Se7en

7.) Angel & Faith (Dark Horse) 2011 – 2013 — by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs. Holy smokes, where do I begin? First off, this series just ended, as it was only meant to be 25 issues, but as I trade-wait, I have yet to read the finale, so I’m going to go all River Song and say NO SPOILERS.

The awesomeness that is Angel & Faith is that it carries on the great tradition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in comic form. This series, Buffy Season Nine, the Willow five-issue Wonderland and Spike’s five-issue A Dark Place (and also a Drusilla series!) all fall under the banner of Season 9. This is also the frustrating thing about this series IN THAT THERE IS SO MUCH TO READ AND I HAVE TO HAVE SOME MONEY LEFT OVER TO EAT. I’ve prioritized Angel & Faith because Angel has always been my favorite (his series too), so that means I’m a bit behind on the rest.

After the shows went off the air after seasons 7 and 5 respectively for Buffy and Angel, the series both went into comics to continue the stories. Buffy went to Dark Horse (my favorite comic distributor) and Angel went to IDW due to the split between UPN and WB at that time for the television rights. Now, under Season 9, all of Angel and Friends was bought by Dark Horse so that the two could make cameos and stuff without a bunch of legal hoo-haa. Buffy Season Eight had some…issues. And so did Angel: After the Fall and the rest of the Angel IDW run. Confused yet? So were we, the audience. The writers of the various comics for Season Eight of Buffy and Season Six of Angel went big-budget — oh my god, Dawn’s a giant and Angel and Los Angeles have been sucked into hell and Spike is on a spaceship with giant cockroaches and there are giant Hindu gods smashing out of the ground and eating everything — so that by the time Buffy finished it’s Season Eight run, I was a little distanced by what made the show so great: character driven plots that adhere to everyday life with some awesome supernatural sidelines thrown in to make it interesting. Buffy and Angel were so great because of how people reacted to the things happening to them, not because of robo-battles and helicarriers and special effects.

But, after listening to much fan feedback about the flamboyance (caution, that link has S8 spoilers) of Season Eight, they hunkered down and created the masterpiece that is Angel & Faith.

I always liked how Faith and Angel had their similarities espoused in the series and the comic is a continuation of their strange relationship in which each of them strive to make the other better, regardless of whether the other wants to change or not. In a new world created by the events of Season Eight, Angel and Faith find themselves living in Giles’s apartment in England where SPOILER ALERT Angel is trying to bring Giles back from the dead after he became possessed by an alternate dimension that he and Buffy created by skrawnking and killed Giles. (Yeah, Season Eight…let’s just move on.) Faith is also dealing with a magic-free world and what that means for those left who depended upon magic to survive. Faith, not thinking that bringing back Giles is a good idea — because when is resurrection a good idea in any TV show? — is trying to dissuade Angel by getting him to concentrate on the here-and-now. The interplay between the two is as great as ever and I, for one, am excited to have a series where the two main characters have little to no sexual tension driving events. Angel’s a little shell-shocked and Faith has more responsibility than ever and the two desperately need life-savers in order to cope with their new lives. Which is why they were teamed up in the first place: they have a little Master-Yoda-Luke-Skywalker feel, a bit of veteran-camaraderie, and a smidgen of healthy disregard for stereotypical relationships. Yay for interesting storytelling!

The best part is the intrusion of Giles’s aunts and how they liven up the broodiness that has been known to seep into both Angel’s and Faith’s lives. It’s much needed comedic relief and, once again, the story is driven by how the two eponymous characters react, not to big-budget effects and extravagance.

Also: LADY ARTISTS.

If you’re only going to read one series from the Buffy comics, read this one. You might be a bit confused, as there’s about nine years of backstory, but what comic series isn’t loaded down with lots of history? It’s nothing more than jumping into the middle of Superman comics, or, even better (worse?) X-Men comics. You won’t be disappointed by its excellence.

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It’s no wonder Synopsis rhymes with Nemesis

Part of the ridiculousness absurdity charm of submitting to different agents is a.) they all want different things and b.) they all want different lengths of different things.

Most go like this:

  • Query letter
  • Synopsis
  • Sample writing

Easy-peasy. I can do that in my sleep. (In fact, I had a dream the other night where I was writing query letters, but not to agents to publish a manuscript, but rather to Illyria Illyria from Angel, asking her if she could take me to the shrimp world.)

Anyway.

Some want a 10 page synopsis. Totes, yo. I can do that. Some want a one page synopsis, which was incredibly difficult. Suddenly the 450 page novel I worked a year and a half on is now reduced to a one page no-frills, no-chills, no-spills dried out husk of what said novel should be.

After much struggling and rewording and laboring, I got it down to one page.

The next agent wanted one paragraph.

It’s a good thing I was writing on my desktop and not an easily-throwable laptop. (Never trust technology that you can throw out the window, I always say. I’m looking at you, phone.)

The hard thing about synopses is that they are not a movie trailer, they’re not a blurb on the back, and they’re not a pitch. After trying to hard to hook people’s interest and to sound as “in-a-world”-y as possible, to write a non-partial, non-prejudiced account of a novel is incredibly boring. I looked at my synopsis of Byron and just about fell asleep.

Or maybe I’m doing this wrong…

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I’m not exactly a man of wealth and taste, but I would say that I have a wealth of imagination and a taste….for blood. Okay, okay, I’ve been up late again, watching Dracula movies from the 70s. (To tell the truth, Frank Langella was the only performance I believed, but Udo Kier has the best pronunciation of the word “wirgin” this side of the Thames.)

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have multiple personalities, or am a sociopath or talk to the dead, but I feel that writing is a little bit of all three. You have to be somewhat inclined to talk to yourself (I do this in parking lots all the time when I walk to and from my car and then proceed to say, “Stop talking to yourself. Great, now you’re talking to yourself about talking to yourself–Stop it…stop!”), somewhat inclined toward the darker UV side of the human spectrum of emotion (looks cool, kinda trippy, best with sunglasses), and able to channel the voices of others in a somewhat authentic way (because dialogue, let’s face it, is more than just putting quotes around a bunch of random words. You get me, James Cameron? What? No, I don’t see you. Get lost, this is my blog.)

I’m a lady. Whoa-oah-oh. I’m a lady. I joke all the time about my obsession with Kate Beckinsale, and the like, but this clears up any confusion. Not that this lets you off the hook, Len Wiseman. I’m still coming for your wife. What? She’s hot, she’s a hotter vampire, and SHE STUDIED RUSSIAN LITERATURE. I study Russian literature. INSTANT ICE-BREAKER. You know, the ice-breaker after the awkward, “Sorry I pushed your husband down the stairs. See, there was a bug…” speech.

I had a conversation once with a professor about the difference between a woman who writes and a woman writer and got looked at sternly for saying that I didn’t want to be known as a woman writer because that carries the connotation that everything I write about has something to do with being a life-bearer and that the words you’re reading now were inked in my own menstrual blood. Don’t ask, just let that happen. I’ll be taking complaints in the comments section shortly about this. There shouldn’t be a difference with a reaction to my novels based on my gender. Yes, I’m a lady, but I also like explosions. And replacing limbs with various weapons-that-can-produce-a-lot-of-gore. (My right big toe has been replaced with a mini-zamboni, just so you know. Those things can cause some damage. Just ask Mr. Wiseman.) And my main character is a lady, but she also likes to eat people.

See, I write about vampires, in case you couldn’t tell from all of the vampire-riddled paragraphs around here. I call it high-brow horror. Dracula meets Dostoevsky, if you will. It’s not your grandpappy’s vampire novel and it ain’t your daughter’s neither. No sparkly posers here. In fact, sparkly posers bother me. I deal with the psychological impact of what it means to be turned into a vampire after a lifetime of abuse. I also deal with chopping up peoples’ legs and ruining peoples’ lives with amphibians. (Hey, just ask Hellboy and he’ll tell you all about those rascally frogs and how we need to get them off of our streets now.)

The Lost Boys is my favorite movie. I read Dracula when I was 12. Every year for my birthday, I have a vampire movie marathon. The good, the bad, and the so-bad-it’s-good make an appearance, and every year I try to watch as many as I can before falling asleep. It is one of my goals in life to actually induce hallucinations from sleep-deprivation caused by vampire movie overload. (Also known as the Death By Stereo syndrome.) I do not actually intend to survive this event because nothing else will compare with it, ever. Not even Sinead O’Connor. Or Prince. Or the dude formerly known as the bald-lady-who-ripped-up-a-picture-of-the-Pope-on-TV-once. I always get those two confused. I own several pairs of fangs and act out parts of my novel with Bloody Marys and my cardboard cut-out of Keanu Reeves dress up like a vampire for Halloween costumes.

I have blue hair. Well, now, at least. It’s more of a teal-ish color, or, as I like to call it, Atomic Peacock. A few months ago it was lime green. Soon it might be purple. It’s been every color but orange, which will probably soon change.

I have ginormous feet. And you know what they say about big feet? Big shoes. And you know what they say about big shoes? Good luck trying to find a pair of heels that don’t make you look like Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Or, DAMN, if we’re in Japan. Or, you know, however one says DAMN in Japanese, which I figure to translate roughly as, “Man, look at the size of that tentacle!”