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November 30 2010

(SPOILER) Jo Chen's cover for the last Buffy Season 8 trade revealed. has a exclusive sneak peak at the cover to the last trade paperback of the Buffy season 8 series.

Huh. All the men in her life? That's interesting and different.
Minus Riley, Oz, Andrew, Wes and her dad.
I was looking for this today, I love it. I can't wait to see how it'll look on the actual cover with the framing and fonts.
The most important men in her life at present, yes. When was the last time we even saw Hank?
Andrew should be there though, as well as Riley. Leaving Oz out I can sort of understand, but Andrew has been pretty important this season...oh well. I suppose there was only space for so many. Still, Jo Chen's work is always outstanding.
Andrew hasn't been important to Buffy's personal life, though. And it seems like this cover is showing how Riley isn't important to Buffy's personal life anymore (but then it's just a cover). I can see the argument for why Riley should be included, but definitely not Andrew.

The dynamic for this cover seems a bit lackluster to me. Chen's Twilight TPB blows this one out of the water. It's just... there's no emotion here. Everyone's just posing and smiling faintly for the camera, except for Xander who's bored and looking off to the side. It's a pretty bland portrait considering that Chen can make incredibly beautiful portrait-style covers (Spike in #36, Buffy in #37).

The statement seems to read that Spike, Giles and Angel still view Buffy as primarily important and holding their attention, while Xander's looking elsewhere.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-12-01 03:58 ]
I like it. The men in her life and who are important to her, and to this arc, yes? And while I agree there's not much going on, it has sort of that "final" feel to it. And Angel's look is amazing in a stoic evil way.
Ah I couldn't place it but yes, it's finality. There's an endpoint here.
It reminds me of the cast group shots for the show. I guess I just expect more from the covers. If this is a "final" feel, then I have to say "final" feels kinda underwhelming.

I also just noted elsewhere how interesting Angel's posture and expression reads. He's standing, hands in his pockets, with a smug look on his face to match his cocky posture. Not exactly hunched over and burdened with guilt over your crimes, are you, big guy?

I think Xander and Angel are interesting in this cover. But those small details aren't really doing much for me in the big picture. Buffy looks like she would on my DVD box, only she's lacking that dynamic sparkle in her eye that the camera captures when SMG poses. There's just something a bit blah about the art.

Like I said before, I think Chen's Twilight TPB blows this one out of the water. Stronger likenesses, a powerful statement, and an evocative mood.

[eta] Considering the much-talked-about tragedy of #39 and the gamechanger predictions of #40, the calm finality here doesn't really fit with the story I'm reading. I'm trying to imagine buying "Last Gleaming" with this cover, then diving into the crazy madness of the story and I think it'd be like getting smacked in the face with the dissonance between the cover and what's in the pages.

Specifically, Buffy's expression on this cover feels out of place. Compare her expression on Chen's covers for #37 (when the Master is looming behind her) and her broken despair for #40 (when she's beaten, bloodied and the Scythe lies chipped and broken in her hands). "Last Gleaming" isn't about a cocky, unaffected Slayer showing the audience she's got it all on lock, but about a weary, anguished Buffy who's hardened herself in order to fight. Buffy's likeness on this cover looks straight out of early Season 5 (before the emotional toll hits; and I'll lay odds that Chen was using a Season 5 promo pic as a reference) and I want to be looking at Buffy in Season 8 circa "Last Gleaming" when the world's falling apart and she's responsible.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-12-01 04:29 ]
I think the cover is all about representing the key players in this final arc in iconic stances/poses.Angel is self explanatory.Spike brought all the new info about what's really going on and put Buffy on the road to ending Twilight.And then we have Xander and Giles who if anybody wasn't sure before,most certainly do play big roles in the end game of the season.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-12-01 04:34 ]
Not bad, but need to read the rest before I can judge this one.
Definitely a closure ( of the season) feeling in this one. All the potential betrayers present - which sort of puts me in the mind that they are not. But yes, I agree that this one lacks the emotion of Chen's other covers. The only two smiling faces are Buffy and Angel though. Not that it means anything probably - but Angel sure only has eyes for her. So sue me - I speak as a shipper here.
I thought we weren't supposed to speak like that here. ;D

I wouldn't bother reading anything into Buffy's expression. It's basically a copy/paste job of SMG's Season 5 promo pics.
Keep the shipping out of the discussion please.
Slightly off-topic, but why is the issue out Thursday? Shouldn't it be tomorrow? I'm confused.
It's out Thursday this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday last week.The holiday caused a one day delay in shipping due to last Friday also being part of the long holiday weekend.
Woah, it really is a copy/paste job of the S.5 box cover. Sharp eye, Emmie!
What a lovely cover. We as fans have been especially blessed with all these gorgeous covers. I love it.
I like more the one for the Tales.
For some reason I was expecting something a little more dynamic for the final TPB cover, some action shot of Buffy and/or the gang getting ready for the final battle maybe. This feels more like actors posing - especially Angel considering the role he's playing in the arc, he looks a little sanguine for being the betrayer revealed. It's beautiful, as is all of Chen's work, but like Emmie said it feels like a cast photo without the story affecting the characters.
*Groans* Maybe we really are going back to season just better not be the gift. I can totally see that being the thing that Angel spends season 9 trying to undo.

At this point I wouldn't consider Angel as the betrayer revealed. Might be coming but as of now? Angel is possessed and prior to that possession, Buffy wasn't all that upset with him, from what I could tell.
Ah I couldn't place it but yes, it's finality. There's an endpoint here.

The guys behind her are probably discussing shopping at the mall.

Frankly, I'm just happy to see Spike on there. Kinda wondering about Buffy's nearest and dearest who aren't.
"The guys behind her are probably discussing shopping at the mall."
Bwahaha! Good one. Xander does look like he's about to invite Giles to go for coffee.
And I agree, I was pleasantly surprised by this cover because I was happy to see Spike as well.
From what I can tell after studying the picture for a few moments. Buffy's not smiling, she looks weary, but determined,
even a little angry. Arms crossed in front of her definitely shows a defensive or angry posture. Xander is either looking to Giles or at Angel. Giles is watching Buffy and Spike is definitely looking at Buffy, Angel is looking at the same thing Buffy is looking at. Definitely a nuanced picture of the dynamic between these characters.
This feels more like actors posing

Yes it does. It's exactly like a promo pic for the tv show. Which I would imagine is what Dark Horse intended.
Intending to create something bland doesn't make it well-advised, it just makes it intentionally bland. (Oh look, I'm being snarky about art. No one is surprised. :D)

A pose cover like a promo pic would be more apropos for the deluxe hardcover collection for all of Season 8. This is the trade paperback for "Last Gleaming". All TPBs that came before actually touched upon the specific themes explored in the arc and they also portrayed a greater depth of emotional resonance, with particular emphasis on accurately portraying Buffy's characterization.

Season 8 TPB Covers
The Long Way Home
No Future For You
Wolves at the Gate
Time of Your Life
Predators and Prey
Last Gleaming

The final cover art is just lackluster in comparison. It's posey, but it lacks the kitsch charm of Buffy and Dracula's over the top Wolves at the Gate poses in front of bright, flashy Tokyo. It's posey without the more interesting poses of The Long Way Home in front of the war drama background with the flying helicopters overhead. It lacks the intimate and creepy emotional drama of the Twilight cover or the heartwrenching effect of the computer screens blue light reflecting on Buffy's anguished expression in Predators and Prey. It lacks the creativity and emotional expression of No Future For You showing Buffy and Faith as two sides of the same coin. Even Retreat tells a more emotional story of defeat against a faceless enemy looming in the background.

The story of the Last Gleaming TPB reads thus: Season 5!style Buffy's sittin' pretty, Xander's bored, oh and Spike, Giles, and Angel are here. Chillin' in caves is boss, yo! Check out how everybody's chillin'. Niiiiiiice. Word.

Since we've got all the TPB covers now, who wants to play favorites? C'mon, it'll be fun!

My Top Three

1) Predators and Prey. Buffy's expression kills me and I love how the Slayers being torn apart in the media is portrayed. It's an unlikely choice, I'd imagine, but I love this cover so much. Chen tells the entire story in one image. This cover really is worth more than a thousand words. Beautiful.

2) No Future For You. The likenesses are on, but it's Buffy's determination contrasted by Faith's anguish that really draws me in. The creative composition of the two Slayers' duality is also beautifully executed. A+

3) Twilight. The likenesses are perhaps as strong as they've ever been, but the real beauty is in the creepy details from Buffy's drugged eyes to the way her hand is clasping Angel's arm and pulling the stake in. Add that cocky 'I've got a secret' look that Angel's giving the reader and... *shivers*

When I look at what's come before, I was hoping the final TPB would be one of Chen's best. Frankly, I feel let down. There's no heart to it and there's no thematic story (besides: check out the dudes important to Buffy!). It feels... empty.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-12-01 10:58 ]
Can I just say how much I love Jo Chen's art work?! Not my favorite, but still an amazing cover.

Thus far, I would have to say that No Future For You has been my favorite.

[ edited by YouDriveLikeASpaz on 2010-12-01 12:25 ]
Intending to create something bland doesn't make it well-advised, it just makes it intentionally bland.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw it was "Previously on Law and Order" but that's just me. I think the pic harks back to Buffy PR pics of the day and in that respect it's very well done.

In regards to my favourite TPBs cover art, Vols 1, 4, 5 & 6 are incredibly good.
Seems I'm the only one who doesn't hate the cover. Xander appearing in it is probably a factor.;)

I think Buffy is staring at someone with resolve, she's wearing a take no shit from anyone expression. Spike is looking at Buffy with admiration, Xander is looking somewhere else -maybe Dawn because Buffy isn't the center of his attention anymore, Giles is looking at Buffy with a mixture of guilt and regret like he's about to do something she doesn't like again, and Angel is looking at the person Buffy is looking at.

I do love how Xander and Spike are paired together = cheerleaders of free will. And Giles and Angel are paired together = cheerleaders of destiny and prophecies.
Bwha! Law & Order: Sunnydale. How about that for a reboot idea?

Uh oh, have I triggered an apocalypse by combining Season 8 wank with reboot wank? ;)
It's cool that both Chen and Moline (and Allie) are working on BPRD. I may have to check this out.
I liked it. It was pretty. Angel and Spike in particular seem to reflect the characters (frankly, better than the story has).

Though I agree that Twilight was a better cover thematically, probably the best. Emmie, I see your interpretation of the look on Buffy's face, but to me it looks more like pleasure-during-sex face. That both are perhaps equally plausible (plus the choice to put a stake at Buffy's heart rather than any other weapon) reflects the very dangerously sexual character of the arc perfectly.
Good point. I'll take that, goingtowork. Sex and death are in the mix. The ecstasy/drugged out look on Buffy's face has her drawing the stake to her heart.

I'd say more than being equally plausible, they're perhaps both intended.
I'm so disappointed #39 didn't come out today. The DH website even says it does, and I woke up so excited to run out and buy it. Sigggghhh. Tomorrow.

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