The thread for our latest discussion for the After the Fall series - both Angel and Spike.  We will also include the discussions for the IDW comic books. 

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Yay!  Thanks, Cil!

I will still try to post in both the Season 11 forum and here as well.  

I just bought the latest compilation of the After the Fall comics even though I have the larger individual versions. It seems to have been re-titled Angel Season Six, part 1 & 2 with the names Whedon, Lynch, Urru and Runge on the cover.  

So this is what I'll be working from - here's a link to the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Season-Six-Joss-Whedon/dp/1631404385/r...

And here's the UK Version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Season-Six-Joss-Whedon/dp/1631404385...

Volume 1 collects Angel: After the Fall #1-12 and Spike: After the Fall #1-4.

The order seems to be:

First Night: Betta George, Spike, Connor, Lorne, Wesley, Kate, Gwen, Civilians, Gunn  

Spike: After the Fall

Angel: After the Fall

And here's the second book with link to the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Season-Six-Joss-Whedon/dp/1631406795/r...

And here's the UK version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Season-Six-Joss-Whedon/dp/1631406795...

I'm not certain what's canon in this one.  The writers listed are Whedon, Lynch, Armstrong, Mooney, Urru, Ross and Martino. 

Volume 2 contains: Angel: After the Fall, #13-27

Angel: Aftermath

Angel: This One Time

Angel: Become What You Are

Angel: Drusilla

Angel: Boys and Their Toys

Angel: Last Angel in Hell.

See - here's where I get confused.  What did Whedon approve and what didn't he approve in this?  His name is on the cover - so is it canon or not?  The back of the book claims that all of the text was presided over by Joss Whedon - but is that true?  Whedon seems to go back and forth on this - but I'm thinking that everything after the epilogue to After the Fall - Issue #23 - is semi-canonical or not at all after reading a bit on this issue. 

As for the other semi-canonical works that we know Whedon at least looked at and approved of, there is Spike: Asylum and Spike: Shadow Puppets - which introduce the canonical Betta George from After the Fall.  They are the only two Spike minis that seem to have been approved by Whedon at the time - when he read them, he loved them so much that he hired Lynch to write After the Fall - and they have several elements that made their way into canon.

Both take place during Angel: Season Five shortly before and during Smile Time and are mentioned in After the Fall.  I did find Lynch talking about how Whedon approved of his trilogy, Spike: Asylum, Spike: Shadow Puppets and Spike: After the Fall and most Buffy sites I've looked at seem to believe that they are semi and/or totally canonical due to Whedon's approval of the first two and his appropriation of so many elements.  They are also considered some of the best of the IDW comics. 

Spike: Asylum and Spike: Shadow Puppets are in the Spike Omnibus collection - here's the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Spike-Omnibus-Peter-David/dp/1600105394/ref=...

And here's the UK version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spike-Omnibus-Peter-David/dp/1600105394/re...

Individually, they are sold digitally:  Here's the link for Spike: Asylum: https://www.amazon.com/Spike-Asylum-Brian-Lynch/dp/1600100619

And here's the UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Spike-Asylum-Brian-Lynch/160010061...

Here's the link for Spike: Shadow Puppets: https://www.amazon.com/Spike-Shadow-Puppets-Brian-Lynch-ebook/dp/B0...

And here's the UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Spike-Shadow-Puppets-Brian-Lynch/160...

The other is Spike: The Complete Series which is the transitional issue between After the Fall and Spike's intro into Buffy Season Eight.  I think that we should perhaps at least look at these three series a bit for the parts that Whedon inserted and/or used and that later became canon. 

Spike: The Complete Series Amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.com/Spike-Complete-Brian-Lynch/dp/1613772858/ref...

And here's the UK version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spike-Complete-Nicola-Zanni/dp/1613772858/...

So Spike: Omnibus and Spike: The Complete Series contain the versions that I'll be looking at. Nothing else in the Omnibus looks to me to be canonical at all.  

I've got all the other later stuff of IDW - so I can talk a little about that in the sense of how it clashed with the ongoing Buffy Season Eight and is NOT canonical at all.  

Any thoughts?  ;)

So Spike: Omnibus and Spike: The Complete Series contain the versions that I'll be looking at. Nothing else in the Omnibus looks to me to be canonical at all.

 

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I just bought the digital series as well - was a tad confusing over at the site I purchased from on which parts of the entire series were in the compilations.   Looks like you got the better deal.  I did not even think to use Amazon.  I already had the Spike AtF seriesThanks for all the work I will use same - really a lot of the IDW books are not related much as canon to where the Dark Horse seasons took the characters.  Not that the books are not good, some are some are pretty silly like the Spike and his soul flu which brought us the infamous spike in Heart Shorts visuals.  

I have all the damn books because I just kept buying anything that came out since I still had so much interest in the characters.  What I discovered is that I like the digital copies heck of a lot more for reading and discussion process.

Why don't we just start with Atf and Spike Atf and we can bring in other issues you want to discuss on your schedule.  If you want we can do a quick read and discussion of the Spike Asylum as a way of getting into the last Lynch series - let me know. 

I went ahead and purchased that Spike Omnibus as I do not have this volume  - and I have all the issues of the last Lynch series so we can look at these whenever you want to start.  The After the Fall and the last Lynch series are most likely the ones that are most pertinent to Buffy S8.  Frankly, there is a lot of filler in the BS8 because Joss Whedon went on the working plan that gave freedom to the writers to create any story they wanted and not especially on the plan of making everything be a tight fit for the Twilight primary story so you end up with the, IMO, totally strange Xander-Dracula arc or some of the Willow-Saga issues and Dawn stories.  

The arc and Spike comic book that I liked very much which was not especially popular is the Jane Espenson Magical Mystery Tour Featuring the Beetles.  

My working plan for the IDW comics is that they are pertinent if they are related to the events in the series - I personally am not a diehard on Canon reader and fan.  I enjoyed the Spike spin off as I did the Angel Shadow Puppets.  I also enjoyed the other IDW comic books like the Old Friends or the  Angel: Auld Lang Syne but I like them as additional stories and not so much as important to the series.  

Too Many Friggin Comic Books!  I'm off for bed now.

American Aurora said:

Volume 1 collects Angel: After the Fall #1-12 and Spike: After the Fall #1-4.

The order seems to be:

First Night: Betta George, Spike, Connor, Lorne, Wesley, Kate, Gwen, Civilians, Gunn 

Spike: After the Fall

Angel: After the Fall

I'd heard AtF was being retitled Angel season 6 but I didn't realise they were bundling things in with it.  I'm really surprised Joss' name is just being plonked against the whole thing like that.  Presumably they wouldn't have done so without his OK, but he wasn't involved in Spike: AtF, of the other issues save for #1-17 and everyone knows that.  If you go back to the original individual issues (you can see them here), Joss wasn't involved in the others and wasn't attributed as being so before this that I've ever heard of.  All wiki entries etc that break down the writers for the ongoing series have always kept it distinct from Joss.  Hmmm.

See - here's where I get confused.  What did Whedon approve and what didn't he approve in this?  His name is on the cover - so is it canon or not?  The back of the book claims that all of the text was presided over by Joss Whedon - but is that true?  Whedon seems to go back and forth on this - but I'm thinking that everything after the epilogue to After the Fall - Issue #23 - is semi-canonical or not at all after reading a bit on this issue.

The cynical side of me just feels that IDW have seen a way of making the whole thing appear to carry approval by bundling it all together.  It certainly doesn't retrospectively validate it for me, seeing the publisher trying to claim it is all canon.  And I think it is really suspicious that they split the 17 issues Joss was involved in over the two volumes.  I assume that this was how they could put his name to both.  Yeesh. :s

I have Spike: AtF because it was Spike specific so I chose to buy that and I think people generally accept it as leading into AtF, but it doesn't carry Joss' name (just a thank you to him on the inside cover).  I have First Night and After the Fall.  I won't be buying #18 onwards.

As for the other semi-canonical works that we know Whedon at least looked at and approved of, there is Spike: Asylum and Spike: Shadow Puppets - which introduce the canonical Betta George from After the Fall.  They are the only two Spike minis that seem to have been approved by Whedon at the time - when he read them, he loved them so much that he hired Lynch to write After the Fall - and they have several elements that made their way into canon.

Both take place during Angel: Season Five shortly before and during Smile Time and are mentioned in After the Fall.  I did find Lynch talking about how Whedon approved of his trilogy, Spike: Asylum, Spike: Shadow Puppets and Spike: After the Fall and most Buffy sites I've looked at seem to believe that they are semi and/or totally canonical due to Whedon's approval of the first two and his appropriation of so many elements.  They are also considered some of the best of the IDW comics. 

I have the Spike omnibus (again just because it is Spike :D), so I'll happily read these too.  I don't think they are canon just because Joss liked them personally.  If he chose to use odd bits that just makes those bits canon.  Urrgh I don't know, I don't really understand why people can't just happily accept the idea of personal canon for anything they like which isn't unambiguously official/confirmed but can fit alongside canon?  Anyway, I have them. 

The other is Spike: The Complete Series which is the transitional issue between After the Fall and Spike's intro into Buffy Season Eight.  I think that we should perhaps at least look at these three series a bit for the parts that Whedon inserted and/or used and that later became canon. 

Again I have these.

I've got all the other later stuff of IDW - so I can talk a little about that in the sense of how it clashed with the ongoing Buffy Season Eight and is NOT canonical at all.  

Any thoughts?  ;)

Only that I think this latest 'season 6' collection is dubious as a sudden canon shift personally.  I'll happily read the summaries and may well accept a lot of the direction that leads into S8, but Joss' name was never against them idividually and so, imo, they just aren't canon without that originally or his clear statement since that they are now canon regardless (which I have no knowledge of him having given).  The split of the 17 issues he was definitely involved in plotting between the two volumes just seems a transparently deliberate tactic in this release to have his name on both covers and that it is irritating imho.

The magical mystery tour comes at the end of S8 I think Cil, if I remember right, before Spike returns in S9.  I enjoyed that too and I think it was gathered in the trade paperbacks (as it references S9 on the cover I assume it was chucked in with that), but it also doesn't have Joss' name to it individually.

I think it makes sense to read any of the omnibus ones as well as having a brief AtS 5 chat (if we are still planning on doing that) as they chronologically come first.  I think First Night references some of the first part of Angel AtF so originally was grouped to be read after the first volume of AtF.  Personally, I would read them...

  1. Spike: Asylum and Spike: Shadow Puppets (whilst discussing AtS 5)
  2. Spike Spike: AtF
  3. AtF volume 1 (#1-5)
  4. AfF voume 2 First Night (#6-8)
  5. AfF volume 3 and 4 (#9-12, 13-17)

(worth noting, the original volumes 5 and 6 which I don't have also give zero mention of Joss in them, imo they really are just trying to tag his name onto the whole lot suddenly in their new compilation)

...but I am happy to just go with whatever order I'm told to read them in. :D

Last thought... Joss said this when being interviewed in 2007 with Newsarama.com about Angel Season 6 - After the Fall, and is why I go on what he has/hasn't put his name to when 'whatever is in question' originally released (assuming he hasn't made a statement contradicting it since)...

JW: Canon is key, as is continuity. If you are massive nerd. Which I am. I believe there's a demarcation between the creation and ancillary creations by different people. I'm all for that stuff, just like fanfic, but I like to know what's there's an absolutely official story-so-far, especially when something changes mediums, which my stuff seems to do a lot.

:)

Okay, so that wasn't my last thought!  Not by a loooong stretch, ha! :D  I've been trawling around a little and got some quotes/info on wiki about gaining approval though not necessarily input...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffyverse_canon#Joss_Whedon.27s_invo...

Joss Whedon's involvement
A number of comments by Buffyverse writers have indicated that although they know they are not writing Buffyverse canon, overviews for their stories may still have been checked over by Whedon.

Referring to Whedon, Christopher Golden said:
“He has to approve everything. I should say, his office has to approve everything, so sometimes he gets more involved than others in doing those approvals.[12]”
In a separate interview, Golden said:
“There are times in both books and comics when I know he has gotten involved because the word, sort of, comes down from him.[13]”

Similarly, Peter David was asked about his comic, Spike: Old Times, and said:
“Ostensibly comments came from Whedon, although for all I know, it was from an associate.[14]”

Jeff Mariotte has revealed more detail of the approval process:
“I come up with a proposal that's eight or ten pages long and I submit that to Pocket Books. They read it and if they like it then they submit it to 20th Century Fox and the Buffy office. If everybody approves it then I can get to work... if I proposed doing something that was counter to what they wanted the direction of the character to be, they would tell me.[15]”

Mariotte implies that little input is given, only acceptance or rejection of general ideas:
“In the world of licensing there is a difference between 'approval' and 'input', and I'm not sure what the legal relationship between Fox and Mutant Enemy is. My impression is that Fox is doing everything in its power to make sure Joss is happy with what we do, and I know that Joss is looking at everything and making comments or thumbs-up, thumbs-down on stuff.[4]”

When asked how much attention he pays to licensed works, Whedon said:
“Not very much. I just don’t have time. I give them a few guidelines of things they should stay away from, things that we’re going to be dealing with or things that would disrupt the canon or things that are just antithetical to what I believe in.[2]”

Elsewhere, Whedon has pointed out that he has never entirely read a single Buffy novel, and has little time to devote to such material. He therefore knows little of the final product, or of their quality control.

Some of that seems somewhat contradictory as it sounds either very controlled or not very controlled. :s 

I also found reference to the licence loss of Angel for IDW, around the premature Twilight reveal right towards the end of S8.  These two articles below, to me, make it clear that there was very little coordination between the two titles.  Joss didn't even originally at least want IDW to call AtF 'Season 6', so who knows if he has even approved that change.  IDW felt that they should be able to claim canon because everything has to be submitted and approved (as per the information above), but clearly weren't told that it was canon from what Chris Ryall does (and doesn't!) say.  Joss' comments make it sound as if he very much views there being a distinct distance and difference between what he works on and what others produce that is approved (which falls in line with the quote I provided above from him about canon as key). 

It seems to me that Joss wants to try to stop there being big errors done by others, big problems or things that will cause a significant ripple to something he is planning, but he doesn't really get into the details of licenced/approved pieces that don't carry his name/have his direct involvement.  That makes sense for his attitude to Into the Light and the ongoing Angel series to me.  He was happy for them to do it (and for ITL despite the fact JM wouldn't have the continuity work done for accuracy) because it wasn't something he was putting his name to.  I think then that what is approved is more about what it doesn't do rather than what it does do perhaps and then it is only about it not hitting degrees of problems/disruption from Joss' pov, because he isn't putting his name to it and making it official canon.  That is how it seems to me anyway.

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5621928/idw-explains-why-theyre-giving-angel...

25/08/2010

It's been confusing in the Buffy-verse lately. In Angel's own comic, he's been a heroic champion, while in the Buffy comics, he's been... well... it's confusing. So it's good news that both Angel and Buffy will soon share a publisher.

Last week, IDW announced that they would be publishing the final story arc in their Angel comic this November. Then in 2011, Dark Horse, which already publishes the Buffy comics, would be taking over the Angel series. Which means IDW may have a few months to wrap up the often-fascinating Angel series they've built, and slowly turn him into the Big Bad that Dark Horse created. Or at least start to think about it.

If you've been following Dark Horse's comic, you realize that this could be a bit of a challenge. Buffy season eight has taken everything we knew about the Buffyverse, grabbed it by the ankles and spun it in a dizzying circle. So how will IDW weave in the gigantic character reveals and twists that have happened over at Buffy into the remaining issues of their Angel series? Or will they even attempt to at all? io9's Cyriaque Lamar asked Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing Chris Ryall about the transition:

When was it determined that Angel would dovetail with what's occurring in the Buffy universe?

I've been having conversations for months with Scott Allie and Joss about this. It's something I've wanted to work toward for a long time.

In Dark Horse's Buffy title, it was hinted that Angel would be the Big Bad for a while. To what degree were your creative teams aware of this development?

I got a sense from the comics that that might be where it was headed, but I got confirmation when that image leaked online.

What role did Joss Whedon play in the transition?

You mean the moving of the ANGEL license from us to Dark Horse next year? You'd have to really ask Dark Horse. But both characters factor big into their [Buffy] Season 9 plans, so I think in Joss's mind, it was just easier to coordinate if both licenses were under one roof.

You mention that IDW has "big plans for ANGEL well into 2011." We know that Wolfram and Hart will be playing a major role in the comic's finale, but are there any other projects within the Whedonverse we'll see at IDW?

Well, you'll see things on three fronts: the ANGEL series itself deals with not only the current "big bad," James — the angel whose been in the series since issue 18 — but also the return of W&H in issue 39. That issue kicks off the final 6-part storyline.

Also, the SPIKE series launching in October sees Spike in Las Vegas and is full of many familiar faces from both past SPIKE series (Betta George, Beck, Tok) and from the larger Whedonverse as well (Willow!).

Finally, the 4-issue ILLYRIA series will delve closer into the changes she's been going through and will be going through in the main ANGEL series as well. So all three books tell separate stories that are nevertheless all part of the same big world that we've built with Angel and company.

Will there be any sort of coordination between IDW and Dark Horse in compiling both the Whedonverse series for trade paperback collections? It was mentioned that the upcoming Spike miniseries would explain his presence in Buffy, for instance.

One unique thing about this particular arrangement is that we can keep all of our ANGEL and SPIKE books in print for years to come, so we'll definitely be doing that, from our SPIKE and final ANGEL storylines all the way back. Beyond that, any future collections that include Dark Horse material will be up to Dark Horse.

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5450287/buffys-big-bad-causes-trouble-in-the...

18/01/2010

Sometimes, sharing doesn't always work out easily, as has been revealed in the public fallout over the revelation of the identity of the Big Bad in the current Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic. Spoilers ahead.

As we reported last week, Dark Horse accidentally revealed that "Twilight," the mysterious villain behind Buffy's troubles in the Joss Whedon-driven Season Eight series, was actually Angel when an unedited version of the cover to May's #34 was released. Editor Scott Allie talked to Comic Book Resources about the revelation, and addressed what it would mean for competitor publisher IDW's Angel comic:

I talked to Chris [Ryall] at IDW last night, and I'm going to talk to him today to reassure him that it all connects and it's all going to jibe. That's one thing we wanted to reassure him of and to make clear. This isn't going to be some big conflict with the IDW continuity. It's all going to be made to work.

That wasn't enough for new Angel writer Bill Willingham, who contacted CBR with a statement about the topic:

Five scripts in, and counting, on IDW's ongoing Angel comic book series, I am not coordinating, nor have I ever coordinated stories with Scott Allie, Joss Whedon, nor anyone else at Dark Horse Comics. No one at IDW has ever instructed me, or suggested to me, ways in which I might conform my scripts to what is going on with Dark Horse's Buffy comics, which I've purposely not read, specifically to avoid being influenced by them. I've had exactly one short conversation, in passing, with Joss Whedon, which took place years ago and had nothing to do with these matters. To my knowledge I've never had a conversation with Scott Allie, beyond being introduced to him, at conventions and such, though I doubt even that much contact has occurred. I have however been told, in no uncertain terms, that Mr. Whedon is not available for contact concerning anything to do with the Angel series at IDW, because he is only working with Dark Horse. So I'm not sure how Scott Allie imagines he and Mr. Whedon plan to coordinate IDW's Angel series into their Buffy series, as is implied in the seventh paragraph of your article.

For Allie to suggest that he is in coordination with IDW, as he did in that seventh paragraph, is grossly misleading, at best. By intentionally allowing, encouraging in fact, the notion to exist among the comics reading public, that Whedon and Dark Horse are in any way steering, or influencing, the stories I help to produce in IDW's ongoing Angel series, Allie and Whedon are committing what is tantamount to taking credit for the work of others, a repugnant practice in any business, although I understand it is all too common in some.

As long as I am writing the Angel series for IDW, I will not be coordinating stories with any Dark Horse comic, period.

Joss Whedon himself then stepped in to explain his connection to IDW's Angel:

IDW got the "Angel" license, and Dark Horse still had the "Buffy" license. Scott and I concocted "Season 8," and Dark Horse has license to use any of the characters from Buffy, including Angel, Spike, Wesley and all of that. Not that anybody was going, "Let's do it! Let's use them!" but I thought, "The other company has them. Let's not bone them. At some point, Buffy and Angel have to be in the same panel. That's a given. But we can give them literally years before that happens. There's no sense in creating confusion amongst the fans and hurting a company that's just trying to do their best and put out good comics."

This was before I got at all involved with IDW. Then I read Brian Lynch's "Spike" series for them, and I was so impressed with what Brian did, I decided to hand him my concept for "Angel" Season 6. We don't want to call it "Season 6," of course, because I'm already doing that at Dark Horse, and we called that "Buffy Season 8" because I'm literally executive producing it, which is new for me in comics and a kind of weird title for comics, but it's exactly what I'm doing. I just didn't have time for that for "Angel" and IDW. I was as over-stretched as it is, and I was beginning to realize how much work "Buffy" was going to pull out of me. So I said to Brian, "We can't call this Season 6, but I can give you what we were going to do because I think it's a fun premise." Brian and I met a couple of times to discuss ideas. He wrote out a couple of outlines, and I tweaked them. And then I sort of sent him on his way. That was my involvement with the "Angel" franchise...

Chris Ryall has been great. He was very accommodating to do whatever would work for me [in regards to involving me in "Angel"] but unfortunately, what didn't work for me was work and I wasn't able to communicate with him that much beyond outlining that initial story. And there's been some confusion about all that, but everybody that I've dealt with has been very businesslike, gentlemanly, creative and cool...and really not, what's the word I'm searching for? Repugnant.

After everyone talking about him, IDW editor in chief Chris Ryall finally answered questions from the fans at Whedonesque about the whole thing:

From the start, we've submitted everything to Fox and Mutant Enemy for approval. And when we get that approval, in my mind, that has always meant what we did was canon. I mean, it'd be folly for me to expect Joss to approve everything himself. But I also know that him getting involved more directly on After the Fall really got people to stand up and pay attention to a greater degree.

So when Willingham says Joss isn't involved in his book, he means he's writing them and submitting them for approval, but the story idea and script and dialogue come from him. When they come back approved, same as anything, that's canon to me. We're doing stories that pick up on elements following After the Fall, so short of Joss Exec-Producing our comic too, I don't really see how these are anything but canon... I've always been interested in a crossover. Angel might be appearing in Buffy now, but I'll be damned if they can use without a full crossover taking place!

The end result of this whole internet tussle? Well, Twilight's identity has been ruined just months before of the real reveal and hopefully lots more people know about the (surprisingly enjoyable, as someone who didn't really like the first few issues) Angel comic. Does that count as one of those "the fans win" things...?

Interestingly Scott Allie seems to hate getting into canon conversations in Q&As and probably for the reason that things are approved but only Joss can say what he counts as canon that doesn't have his name on it (such as the Origin comic). In April 2009 in a Q&A for #24 he made the following comment to a question about the Angel comic's canonicity and tie in...

26. marcos.damata: I don't know if it's too much off-topic here, but is Joss still involved with Angel comics? After the Fall was obviously canon, since Joss was plotting it. But in Aftermath, it doesn't seem to have any Joss input in there. In case Angel/Spike comes to guest in Season 8 (or 9), will the events of Aftermath be considered (that is, assuming that the events of Angel After the Fall and Spike After the Fall will)?

Scott Allie: Not for me to say how involved Joss is with Angel anymore, or whether or not the new story is canon. Chris Ryall and I were writing back and forth this weekend while I'm at this convention, talking about the practicality of keeping our storylines separate. I think canon is something we'll only all be able to really understand in hindsight, as we pursue our separate storylines.

And although he doesn't comment on the IDW ones, the following from Jan 2010 for #31...

47. AndrewCrossett: The question of "canon" has reared its head again with all this business with squaring things up with the IDW comics. The usual (but not universally accepted) definition is that anything Joss writes or supervises is canon, and everything else is stuff done under license from Fox -- official, but not canon. "Canon" is the stuff that Joss himself considers part of *his* story, and that will be recognized as part of the history of these characters when he writes about them.

The usual list of comics canon is: From Dark Horse -- Buffy season 8 and the ancillary webcomics; Tales of the Slayers; Tales of the Vampires; Fray; Buffy: The Origin. And from IDW, the After the Fall comics he plotted with Brian. (Issues 1-17 and 23).

Are there any other Dark Horse comics we should be accepting as canon?

Scott Allie: Nope, those are them. Obviously all our Serenity stuff is canon, but in terms of Buffy, I think your list covers it. I don't count as canon those early comics we did with Jane and Doug, before Joss was working directly with us, like Ring of Fire and Haunted. With the old Buffy comics, of which I did a LOT, the goal was to do stories that fit with canon, that didn't conflict with anything, and which would never call your attention to their non-canon status. That goes for everything in the Omnibuses with the obvious exception of Origin. But maintaining that dance between canon and non-canon got so difficult toward the end that I launched back to Year One, and told stories that I was pretty sure Joss would never contradict, only because I knew he'd never flashback very much. For those Year One comics, I talked to him about what I was gonna do, and he told me it was okay, nixed an idea or two. But the concept of canon in licensed comics has really evolved in recent years. Season 8 has a lot to do with that, and a lot to do with comics like Jericho, and IDW's Star Trek Countdown—nothing like this was being done ten years ago. Well, maybe something was, but not to this extent.

And also these opinions were dragged from him ;) in answers in Jan 2011 #40 and a WonderCon Q&A in Apr 2011...

39. Tyler Austin: I was reading somewhere that "Angel: After the Fall" was written out as "not canon" (it was in the same article that had Joss's interviews about the final issue). Do you know anything about this? I loved the AFTER THE FALL story and I would kinda be upset to see character development/a story planned by Joss ignored...especially when it was advertised as the "continuation of the T.V. show." So, IS After the Fall part of this Buffy Season 8 universe?

Scott: I don't remember Joss saying After the Fall isn't canon. Anything Joss laid out for the characters is canon.

40. MikeB: Over in an After the Fall comic, in a future timeslip of Illyria's; Spike is alive and seemingly still a vampire in the time of flying cars. Is it supposed to be canon that Spike's going to be alive in the time of flying cars and still a vampire or otherwise immortal?

Scott: I would not say that's canon.

Then this is the one I was thinking of before with Christos for #1 of S10.  It is the one where Gage incorrectly assumes ITL will be canon (which Sierra, I think it was as the new editor, later confirmed it wasn't) and similarly in a later Q&A for #5 he says he doesn't know if the IDW Spike mini is canon.  So there certainly isn't confidence in stating canon for those that work on the current stories.  I do think though, that it does give a general idea of what they see as guiding points on being mindful/considerate of other licensed stories but that Joss' canon story is distinct/separate and has a ruling dominance if he chooses it to I think...

10. Vampire in Rug: Hey Christos. Was sad to see you leave the A&F title, but this issue makes up for that!

In season 9, I thought it was great how you went to efforts to avoid contradicting the IDW Angel books for the fans who may have enjoyed them. I understand that Dracula will be appearing in season 10 pretty soon. Have you read IDW's "Spike vs Dracula"? Can fans expect Spike's history with Dracula and Dracula's origin with the Kalderash gypsy tribe to remain in the land of "possible" continuity? Anything else you care to share about Dracula?

Christos: Thanks! I haven’t read that story. As I understand it, the “After The Fall” IDW stories are canon, but, like the Dark Horse stories done without Joss’ involvement, anything else is not. I won’t go out of my way to contradict any of it, certainly, but if something we come up with in the Summits happens to contradict one of the stories, Summit wins. I think the exception to the above is James Marsters’ upcoming Spike OGN, which Joss didn’t exec produce, but is aware of and has signed off on. (Disclaimer: Any of the above can be immediately invalidated by someone named Allie or Whedon.)

Sorry Aurora, you have probably waded through a lot of this stuff already but I just wanted to get a gauge, to see, how the producers/DH/IDW talk about it all and the notion of canon really does seem to reside with Joss.  Others intimate it, or make guesses, assumptions, but can't ultimately give/state it.  In that sense I think falling back on what Joss does and doesn't permit his name to be attached to when it is originally released (as opposed to rebundled with crafty splits justifying his name being applied to a compilation cover all of a sudden!), still makes pretty solid sense to me. :)

He makes a great point about the "ancillary creations by different people."  This is why I like to look at the comic books as they relate primarily to the series events and now the Whedon Dark Horse comic book seasons.  

I hate being so cynical but by now I totally am regarding the marketing - My biggest gripe - why not sell all the connected arcs together in ONE book.  There would be little new production costs.  Selling this as only a Digital Product at a reasonable price would make it easier for their readership and even bring in new readers who were not Whedonverse fans when the originals were being published.  

Look at what was done with the Buffyverse new books.  A great change to the 12 issue format but DH is making up on selling books by bringing out the new High School Years.  This brings in new and possibly younger readers while they can still depend on a good amount of the original Buffy fans who have continued reading the comic books.  I bought the first High Scool Years and have not even bothered to do a quick look through - but like a good little fan lemming I paid my money.  I don't plan on getting any more as I really have zero interest in revisiting Buffy and the Sunnydale group.  

Do you know anything about these new HSY comic books - Is the Buffy-Angel relationship being kept as a feature of this time era?  Or, have they chosen to feature only the Scoobs and Giles?

Problem is that the continuity now, IMO, now has a lot of problems with very important events and ideas in the TV series -  best example is the Archaeus arc and now we can even look at the problems that introduced with Asylum and the last Lynch series.  Betta George and Beck - since they are now included in the direct link connected with the Lynch series to BS8 and AtS - S5.  Now we have to consider these non-series characters and their story as being part of the events and timeline of AS5 - like it or not as canon did not the comic books make then canon?

Anyway - It time for me to get myself off to my workout - I will be watching at least the first episode of AS5 and WTTHM on this 20th Anniversary of the Buffyverse.  Planning on watching anything?  I am also going to take a look at the AtF First Night and 1st issue of S-AtF.  

Stoney said:

Last thought... Joss said this when being interviewed in 2007 with Newsarama.com about Angel Season 6 - After the Fall, and is why I go on what he has/hasn't put his name to when 'whatever is in question' originally released (assuming he hasn't made a statement contradicting it since)...

JW: Canon is key, as is continuity. If you are massive nerd. Which I am. I believe there's a demarcation between the creation and ancillary creations by different people. I'm all for that stuff, just like fanfic, but I like to know what's there's an absolutely official story-so-far, especially when something changes mediums, which my stuff seems to do a lot.

:)

Stoney said:

The cynical side of me just feels that IDW have seen a way of making the whole thing appear to carry approval by bundling it all together.  

That probably is what they are doing. I must say I can't really blame IDW for doing it. I think Angel was a successful title for them, so of course they are doing what they can to make up for the loss. And since so many people care about what's "canon", that seems to be the way to go.

Personally I hardly care about what's canon or not, but I'll be happy to discuss the comics, because I love most of the IDW stuff. I just reread the Spike series over the weekend, just to check if I still felt the same about Spike's characterization post-soul loss. And yup, I still completely disagree with Stoney -- I don't think Spike is acting out of character at all in that scene :-)  (I don't think the series as a whole is very good. I think it severely suffered from Brian Lynch being forced to cut it short and tie it in to S8.

Betta George is canon, like Dylan he is a lifted character and is canonised by use I think, but I don't believe that canonises all that he came from, I just don't think it works like that (it certainly didn't for ITL).  IDW announced at a comiccon panel around 28 July 2007 (according to an entry in Whedonesque) Betta George was being canonised.  It was a summary note, so whilst it is hard to be certain it was definitely stated just for the character and not Asylum itself, that is how it reads. 

On the ties between IDW Angel ongoing issues and DH BtVS S8, I have seen a further interview with Chris Ryall dated 23rd Aug 2010 in which he talks more about tying the two, specifically stating...

"We have a very cohesive plan to not only have our titles, ANGEL and SPIKE and the ILLYRIA miniseries, all work in tandem and tell different parts of a big story. This will all bring our run to a logical conclusion, and we've also worked out some plot points that will bring the story in line with what Dark Horse is doing."

and...

"As I mentioned above, we are coordinating efforts to ease the transition and to tell some stories that link our books and DH's books a bit more closely together. We've been talking to Scott Allie about this for a while now. Although clearly this coordination only applies only to the comic stories themselves..."

then...

"We do still have a lot to do and a lot of story to tell on our own, and I wouldn't want to just use our comics as a way to explain/lead into BUFFY without also being true to the storyline we've been telling. So there will be elements that tie in and there will also be a satisfactory resolution to everything we've been doing, too. It's the best of both worlds, even if that world has to be a place where we won't be doing ANGEL comics any more."

Then to the question, "Will Dark Horse respect and honor what has happened in the ANGEL comics at IDW?" the answer was...

"You'd have to ask Dark Horse, but I assume so from the conversations I've had with Scott Allie."

So they clearly were working together to tie things in somewhat and that works with Joss' comment about not wanting to 'bone them'.  That still doesn't canonise the whole Angel IDW run though I don't think, it just brings the broad strokes more together in some ways so that fans following IDW could step across to the DH stories and of course there was value in them trying to get that to happen.  Whether anything in the non canon ongoing Angel stories from IDW is needed to go from AtF into S8 is a separate consideration really, and that I would be interested in pondering on. :)

Cil I have both the High School Years books and really enjoyed the voicing in them.  I find the artwork a very odd choice for BtVS, it is just pretty antithetical to positive depictions of females for me when the large eyed, colt legged depictions are used.  The stories themselves are also a little weak, a bit forced/ropey, but I think draw on a main point of the season well as an introduction that ensures it doesn't disrupt anything that already stands.  The first, Freaks and Geeks, gave a bite size view of the change in Buffy's life by becoming the slayer and the wider topic of looking at social hierarchy of high school.  So if anyone watched the show they would just see these played out more completely.  The second, Glutton for Punishment, wasn't as good and unsuprisingly was a bit too close a fit to Teacher's Pet, the plotting again forced at points and overly flagged, but the overall tone and dialogue, the voicing, again made me smile.  That one covered Buffy's need to balance slaying around school, the loss of a sense of free time and seeing the effort it sometimes takes to succeed.  What we want to be, what we are within, the camouflage of outer appearances and false representation.  Another little flavour of the show really.  I can't remember if Angel is mentioned, I don't think he was in either, they do focus on the scoobies.  There is definitely a nostalgia appeal to revisitig the early seasons and getting good scoobie moments and nice bits of dialogue.  They are a bit pricey but I've been enjoying them and will definitely get the third.

I won't watch anything specifically because of the anniversary.  I don't watch episodes out of sequence so I'll just continue with the rewatches I'm doing when the BtVS rewatch stirs itself and continues.  It has disappointingly gone static of late as it has slowly ground to a halt and the current review is well over a month overdue.  I keep reading the many cast interviews that are cropping up etc. :)

Glad that you had a chance to read the series again - I'm looking forward to reading some of them again - I've forgotten a lot of the Angel series but pretty much remember the last Lynch issues.  I will never forget the artwork of Drusilla ala Mae West.  

Double Dutchess said:

Stoney said:

The cynical side of me just feels that IDW have seen a way of making the whole thing appear to carry approval by bundling it all together.  

That probably is what they are doing. I must say I can't really blame IDW for doing it. I think Angel was a successful title for them, so of course they are doing what they can to make up for the loss. And since so many people care about what's "canon", that seems to be the way to go.

Personally I hardly care about what's canon or not, but I'll be happy to discuss the comics, because I love most of the IDW stuff. I just reread the Spike series over the weekend, just to check if I still felt the same about Spike's characterization post-soul loss. And yup, I still completely disagree with Stoney -- I don't think Spike is acting out of character at all in that scene :-)  (I don't think the series as a whole is very good. I think it severely suffered from Brian Lynch being forced to cut it short and tie it in to S8.

Stoney - thanks for your comments regarding The High School Years - I will get over to my digital page and read the first one.  It would be, IMO, a smart choice for them not to bring in Angel for these comics but continue to focus on Buffy and the Scoobs - it's a good intro to the primary characters without including in the B&A relationship and getting readers back into the Shipping Wars mode.  And with the series still on TV anyone who wants can watch the original seasons.  

I will let you know my impression of how the artwork works with the characters.  I like the covers but not my usual taste for the Buffy comic books - for interiors I continue to like the work of Elena Casagrande best - but my preference is usually for a more realistic look with characters to actors.  

There covers with this new series, as expected, depicted the characters very young - but watching WTTHM again we see how young SMG was and of all the characters she and NB look the youngest.  Heck James Marsters if 54 now.  

Double Dutchess said:

Stoney said:

The cynical side of me just feels that IDW have seen a way of making the whole thing appear to carry approval by bundling it all together.  

That probably is what they are doing. I must say I can't really blame IDW for doing it. I think Angel was a successful title for them, so of course they are doing what they can to make up for the loss. And since so many people care about what's "canon", that seems to be the way to go.

Personally I hardly care about what's canon or not, but I'll be happy to discuss the comics, because I love most of the IDW stuff. I just reread the Spike series over the weekend, just to check if I still felt the same about Spike's characterization post-soul loss. And yup, I still completely disagree with Stoney -- I don't think Spike is acting out of character at all in that scene :-)  (I don't think the series as a whole is very good. I think it severely suffered from Brian Lynch being forced to cut it short and tie it in to S8.

Ha well, we will see because it is a very long time since I read it and I'm not even sure which scene you are specifically referencing.  But we will no doubt get there in due course. :D

I know what you are saying about the attempt by IDW to make all of Angel appear as canon in the new compilation.  They obviously would want to do that.  In some ways I don't see it as hugely dissimilar from DH wanting IDW at the end to use some ideas to tie in to S8 as that was blatantly so that they could try to keep/transfer the IDW readership's loyalty.  But whilst they arranged the licensing so that IDW could keep producing and selling them (which in itself I gather was generous in that it was unusual), this was a loophole perhaps that they hadn't envisaged and I do think it is a bit much.  Particularly changing it to 'Angel Season 6' too which Joss specifically hadn't wanted and changing the reading order as well.  That is, of course, unless Joss has agreed to all of it, but then that should be made clear. 

Aurora, do they not specify the writers/artists/colourists etc for each of the individual original issues in it anywhere at all?  Joss/DH have always supported fans choosing whether to use the IDW stuff as their own canon anyway.  If this is what it seems to be, it steps on one of the only ways that Joss can always clearly mark approved canon unambiguously.  So if it has been done with total ommission of the detailed information of who was involved in which issues but inclusion of Joss on the covers it is just plain misleading and that is a bit too cheeky imo as it takes advantage of fan trust/loyalty.  Pretty much like DH saying that ITL fitted into canon just to try and sell it when it blatantly doesn't and was never checked to do so.  These things are a minefield of confusion often enough without producers trying to dupe people.

cil domney said:
I will never forget the artwork of Drusilla ala Mae West.

Yeah, that was pretty horrible. So sad that Franco Urru couldn't do all the artwork.

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