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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Scott Allie - "Buffy Season 8" Comic Book - Issue 12 - He comments the fan’s reactions

Saturday 8 March 2008, by Webmaster

So on March 5, 2008, we released a story Joss first told me about a year ago. Buffy wakes up in bedroom furniture next to her friend and fellow Slayer, Satsu. (Some fans have written in to ask Satsu’s last name; we do not know yet.) It caused a bit of a stir. I’ll assume that anyone reading this page is a Buffy fan, and understands what Joss does well enough to know that this was not done with the goal of creating a stir. The article that was released in the New York Times on the same day was also not set up to drive sales, although we assumed it would have that effect. It was done because we expected a reaction to the comic, and we wanted you all to have it straight from the horse’s mouth, Joss’s words out there in public. Since Drew Goddard wrote this issue rather than Joss, I didn’t want a bunch of people reacting by saying, "Did Joss know about this?!?" Those of you who get what we’re doing with Season Eight would not ask that question, but I assume the casual reader might not fully understand.

For the first time tonight, I spent some time on Whedonesque, and it was interesting to see the reactions—reactions posted in response to the Times article, before the comic was released, full of doubt about where the story was going; and a separate thread reacting to the comic itself, much more supportive and confident about where the Buffy-Satsu thing was going—while also focusing on other aspects of the story, like Dracula’s reappearance. As for the Buffy-Satsu relationship, Whedonesque posters reacted about as I expected. Some dismay, some excitement, a small amount of disgust and disappointment. It’s a microcosm of the nation, albeit a bit left-leaning, considering how many of them proclaim Joss Whedon Is My Master. I just now got our first letter of comment on the issue, from a reader who likened the scene in question to sexually explicit fan fiction, and said that if this becomes a regular thing he’ll stop reading the book. Of course I hope he sticks around . . .

This story is going to speak for itself over the next few issues and the next few years. There are two things I feel the need to say. One: Joss did this purely for the sake of character development with his girl, taking her to the inner places that he takes his characters. Two: Everything Dark Horse did—setting up the New York Times article, advising retailers to order extra copies—was more our way of anticipating the reaction rather than cashing in. Not that we’re opposed to cashing in on our most successful comic—but with the Times, we wanted to get something from Joss out in front of the public, as I said above, and we wanted to limit it to one major feature on the day of release, and the Times felt like the most respectful and respectable place to do it. Regardless of what we did, we assumed that this issue would cause a major stir, would nab the attention of the national media more than, say, issue #10. In fact, ABC News called the day the issue came out asking for an interview with Joss, and other news outlets have followed. That kind of coverage was naturally going to happen, and with that happening, new people will go into comics shops looking for it. Joss had told us we could not tell anyone what he and Drew were up to prior to the day of release. But we felt that if retailers were given no warning, and didn’t have extra copies to sell, they’d be losing money on books they could’ve sold—they’d be mad at us for that. So advising them to order extra copies in advance, but not telling them why, was our calculated risk, which we hoped would just make them better prepared for when the Times article hit the streets.

Bottom line—after reading Buffy #12, you still don’t really know where this is going. Joss and Drew have a lot more twists for you, all totally driven by these great characters, and as usual threatening to reduce the characters to tears, or worse. Keep reading—there’s not another story like this out there.

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