StephenT (stormwreath) wrote,

S8 and canon

Here's my £0.02 on the great debate on whether the new Buffy comics should be regarded as canon. 

I originally started writing this as a response to elisi 's post here, but after I realised I 'd started writing a 400-word essay I decided it might be better here in my own journal...

Elisi wrote: The show wasn’t cancelled, it ended. Sunnydale was wiped off the map, and since Sunnydale and Buffy always went together, it really was the final, definitive ending.

To my mind, it's true that the S8 comic is not the same show: it's what happens next. It's another story starring some of the same characters. The TV show was a metaphor for a girl growing up and becoming a woman; it's likely that the comic will have a different theme and plot, though hopefully sharing the same values.

In other words, the S8 comic is an authorised spin-off. Which means it's canon for the Buffyverse the same way Angel is canon for the Buffyverse!

Now some people never got into Angel the series; they disliked the theme, the actors, the structure, whatever. Some people never watched it. And it's possible there are people writing fanfic in which Spike died at the end of 'Chosen' and never came back to life; in which Wesley was never more than a bumbling incompetent. Where Faith apparently served time in prison between seasons 4 and 7 and came back a more mellow person, but the crucial detail that she surrendered herself willingly to the police is unknown. And that's fine... but personally, I'd consider them to be writing an AU, even though they're entirely within canon if you define it ultra-narrowly as "What was shown on screen in the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer as originally broadcast".

Likewise, now when I read a story written after March 2007 in which Buffy is a partygirl in Rome, or Xander is in Africa, then I also have to consider it an AU. Not canon, except in that ultra-narrow sense. Not that I'm saying that this would be badwrong; there's nothing wrong with AU fic, as long as you realise that's what it is before you read something out of place and get thrown out of your suspension of disbelief. The point of defining 'canon' is that it lays down the ground rules; it's the shared basis of understanding that we can all build on.

So why do I consider S8 canon? Because quite simply, Buffy is Joss Whedon's artistic creation. Yes, he didn't create it single-handedly, but he inspired it and still had control over everything that was shown to us. (And from the sound of it, the comic is going to be created by a team of writers in collaboration with Joss, just like the TV show - and their ideas will then be given form by the artists and letterers, just like the actors did. So really, the process isn't so dramatically different.)

And yes, I'd much rather that S8 was on the TV screen instead of in comics, and we could actually watch Sarah, Aly, James, Eliza, Nick, Tony, Michelle, Iyari and the others rather than just look at drawings that vaguely resemble them. But the cold hard reality of economics intrudes. The only way Joss can currently share his creative vision with us is through this medium.

And I want to hear what he has to say.
Tags: buffy, meta
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