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December 02 2010

(SPOILER) Interview with Dark Horse's Scott Allie about Buffy #39. Major spoilers for today's issue. Covers a lot of stuff including the theme of season 8.

In Season 2, it was fairly easy to say that Angel was not Angelus, but there's more ambiguity here, in terms of how responsible Angel is for Twilight's actions.

Err... no? I would assert the exact opposite, actually. There's been a big debate about whether Angel and Angelus are the same character at least ever since Spike got his own soul. This, on the other hand, is just your run-of-the-mill possession story, no different from Cordelia and Jasmine in "Angel" S4 or Spike and the First in "Buffy" S7. Angel is not responsible for his post-possession actions, he's only responsible for *being* possessed (although I find his whole journey in S8 so OOC that not even that part's "interesting" or "adult" to me).

ETA: Mega-LOL at him calling Superman "boring". Has he read any Alan Moore?

[ edited by Enisy on 2010-12-02 19:58 ]
Another great interview. And, my take - Angel is responsible for putting himself in that situation.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-12-02 19:39 ]
Good interview. Though "betrayal" isn't a theme, it's a motif.
More adult? Come on he's gotta be joking, right? Season 8 was furthest from imo.
Well, it's nice to know that I was right about Buffy being the betrayer.
Betrayal the theme of the season? Maybe they wanted to make it so - but what I got is something more ambiguous and interesting. Twilight keeps repeating on us how 'you cannot abandon the universe you have created' - which made me think of Joss, the Buffyverse and how he feels about his creation and us - his fandom - that always coming back to haunt and maul him. Love-hate relationship for sure. So who betrays whom is this case? After Dollhouse S2 was over I caught myself at the notion that I cannot really connect with any of the characters there - nor did I really care that much about major deaths and the final resolution to all the human connections there. It was a bleak ending. I am thinking now if Joss wants the Buffyverse to end on the same note - with every character either dead, disliked, disconnected from the readers, or even loathed by the audience ? Then he would be free of the universe of his creation and it won't haunt him any more. Just a thought - although it is rather bleak.
Well said, dorotea. I feel the same. After such Season 8, I don't think I want any more Buffy from Joss.
Well good news, Lince. There's a new Buffy in the works. ;)

But seriously, for the greater second half of season eight, I totally feel the same with dorotea as well. There's just something not working for me. Maybe season nine will change things for me. Here's hoping.

Honestly though, both Angel and Buffy should have ended their run a year before their television series did. I would've been okay with that.

Buffy seems to have lost its magic.

*see what I did there?*
You really think that about Angel didifallasleep? Season 5 is hands down my favorite season of that show, and is still the most re-watchable for me. Watching Buffy (on my 18th re watch) is always great and sentimental, and I get back into the show, but Angel sometimes feels like a chore.... except for Season 5.

Anyway, awesome interview. The betrayal thing has definitely been this whole season. No Future For You, Anywhere But Here, and Time of Your Life each carried this theme on rather remarkably. I just kind of wish we could re-do Retreat :/
I think NFFY was the best for portraying Buffy's betrayal with her and Faith having that fight and the distrust. This was a great interview, thanks Buffyfantic.

I loved this season and was glad that it carried familiar parallels with previous seasons so as to assist in the change of medium.

Looking forward to the ending and the next season.
I think Buffy ended perfectly, and while Angel had a great ending too, It could have continued.

As I said, Buffy ended when it had to, there was no need for more (at least for me). But... I like the idea of connecting Buffy to Fray's future. It's just that the execution of Season Eight has being poor and overlong (the Twilight revelation (the nonsense, I mean, not about him being Angel), universes, spaceships, magic creatures, killed it for me).

I'm excited for Season 9 if they go back to basics (even if I think some characters need to rest). They have plenty of characters to deal with, like Illyria, whom I thing would have served as a greater device for the "end of all magic" than Twilight.
dorotea: I have to say I generally dislike the tone and content of your posts on Season 8 because I find them dismissive and hostile...but your post about Joss as the creator of a universe that he abandons was REALLY interesting. You clearly have some very cool ideas! I'm going to be thinking about this one for a while now. I wonder if it was in any way intentional on Joss's part for that the be a "message" or "meaning" of Season 8.
dorotea- I was making a similar argument some time ago. To me, this was always about Joss freeing himself from the millstone Buffy had become to him.

I get this picture of Allie and Joss chatting- "Hey, let's tell everyone that the one closest to Buffy is the betrayer! Everyone will go nuts trying to figure out which Scooby it is, but they'll all be wrong, since it's Buffy herself!" "Wow, amazing, what a great idea!" "Yeah, you can't get any closer than yourself!" "And we can make this string out for years!" Now, I sound snarky here, and I suppose to a degree I am, but this was a huge mislead that really was not even close to being "ferretable." Buffy betrays herself? Huh? Angel kills Giles? And now we have to wait, what, another year or two to find out why? What a bad joke this has all been. I don't care about these characters, and they have succeeded in doing the impossible, to quote some browncoats- they made me stop caring about Buffy the "show." Great job, guys!
I've long thought season 8 was a meta on Joss's own creative process. The seed of wonder that gives life to the verse is the creative act of the artist. The world created takes demons from the real world and 'tames' them. The seed has a shelf-life, creative juices run dry. When that happens, external forces can come in and attack the verse (e.g. Twilight and all the vampire mania taking BtVS and gutting it of its deepest meanings).

It makes it really interesting to wonder about the metaphor of smashing the seed. It keeps out the demons, but it deprives the world of its magic. I want to say Joss just smashed his own creation, to create something entirely new -- no longer recognizable as the same story. That's the only way the world with an aging seed of wonder can limp along.

Even better, the metaphor about Joss's creative process tracks in-story as being about the role of fantasy and the story we tell ourselves to navigate life. Buffy just shattered hers. No more fantasy. She is now literally disillusioned.

If Joss weren't on record saying this was all a lark, I'd be thinking it's a really, really interesting story.
5X5B,

Discuss the ideas, not your general emotions regarding me and my posts.
Joss actually says that Season 8 is a big joke? I'd like to see that.
dorotea, please leave the moderating to the mods. 5X5B, consider yourself warned.

Joss has never said S8 is a lark. People continue to interpret a certain quote as meaning that though.
I'd love it if Joss didn't say that season 8 was a lark -- but someone recently posted the exact quote. Something about it starting as a lark and morphing into an albatross. I think there were also words to that effect from Sydney.

I've invested an embarrassingly large amount of time into taking season 8 seriously, so those quotes were unsettling. Because they strongly implied that Joss wasn't taking it nearly as seriously as I have. (I mean, I've written buckets of meta on season 8. I know the season backwards and forwards, I've re-read the issues so often. And, yeah, it made me feel foolish to read some of the quotes where Joss really sounds like he's backing off of season 8 as a 'serious' project. Things like him not having given it as much oversight as he did the series, and so on).
Sunfire, what was the quote? I don't remember that and would be mildly offended if I ploughed money not into only buying a product, but shipping it halfway across the planet just for the creator to be having a laugh. Not saying that it would interfere with my enjoyment of said product.
I think I actually enjoyed that interview more than the issue itself. Well, I just gotta be me.

Ever since the Frayverse was presented as the 'real' future, I've been excited to see a Buffyverse without magic, and I was worried that Season 9 wasn't going to deliver. Aside from all the hard feelings amongst pretty much every one of the characters, this is gonna be fun.

Scratch that. The hard feelings are part of what's going to make it fun.

Especially because Xander and Dawn are an exception. They're so going to live happily ever after, unless Dawn dissipates with the rest of the magic in #40.
Actually, I find it interesting that the general sentiment is that Superman is boring. After oodles of emo comic characters and forests cut down to print deconstruction stories, call me crazy but Superman is one of my favorite characters. To me, Supes IS (in 2010) refreshingly different because he ISN'T terribly flawed.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-12-03 07:53 ]
I sort of agree, azzers. And for me, I always loved the DC world, with its more "super" superheros, rather than the Marvel world with its flawed ones. I guess I want my heroes heroic, or something.
So, according to Allie, Angel bears at least some responsibility for everything because he chose to participate in the Twilight scheme--a choice that other characters, like Buffy and Spike, would not have made.

The trouble is, I still don't buy that Angel would have made that choice either. I really wanted to like the comics--I did like them, a lot, for at least the first year--and right up till this issue I was waiting for things to make sense. But all we've got left is the epilogue, and I'm having trouble seeing the plot for the holes.
I really love the lion/twilight as buffyverse idea Dorotea. Brilliant and interesting. thank you.
Yes, I agree, erendis, the plot holes are huge and the main story simply doesn't make sense. The whole Twilight/Angel thing is a mess.

And I love moral ambiguity as well, but this isn't moral ambiguity; it's just ambiguity caused by the story not being told properly.

Often when Scott Allie has answered specific questions on plot points, he's talked about the writers not exactly pinning things down and leaving them open to give the story flexibility. It always worried me at the time, but I think now we can see the problem with that approach. So many things have either been left unanswered or lack any logic.
Have any of you written in/e-mailed Scott Allie and his "Slay the Critics" letters column that's featured in the back of each issue ? He's pretty good about printing most mail they receive (often a flaw, IMO, because then the letters are months or sometimes a year or more behind in content response. Makes most of 'em kinda boring for those of us who've talked to death or observed enough discussion about each issue online). He's especially good about printing at least one letter per issue that'll get a rise out of some portions of the readership, otherwise, too many for my liking are gooey praise or wishlists.

Wonder if Scott/Dark Horse will print some of the more incisive criticisms about Season 8's planning, execution, success rate, and overall quality of writing in Season 9's letters. I'd love to read more responses from Scott and--yes I know it's a longshot--Joss.

Complain, people. Not just to eachother, out here in the black (nothing will get fixed/better if we never let Joss and Scott know we have issues and, personally I don't trust that they'll always take the time or realistically have the time to keep a pulse on the dissatisfied readership, nor do I think the ratio of unhappy to happy readers will be represented in the letters column--unhappy folks tend to either just drop the book or continue bitching online), but to the company manufacturing the product you were hoping to like [hoping to like more, in some folks' cases]. It's what some folks'd do if they received bad groceries, electronics (including DVDs/blu-rays and video games), vehicles--why not printed matter ?

Do we get a refund from our comic shop, book store, or Dark Horse itself if we're unsatisfied with or feel we've been sold an inferior product ? An exchange, at least ? (well, okay, I know within a certain number of days, you can return or exchange trade paperbacks/collections at mega-bookstores like Chapters, Indigo, probably Borders in the States, but probably not monthlies/floppies. I'd feel like a dick doing it to my poor little comic shop, but mega-bookstores and maybe enquiring about Dark Horse recompensating ? They're fair game, I would assume. Or are comics just like lottery tickets and once you've scratched/read, you lose? It's how I started to regard most of the superhero comics when I was getting fed up with the overwhelmingly lacklustre writing back in the late `90s/my late teens--they were rip-off lottery tickets when it came story, with hopefully some decent or great art, at least).

Was happy with #39 (despite having major issues with some content in some of the several or dozen issues preceding it), so I'm not gonna exchange (though I've half a mind to take the Spike Omnibus back after spotting yet another spelling/grammar/text bubble error tonight as I slowly make my way through IDW's catalogue--what do ya think, book store, or bug IDW just outta curiosity?--and I like most of the content in that collection, thanks to Peter David & Lynch).

[ edited by Kris on 2010-12-06 05:19 ]
@Kris, you mentioned emailing Scott Allie, i feel like an idiot for asking but what is his email adress or is there a link on Dark horse.com or something.

Also i would have no problem returning a comic book or tpb to a large bookstore chain such as Borders. In Australia, they keep the comic books in such poor conditions (at Borders) and sell them at such ridiculous prices. the long way home trade paper back was $50 and at another store they were selling true blood comics (individual issues) for $10 each. I was so happy when i found a comic book store- where prices are disant. Thankfully i don't have this problem cause i love everything about season eight, so no need to return them.

which kinda makes this post pointless...

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