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March 19 2013

Brief comments from Scott Allie on the Buffy comics in new interview. The comments are towards the middle of the interview.

Bugger. So, they are going to milk it for all its worth.
As long as Joss thinks there are stories to tell, I'm willing to read them. Fine with me.
Joss should write an issue every once in a while!
I wonder how many readers they need loose before they'll consider putting this series to rest?
I forget that whedonesque is the place that hates these wonderful comics. I hope they go as long as Joss et al. has stories to tell.
Heck, I stopped liking it way back, but I can't stop buying.
I imagine there is a very real number of readers that they must maintain in order to make it financially profitable. And everyone here doesn't hate these comics. I for one will read them as long as Joss is behind them. Heck, even if Joss jumps off of this I might stay with them as long as the stories are good (I know some might say they aren't good now, but I'm not here to argue if they are good or not). I do hope, however, that I can someday read a comics thread without having to hear over and over again about how terrible the comics are in general.
I want to put in a plug for the 'yay comics' crowd. Maybe Buffy has been not so great this season, but I think Angel is tip-top and Buffy certainly has its moments.

Keep them coming I say! I would also like to see some Fray action at some point too.

Plus the nostalgia value is very important to me.

[ edited by insistondoubt on 2013-03-19 20:44 ]
A&F is definitely the better of the two main titles this season. Willow had the better of the minis. I won't fully know how I feel about the main Buffy title until I can read the entire thing straight through.
I love them. Even the Buffy one. The only problem i have is that this doesnt work for me serialized (im a long time comic book reader, so i am acoustamed to monthly issues of several series i like, but for some raeson it doesnt work for me as well as it should with the verse styories) so i always collect them and only start to read the towards the end of the saeson, wich means i wait a couple of yeras between seasons, but other than that...

Oh, yeah, i miss Joss actually writing an issue in its entirety, but the man is busy, so... His suprvision seems to worl well enough though. ;)
I want to expand on my earlier remark that indeed, not everybody here hates every comic issue of every series. And yes, the main title definitely is a drag down for the whole season - especially when compared to the better moments of S8. Still, every 'good' story has to have an ending. My fear is that nobody is taking into account the feelings of fans who had followed Buffy for 15+ years in all kinds of media only to discover that they need to wait another decade to get some sort of closure, or be prepared to give up on the story entirely - seeing it go into death throws of mediocrity. I suspect if the seasons *like this one* will continue, there will be less and less critical commentary here - exactly because all the die hard tv series fans will drop off entirely. Maybe it is for the best.

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-19 23:33 ]
dorotea, I don't believe an author needs to take into consideration what a small subset of fans thinks or really any subset of fans.

As long as the title is a best seller for DH and Joss wants to tell stories then there will be comics no matter if a few people aren't thrilled with the story or not. I don't understand the entitlement of "this story is not what I want or good in the way that I want so I think they should stop telling it." Not your call.
I for one, am happy that we get to have more comics. The A/F comic is really good, and I enjoy the Buffy ones, even if they do some things and have some characters I don't particularly like, but then so did the TV show.
I've noticed that I have dropped off in my interest in the comics. And there has definitely been a drop off in commentary here and other sites that I frequent. Of course, this is statistically invalid and purely observational.

I was kind of hoping that Season 10 would be end game. I love Buffy, but I feel, even with Angel and Faith, that the comics just are not holding my interest.

There is a lot of competition for my attention. The Whedonverse has oepend doors to all sorts of amazing content that frankly I find more enagaging at this point, like SAGA and The Walking Dead (I'm on compendium 2, do not spoil me!) Supernatural is driving me bonkers and I know Dr. Who and Game of Thrones are around the corner.

I buy my comics every month, but I feel no burning desire to know immediately on the Tuesday night before release what the out come is. An this is a change.I have my favorite subplots and characters and they have not been as developed as I would like. If those subplots become more developed, I could see my burning raging interest returning.

So I do think that Dark Hose should at least notice and understand that overall the Buffy Season 9 has not been as warmly received as Season 8. I don't think we are talking about one subset of fans. I think perhaps there a couple blaise subsets of fans and that will add up to money lost.

I could be very wrong. I have not crunched the numbers.
@IrrationaliTV It is exactly my call to express my opinion as fan, in hopes that whoever is responsible for the comic series planning will duly notice and think about it. And I do not understand the desire to portray a sizable majority of the audience as a 'few people' or a 'small faction'. The sales of both of the title series are in free fall. Meaning Buffy went from 40+K to 22K this season. A&F sells less than half of IDW AtF final issue did. And by the way, I am one of the few who actually not only buys the comics but actively reviews them and reaches out to the writers, publishers etc. And this is exactly why I feel that announcement of another 2-3 seasons - at the current level of quality - would be the final drop for me. And no, I do not dislike the story because it does not tell what I want. I dislike it because of how it is written and presented.
I always thought, and way back when Season 8 was just starting, that what they should just do is dive in to setting up a modular, expandable story setting for Dark Horse in the "Buffyverse" as their own counterpart to the DCU or MCU. The BVU, if you will. Recurring monthlies, maybe with a sequential throughline the way DC used to (still might?) use with the various Superman or Batman titles and other maxiseries.

I don't think the "Season" mold has ultimately benefitted the continuations in the long run, other than as a template for Joss to work in. Works great... as long as Joss is consistently close in his involvement.

Hann, I don't really think it's insignificant, anymore, the tail-off in discussion here, on SA, on BF (IMO, sort of the three pillars of continuations discussion from the start, before everyone might break out to their various blogs). I feel like almost any given issue of Season 8, even before it went "turbo controversial" with the Twilight reveal, Satsu or no Satsu, was still reliably 100+ comments here, maybe 300-500 posts between the SA and BF threads total on average. Now the publication of a new issue barely feels like posting a story. Threads on discussion forums are usually propped up by tangents about long-standing fan debates and not the actual plots.

There's no "whoever" behind the comics, though -- there's Joss. His level of involvement is his discretion, therefore it is his intention. Nobody is writing or drawing these books contrary to his wishes. Even Allie projects very plainly the sense that he considers himself, as editor, accountable to Joss for the content of these books. Probably because even if Dark Horse could keep on pushing them out, their good will with the audience at all is inextricably tied to Joss having laid hands on them as canonical work, and that if they were defiling his vision in some way he could just repudiate them. Would take a tweet to erase Dark Horse's market place for those books. The "whoever" is Joss Whedon.
I can't speak for anyone else re: the drop-off in commentary here when comics are released, but I stopped even reading those threads (barring something specific being called to my attention that I couldn't refrain from checking) specifically because I got tired of the vitriol, or more directly the constant repetition of the exact same vitriol over and over again. It made bothering with those threads a bore and a chore and simply not with the time or effort. No idea if that's the case for other members as well.
dorotea, right on. I agree with you completely.

hann23, you are looking at quantitative data and not qualitative. From a qualitative perspective, where the idea is not to "crunch numbers' but rather to get at people's lived experience, I would say that you are correct in noting a drop-off in quantity and quality of commentary related to the comic.

irrationalTV, I do not think this is a best seller, if we are looking at the real meaning of the term. They have other books that sell far better than Buffy. And if an author actually wants to have something that people buy- which is by and large why they are writing- they certainly better pay attention to the thoughts to the people who buy what they are selling. You wanna write, write. Write what you want. You want to sell what you write, then you need people to buy it. I don't buy things because Joss writes them; I buy because I have interest in the story no matter who writes it. And I no longer have interest in the story. And I am apparently not alone. Were I DH, I would pay attention to this, to losing those very people who helped create the buzz in the first place and who invested time and energy into talking about the series.

For me, give me Lost Girl right now. Go, Kenzi!
As long as there are Angel comics I will be reading them.And I hope that I will be reading them for many years to come.

I had resigned myself to the fact that the Buffyverse as we know it could end in 2015 with the end of Season 10, but this gives me hope that it will continue beyond that.

I don't read Buffy anymore ( I havn't since Season 8 issue 12), but I think a change of artist and writer is needed here.

However I am really enjoying A&F and would like that combo of artist and writer to continue on Season 10.
From a business perspective if the the sales are high enough (and obviously they are or there wouldn't be talks of it continuing) and the author(s) want to continue to tell the story then the comics will continue. In the month of February, DH's #1 selling comic was a Star Wars title. Numbers 2 (BTVS), 3 (A&F), and 4 (Spike) were Buffy verse comics and number 5 was a Conan title. I'd count the franchise in Darkhorse's "best-selling" whether some like that fact or not.

Also, I agree with bix. The only reason I don't comment here in the comic threads is because the negativity and vitriol in those threads is so horrid. I would guess anyone actively enjoying their experience with the comics would avoid comment threads dominated by the hate as well.

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2013-03-20 00:01 ]
I still read every month, and if I were to chart the downward trend in audience enjoyment/participation, I would say that it first *really* takes its real ding with 8.21 and the beginning of "vampires in public" as a new mythological construct. It just wasn't necessary. It felt derivative from the beginning, due to HBO's success with Charlaine Harris' series, and it was from my own observation, where a lot more people began reaching for the remote than Giant or Mecha or Centaur Dawn. "Vampires in Public" changed the entire idiom.

The next major hit, IMO, was the decisive one -- 8.33/8.34/8.35 and the shift from where "Twilight" was a megalomaniacal zealot unabashedly using the instruments of magic and demons to help purge magic and demons and there was all this cool totalitarian allegory and such to... whatever all that was with sentient realities and such.

And you could still have gotten to where Season 9 started and had some audience good will left, but Season 9 has been just each new issue bringing a new reason for people to stop caring.

But man oh man, 8.01 to 8.20, and still a good bit for another dozen issues... to me, it was as "Buffy" as "Buffy" had ever been, the "oh yeah, that's it" that reminded how even good fanfic was only just fanfic compared to the thing itself.
I think by the end of Season 8, everyone in the online fandom had fought each other pretty much to a stand still and were exhausted. God knows, I was. I quite like Season 9 but I didn't relish more fighting. I suspect others felt the same.

Season 8 allowed all the old fan grudges to come back up to the boil. Plus you had a fandom who thought they knew the characters the best* versus writers who thought they knew the characters the best. This is known as 'entitlement' versus 'we do this for professionally and you don't'. In my less charitable mood, sometimes I go by what Yahtzee says about fans, I'm sure he says equally rude stuff about writers too.

Are people talking about the comics less in the same old places? Gosh yes. Older fans have left for various reasons and any newer fans tend to avoid forums or blogs. Lets be honest, message boards and blogs like this are a bit old fashioned. I'll never forget that poster whose first comment here was "where's the Like button?". And LJ, the source of all meta, is near retirement. You just have to look at the response to this year's March Fandom Madness to see how fan interest over all has plummeted there. If Tumblr implemented a decent and easy to understand commenting system, all existing fan sites would be wiped out within a year.

But as long as the comics get published, people are more than welcome to discuss them here civilly and all that. And as a reminder of the rule -

we ask that if you flat out do not enjoy the comics, please refrain from posting repeatedly in comic-related threads to declare that fact. Note that this does not refer to posters who simply do not enjoy a particular scene or issue or arc.


And if you do perceive there's too much negativity in the threads, send us an email about it. It's that easy or you could just tweet in the wind. But it's been a while since I waved the axe about the place so maybe it's time to give it another airing. But remember the episode discussions when the show was on the air? It wasn't sweetness and light back then.

*And that was divided into groups of fans who thought they knew better than other groups of fans.
What does yahtzee say about fans, Simon?

I really do not see vitriol on these boards. For one, they are closely monitored. For another, disagreement does not indicate vitriol. Man, I have seen real and true vitriol on other boards- you should take a gander at any thread on letsrun.com (for distance runners) to see what real vitriol is like- or check out any Washington Post political article reader thread. This, this is just disagreement and disappointment on the part of some.
I'm not sure if my response to the "like button" question would have been to answer, straight-faced, "use your words", or to down a pint of Jameson's.

I have seen vitriol; I have been vitriol (but, I'll demur, neither the strongest nor the most frequent). But I personally don't think the tone or tartness of discussion would ever have as much of a causal relationship with lack of discussion as just sheer indifference, will. Cold, passionless disinterest. That is the malaise that I think has settled over the Season the Ninth. I would go back to 300 comment heated exchanges about Season 8 in an instant. Better still would be 100-200 comment eager discussion and speculation over the first half of that season; those more resembled Dollhouse threads.
Huh, that's really interesting. Is there a true decrease in interest due to the story, or has the changing nature of technology impacted how we discuss the stories? It comes back to the sales. If Buffy is making money for Dark Horse and Joss is interested, then I'm pretty sure it will go on.

I'm not sure that I want it to keep going forever. Maybe, I do feel entitled in a way. I struggle with this concept in other fandoms too. I really struggled with it in LOST where I wanted certain things to happen and they didn't. (think little shot upon canoes folks, not ships)

I'm honestly not sure if I am less obsessed with the Buffy comics because I feel entitled to stories that remain unfulfilled or if I just am not that interested in the current arc. I can't tease out the difference. And while I find entitlement annoying in myself and other fans, is it not a natural part of an obsessive fandom?

I think @KingofCretins is right, there's a Season 9 maliase and I think it might be story based. I think we lost a lot of TV viewers who became Season 8 fans with the end of Season 8. They just are not coming back.


As for Tumblr, I'm on there for Supernatural. And it's wild and crazy and can be downright internetty violent. Be careful.
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Myself, I think the comic has hurt the brand, so to say. The TV show was perfect and it remains one of the best shows ever put on television. But the comic is, well, a comic. Nothing more. And because it is a comic it does not have the same resonance that the show did. It never will. It is just, in my estimation, product. I would have preferred that the show end when it did.

More, I think the comic has undone a lot of the good, culturally, that the show did. That's a discussion for a different thread though.
I'm part of the comment decrease and it's because the fan discussion about the comics annoys the living hell out of me. It started as an accident when I fell behind for a few months but now I'm deliberately always several months behind. I enjoy the peace of reading a bunch of them together months after the events in them have left the day to day conversation.

Besides, if fandom discussion volume online was an accurate measure of artistic success, we'd've been knee deep in some fascinatingly strange spin-offs years ago. Dance Lessons With Numfar. Spike And Angel Duel To The Death. Victor's Dollhouse Adventures. Mal And Zoe Vs. The World. It's just not a great measuring stick. Terriers threads would be everywhere if it was.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? ... no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them."
I've tried not to comment too much this season because of how awful I think the book has been. I remember those S8 threads and how annoying it was to read the same people bash the comic every time there was a thread about them.

Also I do think the lack of comments is because of how plain the comics have been this season. There's no real mystery or questions to discuss and nothing really big to rile up some hate. But go back and have a look at the threads where the was something to discuss (abortion, Billy is a Slayer?) and theres quite a few commments.
I agree with Simon and many of the older posters... There was just a bit of a breaking point in S8 moving onto S9 where it just stopped being fun for me. I knew that shippers would ship in the form of character assassination. I knew analytical discussion would involve 8 seasons of counter examples where writers were trying to tell different stories with the same character. And I knew that at or about S8's end, I didn't have the time or patience for it.

And let's be honest here: when a large portion of your readership leaves you can blame it on them being mad at artistic choices or you can admit that maybe those artistic choices removed the value they received from the comic. We debated those stories BECAUSE we found them compelling. The post S8 Buffyverse for whatever it's worth just wasn't compelling to me. It was too dissimilar from my own. Buffy's journey was now distinctly not something I could follow. Angel... let's just say he's been reset one too many times. I wanted growth. I got guilt. Guilt had a shelf life and I called it Season 1. I'm glad it sounds like the stories are really good but I just don't get value or pleasure from the character anymore.

Note, I am not saying they are bad. I am just saying over time the combination of the product Joss was putting out and what was going on with the readership just wasn't ideal.
azzers, I think you have put the word on my issue with the comic, when you say that "analytical discussion would involve 8 seasons of counter examples where writers were trying to tell different stories with the same characters." This really is my problem. I know the characters so well that I do not see in them what I saw in them. Though I have been taken to task for this, I feel that this is because the writers did not grow up with the characters and did not put hundreds if not thousands of hours into analyzing them in excruciating detail. They just have stories to tell and will not always see when they do something that is OOC.
The Buffy comics are still Dark Horse's best-selling titles, so despite the drop-off in sales there is absolutely no danger they'll be cancelled before Joss is ready to end them.

The first half of season 8 was one of my favorite comic runs of all time. Even with the aggravating things that happened during the second half, I still consider it probably among my 10 favorite comics series ever.

I've mostly enjoyed the season 9 comics, especially Angel & Faith and the Willow miniseries. The Buffy comic has been oddly paced, and seems to often be missing that special "Whedon voice," but it's been OK, and the last couple of issues have been very promising.
The problem with that way of looking at it Dana5140, again, is that it is not the "one true interpretation" you hold on how a character would act. Just as the writers. But, if the creator of that character says they would do something, they are the final deciding vote on the matter. You can't know a characters mindset and logic better than the one who created them. Theirs isn't an interpretation. It's the fact of the matter. They are right, you or anyone else, is wrong. It's your perception that things are one certain way. They "are" that character. Their thoughts come from them.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-03-20 13:53 ]
I think there's too much of a tendency for people to equate "unexpected" with "OOC."

As far as I'm concerned, a character who never does anything unexpected or anything you didn't see coming, is a boring character.

Example: Buffy slaughtering a schoolbus full of children would be OOC. Buffy having sex with another woman is just unexpected.

Buffy having sex with the Dark Lord of the Apocalypse, who just spent a whole season overseeing the systematic murder of her Slayers, is debatable. And has been debated, ad infinitum. Just as Joss and Scott and the other series creators were hoping, I assume.
I don't know if this has been discussed and I have just missed it, and it may be off topic here (if so I apologise), but I am far more disappointed in Joss' decision to become Marvel's golden boy than anything that I see in the Buffy comics. There are some characters in Buffy that I still find interesting - Faith, Willow, Giles, Giles' aunts, Tumble. I find very little of the Marvel universe interesting (I think there is potential in X-Men), apart from how everyone seems to ignore the bombastic pro-America geopolitical rhetoric at every turn.

For this reason I think I will continue to keep up with the comics, mainly because there is some residual of what I loved about Buffy in them. I owe so much to Willow and Tara - perhaps we should be less concerned with what Dark Horse/Buffy/Joss owes to their fans, and think more instead about how much we owe these projects.
We owe these projects nothing. If, as Apollo11 says, the authors are the one true way of all meaning, then my involvement and my interpretation is not only meaningless, it is wrong. In that case, why would I invest at all? I am without agency here. They get to tell a story and I have to accept only what they think they are telling us.
Just to be contrary, though Buffy season 9 has had its longeurs, and Angel & Faith has better art, I still find the Buffy comic closer in feel to the 'verse. I enjoy Angel & Faith the first time I read the issues, but when I try to re-read them, I find I get bored and can't make myself continue. Buffy season 9, on the other hand, I've re-read all the way through and found to be a lot better than I'd originally realised (except for the Billy arc).

The Willow mini series was okay too. The Spike series, sadly, was a complete waste of the character's time. It looked pretty, though.

I like season 9 more than season 8. The only issues of season 8 I like are some (not all) of the ones Joss wrot, and Jane Espenson's Harmony story. I can't imagine ever re-reading the series.
So a while back I said something to someone about not posting in comic book threads if all you have to add to this community is your bitterness and negativity and you kept repeating that same message over and over. The time has now come to act on my threats. Some of you will find yourselves banned. For ever. No discussion. Reason? Because I personally do not enjoy your presence on my site. I'd like to apologise to all of our members for allowing this to continue. It upsets me that many of you no longer want to read or post in these threads. I should have taken care of this a long time ago.
I know a lot of people considered the Spike comics pointless, but I enjoyed them very much. I recognized him as Spike, and that's what I needed. I look forward to more Spike in the Angel and Faith, and hope he is used better than he was in his last couple of issues in Buffy. That guy, I didn't know. But honestly that Buffy is not mine either.
It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the Angel and Faith series, because of the Twilight fiasco, but I guess I will have to let that go if I'm going to read them for Spike. Here's hoping.
If we owe the projects nothing, surely we are operating under a double standard by stating that they owe us something?

There is a mutual relationship, and if that's not okay with you then the time has come simply to check out. If I think SHIELD is terrible I'm not going to spend any time being angry about it on the internet, complaining about how I am 'entitled' to a great show because Joss owes me so much for being such a loyal fan.

I would like also to echo Caroline's comments.
About the fewer comments in the comics thread, if you wouldn't mind my perspective, there are:
- fewer readers, obviously, probably due to the unsatisfactory second half of S8;
- there's a gap between the digital release and the relevant post being created here(6 to 10 hours), and the interested in discussion fans already exhausted their [..] (insert as appropriate) on other boards;
- there's digital and for me that means I can read it for myself, and form an opinion by myself, and no need to understand what's going on until two weeks later when I'll got the physical copy.

*I consider S9 #6 the best buffyverse issue of both seasons, and the Magical Mystery Tour the most entertaining :)
Y'know, that's an interesting comment, anca. I do not get the digital comic, and as a result I think I may not realize that for those that do, they have a week or two head start on those who get hard copy. So, there may be an initial set of comments, but by the time the digital immigrants like me get our copy, the thread is already gone. That could account for smaller thread counts.
I assume we're somehow talking about non-US release of the print copy, since there is no advance release digitally; US release dates on digital and print are day-and-date the same.
Caroline, just for the sake of clarity does that refer to those who keep turning up stating they have no interest in reading/stopped reading a long time ago, or is that including all the negative feedback towards the comics? Because to be fair there are people like me who have gradually (say, since the Buffybot incident) noticed a decline and are honestly trying to explain why that is, why they are unhappy, or why things need to improve.
Just wanted to be sure of what was meant here, being relatively new.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-03-20 19:44 ]
I am confused, b!x. I only just got Willow #5, which has been out for a couple of weeks. So, this means it is not a digital thing, but rather just my local store not doing a good job of getting books in a timely fashion? If so, I take back that comment, and amend it to note that for those that get their book late, the thread may be gone... :-)

Caroline, I, too, am a bit unclear as well, and am concerned since your comment came just 2 posts after one of mine. I know I have been a critical voice on the comic, so I am sincerely hoping I have not unknowingly passed a boundary related to the comments I make, which are meant to simply support whatever point I am trying to make, not to attack anyone or cast aspersion. I like talking Buffy.
Yes, that's weird. Willow #5 hit print and digital on March 6.
@ apollo11 It refers to those who have been warned again and again for continuous, relentless negativity.
Thanks Caroline - better safe than sorry I figured! :)
"*And that was divided into groups of fans who thought they knew better than other groups of fans."

Simon

Such is true with all fandoms. Geeks like us have much passion.

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