Monthly Archives: June 2014

Call for Papers: Joss Whedon’s Comics

With dozens of nonfiction books on Joss Whedon’s works from Buffy to Avengers, one critical area has been ignored: Whedon’s comics. In fact, he’s written several series for Marvel and DC, along with independents and the many issues of Angel, Buffy, and Serenity comics for IDW and Dark Horse. While a few isolated essays have tackled Buffy season eight or Whedon’s X-Men run, there is no anthology devoted to only Whedon comics. Now that’s about to change.

Essays on any aspect of Whedon’s comics (as described below) are welcome. The completed essays should be 4000-5000 words. Essays must adhere to MLA format and be friendly and approachable, yet academic in scope and content. New papers or presented conference papers rather than reprints are appreciated. This collection is not yet under contract, but I have several interested publishers who are awaiting a list of essays to be included. McFarland, who publishes most of the Buffy criticism collections, will likely be on board.

Proposal Guidelines: Please send a 350-500 word summary of your proposed essay pasted into your email, along with a short professional bio or cover letter.

Direct inquiries and proposals can be sent to Valerie Estelle Frankel, pop culture author and professor, at valerie at calithwain.com with a subject of WHEDON SUBMISSION.

Abstracts are due Sept 7 (just extended), Complete papers Nov 30, 2014.

Essays on both canon and “less official” Whedon comics are welcome, as are comparisons between Whedon comics and other comics or other Whedon works. Discussion of comic conventions from canon to art to gender issues are also appreciated.  Other areas, like comparing Whedon’s Avengers movie, Agents of SHIELD, Doctor Horrible, or other shows to comics are also possible. On the shows, Buffy is compared to Spider-Man, Superman and Power Girl, Angel is compared to Batman so much Boreanaz was offered the role, Dark Willow parallels Dark Phoenix, Cordy and Fred are called Wonder Woman, and Xander and Giles are compared to Jimmy Olsen and Alfred…there’s paper material there, too. This anthology welcomes established Whedon scholars as well as enthusiastic new writers.

Which comics are Whedon’s? Canon comics include the following Whedon products (as Whedon wrote or supervised them).

 

BUFFYVERSE

Fray

Tales of the Slayers

Tales of the Vampires

Buffy: The Origin (reprinted in Buffy Omnibus 1)

Angel: Long Night’s Journey (#1-4) (reprinted in Angel: Omnibus 1)

“Always Darkest” (reprinted in Myspace Dark Horse Presents #4 or available online)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight (Whedon wrote #1-5, 10, 11, 16-19)

Angel: After the Fall, Angel: The End, and spin-offs

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Nine (Whedon wrote #1-2)

Angel & Faith

Buffy Season Ten and Angel & Faith Vol. 2  2014-

See https://valeriefrankel.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/a-guide-to-the-buffy-and-angel-comics/ for a more elaborate Buffyverse comics guide and reading order.

X-MEN

Astonishing X-Men vol. 3: (#1-24) & Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1 (reprinted as the collections Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Dangerous, Torn, Unstoppable)

“Teamwork” (in Giant Size X-Men #3, available online)

SERENITY

Serenity: Those Left Behind

Serenity: Better Days

Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale

“Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 – It’s Never Easy” (available online) by Zack Whedon

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon

DOCTOR HORRIBLE

Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon

DOLLHOUSE

Epitaphs by Andrew Chambliss, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen

OTHER

“Some Steves” (in Stan Lee Meets The Amazing Spider-Man #1)

Runaways vol. 2 (#25-30) (reprinted as Dead End Kids)

Superman/Batman #26 (p. 20-21)

Sugarshock 1-3 (reprinted in Myspace Dark Horse Presents #1)

 

Please contact Valerie Estelle Frankel at valerie @ calithwain.com with any questions.

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A Guide to the Buffy and Angel Comics

A guide to the Buffy and Angel comics with reading order follows:

Buffy: Omnibus 1-7

Angel: Omnibus 1&2

Spike: Omnibus

(These are basically noncanon, though Buffy 1 and Spike have parts that are considered canon, and Whedon wrote part of Angel 1. They take place mostly within the television shows.)

Angel: After the Fall Series from IDW (continues after the television show):

          Spike: After the Fall by Brian Lynch

  1. Angel: After the Fall by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch
  2. Angel: First Night by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch
  3. Angel: After the Fall by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch
  4. Angel: After the Fall by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch
  5. Angel: Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong
  6. Angel: Last Angel in Hell by Brian Lynch
  1. Angel: Immortality for Dummies by Bill Willingham
  2. Angel: Crown Prince Syndrome by Bill Willingham
  3. Angel: The Wolf, The Ram, and The Heart by David Tischman

(These three volumes are also available as Angel: The End).

 

Spike: The Complete Series by Brian Lynch

Angel: Only Human by Scott Lobdell

Angel: The John Byrne Collection

Illyria: Haunted by Scott Tipton and Mariah Huehner

(The canon on these is a bit more muddled.)

Buffy Comics

Fray (a slayer of the far future, should be read anytime before Buffy Season Eight)

Tales of the Slayers

Tales of the Vampires

Buffy Season Eight

This follows Angel: After the Fall (despite publication dates), but this could be explained by the slayers taking time to set up their base before the action begins.

8.1 The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon

8.2 No Future for You by Vaughan & Whedon

8.3 Wolves at the Gate by Drew Goddard

8.4 Time of Your Life by Loeb, Whedon & Moline

8.5 Predators and Prey by Jane Espenson

8.6 Retreat by Loeb, Whedon & Moline

8.7 Twilight by Meltzer, Whedon, & Moline

8.8 Last Gleaming by Whedon, Espenson, and Allie

Buffy Season Nine and Angel & Faith

These are all roughly concurrent with crossovers, published 2012-2013

9.1 Freefall by Joss Whedon

Angel & Faith 1: Live Through This by Christos Gage

9.2 On Your Own by Andrew Chambliss

Angel & Faith 2: Daddy Issues by Christos Gage

9.3 Guarded by Andrew Chambliss

Angel & Faith 3: Family Reunion by Christos Gage

9.4 Welcome to the Team by Andrew Chambliss

Angel & Faith 4: Death and Consequences by Christos Gage

Willow: Wonderland by Jeff Parker

Spike: A Dark Place by Victor Gischler

9.5 The Core by Karl Moline

Angel & Faith 5: What You Want, Not What You Need by Christos Gage

 

 

Buffy Season Ten and Angel & Faith Vol. 2 2014-

All of these listed are the “canon comics” (as in, Joss Whedon endorsed them as being a “real” part of the Buffyverse story, according to him). Semi-canon comics include those not endorsed but with characters that appear in the canon stories, like Brian Lynch’s Spike comics in the first Spike omnibus.

Obviously, there are additional licensed Buffy comics, collected in Buffy: Omnibus 1-7, Angel: Omnibus 1&2, and Spike: Omnibus. While Whedon has announced he didn’t have much chance to supervise them, his office would approve the concepts. Some comics were written by Whedon’s core scriptwriters, as Doug Petrie wrote Ring of Fire, Double Cross, and Bad Dog, while Jane Espenson wrote comics Haunted, Jonathan, and Reunion. James Marsters wrote the Buffy comic “Paint the Town Red.” Amber Benson co-authored Willow & Tara. Many other top authors have participated in the Buffyverse.

 

And finally, for deeper analysis, there’s The Comics of Joss Whedon, a scholarly essay collection.

A great deal of scholarship has focused on Joss Whedon’s television and film work, which includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers. But Whedon’s work in the world of comics has largely been ignored. He created his own dystopian heroine, Fray, assembled the goofy fannish heroes of Sugarshock, and wrote arcs for Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men and Runaways. Along with The Avengers, Whedon’s contributions to the cinematic Universe include: script doctoring the first X-Men film, writing a ground-shaking Wonder Woman screenplay, and co-creating ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Today, Whedon continues the Buffy and Firefly stories with innovative comics that shatter the rules of storytelling and force his characters to grow through life-altering conflicts.

This collection of new essays focuses on Whedon’s comics work and its tie-ins with his film and television productions, emphasizing his auteurism in crossing over from panel to screen to panel. Essays focus on the comic inspirations and subversive tropes of the Whedonverse, as well as character changes and new interpretations.

Available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011M7GJW2/

Table of Contents: http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/contents-2.php?id=978-0-7864-9885-7

 

JUST TO HAVE THEM ALL IN ONE PLACE, THE OTHER WHEDON COMICS:

X-MEN

Astonishing X-Men vol. 3: (#1-24) & Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1 (reprinted as the collections Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Dangerous, Torn, Unstoppable or on Marvel.com)

“Teamwork” (in Giant Size X-Men #3, available online)

SERENITY

Serenity: Those Left Behind

Serenity: Better Days

Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale

Free Comic Book Day: “Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 – It’s Never Easy” (available online) by Zack Whedon

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon

Free Comic Book Day 2016: “The Warrior and the Wind” by Chris Roberson & Stephen Byrne

DOCTOR HORRIBLE

Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon

DOLLHOUSE

Epitaphs by Andrew Chambliss, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen

OTHER

“Some Steves” (in Stan Lee Meets The Amazing Spider-Man #1) by Joss Whedon

Runaways vol. 2 (#25-30) (reprinted as Dead End Kids) by Joss Whedon or at Marvel.com

Superman/Batman #26 (p. 20-21) by Joss Whedon

Sugarshock 1-3 (reprinted in Myspace Dark Horse Presents #1) by Joss Whedon

Happy Reading!

Here are some links to Whedon’s comics that are free online:

Always Darkest: http://www.darkhorse.com/Features/eComics/1087/Dark-Horse-Presents-No-24?part_num=1&page=2
X-Men: Teamwork http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/giant-size_x-men_3.shtml
Serenity comics http://www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly
Serenity: It’s Never Easy http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?bid=4&tid=51833
Angel: After the Fall Recaps http://www.buffy-boards.com/showthread.php?t=36377
Angel and Buffy comics previews, excerpts and discussionshttp://slayalive.com/forumdisplay.php/1-Comic-Continuity
Superman/Batman and other samples:http://www.pinterest.com/valeriefrankel/whedon/

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones 4.9 “The Watchers on the Wall”

The hour battle was to my mind, quite unsatisfying. It was attempting the epic splendor of Blackwater, but that episode in itself resolved many plots as Joffrey, Sansa, Cersei, Tyrion, Pod, Stannis, Davos, and more all were tested in battle, with an uncertain outcome. In this episode, did anyone really think the Wildlings would destroy the Wall and everyone on it? Even the Watch seem rather confident. Also, there were very few main characters – no one liked Janos Slynt, so having him revealed as a coward does little. Ygritte and Gilly each get plot resolution, and Jon and Sam are tested in battle, as are many unimportant minor characters. But really, that’s it. There’s an hour of violence, and at the end, Jon says nothing was accomplished and another similar battle will happen the next night. So really, what was the point?

If the season is retelling all of book three there’s a LOT left for the final episode (no spoilers ahead): Jon Snow must deal with Mance and the Watch must defend the Wall again (as set up at episode’s end).

Other plots that need wrapping up include Arya and the Hound, Bran and his quest north (the episode is called The Children [of the Wood] after all), Tyrion and his family who must sentence him to death now.

Other characters like Margaery/Tommen, Bronn, Missandei/Grey Worm or Cersei/Jaime could conceivably have quick character scenes. Fans of the books will expect to see Stannis and company resolve his plot and Castle Black choose another commander (though perhaps this last will wait for season four). Lady Stoneheart is meant to arrive. And with all this going on, Daenerys surely needs to do something (though she sure hasn’t since taking Meereen). Quaithe was advertised as appearing in season four, so it’s likely she’ll come to Daenerys and point her in a direction for the next season.

Brienne and Pod are actually only supposed to start on their quest in book four, but thus far nothing at all has happened – a lackluster season arc for them. Theon and the Boltons feel like they had a decent season arc…they’re already in book five’s plot, but they actually disappear for books three and four, so this is understandable. Many fans were expecting a lot more from Asha/Yara Greyjoy and her dad –she ended the last season powerfully vowing to bring her brother home and a single scene with a single failed attempt is all she’s given us. (Of course, she has a book four arc, which may not start off till next season.) In fact Sansa Robin and Littlefinger, Lady Olenna, Ser Jorah’s banishment, and Oberyn’s quest for revenge feel like the only plots that have done their full arc and are finished for the season. They (and Oberyn’s family back in Dorne) are all perfectly placed for the next book.

HBO’s schedule says the finale is 66 minutes and maybe all this material is why. “It’s the best finale we’ve ever done, bar none,” Thronesshowrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss said in a statement. “The performances from our cast, the direction from Alex Graves, the VFX work, the new [music] cues from Ramin Djawadi—all of it came together in perhaps the finest hour we’ve produced. We’re immensely proud of ‘The Children.’ And a little intimidated by the episode, because now we have to get back to the business of season five and figure out a way to top it.”

Lots of us expect a wham in King’s Landing, but for veteran book fans who weren’t at all shocked by the Mountain and Viper’s book-accurate battle, it might be nice to offer a brief surprise. Meereen has stopped dead, Arya and the Hound is heavily set up and won’t surprise people much, and Bran and his friends aren’t being that interesting, but maybe there’s a twist coming. We can hope.

 

Free Giveaway now-Jun 30: The nonfiction fan guides to the bestselling series Women in Game of Thrones & Symbols in Game of Thrones https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/95141-women-in-game-of-thrones-power-conformity-and-resistance and

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/90930-symbols-in-game-of-thrones-the-deeper-meanings-of-animals-colors-seaso

 

Also out now: How Game of Thrones Will End. This series of silly answers is on sale at http://www.amazon.com/How-Game-Thrones-Will-End-ebook/dp/B00KNKD3SI by award-winning parody author Valerie Estelle Frankel. Perfect for book or show fans. It offers many different possible endings to the show, based in War of the Roses, Lord of the Rings, and Martin’s many other influences.

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City of Heavenly Fire Low-Spoiler Review

City of Heavenly Fire, the conclusion to the New York Times best-selling The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare has hit stores this week. At last Izzy-Simon, Magnus-Alec, Jocelyn-Luke, Maia-Jordan, and above all Jace-Clary resolve their relationships once and for all. With, yes, the steamy moments fans have long awaited.

The story is predictable in itself — book three saw tiny helpless Clary defeating her powerful father, steeped in dark magic, with a little misdirection and her magic power of drawing. Now as her evil brother raises his own army, could it be doubted she’d do the same thing once again? She and her friends, betrayed by bureaucratic adults and treacherous allies, descend into darkness once again, determined to save the world. They succeed, though as always, there are shocking costs. We have more classic heroine’s journey, more identity conflicts for Magnus and Jace, more Bible quotes and demon lore as the characters learn for the thousandth time that adults are untrustworthy and Sebastian is a slimeball.

The story has taken strange turns because of its sister-series: this book ties in a great deal of its prequel, Clockwork Princess, as after 150 years, Tessa and Jem find a way to be together and allude to their future watching over their descendants and kinfolk. Magnus alludes repeatedly to his short story collection, encouraging readers to go buy all the individual ebooks. With all this, it’s only surprising there’s no movie poster included. City of Heavenly Fire also introduces the main characters of the next series — Dark Artifices — and their conflict; we have a girl whose parents die mysteriously and her soulmate she’s forbidden to love in a tragic romance already begun. Emma Carstairs is foster sibling to the many Blackthorn children — they include a reclusive genius, an adoptive father to an unmanageable brood, children trained at arms who saw their parents die, a young woman outcast for being part-fairy and her lesbian lover, a rider of the Wild Hunt, and now, their distant uncle as guardian. The conflicts are all laid out. While readers can respect the larger world of history and space Clare’s universe now covers (with Institutes under attack across the world and new dimensions to explore), the book comes perilously close to establishing all its spinoffs more than telling its own tale. The Blackthorns are central, and other series that have written long generational sagas have risked losing interest as the characters get more peripheral (though admittedly, the Blackthorns are charming and offer plenty of material — their story offers a great deal). Clary and Jace will undoubtedly pop in on them, as their friends will.  Tessa and Jem are all prepared.

Not to spoil too much, but the ending was a bit too pat — the characters managed to have their cake and eat it too. This is a defensible choice for a YA series, and certainly, we didn’t want to lose our beloved characters, but it’s surprising how many happy couples — not just characters — managed to weather everything and stay together. Yes it’s a fantasy, but it’s a pretty dreamy one.

 

Also, those who haven’t seen the epilogue cartoon, available in Australia, visit this site: 

My book Myths and Motifs of The Mortal Instruments by Valerie Estelle Frankel (Aug 6, 2013) is in stores now!

With vampires, fairies, angels, teen romance, steampunk, and modern New York all in one series, Cassandra Clare is exploding onto the scene. This book explores the deeper world of the Shadowhunters:
· Parabatai, Nephilim, blessings, and runes
· Lucifer, Ithuriel, Lilith, Agramon, and other angels and demons
· Ancient legends of werewolves, vampires, and fairyfolk
· Clare’s clever Easter eggs from pop culture and literature
· The classic heroine’s journey
· Muslim angels, Hindu prayers, the Jewish Book of Raziel, and the Christian Grail
There’s something for every teen, as this book reveals unseen lore within the bestselling series.

 

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