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[personal profile] maggie2
The last few days have been depressing, haven't they?  I feel the need to ramble a bit.

I like the comics.  I think they have a shot at being really great.  Yet when I read Barb's post on the preview pages for #37, and especially the comments, I feel sad.  Not because people disagree with me.  Not because I feel like my own position is being slighted.  But because people I respect, admire and even care about seem wounded by the comics.  And I wonder if every time I write about them it's rubbing salt in wounds.  I don't know what to do with that.  I'm enjoying the note project.  But my ongoing engagement with the fandom is because I think the comics are interesting to think about, and they are what I most want to write about. 

Obviously people can just not read my stuff.  It's just the parting of the ways, that seems sad.  And the feeling that some people might carry on reading my posts even if it makes them unhappy. 

On the Spuffy.  I am first and foremost a Spike fan.  That puts me in a different spot.  In principle, Spike could get trashed the way Angel has been thoroughly trashed.  But I rather more suspect that Spike is playing a role in the comics similar to Faith.  Faith is there as a contrast case for Buffy. Spike is there as a contrast case for Angel.  That decenters Spike some -- or would if that's all we get.  But Spike's story is actually done.  He's died the big glorious death.  I could certainly enjoy and value a story going forward about him coming into his own.  I'd love to see him get a big loving happy ending with someone.  But I don't need that.  He's made his big life choice, and we've seen enough to know that it's real.  Whatever else we get is nice, but I don't need something.  Ergo, I can kick back and enjoy him flying in on his bug ship; sitting around on his bed in white socks; and being quintessentially Spike with his cork example (repeated for Xander's benefit!). 

I'm grateful that he's not coming in all weepy about the Bangel.  I don't mind him dissing Buffy for her lack of education.  She chose Captain Hammer over him and if he wants to get in his digs, I don't have a problem with it.  She's leveled a lot of low blows on him over the years.  And she's been very harsh when he needed a kick in the pants (Get it Done).  I've learned to appreciate what she was doing there.  He's doing the same for her here.  She does need a kick in the pants.

Buffy's character has been put into a very dark light.  I actively like this.  Buffy has always been a little bit self-righteous.  The next step in her story had to be the place where her moral certainty gets battered.  I doubt we leave it here; she'll build back up, and will be a richer character for the journey.   Is it OOC that Buffy has fallen in the manner we see her fall here?  I'll ponder that a bit more below.  But the fact of her fall isn't a problem for me.

I think it's very interesting to see Spike and Buffy together when he's the one with the moral high ground.  From the moment we had the BtBR panel, I've wondered how that would play.  A lot of people assume Spike would be all pro-Buffy no matter what.  I hoped he wouldn't.  I like the way he's handling it here.  He's calling her on what she needs to be called on, but in a way that firmly maintains the connection between them.  The reason I count this as a very positive development in Spuffy is because the ground has shifted in a way that is interesting, and because the aura of old marrieds is so overwhelming.   Even if it's only friendship, these two have come such a phenomenal distance together. 

Do I need more?  Do I need UST or sex or hearts and flowers?  I'd like it, to be sure.  But I think there's something right to the thought that any S/B love relationship really needs Buffy's Bangel issues to be knocked out first.  Were they not, Spike would be re-running his relationship with Dru -- having 'epic' love with a woman for whom he's the second choice.  Buffy needs to have Angel and have it not work before she could get to a real Spuffy relationship that would make me happy.  The comics have created space for that -- since Joss has taken a wrecking ball to Bangel.   I don't think we'll enter into that space -- or at least not any time soon.  But we're going to have real friendship, I think.  Maybe even with benefits.   (The scene is in the bedroom; Georges has said shirtless Spike; neutral readers are catching a whiff of something; Georges has told the Bangels to be very afraid specifically about the Spuffy; it's not impossible).

Perhaps for Spuffy fans who think that the Bangel issues were already history this doesn't work.  But I've always thought that Angel had a stranglehold on Buffy's heart -- and I like that the story is finally dealing with that.  I like that a lot.

One thing that made me very happy about the Spuffy pages we've seen so far is that some non-shipper fans who never much saw the appeal of Spuffy liked them here.  There's a rehabilitation of Spike (and possibly Spuffy) that I appreciate.  It's a relationship that is and was important, even if it ends up not being 'shippy.  And that's now very well established.  And like I said, posts from folks saying they never much liked them before, but like them now make me happy.  I like for Spike to be liked.

That leaves the big looming question.  Joss has turned Angel into Captain Hammer.  He's writing a story about how Twu Wuv 4eva Bangel literally destroys his narrative 'verse.   I love the subtext on those things becoming in your face text.  But.  It's doing so by telling a different sort of story.  The entire 'verse is knocked askew.  I read the Twilight event as literally taking the show and turning it into bad fanfic.  Elements of the story are lifted out, highlighted, and thereby distorted.  It's not just Angel or Bangel.  Xander is practically a Gary Stu.  Willow is a goddess.  Places like England and Germany are now bad cliches.   The entire structure of the 'verse is bent and twisted and distorted and is going to rip apart.  We've been told repeatedly that nothing will be the same in the wake of the finale of season 8.  I read Buffy's distortions in this context.   Angel was always her prince.  But that element of her story is now exaggerated and distorted.  It makes her look like she's regressed.  I think there's a truth to it that's important.  I stand by my "Spuffy reading" (which was really an anti-Bangel reading).  But it's truth told strange.  I want to see how it plays out.  But do understand that the reason it works for me is because it's in the context of this funhouse version of 'the verse.

The meta is inevitably going to be painful for fans.  Buffy's story had been told.   To want to revisit it for more of the same would be to invite a rehash and banality.  Fans may want that, a lot.  But it can't be a good story if it just keeps going because fans want to.  The seed of the story was planted and was fruitful, but it had an expiration date.  The only way the story can go on in a vital way is if the 'verse literally gets ripped apart and remade.  I look forward to seeing what that looks like.  But for everyone invested in the story as it was, Joss is very sharply saying let go.  It's not surprising that a lot of fans *are* letting go.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I admire what the story has to do.  I don't like the destruction left in its wake.   I'm especially ambivalent about the naked metaphors about the fandom, which I read as portraying us as at least somewhat malevolent.  I'd say Joss has some issues with us.

My last thought of the afternoon is about Buffy being punished again for sex.  No.  That's not what's happening here.  Her sex with Satsu wasn't punished.  It wasn't going to take cause she wasn't much with the gay and she wasn't open for relationship with her, but the sex was good and nothing bad happened as a consequence.  What we are doing is revisiting Buffy's primal wound around her first sexual experience.  This is all about Angel, not all about sex.  And nota bene: Spike's bed is in a corner just like Angel's bed was.  That's what this is all about. 

Thus my ramblings.  I very much look forward to the last few issues.  I am scared.  If all the 'verse is distorted and trashed, Spike may well catch it bad at some point.  My hope is that he and Faith are there for different reasons.  But who knows?  Meanwhile, I am very sad about the present turmoil in the fandom.  Big hugs all around.  I've got no comfort to offer, and I hate it when people are hurting.
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