PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Why Can’t I Quit You and Other Pop Culture References: Buffy Season 10 #1

Cultural identity, sexuality, female empowerment, good versus evil, corruption of power, high school, these are just some of the more academic topics that we critics have used to frame discussions of the Chosen One and her friends.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Length: 22 pages
Writer: Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs
Publication: 2014-05
Price: $3.99

How did Buffy The Vampire Slayer become the standard bearer of popculture cool? If you’ve read any of PopMatters’essays on series creator Joss Whedon or gone all in and read the book, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion, then you have an idea of the reasons. There isn’t just one.

Cultural identity, sexuality, female empowerment, good versus evil, corruption of power, high school, these are just some of the more academic topics that we critics have used to frame discussions of the Chosen One and her friends. And while we often go for a deep dive into the impact and meaning of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, we always come back to a solid point that resonates with the core audience: it’s cool.

Over a decade after the TV show aired its final episode, the universe of Buffy continues on in comic book form. It’s a nod to perpetual fiction. It’s a phenomenon of media branding. It’s a medium to fulfill fans’ lust for more without the overhead of filming and staging. And the Buffy comics that have been published since 2004 that continue the series, Seasons 8, 9 and now 10, have shown that even at their least creative, fans will still clamor for stories about The Slayer and the Scoobies.

I confess that I am one of those fans. No matter the quality I devour Buffy The Vampire Slayer comics. My unbridled fandom makes it very hard to be critical of them. Yet I can say without hesitation that like many others I found parts of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 to be trying. It was too grand in scope and lacked the connection to something deeper. Season 9 rectified some of those issues, and showed a renewed sense of bravado, but even that volume seemed off at times, especially when certain storyline resolutions crashed under the weight of their own build ups. The comics pushed the envelope just as the TV show did, but the lack of limitations that TV productions have seemed to stymie the creators involved. Too many opportunities for subtext and cultural commentary were left hanging or not developed enough, especially when a world without magic was the setting for an entire volume.

We like our Buffy to take us to hell and then back again, to resonate with common experiences of youth and life. The trials and tribulations of adolescence and beyond we all face, but with monsters, demons and apocalypses. And while barista jobs, making rent and dealing with roommates and ex-boyfriends certainly fit within the larger subtext of growing up in a world that is at times aggressively indifferent, the larger questions were merely stated without the satisfying follow-up that has been a hallmark of the Buffy universe.

Season 10, like any new volume to a long running book, offers the chance to expand on the successes of the previous volume and realign the characters with a stronger creative vision.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1 sets a new status quo and then rather succinctly adds to it. Writer Christos Gage, who previously wrote Angel & Faith Season 10, establishes plot elements with aplomb, digging into some of the core aspects of Buffy and her gang of do-gooders, particularly the relationships between characters. It’s a comic from a writerly standpoint that enables many storyline directions for future issues, each offering an examination of the human condition just as the TV show did. But this isn’t about falling in line with the TV show, it’s about capturing the same spirit and adding to the legacy, and Gage does that without spiraling into too much exposition or distancing the more recent story points of Buffy comics.

Artist Rebekah Isaacs takes Gage’s cue and runs with a controlled fury of panel construction. She uses character movement, body language and fashion as visual weapons, creating energetic and lively pages that want to burst from their paper confinement. Buffy, who seemed in a fashion rut the previous seasons, is back to having her “stylish yet affordable boots.”

It’s an engaging issue in both aspects of the comic form, with a scope that is both large and scaled to the immediate. Its progression from direct contact point to larger issues and ramifications makes this particular comic issue an excellent opening to a new volume to any comic. Its tone that connects to larger aspects of adult life, like dealing with touchy romantic fallout, makes it an excellent Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic. Why can’t we quit Buffy comics? It’s because they are still just too cool.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.