Category Archives: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Guest Blog Posts

With my monthly column for legendary women and occasional posts on Thought Catalog, I guest blog more than I blog on my own site. The thought occurred that I and others might want to find them all. So here they are:

Legendary Women

Game of Thrones Season Six Wrap Up June 2006

DC Bombshells Rewrite History Mar 2016

“Is it more sexist not to hit you?”- The Women of Deadpool Feb 2016

Comparing Rey Amberle and Wonder Woman Jan 2016

2015 Geek Girl Power Comics Shopping Guide Part 1

2015 Geek Girl Power Comics Shopping Guide Part 2

2015 Geek Girl Power Comics Shopping Guide Part 3

Skye’s Heroine’s Journey 2015

Supergirl Pilot 2015

Joss Whedon’s X-Men 2015

Doctor Who and Missy 2015

CW’s Vixen 2015

The MCU Black Widow 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 2015

 

Also article and interview about my Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey:

http://www.legendarywomen.org/content/buffy-and-her-journey-heroine

http://legendarywomen.org/content/valerie-frankel-author-buffy-and-heroines-journey-interview

Thought Catalog

Hot Teen Vampires And Werewolves: How Did They Start, And More Importantly, Who Gets The Girl? 22 Mar 2016

Game Of Thrones Season Five Wrap Up: The Book vs The Show And Where We’re Going

One of the big disappointments for me (and I’m not the only one) were the Sand Snakes.

28 Jul 2015

How Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is Very Joss Whedon

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned, and to no one’s surprise, Skye’s new plot expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe while simultaneously transforming her into a superhero.

8 Apr 2015

The “Strange, Young-Old” Peter Capaldi Will Bring Doctor Who Back To Its Origins

More to the point, this Doctor is on a mission to find the Time Lords and restore the balance, returning the series to, perhaps, its mid-series premise of a “secret-agent-man” Doctor taking orders from the higher-ups and interpreting them to his rebellious liking.

20 Aug 2014

12 Game Of Thrones Mysteries That Are Going To Drive You Crazy

Who will win? Who will finally take the Iron Throne?

11 Jun 2014

“The Day Of The Doctor” And The Hero’s Journey

“The Day of the Doctor” is a perfect Hero’s Journey arc…if “The Night of the Doctor” (the brief online minisode available here) is included.

26 Nov 2013

Game Of Thrones Recap: Thoughts On The Season 3 Finale And Beyond

After last week’s WHAM! of an episode, viewers approached with trepidation. However, this episode was mainly wrap-up. Walder Frey gloated, Joffrey gloated, Tyrion and Tywin debated ethics, Tyrion broke the news to Sansa, Arya took a very small revenge.

10 Jun 2013

Other Websites

Hogwarts Professor: Aug 21, 2013 – Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Alchemy

Denise Derrico’s Key of Dee: Jan 2016  Why Rey Needs a Light-Chakram 

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Filed under Books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Comics, Doctor Who, Films, Game of Thrones, Heroine's Journey, Star Wars, Superheroes, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fantasy

Call for Papers: The Future of Whedon

We all know and love Buffy, Firefly, Avengers, and the other big Whedon projects. But what’s on the horizon—giant Marvelverse movies and tie-in shows? What about the smaller, long-rumored projects like Doctor Horrible 2, Ripper, Wastelanders, The Serving Girl? Whedon just created Bellwether Studios to produce Much Ado About Nothing and In Your Eyes. Will he do more Shakespeares like Hamlet? Film his decades-old scripts like Afterlife? What of the beloved Wonder Woman?

This collection welcomes speculation on proposed projects like those above and analysis of the unmade movie scripts (Afterlife and Suspension are up on http://writetoreel.com and Wonder Woman has popped up in a few places like Scribd). There are many recent unexplored Whedon projects: his Equality Now skits on YouTube “Evil Robot,” “Zombie,” and “When I Speak.” There’s also the documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope and the Buffy Season Eight and Astonishing X-Men Motion Comics. The comic books themselves could use more analysis as Buffy, Angel, and Serenity continue.

Subtopics
While the collection will include analysis of recent projects, plenty for the big ones (Agents of SHIELD, Avengers, Much Ado, Cabin) have already been received. Likewise, no more analysis of old projects (Buffy, Firefly) is needed.

These areas could use more submissions: Any perspective (gender, race, literary, cultural, television or comics studies, etc.) is fine, including comparison to Whedon’s older shows:

1. New Spinoffs (comic continuations, other Whedon comics, computer games, and fan videos): Looking for Buffy seasons 8-10, Serenity comics, Agents of SHIELD TV-tie in comics, Spike Into the Light, Spike comics, Angel and Faith, Angel: After the Fall, Sugarshock, Myspace Dark Horse Presents Buffy shorts, etc. Likewise, older movies and comics in a post 2010-context (X-Men 3 vs Whedon’s X-Men Gifted), etc.) are welcome.
2. New Mediums (conferences, Browncoats, Serenity showings, web releases, Whedon’s blog and posting boards, social media): No one (possibly ever) has written on his new movie In Your Eyes or his Equality Now skits and “Whedon on Romney” (all on YouTube) or his Comic-Con Documentary. These are all released with unusual mediums, a topic worthy of exploration. He also wrote and directed The R. Tam Sessions (now on Youtube) as a promo before Serenity. I might take one or two on Doctor Horrible or Commentary The Musical as new mediums and/or Whedon’s relationship to other web shows like The Guild. Homages to Buffy or Firefly in recent television could fit here. Whedon also directed Glee and The Office, if anyone wants to analyze those.
3. The Future – what Whedon could/will/might/wants to do next. This includes unmade movie scripts Afterlife, Wonder Woman, Suspension, or others. Shows in preparation or rumored: Doctor Horrible 2, Avengers 3 or other Marvel, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, New Buffy movie or Spike movie, Firefly continuations, The Serving Girl, Goners, Wastelanders. (There are many interviews and leaked rumors about these available, and speculation is welcome.) Other speculative projects such as “What if Whedon had Written Agent Carter” are acceptable.

This is a friendly sounding (not academic) collection that will be published as an ebook for Whedon fans with short pieces to be written in the style of PopMatters, the publisher of this collection. (Samples are up athttp://www.popmatters.com/item/buffy-the-vampire-slayer1/) Final essays 2000-3000 words, MLA format. Proposals with optional bio or cover letter should be sent to valerie @ calithwain.com, subject THE FUTURE OF WHEDON by Feb 9. Finished papers due Mar 12. (and I’ll try to answer questions/comments below) Happy writing!

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Filed under About Me, and Publishing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Comics

Comic-Con News and Announcements

Ah, Comic-Con. The weekend when EVERY FRANCHISE shares upcoming news, trailers, first glimpse, and spoilers, in such a way that my own projects go crazy. I don’t just geek out — as those who know me know, I use the new info to write books on Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and the fans themselves (there’s a big fat list of my books at http://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Estelle-Frankel/e/B004KMCLQK/). So as I collect all these juicy announcements on my favorite fandoms, complete with writeups and articles, I thought I’d post them all in one place…then see how many new books I’ll be writing.

The Game of Thrones Comic-Con panel sounded like overpacked fun…jokes, bloopers, and Sand Snakes casting (writeup at http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/07/game-of-thrones-panel-sdcc-2014). With FIVE books on GoT, I think I’m covered.

BBC One has confirmed that Sherlock series 4 and a new special will be filming in 2015. http://www.hypable.com/2014/07/02/sherlock-series-4-special-filming-announced/ I have a book on the canon and pop culture references in seasons 1-3, but I’m sure another Sherlock book is due. Perhaps on relationships and characters.

News and promos for the third Hobbit. Peter Jackson said they hope to have a museum one day of The Hobbit and LOTR (unsurprising — the Harry Potter one does well). My Hobbit parody (on the first movie) is much-liked, but the sales figures aren’t really high enough to push me to write a second, not to mention a third. We’ll see.

Just when we thought Battlestar Galactica was completely over, the movie is on its way…I hope. http://www.hypable.com/2014/04/07/battlestar-galactica-movie-universal-screenwriter/ … And yes, if they make it, I’ll do a BSG analysis book.

Marvel’s AvengersAssemble Season 2 is coming: http://youtu.be/Tku2Pgdftx8. Age of Ultron approaches as well, after Guardians of the Galaxy. I am writing an essay on Black Widow for an anthology, so I’m keeping an eye out for all her different versions. Also, I have planned (okay for years) to write a book on the heroine’s journey among superheroines. With so many Black Widow adaptations and now a Wonderwoman movie in the works, the time may be right. ish. And I have an Avengers book planned in time for Ultron.

Trailers for Insurgent (I have one book–that should cover it), Mockingjay (two books–again, covered), The Giver (childhood staple) and The Maze Runner (just read book one) all showed. I COULD do a Maze Runner/Giver book on boys’ dystopias having done three on girls’ dystopias.

Buffy season ten (comics), Angel and Faith comics, possible Wastelanders and still no news on our precious Doctor Horrible 2. But I just did a book on pop culture in the Whedonverse and I have more Whedon books coming any minute.

And plenty of beloved authors, costumes and classics, as the con is more packed than ever. Looks like I have some writing to do…

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Filed under Books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Comics, Convention Reports, Films, Game of Thrones, Pop Culture, Sherlock, Superheroes, The Hunger Games, Tolkien: Hobbit and LotR, Young Adult Fantasy

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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Filed under Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Comics, Pop Culture

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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Baptism, Sacrifice, and Resurrection: Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has all the characteristics of a superhero. She battles monsters as Chosen One and Slayer, born to defeat the forces of darkness and sworn to protect the innocent. By day, she passes for a teen like any other, with her secret known only to her mentor and best friends. And like Superman, Spiderman, and so many more, she quests on her own version of the hero’s journey.

On the heroine’s epic journey, she places the defense of family, friends, and loved ones above all. Buffy’s foes are misogynists, abusers, power-mad men, and most often vampires: demonic creatures that turn the helpless into murderers and devourers of life. She uses her gifts to defend abused women and frightened children, along with her vulnerable mother and little sister.

In all these great stories, the hero or heroine descends into death, and is reborn, more powerfully than before. This descent is a great trauma, one that frightens away all but the bravest. When Buffy finds out the great prophecies condemn her to die at the hands of the brutish Master, she quits being a slayer. She is galvanized to fight, however, when her innocent friendWillowis hurt by the Master’s senseless murders. As she puts it, “It… it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.” By traumatizingWillow, the vampires have threatened Buffy’s gentle, vulnerable side at its core. Buffy assures her she will do “What we have to,” and strides into battle, head high. With a defiant “Maybe I’ll take him with me,” she descends into the vampire lair and certain death, determined to protect those she loves.

Despite her crossbow and bravado, however, her slayer power is no match for the Master. However, Xander, her emotional side, and Angel, her love, arrive and administer CPR, bringing her back from her prophesized death through love and loyalty, the heroine’s greatest weapons. When she returns, she feels “strong” and “different.” Within moments she’s standing, determined to rejoin the battle. Empowering music fills the screen. “Oh look, a bad guy,” she says. She punches the vampire in their path and walks past him, not breaking her stride. She strides unhesitatingly up to the Master. With a final “You’re that amped about Hell…Go there!” she tosses him through the skylight, impaling him on a spike far below.

When the heroine resurrects, she is a new person, strong with the mysteries of the underworld and its arcane wisdom. She no longer fears her own mortality. While this first season finale foreshadows her later, more lasting death and resurrection, it also provides a turning point, filling her with inner potency.

Later seasons focus on her other relationships. Her mother dies, and her mentor Giles leaves forEngland, forcing her to grow up. As Willow grows in power, Dawn, Buffy’s younger sister, emerges as her new vulnerable side. In the fifth season finale, Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn, dying once again and then finally returning to life in the essential path of the Chosen One.

After this resurrection, Buffy must accept her responsibilities and grow into adulthood as Dawn’s guardian and an independent adult. She transcends her earlier status as misfit high school student and grows into womanhood, eternally protecting the helpless through the power of the Slayer.

 

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Buffy and the Warrior Woman’s Classic Quest

I just wrote the book Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey (Feb 2012, McFarland). And why not—it’s an obvious place to go. A long list of authors have analyzed Buffy’s becoming the Chosen One, refusing and then accepting her calling, and finally descending into death (twice!) to return stronger than before, with a deeper wisdom of adulthood and its costs. In these steps, the hero’s and heroine’s journeys are basically the same. But there’s really more going on.

There’s the hero’s quest, in which Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker battles his dark father, sacrifices his life, and returns stronger than before. There’s the lesser-known classic heroine’s journey in which Snow White or Psyche faces the evil stepmother and sacrifices her life to save her loved ones. And there’s the warrior woman’s quest, which blends both in a fascinating story arc. This is Buffy’s journey.

There are many warrior women: Eowyn, Artemis, Mu Lan, Annabeth of the Percy Jackson books, Xena, Elektra. The 2010 Alice in Wonderland, long hair flying over her shining armor. The upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman. And now Katniss of The Hunger Games has captured our hearts. These heroines ride and fight beside men, often dressed as men, like Alanna of the Tamora Pierce books. They follow the hero’s quest with male mentors and male weapons, fighting to defeat the dark lord and save the world. Yet after they succeed, they feel a discontentment, a lack of something. She has outfought all the boys and, in doing so, has become a boy herself. The heroine sets out again, this time questing for her lost feminine side. She battles the wicked stepmother and child killer, once more sacrificing her life, but this time to protect her most innocent self, the little sister Dawn Summers or Primrose Everdeen.

My study follows Buffy’s path as she defeats the male monsters of the patriarchy (the Master, the Judge, Angelus, and the Mayor) and then finds something is missing. She turns to other mentors than fatherly Giles: Professor Walsh, the “evil mom,” Dracula, the deep, mystical masculine and dark mentor, the savage First Slayer. All of these encourage Buffy to accept that death is her gift, that she needs the dark energy of the unconscious rather than the shallow masculine world of the everyday.

All this crystalizes in season five when Buffy gains a new sister to protect. The heroine’s journey is about rescuing loved ones: Meg Murray’s father and brother in A Wrinkle in Time, Coraline’s parents, and Katniss’s family and friends in The Hunger Games. Even Twilight’s Bella becomes a powerful shield when her baby daughter is endangered.  In season five, Buffy harnesses her new dark-born powers to accept that death is a gift and to save Dawn. She also battles the first of the female Big Bads, Glory. This blonde goddess is fashionable, flippant, and spoiled, like Buffy’s season one cheerleader self she must leave behind to become a good adoptive mother. After Buffy returns from death in the culmination of her heroine’s quest, Glory is succeeded by Dark Willow and the First, once again, Big Bads that mirror Buffy and try to slay the innocent while Buffy struggles to protect them.  Buffy finally grows into a leader, but also surrogate mom for an entire household of young slayers. At last she remakes the world, redefining it as a place of feminine power, where an army of her chosen ones can defend the helpless and take back the night.

While the hero always gets a sword (as Buffy does when she battles Angelus) or a knife (echoing Buffy’s stakes), heroines fight with tools of life and perception—holy water like Lucy’s healing potion, or a silver amulet like Buffy’s cross. Silver, seen in Artemis’s bow or Galadriel’s ring, is associated with mirror magic and sight because of its clarity. It’s also a symbol of purity and protection. The heroine is also known for a distance weapon like a bow—Katniss in The Hunger Games has a silver bow, then later a black bow of fire and death. Buffy too frequently shoots a crossbow.

Buffy’s ultimate weapon, of course, is the scythe, echoing the crescent moon and the ancient axes wielded by the priestesses of Crete. It is the death weapon, casting Buffy as the mature slayer, no longer a sweet princess clinging to her daylight powers. She rules the night and knows that death truly is a gift. And she pulls it from the stone, establishing herself as the one true slayer, the mythic hero coming to remake the world.

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Is Buffy Summers Totally Racist?

Principal Wood: Talk like that is taken pretty seriously where I come from-

Buffy: The hood?

Principal Wood:Beverly Hills. (“Help”)

Buffy is our beloved Slayer, champion of helpless girls everywhere. And yet, her speech patterns reveal a disturbing trend. She mocks Kendra’s language skills several times, imitating her accent, speaking to her in mangled Spanish, and otherwise treating her as inferior or a clichéd foreigner. She acts as if she has nothing to learn from Kendra, while she more eagerly adopts Faith’s lifestyle.

Around demons (the metaphorical “other” of Sunnydale) she’s likewise flip, even toward the proven “good” demons. “I don’t trust you. You’re a vampire,” she tells Angel. “Oh, I’m sorry, was that an offensive term? Should I say ‘undead American’?” (“When She Was Bad”). At this point Angel has proven himself an ally and saved her life. He’s certainly trustworthy, and taunting him about eying her neck as Buffy (along with Xander) does seems as cruel as taunting a recovering alcoholic. But Angel never feels he can drink animal blood in front of her, and Buffy acts disgusted whenever Spike tries. Even ensouled, they will always be “other.”

Buffy calls Riley a racist for his view of all demons as bad, but Buffy is much the same. We only ever see one token “trusted” demon aside from Angel, Spike, and Anya (who all become part of the Scoobies and therefore insiders). This is Clem, foisted on Buffy by Spike in several Season Six episodes before she has conversations with him. All other demons must automatically be killed—there are no innocents in Buffy’s endless battles. While most vampires eventually turn on Buffy, Spike’s trustworthiness in seasons five and six suggests vampires can rehabilitate. An Angel has shown us many nonviolent demons. Ironically, the Initiative does more to explore this question than Buffy ever does.

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