Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Ten Whedonverse Moments of 2010

Majors spoilers for Season 8 if you're not completely caught up...

Time really flies when you're having a Whedon-filled year and this one was no exception! Over the course of the year, we conducted 35 interviews and published tons of exclusive content and images. But well beyond this place we call our home, the fandom was hit with a slew of information and news this year, both good and bad.

Here's a look back at our Top Ten Whedonverse Moments of the year. Happy New Year to all!

#1 - The Death of Rupert Giles
The wounds are still fresh, but we couldn't leave 2010 behind without acknowledging our favorite Watcher. Giles is a beloved character here at Buffyfest and he will be sorely missed.

#2 - San Diego Comic Con
Seriously, no words can express this experience. There was laughing and excitement one minute and then something akin to four deers caught in the headlights another. No matter what, the hard work paid off because we got to mix and mingle with the "who's who" of the Whedonverse.

#3 - Twilight-Gate
The spoiler heard round the world. That is all.

#4 - Jane Espenson Interview
We were humbled when Ms. Espenson talked with us about all things Buffy and to be honest, we're still feeling a little gitty in the after-glow of that interview.

#5 - Buffyfest 2010
This year we gambled it up with kittens, of course! The annual Buffyfest celebration was "high stakes" with all the usual fun, food and a dash of debauchery for good measure.

#6 - Other Cons without Michelle (NYCC, Big Apple Con, and Philly Comic Con)
It was a busy year for us as we navigated the Convention scene all along the northeastern sea board. With Michelle living in Sunny Los Angeles, these had to be handled East Coast style by Tara and Bits.

#7 - License-Gate IDW has treated Angel well, but with the news of the move to Dark Horse next year, Angel's unlife will be in the hands of 2011's Season 9 umbrella. It was another one of those "-gates" that rocked the fandom hard.

#8 - Joss and The Avengers
The demise of Dollhouse opened the door for Joss's huge directorial debut on The Avengers. We broke the news in San Diego and can't wait to see what Joss has in store for this elite super hero bunch. We still think Buffy could kick all their asses. 

#9 - Space Sex
It was certainly something to talk about. Well, it was porn on paper. Buffy and Angel porn on paper. In space.

#10 - Buffy Movie Reboot
It's possible that by this time next year, the reboot release will be a rumor of the past, but no matter how you feel about this news, shocked or awed, a big screen Buffy movie has to make it on this list. Funny thing is that a year and a half before this news broke, we did our very own recast of a Whedonless Buffy movie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Contest: Want a Free DVD of the Buffy S.8 Motion Comic?

With all this talk of the Buffy Season 8 Motion Comic, there's no time like the present for a little contest.  The motion comic takes Joss Whedon and Dark Horse's S.8 print comic and shakes it up like a little bottle of fruit juice. The DVD of 19 episodes comes out next week, January 4th, and you can get it here for FREE!

You can enter the contest 2 ways:
Sign up for Buffyfest updates by simply emailing with MOTION COMIC in the subject.

or follow us on twitter and RT the following:
Win a free Buffy S.8 Motion Comic on Blu-Ray and DVD @Buffyfest. Follow them and RT to enter.

Winners will be announced this Monday, Jan 3rd! Here's a trailer to keep you sedated in the meantime:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Buffyfest Interviews Buffy S.8 Motion Comic Creator, Jeff Shuter

Jeff Shuter is the man responsible for the animated motion comic form of Whedon and Dark Horse's notorious Buffy Season 8. This will be the 7th or 8th incarnation of the Buffy franchise, with no end in sight for our snappy slayer. All episodes of the motion comic are now out, 19 in total, and they are being compiled on DVD for release next week. We'll be giving away a few copies, more on that tomorrow.

Still can't wrap your brain around this motion comic business? Check out our conversation with creator Jeff Shuter. (I asked him if it's "Shutter" like Shutter Island or "Shooter" like Shooter McGavin. He clarified with Shutter Island.)

Following this video clip is the full text interview below:

Buffyfest: So, Jeff, how did you come to be on the Buffy Season 8 Motion Comic?

Jeff Shuter: How did this come to be? How did I get here myself? I was, I had been working in this field in this genre for about 6 years and I had an opportunity to look at this material and see how it would fit into this type of format and explore. It's all a very experimental thing. I think there's a lot of polar opinions about motion comics, about whether or not this can be brought to life in this way. And, I thought, it's a great format for this type of thing because obviously it's a series adaptation, it's a movie to a show and now this ::gestures to signage of Dark Horse's Season 8 comic.::

Buffyfest: Yes, it's been done in many forms.

JS: Yes, We have freedom, it's not as something we've taken completely from scratch and trying to bring to life. So you can look, you can find there's a reason for it. But also, it's like in terms of this material and really try to incorporate my own take to what it is, I found that in fact there was some controversy about what this comic is. I thought "I love that, I love the controversy", you know, let's find out how to bring her back in a new format.

Buffyfest: Now were you a fan of Buffy or any of Joss Whedon's works before?

JS: You know what's interesting is I watched the show, in high school, a lot of my friends were super into it. I was into it, I watched it, but I wasn't a die hard fan. So what's interesting is when I went into this, I think part of the reason I wanted to get involved is the challenge. I wanted to really come into it in terms of figuring out what exists in the comic that doesn't necessarily exist in the tv show. To a certain extent, and with the resources of what these things are, you're never going to recreate the TV show. I feel if that's what folks want, they'll get that in this, but that may not be 100% what this is.

Buffyfest: Did you go and re-watch anything?

JS: Absolutely, I watched...I was a student of Buffy for quite a while. Really just trying to get a sense of what Buffy is and Buffy is quite a lot of things. I found that going into I'd like to say that my decision in breaking down the material was mixing Season 7 with Season 1 you get to Season 8. If you are a student of numerology...

Buffyfest: 7+1=8

JS: You's that simple.

Buffyfest: Interesting...

JS: That's exactly my reasoning behind it. Because to a certain extent it makes sense, right? And also because there is so much numerology takes place in what's going on. I was like "That's the best way to do it" and in Season 1 she's in high school she doesn't realize the power and she's just...she's just starting to understand the consequence of the Hellmouth. And then in Season 7 it blows wide open.

Buffyfest: Literally.

JS: Exactly! What she knows is destroyed. In fact, I even added in S.8, the very first issue of the book, I really wanted to make that connection to Season 7. So in the shot after General Voll I'm assuming you're familiar...

Buffyfest: I've seen it (laughs).

JS: No, but I mean the comic.

Buffyfest: Oh! I've read them all, of course.

JS: So in the first book, right? They're in the helicopter, they're flying over and General Voll is talking about They're terrorists" and "We don't like her ideology" and all that stuff...

Buffyfest: yep

JS:...and I wanted to add that iconic symbol of that sign falling as they go across, as the helicopter goes across.. I really wanted to make a personal statement because that, to me, was where we were going with this. The sign has fallen, we're going over that crater and now this universe, this Hellmouth has expanded.

Buffyfest: It is an impactful beginning.

JS: Exactly.

Buffyfest: Now in the world of motion is it doing? Is it getting a good reception?

JS: It's amazing, actually! It's doing really well. We started this as this little... this little digital project, you know? And we were kind of hoping we'd experience it, we were hoping we'd explore it and just invent stuff along the way and really kind of adhere to the books. That was the thing, I wanted to make the book central, that was really important to me. That's my background. That's what was critical to me coming into this. And I think what's helpful is that it shows! From what I hear and I don't know all the bean counting, per se...from what I hear it's attracting almost as well as a cable's attracting much better, people are really pleased with how this is doing. I think as people start to get used to the new interpretation and it brings in new people as well, which i think it awesome. It's drawing new viewers.

Buffyfest: Now, were you at all concerned about people who were really familiar and used to the voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar and everyone else...they're so ingrained. Was the voice acting a concern?

JS: No, I mean, that's a tough question because ultimately we knew that, that we were gonna, that we were going to break away from that. We wanted to find, you know, actors that could...that didn't necessarily sound the same because that's very difficult. We had limited resources making this. So we wanted to find people that had a similar identity. I wanted to find people that I felt gave a sense of what Buffy's about. And of course . I know that I'm sure that by saying that...that's going to be ripped apart likely...

Buffyfest: I don't know about that...

JS: The thing is everyone , everybody has an idea of what Buffy sounds like. I wanted to find somebody that sounded like....We found Kelly, who played the role who, I think she, talk about a lot of weight on somebody's shoulders. She pulled it off and played it wonderfully. But we wanted to find someone, Kelly has a mixture of Season 1 and Season 7. She's got the seriousness of Season 7 with the kind of spunk and kind of wide-eyedness of Season 1.

Buffyfest: Now, there is going to be 19 episodes in the end of Season 1, correct? And all compiled on DVD?

JS: Uh, that to my knowledge that is what is the case. In terms of the other stuff they're gonna be doing, that I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that it's gonna be, from what I hear they're doing a lot of stuff. it's coming packed with a lot of extras.

Buffyfest: Do you know if it's the 40 issues of the season packed into 19? Or each one is it's own episode?

JS: From what I hear and I think they're still figuring it out, I think they're still playing with ideas, they want to make it, I know they want to make it really special. They want to make it really cool.

Bitsy takes over.

Buffyfest: So, how was working with Dark Horse?

JS: Oh, well working with Dark horse, I worked with Dark Horse, I worked with the books, my involvement with Dark Horse was strictly to read...

Buffyfest: So was there input from any of the artists involved?

JS: You know what that I can''re asking me a tough question. That is outside of my pay grade. I have no idea how that works.

Buffyfest: Ok, that is alright.

JS: Just so you know basically, I was given the books and said learn them and learn them well. Make them beautiful and make them wonderful.

Buffyfest: Before they multiply...

JS: Exactly. To a certain extent.

Buffyfest: OK, so let's switch tacks. So you had mentioned elsewhere that you had hit the ground running for the first 4 episodes. Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced as you were learning how to do this?

JS: In terms of the like aesthetic of the comic or learning the world?? All of the above?

Buffyfest: All of the above.

JS: I think, I was saying stuff was constantly happening and experimenting with the format, trying to see where and bringing it to life that allows the viewer to feel that at the same time they can let go! Maybe follow the world itself, just recreating that experience. That's been going on for a while, trying to figure it out. It's not necessarily new, but what's cool is that it's constant experimentation, it's constant reinvention. That's what happened here. We really were inventing. It took about a good 6, 7 weeks of just like throwing stuff against the wall trying to figure what, trying to see what stuck, what makes sense, and we went through the first I'd say like 3 or 4 issues before I really felt that what that we'd started to see the work that our crew was bringing together. It started to mold and shape. It started to get to what I felt was the open aesthetic and literary, and hopefully given those who love the canon this material, has become a poetic voice for the material.

Buffyfest: Were there any innovations that you had throughout the project that you were especially proud of?

JS: Absolutely. It was sort of a development of a sophisticated camera system, it was based on digital effect software. We figured out that what really brought this to life and what really gave us a sense of movement in this particular production was having a sense of this inside camera that maneuvered around, cut out characters built it out like a diorama like you do, like you do in first grade. We build it that way with characters and props and the backgrounds. Then we choreograph that movement to an outside camera to something that's moving hub in general. I found that when choreographed right to specific points of dialogue you really get the sense of the narrator. You really get the sense of the voice. Then it was literally just shaping that and finding in that voice to the way the actor that played Buffy spoke and to the way that the world sounded. Finding those sort of focal points and building, making that choreograph around that essentially creating Buffy! That's her voice!

Buffyfest: Was there any particular scenes that you did and you thought "That's it!"

JS: In issue 5, it's with the decoy Buffy. And it happened there because I started to really click in my mind what Buffy is, to a certain extent. You can kind of see that. It's like when you look in the mirror and you look at yourself but you see yourself in a different way, you know? It's sort of like that issue to me was putting Buffy in a mirror and seeing what she saw that deeply describes what it is to be Buffy. Then it was in that moment throughout that episode where I really felt that things came together. Let's see there's another one too where we really felt in issue 10, when we're talking about dreams and we're talking about ripples in ripples and sort of narratives within narratives, that's also where I felt that it wasn't just a sense of Buffy that was a, to a certain extent that was... it was symbolic, it was an emblem of what this Buffyverse is. Because these books are not just a continuation, I feel that they are also written for the fans too, you know? I feel they are a celebration of what this world is about. And I felt like this stuff about dreams is emblematic...that I felt things coming together because I was really playing with when I got a sense of "dreams within dreams" to how these characters relate and how their world unfolds, I started playing with the aesthetics of windows within windows and, to a certain extent, that's what I felt was the key aesthetic moving forward at that point, that became the rest of the show.

Buffyfest: It's interesting that you happened to pick those two issues because they're two of the most popular issues and two that really resonated with fans...

JS: Really? And you know I didn't even know. That's interesting...cause I went into know I didn't want to do...I did diligence, obviously, I watched the series, I did diligence on the show, but I went into this not wanting to know too much. I wanted to discover it alongside of everyone who is watching. I wanted to feel like, I really feel like that comes across. I hope people don't think that's, you know, weird, but I wanted to...I feel that this work represents me as a reader, substantially, discovering what's amazing about this universe at the same time that they are. I think that I started to feel a connection with Buffy and started to have a sense of the narrator as we moved along. That's why I felt like it was really truthful, because look I can't sit here and quote every quote from the TV series I'm not going to try to, I wanted to experience it and I wanted to make that possible.

Buffyfest: Um, speaking of discovering things, there's this lovely Buffy Jones Soda, have you had chance to try any of it?

JS: I have! I have! It tastes like Root Beer and it tastes it's great, it's awesome. I love Jones!

Buffyfest: Is there any particular one that you like?

JS: I like, you know what? I like them all! I have them all at home. They're great, they're cool! I think they're awesome! I like the uh, to be honest with you, the orange and cream and that's because I come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Buffyfest: That's awesome. Thank you very much sir.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Everyone's talking about....The Buffy S.8 Motion Comic

For the next few days, we're going to be focusing on the Buffy Season 8 motion comic. We have an interview with creator Jeff Shuter and a couple of contests, including our very own giveaway of the new S.8 motion comic Blu-Ray/DVD combo (coming out January 4th.)

Right now, Creative Allies is running their own Buffy design contest with Dark Horse Comics - designers in the U.S. are allowed to compete by creating S.8 poster designs.

You can submit original art inspired by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Motion Comic plotlines, scenes or you own interpretations of what happens to Buffy and her fellow Slayers' during their adventures once the TV series ended. The winning artist will receive $500, the Blu-ray & DVD combo  of the Motion Comic and a signed copy of their poster. Four runners-up will also receive the Blu-ray &  DVD combo. Upload your entry by midnight January 7th, winners to be announced on January 14th.

 Click here to enter or even just to vote on your favorite poster so far.

Panel from Buffy #40

As tweeted by Super @ScottAllie .

Sunday, December 26, 2010


An email I received last night from my dear friend in Los Angeles:

"I saw Amy Acker and Eliza Dushku at Trader Joe's the other day - there at the same time, but not there together.  I thought of you...because you are one of the only people (the only?) that would even know who Amy Acker is, let alone how random it would be for both of them to be at the same supermarket at the same time."

My response:
"Omg, that's fabulous! Were they both skinny bitches? Hee!"

Lori: "Hee! Amy was thin - Eliza was a skinny bitch - I don't imagine she ever eats and must be in a bad mood from hunger all the time. Amy was with who I assume were her 2 kids - adorable kids."

If you spot a Whedonverse Alum, send us an email at

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sexy Santa Smidge has a Snuggie in the Box.

A very warm and Merry Christmas to all of our fabulous readers and Whedonites everywhere. Thanks for your company these past years. May 2011 be your best year yet!

With love, from everyone at Buffyfest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ovation to Broadcast all 15 Episodes of FIREFLY Beginning January 3

Let's start this New Year with some Space Western Style! Ovation network will kick off a week-long, limited run of Firefly beginning Monday, January 3.

Each night, three full episodes will air during primetime, beginning at 8.00 p.m. ET/5.00 p.m. PT with an encore presentation at 11.00 p.m. ET/8.00 p.m. PT. A Firefly marathon will run all day on Ovation on Saturday, January 8. So if you get Ovation in your area, tune in and/or set your DVRs!

In the mean time, check out this behind the scenes clip Ovation has of Joss talking about the Big Damn Show with hair that is absolutely FABULOUS and a beard to match.

About Ovation: 
Ovation is the only multi-platform network devoted to art contemporary culture. The network creates and curates one-of-a-kind programming about all the art people enjoy most, from the popular to the avant-garde and everything in between. The channel reaches a national audience of 43 million households through carriage on cable systems, DirecTV (channel 274), Dish Network (channel 157) and telco systems nationally. Ovation’s programming is also available on video on demand (in both standard and high definition) in the US. Ovation’s popular website (http:// is a dynamic experience, featuring information about local and national happenings in the art world, as well as a vibrant community of artists who have uploaded over 150,000 pieces of original art.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Whedonverse Ornament Swap 2010 Recap

The 2010 Whedonverse Ornament Swap, our biggest yet, is now over! Thanks to everyone who participated in making this 3rd annual swap another success. Hopefully all of the ornaments have landed at their destinations around the world in time for the Yuletide fun.

I can't believe what I'm seeing in the photos, such creativity this year! A festive Box o' Hush voices? Come on! A Military Xander Nutcracker? Fantastic! I encourage you to click through to the Flickr photos below to see the amazingness for yourself.

Swappers: if you haven't yet posted your pictures to the Flickr group page, please do. See you next year!

P.S. FYI, most, but not all of the photos show up in the group unless you're logged in to Flickr.

Buffyfest Ornament Swap - View this group's photos on Flickriver

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This Heather Morris Thing

Where does one get a stake?
If you read this blog, you probably know that I think this Whedonless Buffy Movie is moot and the thing is never going to see the light of it a hunch. But since the world is still a chatter, let's discuss this odd Heather Morris thing that won't die. Apparently, Perez Hilton is getting casting credit on the film as he's the one who suggested Glee's Miss Morris play Miss Summers in the reboot. Originally the reports were denied by all involved, but now the actress claims the "creators" are actually considering her. The whole thing makes her pee on herself. Yeah, us too kiddo!

Sorry to have to share what has to be one of the most boring interviews in recent memory. Most of it has Heather talking to Access Hollywood about Gwenyth Paltrow's children and their ipad apps. I dunno. The Buffy part is in there somewhere. Check it out:

Since she's in Glee and a singer/dancer, maybe they can make the whole Whedonless Buffy a musical? WITH MUPPETS!! Get Jason Segel on there. While we're day-dreaming, can someone make a fanvid out of Heather Morris dancing with Beyonce so that I could brand this post a proper Fanvid Sunday? No? No one feels like doing that? Ugh.:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Buffyfest Gift Guide 2010

Got a fan on your list? Whether you're buying for a newbie who is just discovering Buffy or a Whedonite so hard-core that he'll justify why we should really be watching Alien: Resurrection at this year's annual Buffyfest Party (Ryan, I'm looking at you), they'll be a treat on this here list to fill their Christmas stocking with or place under their Holiday Bush. And if you want something for yourself on here, throw your loved one a little hint. Simply say "Honey, I was on Buffyfest today and saw so many fantastic Whedon themed gifts on there. I would love it if on Christmas morning, something off their gift guide was under our Holiday Bush!" It's very subtle and really packs a punch.

This is our biggest and bestest Gift Guide ever, but do check out our past Gift Guides as some of that loot is still available too.

With only 10 shopping days to go, behold, the 2010 Buffyfest Gift Guide:

For the Newbie:

Best Prices found this week on all the necessary DVDs:

For the die-hard Whedonite:

    For the Spuffy:

    Recession Specials!
    Last Minute Larry - downloadable and emailable gifts:
    • A Charitable donation to super browncoat fellowship Can't Stop The Serenity is the perfect last minute feel-good gift.
    • Download Dollhouse in HD instantly with Amazon Video On Demand, just 99 cents per ep.
    • A e-gift certificate for Whedonverse comics at TFAW is the instant gift that keeps on giving!
    • Pre-order Buffy Motion Comic on DVD or give now instant download style.
    • For a cheap, last-minute and satisfying gift, $4.00 will get you a phone call from our very own Bitsy. Yell at him for a whole 5 minutes! (Proceeds to go to CSTS.)

    For the Super Hard-Core fan who has everything:

    If you have a Super Hard-Core on your list like this guy, you may need to think outside of the box:
    That's it for this year. Now go get that shopping done and Happy Holidays, everyone!

      Sunday, December 12, 2010

      Fanvid Sunday: Interviewing Ripper Edition (Spoilers)

      Well, it's not really a fanvid per se, but while the Whedonverse is still reeling from the events of Buffy #39 I thought it made sense to post this little ditty. Bitsy had the honor of interviewing the dashing Anthony Stewart Head about Buffy Season 8 prior to Giles heart wrenching demise in last week's comic. Little did anyone know at that time how melancholy his choice of question would be. Poor Giles.

      Saturday, December 4, 2010

      From Script to Page: A Behind the Scenes Look at Buffy #39

      It’s the last day of Dark Horse Week here at Buffyfest and we’re ending it with a special treat. Here’s a rare look at a portion of the first draft from the now infamous issue #39, written by Joss Whedon and Scott Allie. Scott takes us behind the scenes of the writing process and shares a few initial pages from the script along with some of his thoughts.

      (Click below page to enlarge.)

      Friday, December 3, 2010

      Jeanty and Allie Interviewed

      Whedonesque is in mourning.  They say it's because you know who got the chop but, secretly, I think they're all heart broken over the death of Bangel 4 EVAR.  That's just what I heard... when I said it just now.  Rumor mill!

      So, anway... Dark Horse Week rolls on and independent agents Newsarama and TFAW are joining in on the fun.  It's entirely possible they have no idea that it's Dark Horse Week but that's neither here nor there.

      First up, Newsarama chats with our young Mr. Jeanty as he wraps penciling Buffy #40.  You can check out how he feels about it and what he and Joss talk about other than Buffy right over here.

      And out on the left coast, Scott did him a fancy video interview with TFAW which I am going to go ahead and embed right over.... here!

      And that's all for now.  We've still got one other item waiting in the wings.  What could it be?  Why so ominous, bits?  Is all the over hyping really necessary?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  You're welcome internet.

      Thursday, December 2, 2010

      Exclusive: BIG Scott Allie Interview about Buffy #39 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

      Here we are at the turn of the tide. The penultimate issue of Buffy Season 8 has arrived and if you dare to read the interview below, you probably already know by now the events that have changed Whedonverse fiction forever. You may also be asking yourself "Well, how did I get here?" We're right there with ya, buddy.

      So read on fellow Whedonite, as we take a journey with Season 8 editor and Joss' co-writer of the final arc - Scott Allie - and try to make some sense of our pain.

      Major Spoilers ahead! Seriously, don't read this if you can help it, spoiler fiend.

      Buffyfest: Why in the hell did you guys kill Giles?

      Scott Allie: You're gonna spoiler tag this, right?

      Buffyfest:  Heh. So, how did the conversation between you and Joss go about this major plot point? Was this something you’ve planned from the beginning?

      SA: Revealing too much about this pulls the curtain back on the great and terrible Oz a bit too much. It was planned for a while, but not from the very beginning. I will say this. I've been involved now in killing two beloved characters—Giles, and Roger from Hellboy. And both times it had everything to do with the arc of the character, and in this case, the arc of the killer.

      Buffyfest: Even though Angel and Giles have had a very tumultuous relationship, there was always an underlying camaraderie in the sense that they both cared for Buffy ("Prophecy Girl", "Pangs", etc.) Can you explain why Angel was chosen as Giles' murderer?

      SA: I'm like you, Michelle—I love these two characters perhaps more than others in Buffy. There are qualities about them as fictional characters that make them appeal to me dramatically, as a reader, or a writer, and that's more about their flaws than their virtues. And I agree that they had a great dynamic. They were equals in a unique sense among Buffy characters. Back in the earliest seasons, they were the adult characters, so to speak. In a sense their dynamic is why it made sense for Angel to kill Giles. They served similar roles in Buffy's life, except with Angel as the lover who couldn't really be her lover, and Giles as the father who couldn't really be her father. But the real reason is that things were building for each character to where it made sense for one to die, and the other to do the killing. If Spike could've been Twilight, it could have made sense for him to do the deed, just a different kind of sense. These relationships are so intense that whoever did the deed, it would have been uniquely meaningful. Even if it were Dawn, it would have changed the world of Buffy in a very particular way.

      Buffyfest: Season 8 seems to be the adult version of Season 2. Was that the intention?

      SA: No, not the intention, but I think I know what you mean. I love Season 2, and what you're saying wasn't the intention, never anything we specifically decided upon, but there's clear similarities. I think what was great about Season 2 appealed to us in the setup of Season 8, and we ran with those things. But the differences are interesting too. In Season 2, it was fairly easy to say that Angel was not Angelus, but there's more ambiguity here, in terms of how responsible Angel is for Twilight's actions. I like moral ambiguity. I find that more adult.

      Buffyfest: Continuing with that thought, was the decision to have Angel snap Giles neck a shout-out to the murder of Jenny Calendar?

      SA: Well, yes, that's one of the real concrete similarities. When we set that scene up, Joss said we should specifically reference Jenny's death, visually, distinctly.

      Buffyfest: What would you tell fans who are now fully entrenched in the "I hate Angel" club?

      SA: I'd tell 'em they've never had more in common with the characters. I could see Willow doing a hell of a lot more than turning him into a frog, if she didn't have her own problems right now. This low point that we've taken Angel to is gonna be good fodder for Season 9. People felt we let him off the hook too easily after Buffy #34, but he's not off the hook. This is interesting, to me, as someone involved in shaping his story. He's a hero, sometimes a romantic lead, who has a long, long trail of bodies behind him. Killing Giles might not be the worst thing he's ever done, but for the readers and for the characters, it's the act we're gonna be most upset about. Angel's crimes have never been brought home as sharply and as viscerally for the fans as they've been brought home this week.

      Buffyfest: Where does his story go next?

      SA: Season 9. There’s one more issue that will show you were people are at in the wake of all the horror, but I can’t tell you where it goes next, not just yet. We’ll spill some more info when #40 comes out. But for Angel, it is going to be about redemption—that’s sort of what his story has always been, and maybe now he needs it more than ever.

      Buffyfest: As a fan, do you hate Angel for what he’s done? Or pity him for being taken over by Twilight and committing this horrible act?

      SA: It's not pity, but the second option is closer to how I see him. Twilight didn't take hold of Xander. Angel was the appropriate vehicle for Twilight. So he bears responsibility for being that appropriate vehicle. I don't just mean appropriate because he's a vampire—but because he's a guy who'd sign up for a plan like this. There's a reason the talking dog went to him first, and not Buffy. I've read some interesting fan reactions to Season 8 centering on a wholly dualistic view of free will—either there is or there ain't. In fiction like this, you have to account for a certain amount of mysticism, fate, predestination, etc., because that's the genre. But you also have to allow for free will, for characters to be responsible for their actions. You can have both. You have to, or this stuff doesn't work as good fiction. Even though the gods manipulated the Greek heroes, the heroes' actions were still tragic. So even where fate is involved, predestination, and even possession, there has to be a level or personal responsibility. You can pity Regan in The Exorcist, but you can't simply pity Angel. He's a hero, not a victim. He bears responsibility for his actions, even if that responsibility is unclear and subject to debate. So I do feel sympathy that his own character—who he is, his characteristics—set him up to be in the spot to do this thing, though this specific action was not his choice. If he were another guy—if he were Spike—this would not have happened. Spike would not have accepted the Twilight mission in the first place. Buffy wouldn't have accepted the mission, didn't when presented with it. Ironically, Giles may have. Maybe, if it were framed the right way.

      Buffyfest: Does that make Angel less of a hero or more of a human?

      SA: I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive, by any means. If he is more human than he was before, he should be more relatable. But he’s certainly a flawed hero, a very challenged hero. That’s what’s so boring about Superman. Not enough flaw. No challenges. A weakness to an extremely rare mineral doesn’t humanize a character, and I like my heroes humanized.

      Buffyfest: Buffy and Angel have been challenged since the beginning of the TV show. Will Angel killing Buffy's pseudo-dad be the final stake in the heart of that relationship?

      SA: Nope. Buffy #40 is the wedding issue. Because readers unanimously demanded it!

      Buffyfest: Georges Jeanty recently said, "Faith does something really remarkable" about forgiving Angel. Care to elaborate on this?

      SA: Not yet.

      Buffyfest: Is anyone else going to die in Issue #40?

      SA: Yes.

      Buffyfest: Wait, what? Say again?

      SA: Oh, it’s not what you’re thinking. Next?

      Buffyfest: OK, speaking of issue #40, will we see a conversation between Buffy and Angel about Giles’ death?

      SA: You will not.

      Buffyfest: What about Spike? Will we see him again in issue #40 or is he off to the unknown with bug crew?

      SA: He gets a scene in #40.

      Buffyfest: In this issue, Spike says about Angel “He finally picked a side.” What does Spike mean by this statement?

      SA: Well, he says it after seeing Angel punch Buffy through a wall, right? Angel's agenda has been unclear, and he's drenched in moral ambiguity, especially from Spike's point of view. Seeing Angel deck Buffy while the big war is waging above draws the lines in such a way that Spike feels justified in trying to kill Angel, no reason to hold back.

      Buffyfest: Willow’s agenda is back to magic being her main focus. Do you think she's learned anything from Season 6?

      SA: Absolutely, but what she learned in Season 7 is that there are certain roads to great power that don't destroy you, that are truly good. Frankly, given my interests, what's going on with Willow in #38 and #39 is some of my favorite stuff. There was so much I wanted to do with it, but it's not what the story's about. In the Seed, Willow found a battery for the kind of power she channeled in the empowerment spell. The empowerment was the ultimate payoff of everything she'd learned over the course of the series. It was redemption after Season 6, and it was the ultimate expression of her relationship and partnership with Buffy after seven years. It was a good thing, and it was a contrast to how badly magic had gone for her in Season 6. And the Seed offered her another perspective on that sort of power. I think we'll have time and need to reflect on this in Season 9. But in response to your question, I think we can learn a lot from our experiences and remain subject to our own hubris, and Joss's characters explore that idea really nicely.

      Buffyfest: Now that Buffy has destroyed the seed and ended magic, how will this affect Willow and Buffy's friendship?

      SA: Not insignificantly.

      Buffyfest: More on that, we’ve seen that Willow and Amy lose their abilities to use magic. What other consequences are there to the breaking of the seed?

      SA: The events of Season 8 were largely the result of the empowerment spell, and a huge amount of what goes on in Season 9 will be the direct result of the breaking of the Seed.

      Buffyfest: So, was the empowerment spell a bad idea in terms of the universe and was this the universe's way of balancing good and evil in the world again?

      SA: Not a bad idea, no—the empowerment spell brought great things to the world, but everything comes with a price. The balance swings back and forth, like a pendulum. Things are not in balance at the end of Season 8, but they’ll keep swinging.

      Buffyfest: Now that the seed is broken, is the Fray future a certainty? Will we be seeing more of that future in Season 9 (or maybe even in Buffy #40?)

      SA: To some degree, the Fray future is here, right? Listen to poor Willow … But I don’t think we’ll be doing a lot more time travel soon. It’s hard. Between Terminator, Season 8, and Umbrella, our heads are spinning.

      Buffyfest: We asked you this question two years ago at NYCC and then again at SDCC last year, and we hope we can finally get your answer. What is the theme of Season 8?

      SA: Betrayal. And the reason I wanted to be cagey about that, even though a lot of the fans had identified it, is because of a little anecdote from Joss. Joss himself has this running theme about awesome women, right? Smart women? Well, wayyyyy back in the beginning of this thing, he was talking to Kai, his wife. He was talking the story up to her, building to the big finish, "the closest, most unexpected betrayal," and she cut to the chase and said, "Buffy betrays herself, right?" If your theme is betrayal, self-betrayal is the harshest place you can go. So I was afraid that if I confirmed that betrayal was the theme, if I singled betrayal out as where we'd be heading in the climax, and you looked at that panel from #10, you'd figure it out, it'd step on the ending. I've had a couple readers write to me with the theory that Buffy would bring an end to magic, that Buffy would betray herself, etc. And they threw those theories out into the universe, and there was no word from me or Joss or Georges to confirm it, so readers were free to do with it as they pleased, to prioritize it as they saw fit, based on what was presented in the story. To tip the scales, outside of the text of the story, in a way that would promote one theory over another would damage the story worse than the accidental spoilers we leaked over the years.

      Buffyfest: You mentioned that you saw a lot of fans had figured out that the betrayal was Buffy betraying herself. Were there any fan theories along the way that you found interesting even though they wound up being incorrect?

      SA: Oh yeah, absolutely. I heard some cool ideas that were very much based on an intimate understanding of the characters, and that’s always exciting. The fan speculation about where it was going was rewarding to see, because it showed a pretty sophisticated level of engagement with the story.

      Buffyfest: Completely unrelated, but important, what’s your take on the Buffy reboot movie?

      SA: They should cast Miley Cyrus. Is there any way we can make that happen? That would be amazing. Only way this idea could get any better.

      Buffy #39 Review-ish (BIG TIME HOLLYWOOD SPOILERS)

      The Preamble/Review, well salted, with spoilers aplenty and maybe a little soapbox preaching:

      Before looking at this, you should read the comic first.  I'm not going to talk about everything, just share the thoughts I had after reading it.  If you've read someone's summation on a forum, you've done yourself a disservice.  There have been many issues I've posted detailed summaries of shortly after their release but none were quite like Buffy #39.  I can't express how disappointed I am that so many peoples' first impression will be based off of a mediocre description written in broken english.

      I read this issue about three weeks ago and I'm still in shock.  That's how powerful it is but now there are all these people saying "that sounds stupid".  This will get me in trouble but, for once, I'll really speak my mind.  Read the issue.  Actually absorb it and formulate an opinion of your own instead of parroting what your buddies are saying.  Try to place your shipping preferences aside.  This isn't a competition.  It's not about who winds up with who.  It's about how these characters who, for better or worse, have all made sacrifice after sacrifice to try to save the world, have all failed in one way or another.  It's about how they betrayed each other, it's about how they betrayed themselves.  And for one of them, it's the end.

      In a way, it's not until now, as I write this review, that I'm actually feeling the loss.  Rupert Giles is dead.  No alarms, no surprises, no retcons.  You can say what you want about things he may have done wrong, about how he wasn't there for Buffy in the final two television seasons or how he was noticeably absent for much of the comic but, when you look beyond all that,you see the truth. 

      Giles is Buffy's dad and now there's just a body.  He'll never talk about the smell of books or drink tea, ever, and he'll never get that confused look on his face or rub his glasses thoughtfully, not ever.  And Buffy will cry but he won't be there to comfort her.

      They saved the world but at a terrible cost.  Willow embraced the seed's power, seemingly falling prey to old temptations only to have all magic ripped not just from her, but torn from the whole world.  Xander stood frozen, desperately looking for the one right answer that doesn't exist.  Buffy, with nothing left to lose, destroys the one thing that makes her world everything that it is.  Destroying the seed is like destroying the meaning of life.  It's the soul of the world and it's shattered because she did the shattering.

      And Angel.  He can't hide behind Twilight.  He chose his path and, as he becomes fully aware and in control again, he has to accept that he has finally done something that Buffy should never forgive.  There's something hopeful and dreamlike in the idea that there is someone out there for you, who you were born to love and who was born to love you.  But that's not Buffy's world anymore and it was Angel's chasing after destiny that brought it's destruction.

      Spike's off chasing monsters.  He wasn't part of the crew this season and, frankly, lucky him.  He's smarter than the rest, though.  He knows that, even though this is tragedy of the highest order, that Buffy will go on living because she has to.  He knows there's more to life than a seed of wonder.  That's why Season 8 wasn't his story, particularly.  The lessons that Buffy and Angel had to learn are ones Spike already knows.

      Thus endeth the climax with Buffy writhing on the floor, Angel only becoming aware of what he's done, Xander trying to find a way to pick up the pieces and a broken-bodied Willow going insane.  And Buffy's father, and, in a way, all their fathers, really, lies silent, never to be heard again.

      It was heartbreaking.  It was beautiful.  It had a giant vagina monster attacking a lesbian witch but, other than that, it was really, really good.

      Wednesday, December 1, 2010

      Breaking Ornament News!

      Doot doot dootleydoot doot doot dootleydoot!

      We interrupt this edition of Dark Horse Week to remind you to send out your ornaments for the 2010 Whedonverse Ornament Swap, as today is the deadline. Also, don't forget to please post pics to the Flickr group so we can all see the festive fun at 

      We now return you to your regularly scheduled Dark Horse Week, already in progress.