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October 12 2013

(SPOILER) NYCC13: Newsarama's Whedonverse panel report. Buffy Season 10 & Serenity creative teams were introduced here. A video of the panel can be found at Buffyfest.

I like that the Spike whining got so intense that Christos Gage had to leave a note for people.
I like that Gage listened to objections, and took them seriously.
Buffyfest has posted video of the full panel.
There is also a write-up on Bleeding Cool including in writing the 30 issue lenght for both Buffy and A&F for this season:
Whedonverse Enters Tenth Season With Christos Gage And Victor Gischler
Sadly Xane I'm not sure they took the Spike issues seriously. Allie directed the comment that he would be written differently at someone in particular so I have little confidence they understand what was bad about the crossover depiction of Spike any more than when Gage reduced it to saying Spike would be different in a different setting at the time of #20's release. I don't think they realise that they have picked on some old behaviours in a way that pulled apart character cohesion. It just made me feel like it was said to stop being plagued by people, particularly one, which undermines any need to have said it because it was bad.

I hate the idea that DH don't see the problems and haven't a clue what was wrong. I release a deep sigh that they may even be chalking it up to people's shipping preferences and missing that this is a characterisation issue. As has been said elsewhere, the Harmony relationship was always supposed to be humiliating to Spike around the time he was fangless. She was an embarrassing person to be with as a rebound. His regression to using her as convenient in AtS was something that he got past and realised was unfair. Pretending they have any form of friendship to arrange on an equal footing to hook up is just making up an entirely new dynamic with no background or sense of believability to support it. In fact it just contradicts a very established dynamic, Spike consistently calls Harmony a moron, he has little to no respect for her. Sleeping with her would never be an ego boost and just references back to times of humiliation. That is before you even consider that she is soulless which should be something, considering his own arc, that would make him pause.

There is regression and then there is undermining someone's development. A&F #20 only serves as an embarrassment to Spike and wouldn't have helped him in any sense at all. Actually, if anything it should make him feel lower about himself. It categorically isn't about shipping. Sure Spuffy fans may hate it for one reason or many reasons but a lot of SPIKE fans hate it too. He could have hooked up with someone else and got a confidence check whilst still regressing by relying on alcohol/sex to make him feel better (see Anya). But it being Harmony stops that being what happened and it makes his development beyond her invalid which is pretty insulting and needless. In addition, the whole randy teenager image, having the two protagonists (one of which had previously unfairly implied he bed hops) sneer at how shallow it all is was coupled with an awful piece of writing where he makes a badly phrased comment that implies he thinks Buffy might have preferred him without his soul. Not only does that ignore S7's significance entirely (but then I'm not sure Gage has even watching that!!) but because the 'why' of him going to get his soul was for something so significant which he wanted to correct (to be the kind of man that would nev...) that implication is a really, really, astoundingly crass inclusion.

Gage has even since said on Twitter that he will watch some eps for characters he hasn't written before when he clearly needs to revisit Spike's whole arc (and you could put in an argument for S6 Willow too - 'minions'?? bah). I had thought that DH were taking ownership of their mistake with Spike briefly and then I lost that belief when it appeared to be said to shut someone up and that moved the statement no further beyond Gage's original responses that it is just a setting issue rather than a badly executed characterisation. :(
Gage said he will write the character differently during S10. I guess the controversy got so serious he had to send a message to the audience/readers.

I didn't like A&F 20 neither, but I'm pretty sure Spike's characterisation will be better in S10.
It is whether Gage realises the issues were numerous and went beyond just dislike about what he saw as the legitimate dynamic around Angel. Of course he will write Spike differently around Buffy and the Scoobies. But if he still believes a hook up with Harmony was a confidence boost/step forward for Spike there is a disconnect with the character. We may not even find out if he truly gets why #20 was more than a dynamic/setting dislike, because the environment will change but if we are going forward with a Spike who is in a better place for sleeping with Harmony there is a fundamental foundational problem with the characterisation of where he is now and Gage not getting that isn't good.

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