A teenage foe of vampires who drove a stake through the idea of what heroes should look like.
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By Joss Whedon, Creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
"One thing you can't claim with vampires is first. I do feel Buffy was part of a watershed moment. Somebody's always going to tap that well and find a way to reinvent it, and ultimately my show was less about vampires than most shows with vampire in the title. The show's about growing up, which for her was basically ages 15 through 22, but the kind of 15 through 22 where you fight wars. She went from an adorably hapless Everyman to a struggling grown-up leader, from someone who felt very, very young to someone who felt very, very old--which, oddly enough, is the experience at that age. There's a whole recipe for how to make a Buffy. Take one cup Sarah Connor from the first Terminator movie; one cup Ripley [from Alien], three tablespoons from the younger sister in [the 1984 postapocalyptic comedy] Night of the Comet; a few sprigs of A Little Princess--the book, not the movies; and a pinch of Jimmy Stewart for pain, because nobody does better pain. Sarah Michelle Gellar brought that pinch of Jimmy Stewart, which was our nickname for her. She could connect with the audience while in the throes of what could be an overblown story line and just ground it and make it human and desperate and lovely. That's Sarah. Also, she was way more girly."
Also, check out this illustrated book that explores Buffy's physicality as determined by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the series and how she's presented in the comics. Seriously, it's awesome and if you're a Buffy fan, you'll dig how the author explores the physicality of Buffy's character. The author is a "self-identified feminist" and I'm finding her work to be very thorough and thoughtful.
Okay, it's official. I'm in love with this analysis. I haven't even gotten through all of it yet! but yes, LOVE. On page 8, the comparison between Buffy on Chen's Season 8 Issue 1 cover compared to SMG shows that Chen has drawn Buffy... with MALE PROPORTIONS. Okay, the author didn't say it, but that's how it reads: broader shoulders, hips slimmer than breastbone and way slimmer than shoulders, longer torso--doesn't that sound like how Buffy would look if she were genderswapped in a fic? Seriously.
I can't wait to see how the analysis goes for Jeanty's representation of Buffy's body. Apparently the older comics did a better body representation which is interesting, but I see it.
I disagree with some of the Schumacher's conclusions. Frex, she says "slow down" to saying Season 8 isn't exploitative and shows examples of more exploitative imagery. She's saying that yes, Season 8 should bend to comics standards first when I say Season 8 should bend to the primary text's standards of how women's bodies are represented. She also notes how the comics lack of budget can be a boon by citing werewolves depiction (something I even made an icon of months ago "No Budget = Good"). I do agree that Jeanty has been successful in depicting the expressiveness of Buffy's face and that to me is the essential part of Buffy's character--also the expressiveness of her eyes.
I am disappointed that Schumacher didn't analyze Jeanty's Buffy against SMG, though. The visual would have been a nice addendum. I'm still kinda flummoxed over the realization that Chen masculinized Buffy's body for that first cover.
Finally, if you don't take the time to read through this entire thing (but you should!), the very final page has the Dawn centaur cover and apparently... that's a spoof of a Superman comic where Lois Lane was magically transformed into a centaur (OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!!!). So once again, the WTFery of Season 8 is because WTFery is normal and even historical in the comics. Again, I think Season 8's weakness at being an official continuation is that it's worked too hard at abandoning its source--the primary text of BtVS. There truly does seem to be a divorce between TV show Buffy and Comic Buffy, not only in storyline content but imagery as well.