November 23, 2011

Everyday People comic; text reads: "Today I will live in the moment. Unless the moment is unpleasant, in which case I will eat a cookie."

Saw this on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing here. Seems very applicable to me with the crazy day I’m having.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: The Long Way Home”

Today the first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 hits shelves. So, since I’ve been catching up on Season 8 I thought it a fitting time to review the first volume of the series.

Book cover

I was a bit wary of delving into Season 8. I’m a quite a fan of the television series — and of Joss Whedon’s work in general. But with few exceptions I haven’t read many comics that weren’t, well, comics. And what I have read that’s been transitioned and/or adapted into a comic has been resoundingly underwhelming. So, I was content to stay away from this even though it was confirmed as canon. Eventually curiosity — and many rave reviews and cast endorsements — finally cracked my resolve and I dug out my magnifier.1

The one big plus that continuing Buffy in comic form has is that Whedon has a pretty extensive history writing comics already. This means that condensing what might have been an episode in the television show is done in such a way that retains all the hallmarks of the series, including the witty, pop-culture-peppered dialogue.

Volume 1 collects the first five issues of the comic: the four-issue arc “The Long Way Home” and the standalone “The Chain.” It’s been about a year-and-a-half since the events of “Chosen,” the seventh season finale and a lot has changed for Buffy and the Scoobies now that the Hellmouth has been blown to smithereens and every Potential is now a full-on Slayer. To say the fight against evil has become epic is more than stating the obvious. Buffy now heads a command center with Xander overseeing several “squads” of Slayers and other magically-endowed fighters (witches and the like) all across the world. There’s lots of fancy tech at their disposal to help in their constant battle against a wide array of demons. And, of course, grounding things in a mystical form of reality, there’s a healthy helping of life problems including but not limited to Dawn “growing up.” Buffy also informs the reader that in an effort to keep her real location a secret from all the bad guys hellbent on her death, there are also two decoys of her out in the world. “The Long Way Home” sets all this up and introduces us to the new Big Bad. It’s a great beginning; a well-paced story arc with lots of action. But it’s “The Chain” that really stands out in this volume, which follows one of those aforementioned Buffy decoys. It’s a really great piece of writing and really shows off Whedon’s talent for mixing comedy into something dark. There’s a lot of deep meaning in this short piece about feminism, values, and social duty. I found it incredibly haunting.

The art is quite superb — especially the amazing Jo Chen covers. I was surprised how easily I was absorbed into this new medium, expecting to find the transition a bit more jarring. And while I’ve never thought of the show as a slouch in the special effects department, the comic really does allow for a much grander playground. One that’s also a bit more risque. With such a huge cast of characters and such enormous versatility in abilities, it can only grow more spectacular.

A very promising start to and a fresh new take on a truly phenomenal series. And probably the strongest endorsement I can give is that I think comic fans that aren’t necessarily fans of the television show will find this an enjoyable book to follow.

  1. Being blind makes reading comics a right pain.

Cassandra Cain

Cassandra Cain (Batgirl III)I have nothing of substance to post about today.1 So, instead I’ll link you over to where Cassandra Cain is featured as this week’s Dimestore Dame. Being she’s my favorite Batgirl, I am quite tickled about this.

And now I shall take a break from the mountain of schoolwork I should be doing and watch Ringer. This should be interesting since in my general quest to avoid all spoilers I have also managed to escape almost any knowledge of what this show is about aside from the fact that SMG stars in the lead role and the random blurb the TV gave me when I hit the info button on my remote.

In other news, I still have a migraine. And it sucks. Especially since I have the aforementioned mountain of work to do for school. Also, my eyes are killing me and my stomach is raging a war with me.

  1. What? I’ve been posting daily for over 250 consecutive days. I’m allowed some leeway.

“Charmed: Season 9, Volume 1”

Yes. I watched Charmed. All eight seasons. I don’t really know why I continued to watch a show that more often than not made me froth at the mouth from all the suppressed rage I felt with the many shortcomings. I can only say that I’m a glutton for punishment and honestly Sunday evenings aren’t exactly stellar television unless you’re into prime-time soaps.

Anyway, while reading reviews for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 (which I am slowly making my way through reading) I stumbled upon a review for the Charmed comic. And long story short I decided to give it a read myself. I mean, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as the last few seasons, right?
[Read more…]

“Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel”

There’s a growing trend of late to turn young adult books into graphic novels. Perhaps because I’m visually impaired, I fail to see the purpose. From a marketing standpoint I suppose it’s like any other adaptation. And I guess it could be argued that they might help cross demographics. Anyway, I’ve basically been ignoring the whole thing until I saw the announcement about Vampire Academy being adapted. I debated ignoring the whole thing, but it came out the same day as the new spinoff series so I nabbed a copy.

Book cover

In my opinion, a media transition needs to stand on its own so it’s not fair to compare it to the original. Though, it should maintain that general feel of the source material. This adaptation has the unfortunate distinction of being taken from one of my favorite series (though, in my humble opinion, one of the weakest books from it). However, it’s been a few years since I read the book so I admit I’m slightly foggy on the details, which might be a positive thing.

Anyway, what I do remember is that I fell in love with Rose. Seeing her story brought to life this way is very refreshing, but this is a pretty light book in terms of action which leaves the art kind of lacking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. And it’s very accurate to the descriptions from the book. But I wouldn’t find it nearly as interesting if I weren’t already familiar with the story.

The real drawback to me is that it doesn’t feel like Rose telling the story. Her snarky wit is largely omitted, which is a shame. Perhaps this is because of the necessary condensing that the book requires to be adapted, but that doesn’t explain away the disjointed way her inner-dialogue is presented. Obviously large chunks of exposition and pontification can’t very well be put into a thought bubble, but I am a bit wary of future books being adapted as most are far longer than this one.

Newcomers will undoubtedly be at least slightly confused by the book, but VA fans will be pleased if only for the eye candy. All things considered, this is pretty underwhelming, but I’m still interested to see the rest of the series.