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Herc’s Seen
BUFFY 8.5!!

I am – Hercules!!
Is Buffy the Vampire Slayer transforming the comics industry? Publisher’s Weekly has an interesting story here about how “Buffy” mastermind Joss Whedon’s new “Season Eight” series is turning first-time comic-book customers into buyers of non-Buffy comics. An excerpt:
The Buffy series is currently the bestselling title at Rocketship, the Brooklyn, N.Y., comics store, "by a pretty considerable margin," said owner Alex Cox. The new customers it brings in are starting to buy other comics, too, Cox said, especially Joss Whedon's other projects, like the superhero series, Runaways. "We've pulled in extra Runaways sales just by racking it next to Buffy. They're not just coming in for Buffy and leaving. With the death of Captain America, people came in, wanted that one issue, and we'll never see them again."
Another excerpt:
Other recent comics adaptations of TV series and books haven't been nearly as big, though. Rocketship's Cox said that the comics adaptation of science fiction TV series Battlestar Galactica "died a slow, slow death on the shelves." Muse Comics' Fisher noted that a successful tie-in needs to involve the original project's creators closely and has to offer new material: "There are plenty of CSI and The Shield and Star Trek comics, but they need to be something that fans just have to have, that's only in the comic book medium."
Today brings the fifth issue of the new “Season Eight” series. Whedon wrote this stand-alone fifth issue, titled “The Chain,” and it feels much of a piece with Whedon’s old “Tales of the Slayers” series. Buffy’s not in issue five. Nor is Xander, Dawn, Willow, Jonathan, Warren, Amy, Ethan, Faith, Kennedy, Anya, Cordelia, Angel or Spike. I spotted no angry Army men and no anti-slayer tattoos. Giles puts in a cameo. I think. (It might be Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek; guest penciller Paul Lee is no Georges Jeanty.) We don’t learn this month where Giles has been keeping himself. Andrew turns up on one page. Slayer One on another. Nikki Wood turns up on Slayer One’s page, wearing her black duster. Issue five focuses on a heretofore unseen slayer, a girl fleetingly referenced in issue one. She’s a Buffy decoy, but not the one who fooled Spike and Angel in Rome; it’s the decoy operating “literally” underground, where she’s been charged with putting the fear of Buffy into some hellmouthy types. We follow pretend-Buffy from the day she got her superpowers. We learn a bit about how the neo-slayers are recruited into Team Buffy these days. We follow her through recruitment and training, and how she came to be chosen, as it were, for her Big Assignment. One comes to like the pretend-Buffy. Faux Buffy also gets her own all-new non-human supporting cast. Not a vampire, witch or werewolf among them. I say pick it up. This is the last issue Whedon will write for a while. Brian K. Vaughn (“Y: The Last Man”) takes over next month with a four-issue arc focusing on Faith the Vampire Slayer. (There’s a cool preview of the Dushku-y issue-six cover on issue five’s letter page.)

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Readers Talkback
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  • July 25, 2007, 9:45 p.m. CST


    by jdfincola

    Could I be first...or is the system slow? Either way, I wish they'd turn these into an animated series.

  • July 25, 2007, 9:45 p.m. CST

    okay, so

    by Demosthenes2

    when will Joss do something in film and/or television again? For those of us who STILL don't read comics, no matter who's writing them? Not to be a snob, I know they can be very good, but just can't get into them... Did Joss' script GONERS get put on the shelf?

  • July 25, 2007, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Masion Ikkoku = Greatest comic book ever

    by Proman1984

    Look it up.

  • July 25, 2007, 9:55 p.m. CST

    And allow myself to

    by jdfincola

    introduce....myself. JD here, long time lurker, just registered to finally participate in the talkbacks. So to make up for the lost years, I'll try to fit all the necessary cliches in one post: Harry is fat. Someone's gotta eat. Goldilock's taint. I'd buy that for a dollar. Ok, I feel like I belong now.

  • July 25, 2007, 10:05 p.m. CST

    other series

    by rbottoms

    Hopefully other loved series will see their turn at canon based seasons in the comics. I'd sure like to know what happened after Brimstone went off the air.

  • July 25, 2007, 10:37 p.m. CST

    dark tower comics reviews?

    by bib fortuna

    I haven't seen any lately. What's going on there?

  • July 25, 2007, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Herc's READ Buffy 8.5

    by Jubba

    Unless he just saw the pictures or the cover. So misleading to people that didn't know about the comics.

  • July 26, 2007, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Cool! I'll pick it up, but . . .

    by GreatWhite

    I'm taking bets right now the faux-Buffy is going to die, and I haven't even read it yet. Joss will make us care for her, and then he'll yank the rug right out. See if he doesn't. But damnit, that's why we love him I guess.

  • July 26, 2007, 12:18 a.m. CST

    I want Runaways on CW

    by Z 008

    I'm sure he could make that happen. On the Buffy comics I've just been collecting them cause I'm only halfway through the Season 4 dvds. I can't wait to start reading 'em.

  • July 26, 2007, 12:41 a.m. CST

    Wow, this is the smallest talkback...

    by PirateEmery

    ...I've ever seen. Have you thought that not many people care, Herc? Sure, I'm a closet Buffy fan, but I honestly don't give an ass rat's about this "season." Haven't read a single one.

  • July 26, 2007, 12:42 a.m. CST

    "So, let me ask you, are you bored NOW?"...

    by DanielKurland

    The ONLY good part in the comics so far, that has felt like part of the show, in my opinion.

  • July 26, 2007, 1:16 a.m. CST

    In other news

    by MrQuick

    spike is going to be on torchwood next season.. hrm maybe Owen gets killed, that manwhore.

  • July 26, 2007, 2:07 a.m. CST

    You gotta have Faith!

    by Yeti

    Lots and lots of Faith!

  • July 26, 2007, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Not a fan?

    by Birdys Piano Teacher

    The eighth season is huge. Huge. And four issues of unadulterated Faith-ness? Sweet.

  • July 26, 2007, 3 a.m. CST

    the comic sucks

    by tiger_robot

    The comic's tiny format is unsatisfying. I suspect it will be only a little better when the trade is released, which is the only thing I'll be buying. I agree with top poster, they need to make the fucking cartoon. Giselle Loren gotta eat!

  • July 26, 2007, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Is there really a comic of The Shield?

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    "There are plenty of CSI and The Shield and Star Trek comics..."<p>That's the quote from above. A comic of The Shield? That can't be right, surely. Vic Mackey doesn't seem like a very good fit for comics. What does he do, fight a robot from space and then plant drugs on him?

  • July 26, 2007, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Yes; the Shield has a comic.

    by LordEnigma

    Dude; go into a fucking Comic book store. You are a fucking geek and should fucking want to, you fucking piker. Big ups to this comic that got me banned from a forum because I had to defend it from the criticism of a whack Irishmen. Awww... the internet... IT'S FANTASTIC!

  • July 26, 2007, 4:22 a.m. CST

    I really want to like this comic, but I can't...

    by tonagan

    and I will never accept it as "Season 8". Never!!! You hear me Whedon? NEVER!!!!! Alas, I will never be accepted by society, either, so we're even.

  • July 26, 2007, 4:25 a.m. CST

    Ummm... thanks, LordEnigma

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    It just seemed like an odd idea to me, putting a mature, intelligent show like The Shield into a comic. I know, comics can be mature and intelligent, blah, etc., but I was surprised to read that.<p>Thanks for clearing things up.

  • July 26, 2007, 5:11 a.m. CST

    I can attest that the BSG comic is bad...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    I started reading it from the first issue, then gave up on it after its 5th issue was published and never looked back. The writing/plotting is a muddled mess. It doesn't "feel" anything at all like the series. I might also add that the Angel comic series published by IDW is disappointing, too. Hey, since Tim Minear doesn't appear to be doing anything else, maybe he could take over the Angel comic book.

  • July 26, 2007, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Just saw the episode "The Wish" on FX yesterday

    by TheBloop

    Man, I forgot how great the show was. Fuck Veronica Mars and Heroes, Buffy was the best by a mile.

  • July 26, 2007, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Mr Quick-

    by RenoNevada2000

    Save your breath. I've tried to alert Herc 2 or 3 times in the TalkBacks that Marsters was going to be doing a TORCHWOOD guest spot (my guess as one of Jack's former fellow Time Agents), but he hasn't picked up on it. I'm expecting him to break this "news" around the time TORCHWOOD season 2 airs in the US and act like its not been already talked about to death in fandom circles.

  • July 26, 2007, 8:57 a.m. CST

    TNG IDW comics were good though.

    by PVIII

    really felt like the show.

  • July 26, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    I'm sure one of us at @$$hole central...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...will review it next week. I'm as big a Buffy fan as they come (though I confess, I do NOT have my FRAY-like replica scythe) but I'm prepared to duke it out with the others for the honor...<br> <br> "Here's some hydrochloric acid in your eyes, Sleazy!" <br><br> "Aiieee!"

  • July 26, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    And I thought we'd decided that 1 issue = 1 "act"

    by tonagan

    With 4 "acts" equaling 1 episode. So, technically, that would mean this is Buffy 8.125. Or maybe 8.2.1. Or something. And by "we", I mean my imaginary friends.

  • July 26, 2007, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Snooze fest, like everything else Whedon has done

    by Photoman

    How much of a kick-back does Herc get? Seriously, the shows that Whedon has done have just been "okay". There HAS to be some sort of money changing hands or other incentives for Herc to slather all over them like he does. I mean, I could understand his enthusiasm if the shows were outstanding or something, but their just a step above mediocre. I almost think it's just an ongoing joke, pick this one just okay show and then heap praise on it like no other. Like some social experiment to see if you can generate buzz and interest and viewers out of nothing...and if it is then it works. But the emperor has no clothes when you finally watch one of these things. Buffy and Firefly were just "okay". Certainly nothing worthy of all this fake praise. Come on, move on to something else. It's not funny anymore.

  • July 26, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Snooze fest...

    by RenoNevada2000

    like everything else Photoman has posted

  • July 26, 2007, 12:53 p.m. CST

    seriously though

    by PVIII

    I really have been underwhelmed by the Buffy comics so far, especially the art. I feel like Whedon's original run on Astonishing, was really, really good, and then everything else has gone downhill. I've been particularly underwhelmed by Runaways, which he's dumbed down to a large degree.

  • July 26, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Snooze fest? Maybe but Photoman is right

    by John Winchester

    Buffy was never more than OK. And treating a comic book like its a true followup is lame.

  • July 26, 2007, 2:05 p.m. CST

    "No Georges Jeanty"?

    by Ye Olde Gravy Leg

    Jeanty is a hack. His art is on par with the old Power Rangers comics from the nineties. It's my only problem with the book. Almost anyone would be better than him.

  • July 26, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST

    As much as I loved Buffy

    by Lando Griffin

    I can never bring myself to believe that this is a "season"

  • July 26, 2007, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Standalone issues vs. the 4-issue arcs...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    The standalone issues, such as this Issue #5, are mainly one-offs -- side stories. The four-issue arcs pretty much represent what would be one episode of a real TV episode. I think I read a while back that the plan for Season 8 is to have alternating four-issue arcs and one-offs. So that means Issue #10 will be a standalone, and #11 - 14 will be the third "episode".

  • July 26, 2007, 4:01 p.m. CST

    I love Angel

    by liljuniorbrown

    I love lamp. I love Angel. Seriously though I miss Angel and the whole mythos of that show.I think the guys Whedon hired to write and produce it were all top notch and really made some epic storytelling. There were some missteps like the muppet episode and the Luchadore /mail clerk episode in the last season, but I think we deserve a mini series or something.

  • July 26, 2007, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Issue five was pretty great

    by Charlie Murphy

    and the art was good... at least as good as georges jeanty's.

  • July 26, 2007, 6:30 p.m. CST

    I have the first issue, but maybe i should wait

    by Novaman5000

    for the graphic novel compilation.

  • July 27, 2007, 1:59 a.m. CST

    I like the art

    by Neo Zeed

    The artwork is very solid and gets the job done. I can tell who's who, and the artist can draw pretty much any situation. It's WAY better than the Angel books at IDW.

  • July 27, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    As Much as I liked ....

    by Lain Of The Net

    ...the first four issues I find I am somewhat disappointed in this one. I read somewhere that this was a story "near and dear" to Josh's heart. I had the impression that it touched on the Rome "double". Not!! Yeah she is a good person but to be sent willingly to your doom as a bleached blonde. Wow ...who wouldn't want that for themselves. The "Paul Lee" variant is selling for around 15 bucks here. I wrote to Darkhorse about what they think of such things. They must be quite fine with it but I am not. I actually liked the other variant cover better anyway. I'm not so sure that the Slayers should be looking quite so far down their noses at the Angel group anymore. Some of Buffy's people are real cold.