Category Archives: comics

A neat story mined with patches of chloroform

In my review of the comic book, I forgot to mention how weird it was to get “thought bubbles” of text bubbling from Buffy’s head.

You virtually never had that in the TV show. Maybe one episode started with Buffy reading Jack London as a voice-over narration to events, but that was the exception. And you never had anything like Veronica Mars’ tough talking High School PI narrations (which I greatly miss, if anyone cares).

This is another way, in which, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home fails to really be “season eight” of the cancelled TV show.  Using thought bubbles is a sea change in how the story of the slayer gets told.  In the show there was dialog and there was the guess one could make from facial expressions in video.  And that was all.

Which brings me to One Thing Or Your Mother.  It is a genuinely entertaining story for any fan of the TV show, especially since it takes place back in Season Two and even adds a connection between the mayer and Principle Snyder.  I enjoyed it.

But my enjoyment was hampered by billions of paragraphs or successions of paragraphs which, yes I am not ashamed of puning,  painstakingly described every single detail of what the characters were thinking and feeling.  You never infer anything in the story.  It is almost a tract against empricism.  Or an ad absurdum argument that works in its favor.

I’m sure the author, Kirsten Beyer, is a talented writer. She demonstrated her skill in many ways.  No doubt she was writing according to her instructions.  But I found those constraints really irritating.

Buffy Season 8, episodes 1-5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home

What can I say about this?

One of the unique things about the TV show was that it made the writers famous. Part of that was the fact that it came into its own at just the right time to be one of th first shows to really take advantage of DVD with all the interview extras. But it still reflected the quality work of the writers themselves.

And the great writing continues. The comic book does not disappoint in the writing, nor in the quality of the story.

But it is insufficient.

No one just cares about the story when it comes to drama. It is fine when someone wants to make a movie or TV show based on a comic. That can work. But the opposite?

The actors matter.

Who goes to see a school play without any relationship at all to the actors? TV is different. Sure. But after a few successful seasons it is simply human nature to care about the craft of the people pretending to be the people in the story. You can make fun of fanboyism (and fangirlism–fanpersonism) all you want. But the only alternative would require that we all be uncaring apathetic sociopaths. We care about our performers. If that can be true for a single play, then the emotional intensity is exponentially greater in the case of a multi-season TV show. It can reach stupid heights precisely because of the power involved. You can’t watch someone at their work over an extended period of time and not care about them.

So, seeing a TV show transformed into a comic book really doesn’t satisfy. In fact, the better the story the writers give you, the more you feel sorry for the actors and actresses because they have been left out.  Why wasn’t Nick Brendon ever allowed to play a cool Sergeant Fury character?  It just seems unfair.

But the story seems pretty good.  It lets you know by the second page that all that stuff about Buffy and “the Immortal” was never true.  And, while it begins with a definite story arc, it also has stories (or at least one out of five, in this case) that is a standalone.

The situation is that Buffy is now the head of a huge underground organization of fellow slayers (after season 7 there is no longer one chosen one).  They have money and communications and technology like never before.  But the new situation attracts new enemies (as well as old who collude with the new).

(I’m half tempted to try to find who to ask to get the book deal that bridges from the end of season 7 to this episode.  The story begs for a prequel.)

It looks like it will be interesting.  Without giving anything away, the major issues seems to be power and paranoia.  Buffy has now unleashed a new order in the world, naively thinking this just means more help fighting demons, vampires, and other monsters.  But others understand that a new order is always a threat to the old order.

Usual caveats.  The level of morality is roughly that of Friends (or just about anything else on Television right now).  The magic is a lot more problematic than that of Harry Potter.

Crimson Dark

Crimson Dark is now beginning chapter four.  What that means is that chapter three is now completed and available to be read in one sitting!  This announcement is given to allow others the ability to exercise self-control and then gain better enjoyment, as opposed to the frustration (which I personally am not able to resist) of reading one page every three days.


Author, illustrator, David Simon is some sort of genious and I am amazed that he is doing this for us.  Thank you, David!

What made Frank Miller’s comic books great

In both ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Miller’s moral is: the brutes are right. To cope with the world as it is, you have to be brutal. The way to deal with the Russian bastards (ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN was created when there still was a Soviet Union) is to scare them to death. (And consider the significnce of the fact that this story, which implicitly suggested that America was losing to Russia because democratically elected politicians were either gutless or in league with the Devil, was created and published under Ronald Reagan.) By the same token, the way to deal with social disaster is to organize a vigilante committee led by the Batman. Everybody else loses: psychologists are pap-minded incompetents, big business is corrupt (one characteristic of the genuine Fascist and Nazi is his intense distaste for big business) and elected politicians – well, in Frank Miller’s ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN, elected politicians are the Devil. Quite literally the Devil. The Devil enters the world through the electoral process, and the country and the world are saved by a Strong Man with a military background, who insinuates himself into a position of supreme power without anybody voting for him, and proceeds to strong-arm everybody else into doing what’s good for them under threat of machine-guns. It is impossible to miss the tone of exultation in the last page of the maxi-series – damn straight!

It becomes clear that Miller resents all the slow work of compromise, negotiation, backtracking, law enforcement, discussion, opposition and sheer bloody-mindedness that is a fundamental part of democracy. He has no patience with civilized measures. Behind the work of conviction that any elected politician must carry out to take the masses with him, there is only the smile of the Beast.

Hat Tip 

Crimson Dark chapters

OK, if you are like me, even though you know reading one page every three days of a comic book is insufferable, you just can’t help yourself. But if you’re not like me, and can treat webcomics like real books and wait the amont it time it takes for a chapter to come out, then I will show my admiration by alerting you on this blog when the next chapter is ready.

Here is what is available so far:

The only problem with this is that you won’t remember to vote as often to move CD’s ranking up on the various webcomic pages that are out there.