilitate scenes of violence or sex? For myself, I find nothing wrong with a sex scene in Buffy fanfic, because that is in keeping with the style of the show. As long as the scene is necessary to develop the characters that's all that matters. Even if the sex is non-consensual.

[ edited by Hellmouthguy on 2010-05-11 17:20 ]
I do call excessive violence done for cheap tricks "gratuitous" and I've described the sexual depictions in #34 as gratuitous, so while some people may react the way you say, I already do see them as the similar (depending on the situation).

I write a lot of violence in my stories, but it's all based on a plot naturally arising from the question "what would the characters do next? How would these characters agendas and personalities clash?" With action and sex scenes you run into similar problems. You want them to remain interesting. If every line goes "punch, kick, punch, kick" in an action scene, while in a sex scene every line is "thrust, moan, thrust, moan"... well. Bad. What makes these scenes worthwhile is the natural development of the plot and it being grounded in emotional motivation. Removing these turns it into mindless porn.

I don't like calling gratuitous sex "porn"--I don't see the point when gratuitous sex describes it accurately. But Hellmouthguy, the gratuitous sex isn't the only reason fans call #34 porn. They call it porn because it dings on several levels. The lead-up to sex reading inexplicably as a switch being flipped (aka glow), the constant changing of positions back-to-front-to-back-to-front (yes, I counted and it happens mid-air half a dozen times--why?), the lack of emotion and personality expression in the sex. #34 reads more like mindless, destructive rutting. The world is destroyed by porn. Gratuitous sex does not equate to mindless rutting--that's the difference.

Gratuitous sex is gratuitious. Gratuitous violence is gratuitous. #34 is softcore porn in its visual depictions, but also porn in the way it's set-up by the surrounding context. Maybe it's trying to subvert porn here, but you will fail at subverting something if you don't turn it on it's head and show it for what it really is (consent issues are hugely problematic in porn, so to have #34 not delve into consent issues is just perpetuating what porn has also done). If you fail there, you are only perpetuating the very message you sought to subvert.
Man, so much to take in in these last 3 posts. Not sure where to begin to respond, but let me see what I can do.

Lirazel, I have little to add to your post save in large measure to agree. I don’t really watch comedies on TV and never gave thought as to why, but you are right; there is little personal investment in the characters and little growth in them, and it s really the character that drives the interest for me. While I have lost interest in House, since House cannot change and thus, the things we see never are what we are led to believe, I have begun to invest in the characters on Fringe, where what is happening affects them profoundly and thus they do grow and change. Even Walter I care about, and when the show started I saw him as nothing more than comic relief- how wrong! And yes, writers write because they have to- and I highly recommend people see “Starting Out in the Evening,” which is wise about writers in ways other movies have never been.

ZG- Yes, I hope I was clear that I was simplifying, that there are many ways to view a story, that these can bleed into one another, and that I can be upset when a character does not act the way I want or expect them to, despite the intentions of the author. No question about that, and I thought I had said it clearly, but let me do so here again.

HMG- much to comment on in your post. I am not sure that anyone suggested that any scene with a rape in it is rapefic; I think the comment was more directed to the idea of rape culture, a different issue, albeit a quite important one. There is rapefic out there, but whether it is designed to titillate I am not prepared to say, since I cannot know the motive of the writer- it will certainly titillate some (in a similar manner perhaps to the scenes of dismemberment titillating some people in torture porn movies) but another possible reason it is written could conceivably involve the psychological needs of the writer- perhaps to work through their own experiences as a means to bury them or come to grips with them. I cannot know.

I think you are correct in noting the many times the issue of consent was violated. I am not sure that acknowledging this excuses any one of them, or makes this more acceptable. I was, at the time, troubled by FIBB having sex with Riley, and I was upset at the AR with Spike. I respectfully feel that vampirisim, rather than standing in for seduction, has metaphorically been more oriented toward posing the vampire as Other; today, for example, vampirism is seem as a metaphor for AIDS- you get bitten, you get turned. So when you say that vampires are a sex metaphor inviting consent issues, that is one reading, but not, I think, the main reading- viable, of course, but not primary. This is not to diminish the issue. Having sex is not really the issue- people do, of course. How we have sex could be the issue- do we have agency in making the decision? What we find troubling here is the lack of consent, which at times involves lack of knowledge (which is a prerequisite to consent, ie, would Riley have had sex with FIBB if he knew it was Faith in Buffy’s body?) or lack of comprehension (Spike not understanding that Buffy’s “no” meant “no,” since her past “nos” had not- he removed her agency by failing to understand her at all at that most important time). This is no defense for Spike; he was utterly wrong, and yet only one season later he was declaring his love for Buffy and she to him, her attempted rapist. Many ways to discuss that and the scenes leading up to those declarations.

When you say that the characters have to come first, that is one possible way to look at fiction, but not the only; to others the plot may come first and the characters used as a means to advance it. As to taboo subjects, in fact, just to make a small point, there are taboos- ask the guy who was jailed for writing pedophilic stories meant for no one to read but himself- this was reported a few years ago. Or consider “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Some stories should never be told, but minor point and a digression from the one you are making. No one is saying rape cannot be part of fiction; I would argue it should be used carefully so as not to contribute to a culture where it is not taken seriously enough-without devolving into politics, consider that Alaska refuses to pay for rape kits used by rape victims. That some men would force victims of rape to carry the baby conceived thereof to term. That some victims are abused by the system when they go to court- heard any good Ben Roethlisberger stories lately? Heard anyone express the idea that “what was she thinking, having a drink with him?” like it was her fault? And if you plan on selling you product in the marketplace, you do need to consider your readers, you have to. It may not sway you much, but I guarantee after 15 years of making TV Joss Whedon makes some concessions to what he would like to do in order to have a product he can put on TV.

As to sex v. torture, well, I agree in large measure. Sex is natural and enjoyable and I find it personal and would not share it with anyone but my wife. That’s just me; I did not need to see B and A go at it, because it was not really necessary, IMO; it would have been better to allude to it, as a personal preference. I do not watch any torture movies; I cannot enjoy them in any way. I could watch a sex scene, but not a torture scene that is designed simply to shock and is not in service to a good story.
Some people love the story because they identify with the characters, and some love it because they love the story- we have seen this tension before on whedonesque


Looking at it from a dispassionate point of view, I think some of the fan tension is that Joss has taken back control of the characters and the story from the hardcore fans. After the show ended in 2003, the fans became unofficial custodians of the characters. Season 8 comes along (and in a different medium too) and the characters get taken away. With that shift in powers, there's going to be problems.

And in a completely brutal way, the quality of the story doesn't matter. Dark Horse got kudos from Season 8, 20th Century Fox will get more revenue and Joss got to do it his way without network interference. Ten years down the line, the canon will be more or less accepted. Much as the same way that fans accepted seasons 6 & 7 after much bitter complaints and division over those two seasons. Newcomers will ask what happened next after Chosen and the older fans will point to the comics and say "there you go". Some will like it, some won't. I quite enjoyed Season 8 so far. But then I like the crazy. I wouldn't be in this fandom if I didn't.
One more thing about sex in general and sex scenes in particular. Why is it that our fiction in the United States--whether it be in movies, books, or television--can and does give us unflinchingly detailed portrayals of violence, but the moment we are given a similarly unflinching view of sex, people cry "porn"? Millions of people went to see Freddy Krueger dissect people like lab specimens, in slow and exacting detail. Why isn't that considered porn?


"Porn" is an ambiguous term, because it can mean either explicitly sexual content (even without nipples, vagina, or penis being shown), or it can mean the use of sexually explicit material for titillation of exploitation. Both "Sex and the City" and "The L Word" qualify under the explicit sex, and both are aimed at stimulating the viewer, but it would be difficult to call them exploitative -- maybe an easier case could be made for "Sex and the City" than for "The L Word". In any case, I was & am a fan of both. So it isn't explicit sexual presentation that bothers me.

"Obscene" is better in relation to violence, and I've never seen & will never see a slasher pic, for any reason; I didn't read or see "American Psycho", which posits stronger claims for cultural significance.

Everything that's been said about the genesis of the season, both by Joss earlier and Meltzer now, supports the thesis that all the (purportedly) large themes were subordinated to the purpose of having a dozen pages of a supersex tumble with Buffy and Angel.

Ten years down the line, the canon will be more or less accepted. Much as the same way that fans accepted seasons 6 & 7 after much bitter complaints and division over those two seasons


Apples and oranges. The sole ground s6 shares with S8 is that they were controversial, but the reasons for the controversy are almost diametrically opposite. Those who disliked S6 wanted Buffy who could rapidly recover from the trauma of being returned to her hard life as a Slayer from bliss after having given her life in sacrifice; they wanted Scooby-togetherness & Buffy jauntiness, instead they got people picking up fragments, spun out of each other's orbits by the transgression involved in resurrecting Buffy, etc.

The complaints about S7 are a lot more similar to those made for S8. Those that didn't have to do with behind-the-scenes issues had to do with the arbitrariness of the arcs, a non-sensical villain, a baffling version of the creation of the first Slayer (metaphysical/sexual violation as the foundation of the female power represented by Buffy???), the substitution of vacuous philosophical talk for dramatic conflict. And S8, which (for me at least) began with flashes of the old force of the show, has only confirmed the lingering suspicion that there were only fumes left in the tank.
And in a completely brutal way, the quality of the story doesn't matter. Dark Horse got kudos from Season 8, 20th Century Fox will get more revenue and Joss got to do it his way without network interference. Ten years down the line, the canon will be more or less accepted. Much as the same way that fans accepted seasons 6 & 7 after much bitter complaints and division over those two seasons. Newcomers will ask what happened next after Chosen and the older fans will point to the comics and say "there you go". Some will like it, some won't. I quite enjoyed Season 8 so far. But then I like the crazy. I wouldn't be in this fandom if I didn't.


Really? Your really think that these comics will be remembered at all let alone be seen as standing at the same level as the TV show? I think you're giving this medium too much credit myself. I mean many casual fans of the original show are even now barely aware that there's a comic book spin off at all.

Also the hard core fans will do what they've done always done, and that is on the whole just plain pretend they never happened, which considering the poor quality of this series is probaly for the best.

Personally I'd hate it if season 8 was remembered as the last word for this verse, because imo it's just so awful and comes across as well, just plain embarrassing and not in keeping with the feel of the TV show in any shape or form.

And yes, imo quality maters and to say it doesn't just staggers me. Thank god they didn't apply that kind of attitude to the TV show than.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-05-12 08:08 ]
Your really think that these comics will be remembered at all let alone be seen as standing at the same level as the TV show?


Yep. Buffy Season 8 has 20th Century Fox on its side. Money > online fandom.
Everything that's been said about the genesis of the season, both by Joss earlier and Meltzer now, supports the thesis that all the (purportedly) large themes were subordinated to the purpose of having a dozen pages of a supersex tumble with Buffy and Angel.

You might equally well claim that everything in season 6 was simply set up for a Tarantino styled lesbian killing. Joss has said that he had the image of Tara being shot and her blood spraying Willow's shirt in mind from the very beginning.

Complainants about S7 frequently lump it together with S6 expecting Buffy to be the perky schoolgirl bonding with her friends under the leadership of a fatherly Giles. Instead we got a young woman accepting the bone crushing responsibility of being the one everybody expects to save them and through that confronted with the full implications of being one girl in all the world. The isolation, the choice that is no choice between a short brutal duty and letting the world go to hell. Being chosen sounds empowering. It's about as empowering as being press ganged and as feminist as Thatcher. Patriarchal systems have always been happy to accommodate single exceptional females. S7 finally faces up to the fundamental incoherence in the show's mythology and meets it head on.
Really? I don't think it matters, I don't think 20th Century make a great deal from the comics which is fine as it probably doesn't need them to make much effort either. If someone decided to retcon the whole thing I don't see 20th Century Fox giving a damn so long as they could reach a suitable financial deal on the matter.

The comic reaches a fraction of the audience that saw the TV show and each issue that fraction seems to be diminishing further. I don't think the story as told in season 8 will ever be widely enough known to be a major part of the Buffy legacy.
I don't think 20th Century make a great deal from the comics which is fine as it probably doesn't need them to make much effort either


20th Century Fox are bringing out the Buffy season 8 motion comics. If I had to guess you'll be able to watch it on Hulu and buy them on iTunes too. Expect to see them heavily promoted online and on the existing DVDs as well. And then after a while, we'll be able to buy the Seasons 8 & 9 DVDs (much in the same way that Marvel will do with their online motion comics). And who knows, in five years time fans will be able to buy the complete Buffy Seasons 1-9 boxset on DVD, Blu-ray or on Download.
Agreeing with Hellmouthguy and many others that the manipulted/influenced/mindraped-by-outside-forces device has gotten a little old in the Buffyverse. I was fine with it in Season 4 of Angel (in regards to Cordelia-possessed-by-Jasmine) because, IMO, it was a great twist (unfortunately not Charisma's best acting, she wasn't enthusiastic about it, and it may have robbed us of a lot more Cordelia character development and fun, but I thought it was worthwhile, in that particular case, to sacrifice her for the sake of the extremely well executed mega-arc), it was a lot less effective with First-influenced-Spike in Season 7 (hated that, actually). Not sure how I feel about it here, unless Joss is continuing where Dollhouse left off, or building on the issues of consent and outside influence in a different but complementary way. If he makes some interesting points about it and pulls it off seamlessly within the story itself, in Season 8's final arc, that might make the whole Universe/glow thing worthwhile.

Also, from the getgo, from "Welcome to the Hellmouth", the Buffyverse has always had a Lovecraft-inspired background (see: Giles' speech about the Old Ones, Illyria, among many other influences). Cthulu and other supernatural/alien beings from the work of H.P. Lovecraft didn't give two shits about humanity's social mores. That is scary, it should be, and maybe that's something that Joss is going to further explore (as if Senior Partners, First Evils, and Powers That Be aren't freaky enough--could make anyone in the Buffyverse who's aware of them feel very small, afraid, and maybe helpless). But then, I find the idea of any kind of god/superbeing who can influence individuals without their knowing to be very disturbing (already enough of that going on in nature without adding God/gods to the mix), so for straight-up horror storytelling or effective weirdness, this isn't at all a bad path for the Buffyverse to venture forth on, IMO.

If Buffy (and Angel too?) stand up and try to fight these influences, or go "wtf?!? How do we at least avoid this/decrease the Universe's attention to us?", it wouldn't be bad to have them fail or find out that they can't get out of this influence, that they need to work within it or just partially accept that they're screwed (we all are, when you think about--we can't stop from dying, eventually). It'd be very damning/depressing, but it might be a worthwhile tale to tell, depending on how it's told.

To us, to the societies we've constructed/due to the social contracts we've drawn up to make life less brutish and short, consent matters. To humans. But look at the rest of nature, does it seem to ? Animals rape eachother all the time, a lot of species wouldn't continue without it. The planet kills us all the time without first asking for our consent (tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, lightening, heck even outside the planet, it looks like meteors can crash down and make the dominant species extinct once every however many eons). It's cold, but it's the stark reality of the planet and universe until we get proof otherwise. Maybe Season 8 will be touching on this/maybe it's part of the theme of the season ?

Simon said:
"Them higher powers really don't give two hoots about human morality. They never did in the Buffyverse. I have a feeling that the days of them using humans for their purposes are coming to an end. If that's the way I think Joss is going."

This issue wasn't bad, there was a lot of stuff to enjoy and I didn't feel as if it was teetering on the edge of "okay-they've-lost-my-suspension-of-disbelief-if-they-get-too-much-wackier-without-adequate-backup/well-constructed-exposition" like #34 threatened. The success or failure of what was revealed through character reactions and exposition is dependant on how Joss handles the remainder of the season, IMO (plus Jane has the opportunity to add to and address certain aspects in the Riley one-shot), but regardless of what happens next, this issue was fine taken on an individual basis. Story ain't over, therefore no giant post of judgement just yet.
"Yep. Buffy Season 8 has 20th Century Fox on its side. Money > online fandom. "

Sorry. I think you're kidding yourself there somewhat. Even the hard core won't follow any old rubbish I'm afraid.
Even the hard core won't follow any old rubbish I'm afraid.


Well we will just have to wait and see. I think if 20th Century Fox market it properly then they will make a lot of money. A sizeable chunk of the online fandom will buy the motion comics and the casual fans will purchase it too (who I reckon will targetted more, purely on the basis that there's more of them). It will get a lot of attention.

Though we are talking about 20th Century Fox here, their track record is less than stellar in trying to deal with the Buffy franchise. I'm still stunned by the 2009 calendar.
Why do you think a sizable chunk will buy into the motion comics? It's not like they're suddenly going to improve script wise overnight is it? Primitive animation isn't going to be able to paper over that many cracks.

Also I believe that the comics readership is rather different from the Buffy one. I mean many people never got into them from the get go, let alone now.
Why do you think a sizable chunk will buy into the motion comics?


On the basis of four things:

1) Curiosity
2) They actually like season 8
3) Fans like to buy stuff, it's the collectors instinct
4) 20th Century Fox wouldn't be doing it if they hadn't already done market research in the fandom that said "yes we're interested"
Wow, hope they don't solely rely on number 2 then. *g*

I still believe that if they don't think the products all that it should be, then a primitively animated version of the same thing isn't going to make much of a difference.

Oh god Joss. I'm sooooo disappointed in you. Sorry, I really am.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-05-12 11:18 ]
Yep. Buffy Season 8 has 20th Century Fox on its side. Money > online fandom.


That's kind of like saying the tie-in novels have 20th Century Fox on their side. No one considers them part of the show proper. What the comics have on their side is Joss Whedon's assertion that they are an official continuation of the show, but what they have working against them is the fact that nobody reads comics. The audience for Buffy season 8 is, at the height of its sales, maybe 4%-5% of the audience for the TV show. The hardest of the hardcore Buffy fans might consider these books part of the official legacy of the show because they're actually willing to read a comic book to get their continuation of the story, but I'm afraid those people are a drop in the bucket. How many Buffy viewers, for example, are even aware of the existence of Fray? That had Joss and 20th Century Fox too. But it was a comic book.
No one considers them part of the show proper.


That's because they're not viewed as official canon. If they were, I would imagine it would be a different story.

How many Buffy viewers, for example, are even aware of the existence of Fray? That had Joss and 20th Century Fox too.


Did 20th Century Fox actually promote Fray in any shape or fashion? My memory on it is somewhat vague I think it may have just been a Dark Horse effort. And in regards to the motion comics, the publishers Dark Horse looks to be out of the picture (judging from Scott Allie's refusal to talk about it). And in its place you now have a company which has enormous resources and a huge publicity machine. The next couple of years are going to be interesting.
Comics as a whole have much lower readership then they ever had, and their overall readership falls every year, so compared to TV it's a drop in the ocean.

I also agree that many people outside of fans haven't a clue about season 8, and canon or not may never know due to their limited appeal compared to a live action product.

Hellmouthguy can I just say I want to marry your posts and have their babies. *g*
It seems a little ironic (hmm, is that ever the right word?) to me that fans of a, frankly, obscure and little-watched (in the grand scheme of ratings) TV show are burying the comic book in part because it's obscure and little-read. It's like bigger nerds picking on smaller nerds for being nerdy.

Yeah, I know. Some of you also think it's no good. Some of us differ, so there you go.

The relevant point is, as Hellmouthguy noted, "Joss Whedon's assertion that they are the official continuation of the show." (I'd quibble with the choice of "assertion", as if it's in doubt. Don't we accept that if the creator of this whole fictional universe says it's the continuation, then it is?) Surely, if you don't like the comic books, you can simply not read them, or choose to believe BtVS ended in Season 7, or 6, or 5, whatever your pleasure, or read fanfic, or do whatever you want to do. Seems simple. The one thing you can't do is claim to the world in general that this isn't "really" BtVS, however much it pisses you off. That option is no longer on the table.

(I stopped watching the second Matrix movie about 2/3 of the way through; just hated it. Never bothered with the third. I'm happy to keep believing that the Matrix Universe is solely defined by the original movie. However, I also know that it would be ridiculous to make the claim that the sequels don't exist. I'm simply choosing to remain ignorant of them.)
I'd quibble with the choice of "assertion"...


I didn't mean that as a dig at Joss. I just don't think the majority of the viewing public--and by "majority" I mean something like 95%--can accept a comic book as the official continuation of a television show. A movie, sure. A movie has the actors. But a comic book is just drawings on paper. There is no Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy season 8. Even if I didn't think the thing was execrable, I still wouldn't really accept it as the official continuation. Even Joss only accepts it as the continuation conditionally: he has said in interviews that if a Buffy movie was on the table he would jettison the comic book continuity and basically start from scratch for the film plot.
Regardless of the produced medium, it's all words on paper from Joss. Having said that, Joss does no one any favors by saying, "This is official... unless I get to do movies!".
Back to the canon argument, sally forth! Hee! :-)

ETA: In a more serious vein, last night I woke up at 3am for no real good reason and in my travails of falling back asleep I was thinking about Buffy- weird, yes, I know- but what I was thinking was that, with regard to the comic- this is what there is, all there ever will be again, because the likelihood of us ever seeing Buffy again- as we know it (not as a Kazui might reconstruct it)- on TV or as a movie is nonexistant. The actors are much older, they have other careers, it won't happen. It has been 13 years since Buffy started- the then 22yo Alyson Hannigan is now a 35yo mom; Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters are past 40, SMG is off to other things, etc. There will never again be a Buffy as we loved it- there may be a comic, though I do not believe it will extend past the S9 we have been promised. There will be fans, of course, and texts and fanfic, but not the show. The show is gone forever. The comic is no substitute, but it is all there is.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-12 15:55 ]
There is no argument ;) and no spoon.
Having said that, Joss does no one any favors by saying, "This is official... unless I get to do movies!".


He said it at the Buffy event at the Paley Fest back in 2008.

ON WHETHER A MOVIE WOULD FOLLOW THE CURRENT SEASON 8 COMIC BOOK MYTHOLOGY :

WHEDON : Hypothetically, if you could make things align, that would be fun. When I did the comic FRAY that took place 200 years in the future, [I thought] there’s no way this could affect the show, so it’ll be safe, but we ended up using a little of that mythology from the comic book. So I feel a certain obligation to work in that mythology, and it would be lovely to make it all tie in, but if I had to shoot down everything I’m doing in comics, because we were doing a project where I was filming with these actual people, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep.


I was think he was being polite. Cause it's never going to happen.
I think he meant it wholeheartedly, while at the same time being aware that it probably wouldn't ever happen. But if lightning struck and somehow it did happen...the comic goes bye-bye. For one thing, even if Joss loved the comic book story (though personally I'm hoping he came up with it while drinking bad hooch under a full moon) it would take a giant budget to film and there are just too many characters.
I don't think highly unlikely hypothetical scenarios are conditions for anything. Pretty much everything in my life is conditional on my not winning the lottery tomorrow. That doesn't have any bearing on how real my life is at the present.

And if comics are just drawings on paper, then tv is just moving pictures. I don't think one medium is superior to the other, just different.
If they package the giant-ass Season 8 hardcover (or series of hardcovers) that Scott Allie has promised with an eventual Complete Series (or Complete franchise, all twelve seasons of the two shows?), I think a whole lot of people will be accepting the comics as canon, or at least reading them and deciding they don't like them.

You put those comics (plus Fray, please, plus Tales of the Slayer and Tales of the Vampires) as extras inside a nice big collectible Complete DVD set, and it'll expose a whole lot more viewers to the comics. The complete blu-ray set (which many people are waiting for, not to mention the people that'll double-dip) would be a prime time to test out an experiment like that. Lotsa fans, myself included, want it all and love complete package-y editions of series of novels, TV, films, and comics...so it might be a hit, regardless of how expensive it ends up being.

Regarding Joss' comments about a Buffy movie vs. what's already been established in the comics, I like to think he'd at least use Season 8 as a blueprint for how a film or series of films would play out, even if he excises many elements for the sake of time and clarity, or tightens up certain elements (and loses Warren, that'd be nice. Amy could still be in it, if they'd only explain why the fuck she went so evil).

And huge word to what Sunfire said. Regardless of one's person preference(s), no one entertainment medium is better at telling/presenting a well-made story than another and speaking in absolutes, or implying such, is only gonna lead to paragraphs like these.

Tons of fans follow their favorite franchises from one medium to another (god, look at Star Wars. Yes, the fans who read the novels and the comics, play the video games and watch the animated series, are only a fraction of the ones who saw and liked/loved the big screen films, but that's still a sizeable chunk that shouldn't be casually written off. The Buffyverse could have/could maintain that kind of significant cross-media following as well). Tons of fans enjoy the continuing story in formats it didn't start out being told within. It is possible to grab and keep people interested, even if, in this case, TV/film would be their preference for how to see the story go on. It's a worthwhile effort, IMO, if the author/creator has more story to tell and pulls it off admirably (but like a lot of readers, my jury's still out on Season 8). Personally I'd like to see Buffy/the Buffyverse end soon.
Kris, it is, though, a matter of interest. There are still SW novels being written, because when they are, they sell. That is not the case for the Buffy novels, which were ended some time ago due to lack of interest. Yes, these can move between media, but there is no question the comic is not anywhere near as popular as the TV show was, and it never will be.
The one thing you can't do is claim to the world in general that this isn't "really" BtVS, however much it pisses you off. That option is no longer on the table.


Joss is the creator of BtVS, but he's only the creator of the show. No one can wave a wand and declare that a comic book continuation of a tv series is just the same as a continuation of that series, any more than Humpty Dumpty can say "THere's glory for you!" and have it mean "There's a nice knock-down drag-out argument". "See Buffy naked having sex -- this is just the same as if SMG were naked being filmed!" Joss can't turn constructed & lit sets & filmed actors into illustrations who speak in word balloons with descriptive subtitles. As fun as it is to have t-shirts that say "Joss Whedon is God" or "Joss Whedon is my master now," he's just a really talented tv guy who had some astonishingly good shows, and now he's comic-book & online guy.

It seems a little ironic (hmm, is that ever the right word?) to me that fans of a, frankly, obscure and little-watched (in the grand scheme of ratings) TV show are burying the comic book in part because it's obscure and little-read. It's like bigger nerds picking on smaller nerds for being nerdy


The impact on current & future members of both the entertainment industry and university faculties, on those who will be working in tv & films & on philosophy professors and teachers of writing & literature, is disproportionately large when measured against similarly rated programs.

There are still SW novels being written, because when they are, they sell. That is not the case for the Buffy novels, which were ended some time ago due to lack of interest. Yes, these can move between media, but there is no question the comic is not anywhere near as popular as the TV show was, and it never will be.


The comic will never be as fertile & productive as the tv show was & remains. Watching the show, we were able to subordinate some of the more incoherent dramatic devices, or clumsy metaphysical or philosophical statements of the characters, to the PERFORMANCES. Like a musical score, a script for characters requires performance, not detailed storyboards with the dialogue lettered in.
Way to tie up some ends. Or, more like bring in more strings.
Regardless, this arc has been handled beautifully by Mr.Brad Meltzer, and I hope Joss and crew are able to get him back to do another arc down the line!
look at Star Wars. Yes, the fans who read the novels and the comics, play the video games and watch the animated series, are only a fraction of the ones who saw and liked/loved the big screen films, but that's still a sizeable chunk that shouldn't be casually written off.


Though I'm one of those people who just doesn't get Star Wars and refuses to think it's anything more than guys in capes firing laserbeams at special effects while stealing scenes from better movies, I do respect its massive following. You simply can't compare Buffy to Star Wars, it's like comparing a guppy to a whale. Star Wars has been able to produce profitable sequels; Buffy hasn't. Sar Wars has been able to spin off successfully into animation; Buffy hasn't. The Star Wars novels are stll going strong; the Buffy novels petered out. Studios are still willing to spend money on Star Wars projects; Buffy can't get a direct to DVD movie produced. The level of interest in the two francises just isn't the same. The fraction of Star Wars fans who devote their times to the various Star Wars tie-ins is much bigger than the fraction of Buffy fans that read the comic book, in much the same way as Boston is bigger than my kitchen. But the main reason I don't see the comic as a legitimate continuation of the show--besides the fact that I think it's terrible, of course--is that it doesn't include the actors. It has nothing to do with the comic book medium being inherently inferior to television. By definition it can't include the actors and that's the problem. If this incarnation of Buffy had started as a comic book this wouldn't be an issue, but it started as a TV show that not only featured Joss Whedon's words, but also SMG and Alyson's performances, and while Joss is part of the comic, the actors aren't, so it isn't really Buffy. Buffy was not solely the creation of Joss Whedon. The actors created it too. While there is no legitimate Buffy without Joss, there is also, in my everlasting and unchanging opinion, no legitimate Buffy without these actors. Even if I loved this comic I still wouldn't ever call it the official continuation.

Now if Joss started a brand new show about his Slayer mythology with a brand new cast, that would be a different story. But I'm afraid the network interest just doesn't seem to be there.
Joss is the creator of BtVS, but he's only the creator of the show. No one can wave a wand and declare that a comic book continuation of a tv series is just the same as a continuation of that series


I think he can actually. His playground not ours.
Joss is the creator of BtVS, but he's only the creator of the show. No one can wave a wand and declare that a comic book continuation of a tv series is just the same as a continuation of that series


ONLY the creator? He doesn't have to wave a magic wand, it's his property and whatever the medium, if he says its the continuation of that story, then it is. Maybe that's not what you're trying to say though, maybe you're just saying that because of the medium jump it just isn't the same to people who are used to it as a TV show and that's fair enough.

The Joss is God/My Master stuff is another interesting sidenote. He can and does make mis-steps as he freely admits, though some in fandom can't :); so, a tangent for another time, perhaps.
While there is no legitimate Buffy without Joss, there is also, in my everlasting and unchanging opinion, no legitimate Buffy without these actors. Even if I loved this comic I still wouldn't ever call it the official continuation.

Hellmouthguy, your posts are always thought-provoking and entertaining. So thank you for prompting me to think more about your notion of "legitimate" Buffy. Can there be such a thing? How would one define it? Surely, it's too limiting to say that legitimate Buffy requires Joss and the actors from the TV show. That would eliminate all the non-Joss text from the TV show and S8 comic books. What do we do with the movie? Joss provided the script -- however much the filmmakers may have mangled it -- that introduced the Buffyverse. From there that 'verse has morphed into many incarnations: the unaired pilot for the TV show, the unproduced animated TV show, the TV show and its spin-off, the novels, and the various associated comic books (Fray, Tales, S8, Angel). They're all different experiences of the same universe, and in many instances, neither Joss nor the TV actors were involved. Does it make sense to say that only the TV show is legitimate? Perhaps it is more accurate to say that, for most people, the TV show offers the most comprehensive and definitive presentation of the Buffyverse (to date). It's their preferred -- and possibly exclusive -- way of experiencing that world. But that world, as much as it started in Joss's head, has long since expanded beyond him. One would not say that all versions of James Bond outside of the Ian Fleming novels are illegitimate. Or that all versions of Superman outside of the original Action Heroes comics are illegitimate. Among the various commercially licensed incarnations, there is no one legitimate Buffy, Bond, or Superman. There are only more popular incarnations and less popular ones.
Buffy/Bond/Superman doesn't strike me as a valid comparison as Ian Fleming is deceased and the rights are owned by others and Superman was a work-for-hire created by Siegel and Shuster (also both deceased) - a character still continuing in his original medium while being licensed out for multiple film adaptations (which aren't continuations in any sense). I'll have to ask a friend who wrote a Bond book whether there is any discussion about "valid" Bond or even books vs. movies. In any case, Joss is very much alive and in a position to say what's canon and that Season Eight is the continuing story of Buffy picking up from where S7 left off. All of the Buffy written by others within the context of the show and the comic are written under his plotting/co-plotting and with his review/rewrites prior to release for public consumption.
In any case, Joss is very much alive and in a position to say what's canon and that Season Eight is the continuing story of Buffy picking up from where S7 left off.

Legitimacy and canon are two separate issues. Canon comes into play when a fictional world is closely associated with a specific creator or creative team. Any Joss-created or Joss-supervised Buffy story is going to be canon. My question was: What makes one incarnation of the Buffyverse legitimate and another not? Hellmouthguy accepts the TV show as legit, and possibly any future Joss-created Buffy shows. He does not accept the Joss-created comic as legit, because it's a comic and the 'verse originated in a different medium, one that requires actors. For him, actors AND Joss are essential ingredients for legitimacy. By that logic, should a new Buffy TV show appear, even a show with the original actors, and neither Joss nor the Mutant Enemy writers was involved, the show would be illegitimate. My view is that this new show would be legitimate, insofar as the producers had the legal rights to the characters and settings. It wouldn't be canon, but it might be a new canon, especially if the new show had a strong executive producer setting the vision.
For me legitimacy in Buffy is a more subjective thing than the simple Joss + actors formula I mentioned above. It starts with that, certainly: without Joss and the actors I don't see it as legitimate Buffy. (By which I mean, Buffy specifically: Joss could start a new show about a new Slayer with a new cast and that would be legitimate too. It just wouldn't be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) But the show took a number of wrong turns toward the end with people acting wildly out of character, and I simply don't acknowledge those wrong turns as legitimate. Frankly, Joss hasn't done anything right for me in Buffy since at least somewhere around the end of season six so in my mind I sort of pick and choose after that. Joss can say anything he writes is canon and objectively it is, of course: this is his show. But in my mind I decide what's canon and that's that. And since I really do believe Joss has completely lost his grip on these characters and turned them into mere caricatures and plot devices, I don't consider anything he's currently doing with the Buffy characters canon. Hey, maybe he'll tell us that all the misconceived ideas he's been coming up with since season six are all part of an alternate universe or a bad dream or Buffy really did "come back wrong" and that's why she hasn't acted like Buffy for years now. Until then, I've no choice but to create my own version of canon, in which the characters act like themselves rather than puppets in service of an increasingly ridiculous plot. It's one of the reasons I write fanfic: to make my subjective ideas objective reality.

But you know, a lot of people didn't want to see Star Trek: The Next Generation as canon either. I certainly didn't at first, having grown up on Kirk and Spock in repeats. But then The Next Generation got good. And then it became even better than the original. So, who knows? Maybe someday some new creator will take the reins of the Buffyverse and blow me away and I'll be forced by the sheer quality of the work to decide that for me, it is indeed canon.
"But you know, a lot of people didn't want to see Star Trek: The Next Generation as canon either. I certainly didn't at first, having grown up on Kirk and Spock in repeats. But then The Next Generation got good. And then it became even better than the original."

Even better than Kirk fighting the Gorn? If this were a different century sir, I would challenge you to pistols at dawn!
;-)
All this Star Trek talk is kinda more in the vein of Buffy than alot of the dialogue in S8...thanks for the reminder guys!! I have absolutely no idea what it all means...but it's very Buffy S6!!!
Hellmouthguy said:
I'm one of those people who just doesn't get Star Wars and refuses to think it's anything more than guys in capes firing laserbeams at special effects while stealing scenes from better movies, I do respect its massive following.

Just as a side note, I don't get the appeal of Star Wars anymore either, at least as far as the extreme fanboyism (I did when I was age 5 to teenager, maybe, though I only saw the first three films once each in that range of time--but you can see how to someone of that age, they're fun. And they are partially-well-acted fun, the first three at least, the originals. Only saw the first of the prequels, meant to get around to Clones and Revenge, but just didn't, outside of a few clips from each). But I understand that they were big action/sci-fi/effects setpieces in their day and had lotsa fun characters, so I see why they caught on with a lotta people. Not sure if they're completely shallow, folks seem to mine a lot from them. Or maybe they're just seeing what they want to see, I have no clue what Lucas intended with them, don't follow that creator at all.

You simply can't compare Buffy to Star Wars, it's like comparing a guppy to a whale.

I didn't do any comparing. I brought up Star Wars in reaction to what I perceived in this thread as the writing off of filmed stories transitioning into prose/comics, canon and all (and in Buffy's case, unlike in SW's, with creator heavily involved/guiding), and the potential legitimacy of such (or the potential for being viewed as legitimate by large portions of the fanbase).

"Star Wars has been able to produce profitable sequels; Buffy hasn't."

If we're talking the film...I'm talking series and post-series-Buffy. As a series, it did very well in producing a "sequel", in the form of a spin-off. Angel lasted five seasons.

Anyway, I agree that Star Wars is massively more profitable than Buffy (well, it can't be argued, due to the known profits the franchise has generated) and who knows why that is. It's been around longer (and came at a time when there was much less vying for folks' attention and entertainment dollars, unlike Buffy arriving in the age of dozens of major channels, home video rentals, home computers and video game systems, etc), so it has that, the concept maybe had mass appeal, the kind of fervor it generates seems to be life-lasting in some people (I'll always love Buffy, but I put it to bed after 2003 and would only recommend it if someone seemed open to it after that, no annoying evangelizing), and...whatever, it's all good, neither of us likes Star Wars anyway, so I'm not sure where I'm going with this part, heh.

The main point of what I said was, "The Buffyverse could have/could maintain that kind of significant cross-media following as well"--not that it could grow into the size of the Star Wars fandom, no way (unless it somehow catches fire and in 30 years, it does the same thing as Star Wars), just that, if they play their cards right, the comics (if well-made) and any future continuations of the story (not that I personally want to see the thing go on forever, or even many more years) could continue to be successful (and they are Dark Horse's best-seller) and could end up being seen by a significant portion of the fanbase as legitimate.

The bare fact is, if someone asks you whether Buffy continued past Season 7, technically it did, the honest answer would be "yes". Unless Season 8 ends horribly (and we'll see about Season 9), I wouldn't warn someone away from it, not unless I think it's a complete waste of reading time (and while I don't think Season 8's been anything amazing for the most part, there were enough interesting/well done parts for me--especially early on and in the issues from a few months ago, and potentially the current ones depending on how well the rest of this is explained--that I'd tell someone to check it out just for those parts). I'll tell them that it ended well with "Chosen" (I've warned a friend currently watching it that Season 7 is the least-good of all the seasons of the Buffyverse, maybe that'll help set his expectations low enough that he enjoys it more than I did, plus he'll have the benefit of watching it quickly on DVD), but that the creator continued the story in comic books and that they should check it out and see for themselves whether they like it.

I get your assertion that you can't consider the comic an "official" continuation, no matter how good it gets/could have gotten. I can't go with that attitude personally (if Jane Espenson's upcoming Firefly short story ends up being good and not containing any un-fanwankable continuity errors, I see no reason to disregard it as part of the story just because it has no images--except the ones in my head--and no audio). If we could accept, while watching the TV series, that these characters had lives and had stuff happen to them (which they even referred to/discussed, which were part of their backgrounds/childhoods) in between scenes, episodes, and seasons, that weren't shown to us on-screen, then I don't find it hard or any different to accept the well-told stories on the page.

Just outta curiosity, how did you find Tales of the Slayer, Tales of the Vampires, and Fray ?(and maybe throw in Jane Espenson's Season 3/Season 4 bridge Haunted as well) Fray was published while Season 6 was airing and, even though it happened in the far future and contained none of the current characters (except for possibly Buffy's arm disappearing into a portal), I fully accepted it as it was intended by Joss--the future of the universe I was watching in live-action form every Tuesday. When the axe/scythe showed up, it just cemented it that much further (even though the scythe appearing randomly, along with that Guardian woman, is one of the potential problems of Season 7's throw-anything-at-the-screen-and-see-what-sticks messyness, I wasn't adamant about calling BS on the scythe because Joss had already brought it up in the comic. Yeah, it must've been a wtf for the majority of viewers who hadn't read Fray, but oh well, wasn't worried about their reactions). Comic book, TV, film, it can all mesh together depending on how well the transition is executed, IMO, and I kinda liked the opportunity to see the Buffyverse in various formats (though if Season 8 falters at the end here, I'm gonna claim that comic book Buffy is only well-made when it comes to slayer/vampire backstory and sidestories).
1starbuckatown - gotcha, misunderstood wht you were saying. So, HMG?Legitimate is the new clothes on the naked emperor once known as personal canon? AKA - what I like is canon. Personally canon was definitely in need of a new term, but I don't think legitimate should be that word. It still has that air of officiality about it. Dana will be along shortly to explain that this is really reader response related :) (please?). Carry on, ignore the cranky orange man :).
Y'know, I am one who has weighed in frequently and vocally on canon, but with regard to this question here (is the comic canon, or can we decide it is not?) I don't think the question even matters. You can call it what you want, canon or not, with complete impunity, because it does not matter what you, or I, or anyone thinks- what we have is this comic, for better or worse (and in my mind much worse), and that is what Joss calls canon, and none of us have to pay that any mind whatsoever- even Joss might not if given the chance. But it does not change the fact that this is what there is coming from Joss regarding Buffy. Jetwolf may not be writing canon but her story and her S8 is a hell of a lot better than this one is, in my opinion, so I visit her site and read her stories and hope that she begins to write again. Because it interests me, and the comic does not and I don't care if everyone here decides it is canon because it ain't the Bible and it does not matter in the cosmic scheme of things. Which sounds nihilistic but does not express what I am trying to say- but I am not sure the question matters. If HMG wants to claim that Joss's canon continuation is not canon, for him it is not. Period. And he can write his own fic, which he does, and it serves his purpose better than Joss' story does. Cool. If the kittens want to say that Buffy ends with S5 when we know it still goes on at S8, so what? Serves their purpose, and there is no gainsaying their needs or desires. Who cares? Has no effect on my life.

ETA: Nah, ZG, only when you least expect it... (But it did occur to me... :-))

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-14 01:28 ]
Thanks for taking my teasing with good grace ;). Although, I wasn entirely joking - this would be a good thread for it. Where this all goes wrong to my mind is the semantics. Canon is only up to Joss to decide; all we get to decide is whether we like it or not, which people conflate with this concept of 'personal canon' which is a semantic non-sequitur.
Since Dana had my personality dowmloaded into him awhile back, I'll just agree with what he says as usual.

And, semantics aside, how's this for a summation of my feelings: we all own our fictions. The writer creates it, and then it escapes into the world, where the reader/viewer gets to do with it as they will. My Buffy never had a season seven or a house full of potentials; maybe yours did. They're both valid ideas of Buffy and it's all good. Especially since Buffy doesn't wear a cape and fire laserbeams; at least, not yet. Maybe in season nine, the way the comics are going.

Mbeauparland--TNG might be technically better, with a superior ensemble and more riveting stories (and then DS9 topped TNG), but Kirk will always remain The Man and the Kirk-Spock-McCoy chemistry is unequaled in any other filmed sci-fi--and I mean all filmed sci-fi, by the way: Kirk-Spock-McCoy give off more sparks than Mulder and Scully and Luke and Han and whoever else you want to name. (Gorn episode? Priceless.)
Are we talking slashy chemistry (in which case there're more than a few Trek fans who'd agree) or the actor/crew camaraderie kind of chemistry (which probably a lot more Trek fans would agree on) ?

[ edited by Kris on 2010-05-14 05:56 ]
Anyway, I agree that Star Wars is massively more profitable than Buffy (well, it can't be argued, due to the known profits the franchise has generated) and who knows why that is.


Star Wars has a very elementary mythology and derives from the elementary forms of pop culture: pulp fiction, including both the western and space opera, and films, including Saturday morning serials, and comics, so it's never had to find a niche. The niche already existed & continues to exist. The enjoyment of a child of 10 watching Star Wars isn't markedly different from the enjoyment their parents feel, or their grandparents.

Buffy's tv audience was absolutely sui generis -- and there's no way that the 10-year-old watching Buffy is enjoying what the 25-year-old or the 50-year-old is enjoying in the show. The transgressiveness of the show & its sudden shifts, from line to line & scene to scene, between genres, its cultural references & self-referentiality, were things that drew in an audience which may be familiar with horror/fantasy productions but isn't interested in them AS specific genres. Those who were interested in the show AS a genre show, or as an extension of the genres they prefer, are likely to be indifferent to much that pleased those who became unlikely fans of the show. Whether they were unlikely because of their primary interests or because of their age or some other factor, they were fans that normally don't & wouldn't bother with the world to which Buffy, in her comics incarnation, has returned. Although elements of the show were drawn from this world, and then subverted & blended & wildly punned & mixed up, Buffy & the Scoobs never wholly belonged there . . . but now they surely do belong there, and they no longer belong in the meta-world(s) which they previously occupied.
I think he can actually. His playground not ours


It's not really "his" in the commercial sense at all: he doesn't own the rights to it, as the projected Buffy film, undertaken without his agreement & excluding all his input, should remind fans.
One would not say that all versions of James Bond outside of the Ian Fleming novels are illegitimate. Or that all versions of Superman outside of the original Action Heroes comics are illegitimate. Among the various commercially licensed incarnations, there is no one legitimate Buffy, Bond, or Superman. There are only more popular incarnations and less popular ones.


There was never any question of any sort of consistency between the Bond books and the Bond films. The 1960s 'Batman' helped define the very word 'camp' as the comic books were absolutely deliberately travestied on screen, & then, when Neal Adams returned to the "Dark Knight" concept & Frank Miller jazzed it into the violent ethos of the '80s, no such question arose.

It only comes about in Buffy because over 7 seasons it developed the way a single novel would, with event growing out of event, character from character, as each ep was woven into a total fabric. But on the most sheerly literal level of fabric, celluloid and paper can't be woven together into a single tapestry.
Let me give a more thoughtful response to ZG's kidding. First, with regard to canon, I think we have give the idea of canon more power than it deserves- we act and talk as though canon is sacrosanct and thus is outside debate- now, just take this as a comment and not as an absolute. Because the idea of canon holds power, we give that power to Joss Whedon and assume that as the author he holds all the cards with regard to what he creates. Of course, he creates whatever he creates, so in that regard, true enough. But here is where reader response comes in. We, the viewer (or reader) have to then create the meaning. There is nothing in reader response to suggest that what an author puts in the text does not exist (i.e, Tara blew out a candle- that is indisputable), but the meaning we ascribe to it is created by us. What I see in the final scene in NMR is not the same as what others see. I can argue that Willow and Tara immediately went and had sex once Tara blew that candle out- and this might be based upon my own personal life experiences, and my psychological needs and desires, and a host of other factors. And I could argue they did not. How I read any scene is up to me, of course, but that the scene happened I cannot argue against. Now, I need to take this one more step. There is no correct way to view Buffy, because there are no consequences for viewing it one way v. another. If I, a Kitten, wish to view Buffy as ending with S5, I can. It makes sense to me, it fits into my psychology, it serves my needs. What difference does it make that there are 2 more actual seasons on TV and a comic continuation. Buffy ended at S5. That Joss has continued the story is of no moment whatsoever. In this sense, I find the idea of canon sort of meaningless, because this is TV. Yes, what happened in the show happened, but so what? If I wish to end at S6, as HMG does, cool, I can do that. I might upset a few posters by noting this since for them the show did not end at that point, they know there is more and cannot understand why I keep saying that for me there really isn't, but again, so what? They don't have to understand, and I don't have to explain- I am viewing how I wish to view. Now, I hope I have not muddied what I was saying, but I hope this makes what I was saying more clear, even if this might appear obvious.
The picking and choosing of what bits of the canon you want always reminds me of this conversation.

'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'

I totally understand and support that each person has their own likes/dislikes about the show and that some people carry that so far as to say "I disavow S7 or S8.". Totally cool, I just get squirmy when people ascribe concepts like "this Buffy is legimate Buffy" or "this is canon for me and this is not". Legitimate and canon get decided by the author, our personal apprehension of the work is personal and should put no demands on the author or others. I think that at the heart of it we agree, I'm just hung up a little on clarity of semantic expression, especially in cases where the words seem to belie the underlying emotion driving the rhetoric.

But on the most sheerly literal level of fabric, celluloid and paper can't be woven together into a single tapestry.


For you. For some of us that is absolutely not the case. It's all storytelling to me. All of it grew out of Joss' fevered imagination and was birthed as words on a page and then executed as tv or comics or interpretive dance. Certainly there are things that are different due to the medium of execution, but the underlying indisputables of the story remain the same (the interpretables may certainly be affected by the execution in the particular medium, mind you). I do, for the record have problems with the execution of S8 especially where the rubber meets the road with "oh, it needs to be more comic book-y" and the results of that sentiment. It seems to me that unlimited "budget" fails to place limits that can actually be highly beneficial to the creative process. This has given the "show" a feeling that causes some to say "not Buffy" and I totally empathize. I certainly would have expected the guy who penned Astonishing X-Men to get the transition "right" to my mind, but what can you do?

Dana, I'm interested in the idea that canon doesn't matter in tv? It seems to me that a lot of modern arguments about what constitutes canon heated up when Star Trek novels and other spinoffs started to appear. Expound/expand if you have time, sir :).
I am not certain I suggested it does not matter so much as suggested, or flat-out stated, that it is sort of meaningless, ZG. :-) This is in the sense that, yes, there is a show, there are the scenes of the show, and this is what we refer to as canon. Those scenes exist; they cannot be denied, they have a reality independent of being seen by any given viewer. But how any viewer looks at the entirety of a TV show is completely a personal experience.

So you said this: "Totally cool, I just get squirmy when people ascribe concepts like "this Buffy is legimate Buffy" or "this is canon for me and this is not". Legitimate and canon get decided by the author, our personal apprehension of the work is personal and should put no demands on the author or others." And really, what you are upset about, it seems to me, is simply how we define the terms- what is canon, what is legitimate. And I think it does not matter what is canon, or what each person views as legitimate. I certainly support Joss' right to say that S8 is canon, but that really carries no meaning for me, because I don't care what Joss calls it, I don't think it is very good and I will turn elsewhere for my Buffy pleasure, say, to Jetwolf and her excellent S8. Canon? So what? Does that mean, then, that these alternative stories have no meaning? They are illegitimate? What does that even mean in this context? Jetwolf writes stories that I like with characters I love and so I read them. Joss does the same, but I don't like them so I give them little time, and so what? Which I guess segues into the Star Trek question- obviously, these books were written to capitalize on fan interest by giving them access to that universe without the need to produce additional TV episodes, which require huge outlays of money, have limited time resources, etc. This builds the universe, provides backstory, and gives pleasure to those readers who invest. Few likely worry if a given book is canon or not; they just enjoy the additional entry into that imaginative world. The idea of a canon here is a critical discussion created initially by academics, really; in the real world, I am not sure it is meaningful. What does canon mean, even? Obviously, it comes mainly from Biblical study- canon is what the Bible says, which men and women for hundreds of years have been trying to understand. But in TV, what are the implications of calling something canon? When by canon all we really means is, what we have seen on the show? Or perhaps been told? (Like Faith's last name, Lehane). Is there a consequence for not wishing to call the comic canon? Some real world implication? None I can see.
Fair enough, I choose to not to acknowledge the laws regarding speed limits on the highway as canon, I'll run that argument by the first cop who pulls me over ;). I kid, I kid! The argument isn't whether you wish to call the comic canon -- your wish doesn't matter to that determination --, it is canon, that is something not up to personal choice by definition. It doesn't matter if you support Joss calling S8 canon - by virtue of Joss calling it canon, it simply is and you can't say any different. You can certainly choose whether or not you read it or like it, but it's canonicity is not up for debate so long as Joss regards it as canon.

Of course these alternative stories have meaning and resonance for us and that's why we seek them out. We love this universe so much that we want more, regardless of the source, if it's well done. Does that make it legitimate? What does that mean? They are not canon so there is no guarantee of overarching continuity between different fic authors. And that's fine, but the words we use to talk about things are important. They are legitimate entertainment, but they are not officially or canonically Buffy.

This builds the universe, provides backstory, and gives pleasure to those readers who invest. Few likely worry if a given book is canon or not


That's what I'm saying -- enjoy the Trek books or the Buffy books/fics/interpretive dances, but by definition you can't say it's "canon to me" because canon is not a relative term that provides entree for a "to me". Personal canon is an oxymoron or possibly a non-sequitur and it is my opinion that people who don't give a whit about canon should stop using the word to legitimize their likes/dislikes. Your likes and dislikes don't need legitimizing! They are yours to cuddle and cherish and name George and you don't need anyone else's approval to like what you like.
Exactly!

:-)
Zeitgest, one of the big reasons canon arguents were started by the Star Trek novels was that a lot of the novels were pretty great. It wasn't the mere existence of the novels but their quality that had fans deciding to make them part of the canon in their minds. At the end of the day, in any fictional universe, what is and isn't canon, or legitimate, or whatever other term we want to use, in people's minds will mostly come down to what people like.

In the 1970's when there was no internet and Star Wars was just a rip-off of better material in the back of George Lucas's mind, Star Trek was responsible for the first fanfic. Because people loved classic Trek with a stalkerish love, but they loved the Big Strokes: Kirk-Spock-McCoy, the universe Roddenberry laid down, that wonderful starship. But they didn't necessarily love all the fine print. After Kirk-Spock-McCoy the rest of the crew got short shrift, reduced to the occasional "aye sir" or exposition explanation. The special effects were hokey. Season three had a lot of crappy episodes. Kirk kept "falling in love" with a new girl every fourth episode but it never seemed genuine. So people picked and chose what they wanted to keep and what they wanted to lose, and they got to work deepening the characters, exploring facets they thought they saw tantalizing hints of in the subtext. (Like Kirk/Spock romance: I used to think the people who wrote that stuff were loons but now that I've rewatched the original series DVD's again, there is evidence of it if you want to look at it that way.) There are Trek fans out there who most certainly see the novels as part of the canon--even JJ Abrams and his team scoured the novels for ideas for the Trek movie. Ah, but here's the catch: even among people who enthusiastically count Trek novels as part of the canon, there are differences of opinion regarding which novels should be counted. And it all comes down to what people like. I don't like anything Joss has done with Buffy in years and years so I've made up my own mind as to what is "real" or "canon" or "legitimate" or "official" or whatever term you want to use; as far as I'm concerned, seasons seven and eight never happened. And people can say, "But they most certainly did happen, because Joss wrote them and he gets to decide what happened." But stories require my imagination upon which to work. Without the reader's imagination a story is like a signal without a receiver: just meaningless static on the air that can never become music. And my imagination has a strict admissions policy. It has decided not to admit seasons seven and eight, and that's just that. If Joss wants to reapply, he's free to, but I'll need to see some evidence that he has reconsidered his mercenary approach to the characters.
Oh, man, I loved me some Trek novels. As far as Slash goes, platonic love between friends (or even violent hatred between enemies) can always be interpreted to mean eye-searing sexcapades by those who are so inclined ;). Strong emotion begets strong emotion, so they say. My semantic/rhetorical gripes remain, I guess; we need a different word than canon or legitimate to describe our personal apprehension/confrontation of/with these stories.
Let me post a question, then. Let's say that we agree that Buffy the show is canon. What does that really mean?

See, I think that if canon was really, really critically mportant, than Joss needs to go and tell everyone who does fanfic, and who writes novelizations, and who discusses the show, that his interpretation is the only possible interpretation, his projection of it is the only thing that matters, and there should be no other Buffy material out there- because only canon is reality, and nothing else is reality in the world Joss created, none of it- his word really is as a God.

Because canon does not matter in this creative work, has no real world implications, though, that won't happen. Joss encourages people to play in his world, he does not sue fanfic writers, etc. Canon is liquid, flexible, etc. Faith had no last name until Joss gave her one. We don't know if Willow and Tara kissed after NMR ended. We don't know if Gil Grissom slept with Lady Heather during the episode Lady Heather's Box on CSI- we see them in the evening, we see them the next morning with Grissom wearing the same clothes but LH in a gown drinking tea at her kitchen table- and fans have argued ever since whether they slept together (for the record, William Petersen says no). Canon is only the projected images and any information we might be given- but if Joss says yes, W and T slept together after NMR, in the absence of proof, did they? The comic is canon, until Joss says it is not? Which he said could happen under certain circumstances. How can it be canon if it might not later be canon?

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-14 16:40 ]

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-14 16:41 ]

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-14 16:42 ]
Canon in the literary sense doesn't mean other texts don't matter, just that there's a set of stories from the creator/creative team that have a kind of authenticity other stories don't. It doesn't mean fans shouldn't write their own stories or that there aren't other licensed works out there. It does mean that there's a core storyline that is considered to be "what happened" and everything else is more stories that could happen. Canon in the literary sense is not liquid or flexible.

If you mean canon more in the sense used for religious texts then sure, you are free to consider S8 not to be authentic and certain fanfic to be in the same way different religious groups consider different subsets of Biblical texts to be parts of their canons. Joss in indeed not able to tell you which texts matter to you personally or that you consider to be real.
Zeitgeist, as far as slash goes, I thought it was ridiculous when applied to Kirk and Spock--until I rewatched the episode in which a female crewman is giving Kirk a friendly shoulder massage on the bridge because he's feeling tired and tense. The thing is though, Kirk believed it was Spock giving him the massage, and he was saying something like "That's it, Spock, really dig it in there" as the massage was happening--until Kirk turned and saw that Spock was standing beside him and was not the person giving him the massage. The moment Kirk saw that he tensed up like he had been stung by a bee and the female crewman immediately stopped massaging his shoulders. The scene was played for laughs but it got me thinking about all the Kirk/Spock moments of intense loyalty and friendship we got over the series, and all those women Kirk bedded too. Maybe Kirk was trying to keep up appearances with those women? I still don't personally subscribe to the Kirk/Spock romance theory; I think women sometimes have a hard time quite grasping the nuances of very close friendships between men, just as the nuances of very close friendships between women aren't always easy for men to grasp. I think alot of those Kirk/Spock slash writers, the overwhelming majority of whom are female, see such a close caring friendship between two men and can't help but assume there must be romantic love there. But I can see now that it isn't as wild a leap as I had once thought, that there really is subtext there if you want to interpret it that way. And that's the wonderful thing about Trek--there's lots of room for interpretation.

And to (finally) bring this point home to something Buffy-related: I think one of my problems with what Joss is doing with these characters now is that he's closing off all our loopholes; he's leaving us no room for our own interpretation. What if we think Faith is just as important to the cosmic scheme of things as Buffy? Nope, sorry, according to Joss the universe itself thinks Buffy is some sort of demigod. What if we think Angel and Buffy have grown apart and developed their own separate lives with their respective groups of friends and allies? Nope, sorry, according to Joss Buffy and Angel are simply divinely ordained to be together. What if we think Angel cares for Connor as a father cares for his son? Nope, sorry, he loves Buffy more. What if we think Buffy has been a selfish bitch for years now and she frankly doesn't deserve the kind of responsibility that she wields now? Sorry, five-hundred girls all call her "ma'am". We didn't get to see Buffy driving around the country recruiting these girls, we didn't get to see her actually earn their loyalty; Joss just sort of gave it to her. Why exactly is she better than Faith? Why is she better than al these girls she forced this power into? Because Joss says so and according to him the universe says so too, but I see no actual evidence of it in the text. This is all Joss's choice of course but it just doesn't ring true for me, not after the way Buffy's character has been evolving for years now.
How can it be canon if it might not later be canon?


Well with that scenario because you could argue that seasons 1 - 4 aren't canon cause Dawn wasn't in them. They're no longer valid. But then it does start getting silly after a while*. Me I take the long view. In 10 years time most of us will have moved on, a new bunch of fans will be online arguing about seasons 1-9. Such things are inevitable.

*Though the V fandom has it worse
Here is an interesting definition from wikipedia, of note of which is the comments regarding Dr. Who and it not being viewed thorugh a canonical lens:

<<<<<
The use of the word "canon" in reference to a set of texts derives from Biblical canon, the set of books which are regarded as scripture.[1] The term was first used in the context of fiction to refer to the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to distinguish those works from subsequent pastiches by other authors.[2][3] It has subsequently been applied to many media franchises, in particular science fiction franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars, in which many stories have been told in different media, some of which contradict or appear to contradict each other.[3]

The official Star Trek website describes Star Trek canon as "the events that take place within the live-action episodes and movies" (that is, the television series Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and the Star Trek motion pictures).[4] Events, characters and story lines from tie-in novels, video games and Star Trek: The Animated Series are explicitly excluded from Star Trek canon, but the site notes that elements from these sources have been subsequently introduced into the television series, and says that "canon is not something set in stone."[4]

Star Wars canon exists on several levels. The highest level is the six Star Wars films and statements by George Lucas; tie-in fiction from the Expanded Universe has a different level of canonicity.[3] The complex system is maintained by Leland Chee, a Lucasfilm employee.[3]

At the other extreme, the makers of Doctor Who have generally avoided making any pronouncements about canonicity, leaving fans to decide for themselves whether to "count" novels, audio plays, comics and other spin-offs as part of the series' ongoing narrative.[5]

Fan fiction is generally not regarded as canonical. However, within fan communities, certain ideas may become influential or widely accepted, and become known as "fanon", fan-generated canon.[3]<<<<<<<

I've read the Wikipedia article before. Could you specify what your point about it is? Is it that Buffyverse canon should be like Doctor Who? I don't follow Doctor Who but as the article notes, that approach is exceptional. How does Doctor Who compare to the Buffyverse in terms of how much the stories sprawl across different media and how consistent things are between stories? For Star Wars and Star Trek anyway there seems to be less of a main storyline with internal consistency. Star Wars seems like a much more branched set of fictional paths. And Star Trek is set in very different timeframes in the same universe, right?
Just the obvious- it cannot posit who decides what is canon, and even those who decide it's canon often hedge what they mean- ST says canon is not set in stone, Dr. Who says we don't care and make your own canon, and we sit here discussing what is canon in the works of Joss. That's all- I found it interesting, is all.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-14 19:19 ]
Sunfire - as a Who follower, let me mention some things :) The series started back in '63 (and had 2 movies with a different actor playing the Doctor - these adapted tv eps to make them bigger and more high budget but also made alterations to the series concept/continuity) Target Books novelizations (which added to and sometimes contradicted the episodes they were novelizing) and the show ceased production from '89 to '96 when there was a co-produced movie for American TV then went away again 'til 2005 where it picked up again on the BBC. In the background there have been several series of novels, CD and Radio audio adventures, a few animated things and now several ongoing series of Big Finish Audio Productions. Confused yet? You will be! Spinoffs also exist, including the original and newer K-9 spinoff, the Sarah Jane Adventures spinoff and, of course, Torchwood. There have also been several shorts produced for charity programs as well as comics in the UK and US in magazines and separate comics.
You forgot about cut scenes on the DVDs as well. I think RTD regarded them as canon or at least one scene in particular.
Ha, that IS very confusing. Maybe they've avoided the idea of canon out of sheer necessity.

Dana I'm sorry but I don't understand-- the article seems to me a summary of various ways people decide what is canon, not a refutation of the idea that it can be decided on. Or maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you mean.
Well we could put our definition of what canon is into the Whedonesque rules and then people would have to abide by that. Hee.
Zing! Imagine how soon Godwin's Law would kick in!
Hey, I just mean, what is canon? Everyone views it different. I don't really know what it means any more, because it plays no real role in my experience of Buffy. Yes, it means the show as presented, but there is so much more so I watch what I want, interpret how I will, and enjoy in my own way. Canon exists as an external reality that does not intrude onto my reality but provides the framework from which that reality emerged.

Holy cow, what the hell am I saying? I don't even understand myself any more!!!
Canon exists as an external reality that does not intrude onto my reality but provides the framework from which that reality emerged.

And that's fine, you don't have to like canon or find it to be a valuable distinction. It exists though. I think whether it's real and meaningful to individual fans sometimes gets conflated in these discussions (oh 100 comments down or so) with whether it's real and meaningful at all.
Dana, it's time for your treatment.
I think so, so long as as Paul from HBO's "In Treatment" is my therapist. :-) Now there is a program that is deadly reader response! :-)

I think I have gone about as far as I can on this issue, since I am about out on the edges of known universe about to go bibbeldy on everyone. In fact, how does one even spell "bibbeldy?"

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-05-15 02:52 ]
:) Thanks to all for playing - Paul will see you now, Dana :))
In Treatment is probably the show I most regret not seeking out online discussions for while watching (especially when watching Season 2 as it aired, while I watched Season 1 upon repeat 6 months after it had originally aired). So much to mine for discussion and debate. There's only so much time in the day for obsessions, online and otherwise.

Should get something going for it over at .org for Season 3, whenever that starts up.
This is way late and moribund, but there was an excellent article on fandom, authorial intent and other stuff related to Lost:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/21/arts/television/21lost.html?ref=television
Dana, that was a somewhat well-written article, but it quickly had me rolling my eyes when, in its third paragraph, it rehashed the tired mantra of "Season 1 was Lost's only good season." That's usually something only people who stuck with the first two or three seasons say (or most commonly, those who quit at the halfway point of Season 3). Lost Season 1 wasn't perfect. It had a bloated finale and too many goddamn slow-mo bits throughout the entire season (yes, I understand it's a pretty way to showcase the beautifully composed score, but that didn't justify the awful padding). It also had too many main characters (more than Firefly's 9, for example, and without balancing/developing them as well as Firefly did), a problem the series soon rectified over the course of Seasons 2 and 3 (though sometimes due to the actors wanting out, like the guy who played Mr. Eko).

"To keep the story going, the producers of “Lost” resorted to inflation, adding more plot points and more characters at the cost of coherence. A spooky tale about plane crash survivors on a strange island increasingly became a labored allegory about free will and destiny, individualism and solidarity. Mystery began to give way to mythology."

Sadly, they may have a point here (they do about some of the show, for sure). At least as far as the mythology goes (much of it has been handled/resolved pretty clumsily this season, IMO). The characters...I think ones that were introduced later were better-developed than the now-dead characters they replaced (for example, Juliet, Miles, and Ben were better-written than Shannon, Boone, and maybe Michael). So adding to the cast wasn't necessarily a bad thing, in many cases (it's organic to most shows anyway--if we only followed the characters introduced in the pilot, it might feel kinda stagnant for many shows).

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