Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Buffy #4: No place like home

The fourth issue of the Buffy season 8 comic came out last week. It closes “The Long Way Home” story arc penned by Joss Whedon. That Joss is as big a feminist as ever, getting in sly digs at our still sexist culture. To wit, my favorite panel from the last issue:

In the issue we see the return of Warren. Yes, that Warren, the guy who killed Tara and later was flayed alive by Willow. Turns out he survived with the help of ex-rat, current-witch Amy. He tries to exact revenge on Willow (lobotomies, they’re not just for the insane anymore), but our gal Buf saved the day and through some mystical hooha Will gets to keep her frontal lobe intact. Now, I appreciate any crumb of Buffy goodness I can get. But I have to say the comics pale in comparison to the show. While I can hear the cadence and attitude written into the dialogue (hell, I even imagine all of the characters voices as I read them), it just doesn’t translate as sharply on the page. Also, I’m a little confused by the storyline. So, let me get this straight, now the entire United States military and human race wants to fight Buffy and her Slayer Army? Anyone else confused? No, just me? Fine.

Regardless of any possible confusion on my part, reading the comics is a welcome return to a genre I once loved. As a girl, I used to sit in the grocery store and happily read the comics as my mom shopped. I had a whole collection, from superheroes to Little Orphan Annie. But, then I stopped. Adolescence was a big cause. I went from Spider-Man to Tiger Beat (hey, don’t judge; you read them, too). Yet, I never came back as an adult, largely because I felt the genre had passed me by. It wasn’t because of my age, but instead because of my gender. I mean, how many women with breasts the size of watermelons and waists the size of twigs do you have to see before you go, “Oh, I get it; this is just for boys!”?

I thought this post at The Huffington Post summed up the whole sorry situation nicely. Which brings me back to Joss and why he, basically, rocks. In Buffy we have a powerful woman who is purposely not drawn like a pornographic fantasy. This isn’t a just for boys. It’s for anyone who likes strong characters. Plus it’s a reminder that just because comic characters are superhuman, doesn’t mean they have to be suspersexualized.


link said...

I appreciate your eternal wit and near perfect summarizing Ms Surrenders....but to refer the boys only comment(s) on big breasts and twig waists is a little stereotypical, so long as they point when they are supposed to say this boy... they work, Is Good. Go Buffy! And Tara(comon Amy or Willow, bring her back.

cassie said...

Yea i have been debating whether or not to read these or not. I was excited for a season 8 storyline but I was worried that I would be disappointed. But i do agree with the other poster. Bring tara back...

Helga said...

Oh wow, there is so much more to comics than big boobs and thin waists. Of course, if you only look at mainstream comics, that's all you're going to see, but there are so many good comics out there. If you ever want to read a good comic, try Neil Gaiman's Sandman or maybe Flight.
Sorry, just had to butt in, comics are an obsession of mine and I hate it when people only see the shiny, big-breasted surface.