Monday, January 31, 2011

Can't Stop the Signal, Mal.

We're very proud to announce that the whole crew here at Buffyfest is not only sponsoring the 2011 Can't Stop the Serenity festivities as usual, but for the first time we will also be a part of the Global Team taking on the role of "Cortex Coordinator". We'll try our best to make Mr. Universe proud!

While we're at it, did you know that CSTS is having an art contest? The winner’s artwork will be used as the basis for the T-shirt, poster and promo for CSTS 2011. Additionally, the winner’s artwork will be featured prominently throughout CSTS’s new and improved website for 2011.

The deadline to submit entries for the 2011 CSTS art contest has been extended to February 14 to allow people who are just now finding out about the contest to participate. If you'd like to enter, click through to the official CSTS site.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illyria #3 Micro Interview with Mariah Huehner

Buffyfest: We get to see lots of new and unique creatures and demons in this issue.  What was the inspiration for them?

Mariah Huehner: I think the first thing we wanted was to open up the world a bit. When you revisit something like The Deeper Well you can't just rehash what's come before. Even though it's a place with a very painful history, it had to offer something new or it would look like a cop-out. So it was really important that we give it a new dimension, a new atmosphere in certain ways, which included new creatures.

Characters like the Cephaladogs (that's what I call them, anyway) were mostly inspired by my ridiculous love of octopi and squid, Henson creatures from shows like Farscape, and a whole bunch of deep sea doc's I'd been watching. I figured making creatures that would be connected to Illyria and allow her new dimensions was a fun way to blend my absurd admiration for squidly octopi and a very necessary character arc. Plus, since Illyria's Old One form had tentacles, it made for a nice call back and a way to make them distantly "related".

Buffyfest: The new Keeper of the Deeper Well is not what Illyria (or the audience) might expect.  Would you tell us a little bit about her, who she is and where the idea for her came from?

MH: She's kind of a blend of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (one of my all-time favorite characters), my grandmothers, and Miss Marple (the knitting, spectacles, and tea are all a nod to her). I wanted to have the new Keeper be something completely and entirely different than The Drogyn, with a unique attitude and style. Physically, I wanted her to be the polar opposite of Sally from issue #2 and be exactly the sort of creature Illyria would underestimate along with the audience. We never tell you what she is, or even who she is (she's never named). She's mysterious on purpose, to keep you wondering. Especially about how it is she knows the things she does. What was really incredible, though, was how perfectly Elena drew her. It was like she read my mind, although obviously I did describe her in the script. But I'd done a sketch of her myself that I never showed Elena, of the characters face, and it's a dead ringer. Getting those pages in was a delight.

The other thing I wanted to avoid was being obvious with the new Keeper. Which would have been to make it some kind of warrior Illyria had to fight. I think that's really easy with Illyria and gets in the way of her development sometimes. As much fun as it is to see her break things, I'd rather she do it with some kind of purpose. And since this series is about her needing to address her place in the world, it seemed important to me that she interact with different personalities without always punching things. Between Sally and the new Keeper we get two very distinct female characters, too. And they both help Illyria in their own ways.

Buffyfest: Let's talk feminist subtext.  The only speaking characters in this issue are two women (for lack of a better term).  Was that intentional?

MH: Yes, it definitely was. I wanted to have an issue that would pass The Bechdel test, where there are two main female characters who talk about something besides men. Usually that's in film, but I thought it would make for a good challenge here. We've very rarely seen Illyria in a context that doesn't involve one of the male characters, and usually her story revolves around them in some way. Which makes sense in the main series since everyone revolves around Angel to some degree, but, I wanted this to really be -her- story. And while I know she's this kind of amorphous, not really gendered character, she appears in a female body to the world. So some of how she's perceived has to do with the shell she's in, and it influences how other characters treat her. Which then influences how she views them.

This feeling of otherness is one of the main themes I wanted to explore in the series, from a feminist perspective. Feeling out of place in the world, alien in your own body, somehow inherently wrong. Illyria commented in the series about feeling like the wrong size, for instance, and being cut off from the world she understood. Those always felt like metaphors to me, while also being literally true for the character. Obviously not just women feel that way, but it's one of the ways I identify with the character and one of the core issues she's been dealing with since the beginning. So it felt right to make it a major element of her arc.

Buffyfest: Illyria speaks in another language here.  Was this language derived from anything that already exists?

MH: Yes! The big influence is Elvish, although phonetically, I didn't attempt to spell anything like Tolkien did. I love the lyric quality of that language so I based a number of words loosely on how certain Elvish ones sound. There are also a lot of anagrams, such as Tirmek! That's Kermit with the letters rearranged. Because he's my favorite muppet and I love him dearly.

Buffyfest: There's a huge shift in Illyria's character that's expressed mostly in half thoughts and Elena's art, would you elaborate on what's happening to Illyria during this sequence?

MH: It's really two things. 1. A profound realization of who she's been, who she could be, and who she actually is. What it cost, why it matters, and what's to come. It's a moment of sort of excruciating insight, of bringing everything together that she's been feeling, dreaming, and questioning. 2. A reclamation, but you won't know of precisely what until #4.

When she reaches out to touch the stone she's mirroring what Fred did in A Hole in the World (which has been a theme throughout) and the curiosity that partly led to her death. I wanted to show Illyria having some of that same curiosity, being drawn to something beyond herself, and experiencing an emotional shift and a certain kind of "ending". It's deliberately abstract and vaguely poetic, since I don't think you can describe something like that in any kind of linear, clear way. Illyria is a bit of a self-important character, which makes her perfect for expressing your own existential dread. Not to mention the subtle physical alterations that indicate the inner changes visually.

What I hope the scene accomplishes is the idea that Illyria's awareness has shifted, or is at least starting to. She sees herself and the world in a different way, which culminates in issue #4. And it's these moments combined that shape her arc.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Illyria #3 Preview Pages

by: Mariah Huehner, Scott Tipton, Elena Casagrande, Jenny Frison

The Deeper Well-something about the name fills everyone with dread, even Illyria. The last time she was there, she was entombed in essence only, a prisoner. Now she must face the new protector of the well and its minions and she won't stop until she gets the answers she's looking for...

release date: 26 January 2011

price: $3.99

*Please note, previews are not final. Any errors will be corrected for the physical release.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exclusive Interview: Scott Allie on the Road Behind and Ahead for Buffy

Wow, it's been a long, strange trip. There's been ups, downs and outright wars - so basically, it was like any other season of Buffy. And just like other seasons, there's something bitter-sweet about saying goodbye to the gang for awhile. Luckily, we spoke with Scott Allie, editor and writer of the season, to keep the fire from going out for just a little longer.

Buffyfest: So, we’ve come to the end of Season 8. It’s been a long haul with many ups and downs. What is your most memorable moment from the past 4 or so years?

Scott Allie: When Joss emailed to tell me, "You're officially cowriting the finale with me." Or the moment that I realized, in a meeting with Marketing, that we hadn't shown issue #12 to Fox. 

Buffyfest: Those sound memorable! Now, in this final issue, we find Buffy living in San Francisco. Who's idea was it to set Buffy up in SF for Season 9?

SA: Pretty sure that was Joss. He had a pretty solid idea of where she'd wind up after this. 

Buffyfest: What about that city made sense in the decision? 

SA: Lotta stuff. It's a good place for a girl in her twenties to restart her life, and that's what she has to do. It's a meaningful place for a young person to head to. Plus she's gonna look really good doing the Batman thing hopping around those particular rooftops. We liked the idea of keeping her in California, but striking out to new ground. And we felt like San Francisco was a city that was up for grabs, in terms of superheroes. Lot of factors.

Buffyfest: Now that we’re at the end of the season, how much time has passed from the beginning of Issue 1 to the end of #40?

SA: I don't know. We haven't spent two minutes talking about that, to be honest. It's not long—it's not four years. Mostly things moved along pretty quick, although they were in Tibet a lot longer than it took to read those issues. But mostly things moved ahead without a lot of time passing. So maybe it's been a year, somewhere around there.

Buffyfest: One of the most asked questions in the forums is “Who's the prince?” Is this something we should have figured out already or is there more to come on this in Season 9?

SA: No comment.

Buffyfest: We'll take that "No comment" as "There are a lot of comments I can't share". Getting into specifics of issue #40, who's the bleeding guy on page 23? If you can't tell us, can we at least get a hint?!

SA: "Bleeding"? Is it his blood, or someone else's? Find out in Season 9.

Buffyfest: Oooh! Ok, moving on to the big break-up of the issue. Does Kennedy know that Willow's a cheating slimeball and, if not, do you think she would feel differently about their break-up if she knew the truth? 

SA: I don't think she knows, but we could alter that depending on how we set things up at the beginning of Season 9. I think more info for Kennedy can only make her feel worse. Willow's not at her best.

Buffyfest: No she is not, but Faith is! She gets Giles’ belongings, but Giles still gives Buffy the title of THE Slayer even in death. Is your interpretation of Giles leaving Buffy the "Vampyre" book the same as Faith's?

SA: My interpretation is different than Faith's. Faith's right, but there's more to it than that. Giles wouldn't give it to Buffy to burn Faith. Giles was a smart guy.

Buffyfest: Even though Faith is helping Angel, she seems reluctant to do so. Has she forgiven Angel or is she just doing it for the good of the group?

SA: Her gratitude for what Angel did for her goes way beyond forgiving him. It's the sort of thing where you never have to say you're sorry. Faith has grown a lot this season, and she's uniquely equipped to deal with Angel now. She's up for this. And her concern is not the group. 

Buffyfest: Who's idea was it for Angel to crash at Giles' apartment in London: Faith or Buffy? 

SA: I'd say Faith.

Buffyfest: Faith has "faith" in Angel. What about you? Is there hope for Angel?

SA: Yes. I think there's always hope for people. But he really has to earn it. He has to grow from this. He has to find a new way to deal with who he is. He really has some bad karma, and I mean that far beyond him having done some bad stuff he has to make up for.

Buffyfest: Connected to that, we have Buffy’s last line in the issue being “Let’s Go to Work” which Angel’s iconic last line in “Not Fade Away”. What’s up with that?

SA: It's the mission statement, but it also means something real different from when Angel said it. 

Buffyfest: What story are you looking most forward to telling in regards to Season 9? Why?

SA: Oh, I don't know. There's a lot. I've been really excited about some stuff with Willow for a long time, but as we tie some things together in the early planning, there are things that get more and more interesting. We've got bits for Faith, something for Spike, for Angel, for Buffy that I'm really excited about. Angel's gonna have some of the best bits. But there are lots of things we still have to nail down.

Buffyfest: Continuing with Season 9, what’s a Buffy and Angel world going to look like without magic? Are there any loopholes we need to know about?

SA: There are loopholes. Look at the dialogue between Willow and Aluwyn in one of my issues. Aluwyn spells some things out. But the world is really different. There are both good and bad repercussions to this. 

Buffyfest: In tune with a world without magic, will we see Fray again next Season?

SA: We've talked about it, but only if it makes sense. Only if it pushes the story forward. We definitely want to bring Fray out again, but it might not have a place in Season 9.

Buffyfest: What about the alternate slayer from the issue, “The Chain”? The fairy makes an appearance in this issue, so will we see the slayer again in Season 9 or is her death imminent at the end of the issue?

SA: I've always thought of her as dying there, but it's possible she survived. 

Buffyfest: Are the titles set in stone? Last we heard at Comic Con, there are going to be Spike and Willow books, as well. Is there any more news on that?

SA: We still have some work to do. Neither Spike nor Willow are set in stone—the only things that are rock solid are the two main titles.

Buffyfest: We know that this past weekend, you had a writer's summit in L.A. to map out the story for Season 9. Can you tell us who was there?

SA: Joss, Sierra, me, Zack, Jane Espenson, Drew Greenberg, Danny Kaminsky, and a few other writers ... names we'll share soon. There were some people we were counting on spending the day with who weren't able to make it because of their busy weeks, which was disappointing. 

Buffyfest: How did the process of setting up the story go?

SA: Great. It was fun. It was educational for me, and I've got a lot riding on it. We nailed the themes, the central conflicts. Lots of details to work out, but we found the main plotlines for all the main characters, and we nailed down our starting points. We still need to do outlines, breaking the bits into a real structure. But we spent the day throwing around ideas, seeing which ones still sounded good an hour or two later, and then watching ideas overlap and reconnect. It's gonna be a weird season.

Buffyfest: Can you tell us about any great moments that came out of the meeting? 

SA: Lightsaber fights and karaoke. I didn't even think I knew the Thompson Twins. 

Buffyfest: Ha! To be a fly on that wall. Finally, any other Season 9 news you’d like to share?

SA: Just that Joss is taking a bigger role in it than we initially expected. He'll be more directly involved in the writing than I was expecting, which is a relief. But we've got some other good stuff set up, things I wish we could tell readers, but now is not the time. 

Buffyfest: Don't worry. We'll be waiting patiently. Thanks for being a part of the reason we still get to talk about Buffy. See you next Season!

SA: Thanks, Michelle—thanks for keeping the readers talking.

Buffy #40 Analysis - SPOILERS (but only a little)

Disclaimer: This is not a review.  If you're looking for the full on spoiler fest, you ought to poke your peepers elsewhere.  This here is some fine genuine analysis so get the darn comic and, when you're done flipping through it a few times, put on your best smarty pants, and then read this thing.


It might just be the theme, not just of season 8, but of Buffy as a series.  Sometimes hope can be the thing that leads us to salvation but, sometimes, it can lead us astray.  Sometimes the road to hell is paved with hope.

I suspect that was Brad Meltzer's intention during the "Twilight" arc as he cobbled out this idea that one girl vs. innumerable vampires, demons, ad infinitum works but an army of slayers makes for a topsy turvy world gone wrong.  We all know that Buffy's decision in Chosen was going to have consequences, that her decision to call all the potentials at once meant taking the choice away from countless other women but, at the same time, I don't think it's enough to say "Buffy was wrong".  I don't think a writer can ever say, simply, "that was bad, no cookie for you" nor can we, as viewers or readers ever say, conclusively, what the truth of things is.

All that being said, Buffy was wrong.  She betrayed herself, she betrayed her girls, her family, her friends, and the world.  That's the theme after all.  Betrayal.  And hope, but we're not there just yet.  Keep that one in your back pocket for now.

Buffy #40 is the end of the great experiment that was Season 8.  Can you take a show that aired for seven seasons and turn it into a successful comic book?  Can an army of slayers unite to fight the forces of darkness?  Can fandom not bicker and , in general, behave like a bunch of collective dillweeds for five seconds?  One of the best (and worst) things about Season 8 is how all of these things have become so interconnected.  Buffy, Joss, you and I… we're asking the same questions, fighting the same struggles; we're just doing it on different playing fields in different ways.  But this is Joss's baby and, before everyone else has their final word, el jefe gets to say his piece.

What's he saying?  Well, I think he's saying that there is no one single ideal that can keep hundreds of unique voices in synch forever.  I think he's saying that Buffy is a charismatic leader but, then again, so was Hitler.  I think he's acknowledging some of the flaws that have been repeatedly pointed out, most especially that sex in space is kind of silly.

Buffy #40 is an entire issue that simultaneously gets back to the old formula while also saying "Don't get too comfy just yet".  It's a pinch of fan service with a few heaping spoonfuls of "I'm still in charge, alright?"  This is the last time we'll probably see all the Scoobies contained within the same pages for a while and we don't even see them all together at once.  This is Buffy's POV, so it all ekes out a little at a time. 

What we do get is gloriously familiar.  Buffy with Xander and Dawn is the humor and intimacy of family.  Buffy with Willow is the shared pain of regret, the labored love and resentment that two best friends can only share when they've given and taken away everything from each other.  Buffy and Faith are the separated sisters still in constant competition despite themselves, both still vying for the love of a father that can't hear them anymore.  Buffy and Spike are the old lovers, uneasy in their own skin whenever they're close but still trying to look beyond the scars they've given each other and still reach out for…

Hope.  Because changing the world aint all it's cracked up to be.  Sometimes when you try to build a better world you sort of kind of accidentally almost destroy the entire universe in the process.  Sometimes you don't change anything at all and, even when you do, it's never in the way you intended it.

But, if you're Buffy, there's always hope.  It's the thing that separates her from Angel, and the reason I think Joss chose to mirror the end of "Not Fade Away".  Funny thing about a mirror, what you see in the reflection is the same but opposite.

Hope is the one thing we all struggle to keep.  We're all hoping that out lives will have meaning, that we can make a difference.  Whether your demons are literal or metaphorical, whether you're the one who created it all or are part of the community that binds it together, we all hope for more, for better, from each other, from ourselves, from the world.

I just hope we don't all accidentally have a fan orgy in the vacuum of space and destroy the universe in the process.  All I'm sayin'!

Reminder: Buffyfest's Buffy Birthday Bash at Forbidden Planet Tonight!

If you're in the New York area, come down to Forbidden Planet where we'll be celebrating Buffy's birthday and the release of Season 8's Finale Issue. Dark Horse sent us a box of fun prizes, there will be a Buffyfest Booth, a Costume Contest and more! Click hree for the deets. or here for the Facebook event page.

If you're not around these neck of the woods, check around because there are Buffy Birthday events happening all around the country tonight! Here are some resources:

Dark Horse Facebook Announcement


Happy Birthday Buffy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buffyfest Presents: Buffy's Birthday Bash at Forbidden Planet NYC

To celebrate Buffy's birthday and the release of Season 8's Finale Issue, we've teamed up with long time friends, the legendary Forbidden Planet, in New York City for a Paaarrty! Dark Horse sent us a box of fun prizes, there will be a Buffyfest Booth, a Costume Contest and more! See below for the deets:

The Where:
Forbidden Planet NYC
13th Street and Broadway

The When:
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
6 pm to 10 pm

The Fun:
6 pm - Buffy's Birthday Party begins!

Forbidden Planet will be having amazing sales all day. All back issues of Buffy Season 8 will be $1. If you come in Whedonverse Costume, they'll be 50 cents! Additional sales to be announced!

7 pm - Costume contest! Winner to be announced on Buffyfest the following day.

8 pm - Trivia, Prizes & Fanterviews: read the issue, get the final word on Season 8

9 - 10 - "Once More, With Feeling" Sing-Along

Swing by, eat some cookies, buy some comics, do the wacky. It'll be a time. More details as they come.

You can RSVP here.

See you there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Buffy S.8 Motion Comic Conest Winners!

We recently had a contest. The prize? The first 19 issues of Buffy Season 8 in Motion Comic form on Blu-Ray/DVD. Didn't realize that it comes with a precious, adorable, itty bitty version of Buffy S.8 #1. Adorbs!

On to the big announcement, the winners are:


Heather Schroeder
Kevin Bachelder
Jonnathan Molina
Congrats to the winners! We'll contact you over email and twitter. Please make sure to send us your mailing addresses. Thanks to everyone else who participated. We'll have another contest soon, so better luck next time!

Thanks again to Twentieth Century Fox for the generously sending the prize packs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

And the Winner of the Dark Horse Haiku Contest is...

Congratulations to Amber for giving us the best of the best in Haiku goodness. Our inbox was filled with some great ones, but Amber seemed to capture the essence of Buffy Season 8 in just a few short lines. For the creative effort, Amber will receive a package filled with a copy of Hack/Slash signed by Super Scott Allie, and a bunch of Buffyfest goodness, too! Check out Amber's work of art:

I lost who I was
never to be seen again
now queen of slayers

Honorable mention goes to Scott Allie's ex-wife Melinda, who wrote an unintentional almost-Haiku inspired by Scott himself that we couldn't resist mentioning:

You never had a good memory.
You are too stuck in your head.
I'm not insulting you.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reminder: Firefly Day on Ovation Network

Have you been watching Firefly on Ovation network? They've been showing eps this past week and today they are having an all day marathon. They also have some unearthed clips that you can watch below featuring even more of Joss's fabulous hair period. He sure does love his ship!

Summer Glau is such a baby here too. Check it out:

Firefly – Behind the scenes tour
Firefly – Behind the scenes with Summer Glau
Firefly – Behind the scenes with Nathan Fillion
Firefly – “Give the Cargo Back!”
Firefly – Behind the scenes with Joss Whedon

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy (Belated) Anniversary, Buffyfest!

I was online all day yesterday and we all spoke so not sure what happened, but we missed our Anniversary! 3 years this place has been our feels like both 3 months and 3 decades at the same time. I don't think any of us had any clue the fun that was in store when we created this place and we're so happy to share it with you all. Happy Anniversary to Michelle, Bits, Ivan, Ryan, Michael, Jen and anyone who has ever contributed to this blog and our events. Thanks for being part of Buffyfest!

Fun fact: we had our very first Buffyfest party in 2006. It was a bit crazy and we watched way too many episodes for one group to handle, but it some ways it's my favorite event of them all. Here's the original invitation the attendees received:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Teaser Panels for Buffy Issue #40

Over on Dark Horse's Blog, Super Scott Allie has hand picked panels from Issue #40 as a sort of "scenes from next week's episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Yes, I know it's not really next week as they've pushed the finale issue out until January 19th to celebrate Buffy's birthday, but still, the teaser is pretty awesome. Now since we've had the EXTREME pleasure of reading the issue already, we know exactly what's the what with these preview images...but hopefully it will hold you off loyal reader until Jan 19th. Click to enlarge!


Monday, January 3, 2011

The Final Preview Pages of Buffy Season 8 (Spoilers)

We don't normally post all of the preview pages, but since they will be the last preview pages of any Buffy stories for a while we thought we should. Obviously if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read ahead. Courtesy of CBR, here are the preview pages of the finale of Buffy Season 8 "Coda":