Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, March 18, 2007
      ( 3/18/2007 10:31:00 AM ) Bill S.  


"EVERYBODY CALLS ME 'MA'AM' THESE DAYS!" – Back when it was still a going teevee concern, I remember checking out several issues of Dark Horse's Buffy, the Vampire Slayer comic book cash-in, but I wasn't particularly impressed. Wasn't just the art (which never sufficiently approximated the way I knew these characters looked from the show) but the writing – which was so much flatter than BtVS's teevee scripts. An unfair comparison, I know, but when the discrepancy 'tween show and comic is the primary thing you notice, then something is seriously wrong adaptation-wise.

Now Mister Buffy Hisself, Joss Whedon, is scripting a new run of the comic version – and calling it "Season Eight" to boot – so attention must be paid by those of us with more than a passing interest in the Whedonverse. Whedon's made a connection in the series to comics before, of course: the big axe/blade wielded by the Buffster during the teleseries' finish made its debut in an earlier Dark Horse sci-fi horror comics series entitled Fray. And to make sure we recollect this, Jo Chen's cover to the first issue of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer – Season Eight features our slayer heroine holding said axe/blade oh-so-casually across her shoulders, though when we get to the actual action inside, said mystical weapon is nowhere to be seen.

Okay, already I'm attacking this book like a geekly fanatic – which also may not be entirely fair, but, realistically, it's the first draw for this title, right? So to those few Buffy fans who haven't already picked up this comic from their local comics emporium, let's get the Big Questions outta the way. Who shows up in the first issue? Buff, natch. Former goofball spear-carrier Xander Harris (who gets to make his second Sgt. Fury reference in a Buffy story, this time playing off his own one-eyed self), now in a position of some importance. Bratty kid sister Dawn Summers, presently transformed after an apparent one-night stand with a magical creature. Talked about but not seen: Buffy's old watcher Giles, current watcher Andrew and gal-pal hex-mistress Willow. Fans also learn that the stories Andrew told us in an episode of the teevee spin-off series, Angel, about Buff were totally untrue: there's more than one decoy Slayer out there designed to throw the Forces of Hellmouthery off track. Missing in action: the high school principal currently serving as President on 24 and all the characters who slipped over to Angel.

As for our title lead, she's still holding onto the hard-assed ("Thanks, I work out") Leader of Wimmen role she maintained in the teleseries' final season. The world is packed with Slayers ("Eighteen hundred now, that we've counted.") and the Minions of Badness seem to have increased to accommodate this fact. The Watcher's Council, which on the show appeared to be a neo-Edwardian collective of old-fashioned tweeds, has apparently gone all high-tech and paramilitary. Issue #1 opens with our heroine parachuting with a trio of supporting Slayers into a sinister castle being held by monstrous demons (one immediate advantage that the comic has above the show, of course: the demons don't look fake 'n' rubbery) and scattered with the remains of dead humans who all have the same mysterious tattoo on their chest. "I think it's a frown turned upside down," Xander notes back at hq., thankfully demonstrating that he still has a piece of the same ol' goofus inside him.

If the shift to a more Marvel Comicky approach makes some storytelling sense ("The thing about changing the world," Buffy notes in voiceover narration, "once you do it, the world's all different."), this fan can't help worrying that it's at the expense of the original show's subtext. If the television Buffy was, at root, about the perils of adolescence and the later travails of growing into adulthood, what's Season Eight about? How To Be a Kick-Ass Soldier?

But perhaps I'm jumpin' the high-tech armament here. The title of Season Eight's first storyline is "The Long Way Home," which would seem to hint that Joss is planning on taking his cast back to where they came from. (Mebbe the world hasn't changed so much, after all.) And Whedon happily still possesses his crisp way with the Scooby Gang interplay. His heroine parcels out Damon Runyonesque quips ("Here at Command Central, not much with the hilarious."), while her scene with a whiny Dawn contains a snarky comeback that I could easily hear Sarah Michelle Gellar delivering. Story-wise, I'm willing to give the comic a few more issues.

As for Georges Jeanty's art, well, mebbe it's the fact that the series has been off the air for awhile – so we don't have current acted versions of the characters to compare it to – but I found myself accepting Jeanty's take on the cast. Could've been a little moodier with that creepy castle, I thought, but I enjoyed his treatment of the Bert I. Gordon scene 'tween Buffy and her sis. And check out the expression on the flirty face of a young computer minion chalking up "nerd points" with Xander back at Command Central: a few more comically human moments like that, and we might be able to accept this Season Eight biz as more than just a fannish merchandizing ploy, after all . . .
# |



Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:



A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page







Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Attentiondeficitdisorderly
Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

BeaucoupKevin
Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Bookgasm
Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Comics.212
Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine

Egon

Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery

Estoreal
RAB

Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section
Hal

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures
Pata

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Journalista
Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett

Metrokitty
Kitty

Michael's Movie Palace
Michael

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag

Neilalien

News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

PeterDavid.net
Peter David

(postmodernbarney.com)
Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Rhinoplastique
Marc Bernardin

Scrubbles
Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren
Campaspe

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby

TangognaT

The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter



A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.




My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Alicublog
Roy Edroso

Eschaton
Atrios

Firedoglake
Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman

Modulator
Steve

Pandagon
Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends



Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed



Powered by Blogger



Twittering:
    follow me on Twitter