Tagged: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Uneasy Lies The Crown on Anthony Head as Merlin Begins Fourth Season on Syfy Tomorrow

The poetic irony of Shakespeare’s phrasing is not lost on Anthony Head. When the Bard wrote that “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” even he could not have known what was in store for the actor Head’s royal character as the fourth season of MERLIN begins tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.

As the new season opens, Head’s character – King Uther – is a mere shadow of himself, mired in bleak despair after realizing that his illegitimate daughter Morgana has arisen to become his greatest enemy, using dark magic to besiege Camelot and its leaders.

The first of a two-part episode, “The Darkest Hour, Part 1” finds Morgana’s blinkered determination threatening not only Arthur’s future, but the very balance of the world. With her magic stronger than ever, the sorceress summons the mighty Callieach (pronounced “kay-lix”) to tear open the veil between the worlds. Hellish creatures – the Derocha – pour forth, killing any who succumb to their touch. With King Uther in dire straights, it falls to Merlin, Arthur and his loyal Knights to protect the kingdom.

Head, the beloved Rupert Giles of Joss Whedon’s cult classic TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, enters his fourth season as Camelot’s monarch Uther Pendragon. The actor has been particularly busy for the past year working in television on both MERLIN and reprising his role
on NBC’s Free Agents, as well as appearing in feature films, including The Iron Lady alongside Meryl Streep and the upcoming sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

QUESTION: After all that happened in Season 3, how has Uther’s perspective changed entering Season 4 … and how does that change things in Camelot?

ANTHONY HEAD: Uther is broken man. Everything that he basically believed in and held
as reality has shifted. I’d say he’s not playing with a full set of marbles. And all of that means Arthur has more responsibility, and there is another – Nathaniel Parker has joined the cast as Agravaine – who has been drafted to act as the chancellor, to politically help
Arthur. It’s an interesting and kind of logical progression from where we were. (more…)

Independent Comics Month-to-Month Sales: October 2011

Independent Comics Month-to-Month Sales: October 2011

Buffy appears in literature such as the Buffy ...

Buffy continues in the top spot, while a double-shipping Walking Dead takes second and third places. Turtles creeps back up to fourth, and Star Trek/ Legion of Superheroes gets off to a very promising start. Further down, Orchid benefits from a rock star contributor, Garth Ennis & John Byrne launch new titles and a remarkable success story finishes off the month.

This month everyone wants to know how DC’s New 52 has affected the sales of everyone else’s books. It’s a little too early to tell, the re-charting DC books have pushed a lot of indies off the charts, but while the indie publishers have a lot less titles charting this month, their market and dollar share have only dropped a little, suggesting that sales are up overall. The next three months will show the effects far more clearly.

Only 87 indie books charted this month, down from last month’s high of 127 and again the number 87 book sold around the same as the number 87 book last month. The bottom book sold 5,167 compared to last month’s 3,341. In total those books sold approximately 921,878, well down on last month’s 1,053,116. That said, last month the average sales were 8,292 per book, this month it’s 10,596.

MARTHA THOMASES: Superpowers Not Superheroes

So, along with everything else, I’m trying to write an original graphic novel. It’s taking forever because I have no deadline and I have a ton of other stuff to do. However, it’s on my mind all the time.

Which is fine, because I like my characters, and I like having them in my head. I like them even better since I spent the day with Mary Wilshire, the artist I hope to persuade to draw the thing. Her insights into why people act the way they do and what they look like doing it make everyone more interesting.

The problem with liking my characters is that I want to keep them out of harm’s way, which might be simple human kindness but makes for a dull story. The bad guys have to behave badly, the good guys have to behave well, and the main character must overcome obstacles to find her true self and her purpose in the world.

A writer is supposed to write about what she knows, and what I know about is avoiding conflict to the best of my ability. That’s always my first reaction, even if it’s not always the best reaction. I have to get out of my comfort zone to do the right thing, in my life and, especially, in this story.

The story is about families, about finding out who you are and what you want to be even though you might have been raised to be someone else. It’s about balancing what you need with what you want. It’s about accepting those you love because that’s what love is about, not because they behave the way they should.

So, yeah, it’s kind of a chick book.

Also, a few of the characters have superpowers. I like superhero comics, and I think, in this case, superpowers are excellent metaphors for what we bring to our roles within our families. A character with superpowers is more visually dynamic, more suitable to the graphic story format, for the purposes of this particular story.

So, yeah, maybe it’s not so much a chick book.

The conventional wisdom is that women don’t like superhero comics, that they are turned off by adolescent power fantasies. Since I enjoy superhero comics, I don’t agree with this theory. However, I do think that many women are turned off by puerile male adolescent power fantasies. They might enjoy adolescent power fantasies created by other women.

We don’t know this yet, because no one is publishing original material aimed at this market. In prose, the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse books are bestsellers. Dark Horse does really well with the Buffy-verse books, based on the phenomenally successful television series. Would characters that didn’t have success in other media do as well?

I hope so. Because that’s the kind of thing that might kick me out of my writer’s block.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

Earth Station One Digs Up Your Favorite Dead and Undead Characters

“I like your dress.”

Earth Station One Episode 83 is now live at http://www.esopodcast.com/.
Direct link: http://erthstationone.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/earth-station-one-episode-83-our-favorite-dead-and-undead-characters/

Continuing into the haunting season we thought that it would be fun to talk about our favorite dead and undead characters. Plus, we visit the Hellmouth and chat about the first season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with Nancy Holder, writer of Domino Lady, Buffy, and more. Nancy also climbs inside The Geek Seat and we discuss her upcoming pulpy projects. But wait that’s not all, we also will be talking to our friend Kevin Parker about Netherworld, one of the largest haunted houses in the south.

Domino Lady & Buffy Writer Nancy Holder

Join us for yet another episode of The Earth Station One Podcast that we like to call: Our Favorite Dead and Undead Characters

Table of Contents
0:00:00 Intro / Welcome
0:05:03 Rants & Raves
0:24:36 The Geek Seat w/ Nancy Holder
0:52:18 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1
1:37:48 Our Favorite Dead and Undead Characters
2:24:58 Kahn Report

2:37:38 Count Down to Halloween w/ Kevin Parker of Netherworld
2:52:05 Shout Outs
2:56:45 Show Close

Earth Station One Episode 83 – Our Favorite Dead and Undead Characters is now live at www.esopodcast.com. Direct link: http://erthstationone.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/earth-station-one-episode-83-our-favorite-dead-and-undead-characters/


It’s Women of Wonder Weekend!


In October 2006-2010, five annual Wonder Woman Day events raised over $110,000 for Domestic Violence programs in Portland, Oregon and Flemington, NJ. The five-year combination of auctions of over 1,100 original art pieces, plus collectibles, autograph signings, and photo opportunities garnered spectacular turnouts and four Portland Mayoral Proclamations.

This year, the event will take on a new name and an expanded mission! On October 30, 2011, the new Women of Wonder Day — again as a part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month — will take place, returning to Excalibur Books in Portland, Oregon, and Comic Fusion in Flemington, New Jersey, as well as at Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio, Texas.

This year’s contributions for auction include not only artwork featuring heroines from the world of comics — Wonder Woman, She-Hulk, Storm, Michonne from The Walking Dead, Leetah from ElfQuest — but also from the world of media as well, including Lisbeth Salander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hermione Granger, and others. Plus, TV series such as Glee, Nikita, The Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Chuck have donated special items as well.

The all-ages events will include artists and writers signing autographs at each event, as well as costumed characters with whom you can take photos. And in Portland, white-hot writer Brian Michael Bendis is auctioning off a role in one of his upcoming comics. Other contributors include Lar DeSouza, Dan Parent, David Lloyd, Gilbert Hernandez, Nicola Scott, Wendy Pini, Yldiray Cinar, David Mack, Ethan Van Sciver, Jamal Igle, Katie Cook, Michael Golden, Neil Vokes, Terry Moore, Ben Dunn, Billy Tucci, Bob Layton, Charlie Adlard, Don Kramer, Doug Mahnke, Humberto Ramos, Jeff Moy, Joe Benitez, Phil Hester, Scott McDaniel, Stephane Roux, Patton Oswalt, Robin Williams, Rick Riordan, and of course, Lynda Carter.

Details about the three events follow:


MINDY NEWELL: Chest Hair Or No Chest Hair

Walking home from food shopping, thinking about this week’s column. Thinking about all the “news that’s fit to print” (and some not) about the portrayal of women in comics. And I thought, has anyone written about the portrayal of men in comics? I’m talking down and dirty, hot stuff, glistening muscle, chest hair or no chest hair?, blue brown or green eyes, skin-tight costume, hunky super-duper M-E-N.

Distaff geeks unite!

I’ll start. Off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

  • Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine. Chest hair. Goddamn, he’s sexy.
  • Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin in New Teen Titans written by Marv Wolman and drawn by George Pérez. He looked like a guy I had a crush on in high school… and for years afterwards.
  • Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, drawn by Curt Swan, Jerry Ordway, John Byrne, and many others, up to and including Rags Morales and Jesus Marino.
  • Hal Jordan, a.k.a. Green Lantern. Just read recently that Julie Schwartz wanted him to look like Paul Newman. Explains a lot.
  • Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops. Who’s behind those Foster Grants?
  • Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. It was Revenge of the Nerds, thanks to J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr!
  • Adam Strange. Why can’t a Zeta-beam land him in my bedroom?

Now for the “live-action”:

  • Christian Bale makes delicious eye candy and engenders dirty thoughts as Bruce Wayne/Batman. But isn’t it odd that the comic version doesn’t make my “off-the-of-my-head” list?
  • Of course the true superhero, Christopher Reeve. “Easy, miss. I’ve got you.”
  • And I have always, always, always had a thing for Robert Downey Jr. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Iron Man. Even sat through Iron Man more than twice just to look at him. Special mention for Sherlock Holmes.
  • Not so much for the blondes, generally. Though there is Chris Hemsworth as Thor. And Robert Redford (“See ya, Hubble”) in The Way We Were. And Jason Lewis as Jared Smith on Sex And The City – the scene where he shaves his signature long, blonde, thick hair in solidarity with Samantha as she loses her hair due to the chemotherapy, well, every man who has ever questioned why his girlfriend or wife left him should be chained to a chair ala Malcom McDowell in A Clockwork Orange and forced to watch that scene over and over and over until he screams Igetitigetitigetitigetit!

uh, sorry ‘bout that. where was i? she said sheepishly.

  • John Wesley Shipp as The Flash on the too-soon cancelled TV series.

No quibbling allowed on the next four. I am the columnist. I am allowed my all things Buffy. Anyway, maybe they started out as live-action characters, but they all appear in comics now. And don’t give me any lip about any of them not technically being superheroes. I don’t see you fighting demons and vampires and saving the world over and over again.

  • David Boreanaz as Angel, first on Buffy and then on the eponymous TV series. Broody, morose, dark and tragic. A vampire Hamlet.
  • Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I envy Alyson Hannigan.
  • James Marsters as Spike, a.k.a. William the Bloody. Just for the record, I’m one of those who believe in Spike and Buffy 4 Ever. S.W.A.K.
  • J. August Richards as Charles Gunn. He almost didn’t make the list, ‘cause his selfish actions led to the death of Fred, but I can’t deny that bod’!
  • Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles. Loved him ever since the Folger commercials. ‘Sides, I’m a sucker for British accents. Ask John Higgins.

What’cha think of my choices, fellow geek women? Who are yours? Martha, y’ wanna start?

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

Eliza Dushku is a purr-fect fit for Catwoman in Batman: Year One and animated short

Eliza Dushku has taken command of Catwoman and she’s not about to give her back.

The star of Dollhouse and Tru Calling, and a vital part of the amazing Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast, provided the voice of Selina Kyle/Catwoman for Batman: Year One, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. A few short months later, Dushku was quick to accept a return to the role as the title character of the DC Showcase animated short Catwoman.

From the moment she accepted the role, Dushku was keen on making this character her own – and coming back to play the character as often as possible. Given her performance, it’s doubtful casting director Adnrea Romano and executive producer Bruce Timm would look elsewhere the next time the sometimes vigilante, sometimes villain appears in a script. (more…)


Oh, alas. Rest your sorrowing gaze on the gap, the fracture, the breach, the crack, the cavity, hole, crevice – might it even be a lacuna? – and join my lament.

And what, exactly, is that lament? And the gap/fracture/breach and the rest…what are we referring to here?

Well, in case it’s not obvious by now…we’re complaining about the absence of superheroes in the television season that’s a’borning. Not that such an absence is exactly novel. Since Superman made his video debut in 1952 – the Man of Steel was TV’s first costumed superguy – there have been more years without broadcast superheroes than years with them. But they have been sprinkled throughout the schedules in an odd, here-and-there fashion.

Some of them may have been among your favorites. Remember Captain Nice and Mr. Terrific? The Hulk? Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? Shazam? Isis? The Flash? The Greatest American Hero? How about Sesame Street’s Super Grover? If you can tolerate your superheroes minus costumes, the list can be expanded: The Six Million Dollar Man and his female counterpart, The Bionic Woman; The Dark Angel, which introduced many of us dirty old men to Jessica Alba – and yes, we are grateful; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (more gratitude from the DOM squad); the SyFy channel’s Alphas

I’m not going to insult you by mentioning Batman, but do you recall the show that was apparently meant to capitalize on Batman’s popularity, The Green Hornet?

This list is, I’m sure, incomplete, but you get the idea. Superheroics have been almost television staples for a long time – not as constant as cop action or goofy folks doing goofy things in the sitcom universe, but pretty familiar.

Not currently, though. We thought we’d have an adaptation of one of the classic comics characters to amuse us in prime time and I, for one, eagerly anticipated the new Wonder Woman, as presented by David E. Kelley. Mr. Kelley – he deserves the honorific – is, arguably television’s best scripter, especially now that Aaron Sorkin’s gone elsewhere. I’ve been aware of him ever since Picket Fences in the 90’s and I think Boston Legal was a small weekly miracle. (His current show, Harry’s Law, is pretty damn good, too.) One can’t help wondering: what would Kelley, whose previous work never got near fantasy-melodrama in any form, have done in such unfamiliar territory? I can’t say that we’ll never know because, these days…DVD? Limited cable exposure? YouTube? But we don’t know now. (Or do we? Do you have information that I lack?)

Life is tough.

Know what would be swell? To see Wonder Woman as I first saw Superman 1952. Not knowing that some of the scenes depicting the destruction of Krypton were borrowed from theatrical movies, or noticing that the special effects were less than awe-inspiring – did they even qualify as special effects? No, just looking and accepting whatever was there, without judgment, being amused or bored as the occasion demanded.

But I’ve seen and read and written so much much much…and hell. I’ve even been an editor. I don’t have the capacity to look with an innocent mind at superheroes, or anything else, and that’s the real fracture in my life.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

MARTHA THOMASES: Of Soap and Comic Books

The big news in pop culture this week is not comics (although I’m excited about seeing Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman), but on television. Specifically, today is the last episode of the long-running soap opera, All My Children.

How long-running is it? The show started in January of 1970. Since then, it’s run for an hour a day, five days a week, except for holidays. Soap operas don’t do re-runs in the summer. They need new stories and they need them now.

I had always sneered at soaps before I watched AMC. I’d tried to watch General Hospital when Elizabeth Taylor was on, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I couldn’t get into it. A friend of mine got a few days’ work on AMC, though, and out of loyalty, I tuned in.

It was hilarious. My friend, a fashion model in real life, was cast as a nemesis of Erica Kane, a fictional fashion model. My friend was six feet tall. Lucci might be more than five, but that’s in heels. They had their skirmishes on staircases so Lucci could look her in the eye.

Still, the absurdities didn’t prevent me from developing an attachment to the characters. I liked Tad the Cad and his lovely sister, Jenny. Their mom, Opal, was a hoot. It didn’t bother me when characters would marry the same person two or three times. Even with a 15-year gap, I could still catch up with the show when I started to watch it again in the late 1990s.

Soap operas are a form of mass-market entertainment aimed primarily at women. They get their name because, traditionally, they’re packed with ads for soap – laundry soap, dishwater detergent, shampoo and bath products. To attract this audience, they tell women-centric stories, where love and family are fought for, and there are very few fist-fights, on staircases or otherwise. On soap operas, before they have sex, men light dozens of candles and scatter rose petals on the bubble bath they just drew.

Soaps started to lose their audience when middle-class American women entered the workforce in large numbers. Today, the networks can’t justify the expense to cater hire large casts for scripted dramas that run in the daytime.

However, while soaps lost audiences in the afternoons, they gained influence on prime-time television. Not just shows like Dynasty and Dallas, but most dramas have developed the kind of intricate, long-form serial stories you find on soaps. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Homicide: Life on the Street and Mad Men are just a few critically acclaimed and award-winning shows that show their foamy influence.

What does this have to do with comics? Mainstream comics also show soap influence. When I started to read comics, every issue was self-contained, and most stories were about the fights and the powers. Now the characters have more developed emotional lives, and readers are as caught up with the personalities as they are with determining who would win in a fight.

The audience for pamphlet comics is shrinking more quickly than the audience for daytime soaps, and it was never as large to begin with. At the same time, comics’ influence is everywhere. Not only are comics optioned for the movies and television, but the kind of story-telling techniques developed for comics has been as influential to the current generation of filmmakers as the French New Wave was to my generation.

So maybe there aren’t that many people who want to go to a direct market store, but there are a lot of people who might want to read graphic stories. The growth in bookstore sales of graphic novels proves this, and we’ll see if digital delivery grows the audience as much as we’d hope.

When DC was preparing to launch the line of science fiction comics that eventually became Helix, I remember having a conversation with editor Stuart Moore. It seemed to me that he had an interesting line that would appeal to fans of the genre, but I wasn’t sure how they would find the books if they didn’t already go to comic book stores. There were critics who might consider reviewing the Moorcock series, but they’d want to see the entire storyline. Why can’t we publish graphic novels first? I wondered.

The answer, unfortunately, was a combination of inertia (this is the way we’ve always done it) and a market model that wasn’t about to change for the chance of success with a few titles. The only hit to survive the line was Transmetropolitan, and I’m willing to bet it has sold more copies in collected form than it did as a monthly title.

It’s been bittersweet watching the last few episodes of AMC. The writers are taking ridiculous chances (returning characters from the dead) and giving most of the long-running characters some happiness. I felt the same kind of affectionate sadness at the last month of the DCU titles. Maybe it was sentimental, but I liked it when Bruce Wayne got a note from his long-dead father (then alive in an alternate universe), in which Thomas told his son how proud he was of him.

That was the kind of thing that could happen in the Valley.

Dominoed Daredoll Martha Thomases will have to find something else to watch as her treat for getting work done.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

Review: “Vamped” and “ReVamped”

Summer will be here before we know it. That means vacation and beach reading time! And what summer would be complete without a vampire to cozy up with? (We remind you that [[[True Blood]]] season 4 premieres on HBO June 26th.)

This summer, let me recommend that you bring along installments 1 & 2 of Lucienne Diver’s Vamped series (Vamped, [[[ReVamped]]]; installment #3, [[[Fangtastic]]], comes in January, but watch for her urban adult fantasy Bad Blood out June 28th). They’re upper-level Young Adult novels, but I say, why should the kids get all the goodies? And these vamps do not sparkle, as if, thank-you-very-much! These books are the paperback equivalent of umbrella drinks – sweet, tasty, gone before you know it, go to your head, and can’t drink just one!

So, y’see, there’s Gina Covello (Hey! Diver’s Italian from the ‘burbs—she writes what she knows and kicks it—y’got-a-problem-wit-dat?!), the snarky, high school fashionista and, well, she has a bad day and suddenly she is, indeed, a vamp. Now what?! No mirrors—how do you do hair and make-up?! OMG! ‘Cause it is All About Gina—only it’s not. After all, she’s got a posse—and an anti-posse of evil to defeat! She may be snarky, but she’s a righteous chick! And, of course, she’s got a heart-throb BF by the name of Bobby Delvecchio (“of the old ones”…nice pun, that!) and the road to romance and adventure is full of twists and turns and…stakes! ‘Cause who wants to spend eternity being bored?! A whole lotta vampy goodness goin’ on.