Tag Archives: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Book Review: ‘Day for Night’ by Stacey E. Bryan

Illustration by Henry Chamberlain

Damien Hirst, the bad boy of art famous for displaying sharks in art galleries, once asked his 6-year-old son which he would prefer in his bed, a girl or a zombie. The boy instantly replied, “Zombie!” That is a crude and random example, I know. But perhaps it makes a bigger point about our collective fascination with the macabre, the unknown…and sometimes that is made most clear from a child’s point of view. That brings me to “Day For Night,” a new novel by Stacey E. Bryan. It has zombies of a sort. And it even has a shark! Like my example, there’s a fine-tuned crude and random vibe to this book.

This is very much a Los Angeles tale. Bryan indicates any pause as a “beat,” reminding us we’re in Tinseltown, full of daily theatrics and scripts coming out of everyone’s ears. We also get a lot of local flavor with characters living out in Brentwood, Culver City, and Marina Del Rey. There’s much talk about the well-hidden Toluca Lake. Everything seems to converge for a time at Sepulveda Boulevard. Plus numerous movie references not the least of which is Francois Truffaut’s “Day for Night.” An old tattered poster for the film decorates the apartment laundry room our main character, Rae, finds herself in at the start of the book.

At first, we don’t know if Rae is caught in the throes of an anxiety attack but she readily declares she is experiencing the end of the world. Is she perhaps an aspiring actress? Yes, she is. But what she describes next leaves much room for further speculation. Rae witnesses her neighbor Annie levitate up above the tile floor. Annie blacks out just as Rae throws her yellow bra at the glowing force surrounding her friend. By the time that Annie wakes up, it’s too late to rationally explain to her that something most supernatural (thwarted alien abduction?) has just occurred. Annie completely missed it. Rae experienced the whole thing!

And so our story unfolds alternating between typical Angeleno angst and unexplained phenomena. It’s a wonderful balancing act that Bryan maintains. Basically, half the novel favors events more grounded in reality and then, as the weird stuff pushes its way to the foreground, you get a more mature version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rae is in her thirties and, like her counterparts has had time to become more hardened and jaded than Buffy. Rae is a tough cookie recovering from quite a lot of rough scrapes, especially the day a tiger shark got too close and chomped off some of Rae’s fingers.

Bryan is totally in command of her story and has fun teasing out moments for her main character, Rae. Funny internal monologues give way to sudden outbursts followed by the latest development in Rae’s bumpy journey. Along the way, she encounters romance ranging from comical to intense. Throughout, Rae discovers a tapestry of connections that sustain her and help her grow ranging from the mundane to the sublime.

“Day for Night,” a novel by Stacey E. Bryan

Bryan has mastered that same melding of the everyday with the supernatural that has appealed to legions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. The pithy exchanges between Bryan’s characters crackle with hard-won insight. It is insight mixed with harsh reality…and the movies. This is L.A., after all. It’s a mix of gumption that just might be enough to take on vampires and space aliens.

“Day for Night” is published by Vagabondage Press. You can find it on Amazon right here. And you can find Stacey at her website right here.


Filed under Aliens, Book Reviews, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Horror, Los Angeles, Satire, Supernatural, Vampires




It’s as if Christos Gage is working from some master plan with how Buffy’s story continues to unfold. For those of you just arriving, we have a sweet spot to jump in. In this new arc, “Love Dares You,” we find Buffy navigating through the rituals of being single and sort of carefree. She even indulges in a round of speed dating. She can’t help but attract the more edgy sort, or poseur edgy. It’s a funny opening scene that sets the tone for much to follow. I’m loving the artwork by Megan Levens, with colors by Dan Jackson. It’s a uniquely cartoony look with an aggressive punch to it.

Buffy is down there in the trenches trying to figure out life. In the current configuration, you have Xander and Spike sharing an apartment. And you have Buffy, Willow, and Dawn sharing an apartment. And then there’s Giles. Only a season ago, who would have ever thought we’d have Giles back as a walking and talking character. Of course, Giles is not exactly where he’d like to be in human form. But you can’t have everything. And, to top it off, you have Buffy and Spike working together again. You have a lot of room to move around with action and characters, perhaps more than ever before. And bubbling in the background is a world …on the verge of magic. That’s got Willow working overtime figuring out the new rules.

If all of this sounds rather involved for new readers, it’s really a very good place to be. You may want to do some binge reading and pick up one or more trade paperbacks collecting previous issues. But, if you’ve been looking for a nice jump into single issues, this is a very good one.

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #11” is available as of January 21. This is Buffy on a very good track. Pick up your copy today. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.


Filed under Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics



Welcome back to the Buffyverse! Dark Horse Comics launches Season 10 today. Without a doubt, this is a high point. So, without further ado, let’s take a look. New Rules. New Rules. That’s the name of the game and the name of this first new story arc. Buffy back to basics, fighting vampires. First off, Executive Producer: Joss Whedon; Writer: Christos Gage; Editor: Scott Allie; Artist: Rebekah Isaacs; Colorist: Dan Jackson; Cover Artist: Steve Morris. Everyone accounted for. And the very same can be said for Buffy. She can count on Xander, Willow, and Spike. Heck, we even have magic back. So, what’s a girl to do when everything seems to be going her way? Or is it?

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ANGEL AND FAITH #21 Review — Can You See An Animated Movie?


With this new arc, “What You Want, Not What You Need,” the scope of this saga hits you. A story has been allowed to breathe freely and unfold luxuriously. It feels well lived in and we don’t want it to stop. You don’t care, on some level, if Rupert Giles ever comes back to life. Part of you knows it’s just wrong. And part of you knows that some things just need to happen. And that’s okay. It’s not like the characters are totally in agreement on what should happen next! That’s okay too. We want conflict. And, you read it here at Comics Grinder first, there’s a lot to be said for taking this whole thing and turning it into an animated movie! That says a lot for the comic, is what I’m saying, really. It does engage you in such a way that you get lost in the characters. Now, the fact is, stories should get to breathe and follow one thought to the next. That is what supposedly happens when you have an event comic but, in reality, that is too often an opportunity to just string along a fan base. Not so here. Dark Horse Comics cares about its readers and “Angel and Faith” is an excellent case in point.

We love Christos Gage in charge of the script. We love Rebekah Isaacs in charge of the art. The whole look and feel is outstanding. And where did Faith’s tattoo come from? I’m sorry, maybe that’s from the original television series. Well, I’m sure it is but I have only seen a few episodes. Not a true believer, huh? I have to do some marathon viewing someday. Is anyone rocking a Faith tattoo? You’re probably out there. Ah, those little details. Then there’s Angel’s nipple ring! We know, for sure, what that’s all about. It is a little relic that helped in the hunt for remnants of the soul of Ruper Giles. And here we are, all the elements to the Giles soul have been safely gathered into a magic bowl and the body of Ruper Giles has been carefully preserved and sits nearby on an operating table. The question is, What to do next? Proceed? Or run like hell? Well, there’s always that tricky question of getting enough super magic juice to jump start this project. That sticky issue comes to a head here because where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Is that Pearl we see reflected in Faith’s sword on the cover art above? Why, I believe it is. And why would that be, do you think? Well, Pearl and Nash are the baddies feverishly looking for any bits of magic still around. And you’ve also got Whistler, Angel’s former mentor, now arch-nemesis, in on the hunt too. Since Angel needs magic like nobody’s business, there’s a strong likelihood of there being a clash and so it is in this issue. It is a wonderful clash, interlaced with the action involved in attempting to bring Giles back from the dead! When you think of all the explanations out there for time travel, some tend to be more poetic and some try to sound as authentic as possible. We’ve got a little of both going on with the Giles resurrection project. Alasdair Coames, in all his fuddy-duddy wizardy, leads the operation in a brilliant fashion. But, as the title for this final arc suggests, is it all for naught? Or worse yet, should one really give pause and ask if they should be careful for what they wish for? At such a late date, should this still be a question? Well, read and find out.

“Angel and Faith #21” is available as of April 24. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics here.

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George Clayton Johnson is a born storyteller. Listen to him and you’ll find a good yarn told by someone with a love for the spoken and written word. He is, after all, one of the big players of pop culture: Among his credits: writer of landmark episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE; writer of the first broadcasted episode of STAR TREK; co-writer of OCEAN’S ELEVEN; co-writer of LOGAN’S RUN. For this interview, George and I began to talk about William Shatner. I was thinking over how William Shatner can be misunderstood as only being brash when that’s definitely not the case. With “Star Trek Into Darkness” arriving in theaters on May 17, Mr. Shatner was an excellent point of departure.

William Shatner in "The Intruder"

William Shatner in “The Intruder”

We quickly moved forward with a look back to Roger Corman’s 1962 “The Intruder,” a significant drama about the high tensions in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Corman was having difficulty in finding actors and approached Mr. Johnson, as well as his writing partner, William F. Nolan, about playing roles in the film. They were more than happy to join in. The film is based on the novel by Charles Beaumont, a science fiction writer, and a fellow contributor with Mr. Johnson to “The Twilight Zone.”

George then related a wonderful story about the origins of “Star Trek” and we ended with news of an exciting possibility. There is a tantalizing possibility of “The Twilight Zone” making its way to the stage. As George envisions it, the story would take place in a rest home, just like the famous “Kick The Can” episode. It would be about a seasoned writer who has had a lifetime of success and wants to knock one more ball out of the park. He has an idea for another story. This one will be about an individual focusing on a special moment, either in the past or the future. The trick is to avoid the present. In that way, you can live forever. In the course of the production, there will, in fact, be a series of stories and each will play off landmark “Twilight Zone” episodes that George wrote. And, to top it off, there needs to be a narrator, of course. Who better than Rod Serling? If all goes according to plan, this will be a musical.

Who would play the role of Rod Serling? Well, that brings us back to the subject we began our interview with: William Shatner is on the short list of possibilities. That is certainly an exciting prospect. Mr. Shatner came of age in that era, he knows the talent behind the original series, and he starred in one of the most memorable episodes, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” He would be an excellent choice.

There are a number of details to consider about taking such a project, conceivably, all the way to Broadway. Not least of concerns is getting just the right tone to what the Rod Serling narrator would say. He might be presented like a hologram. And he certainly will have a vital role to play, much like the narrator of “Our Town.” It was very gracious of George to share this project in the making with us. He has a number of projects in the works and this one is very dear to his heart. These are the early stages. We all hope it will come together.

Other subjects we cover in this interview are what led up to the original novel, “Logan’s Run,” and what may lie ahead, and a most intriguing thing that happened when George Clayton Johnson and J.J. Abrams discussed working together.

The full interview is below. Enjoy!


Filed under Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Felicity, George Clayton Johnson, J. J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Logan's Run, Roger Corman, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, William Shatner


Angel and Faith 19.jpg

“Angel and Faith #19” closes out the story arc, “Death and Consequences” to set the stage for what’s got to be one of the most anticipated finales in comics. Think about how much comics goodness A&F provide and they aren’t being hyped as some big comics event. No, it’s just really good stuff. You see it in how carefully the fight scenes are choreographed. And you certainly see it, even feel it, in all that quintessential Whedon banter going on.


Try as I might to simply comment and keep to what has already been made known, one can never be too sure so I tread lightly and give you a full warning before I say anything that might be considered spoiler dirt. I’m not going to go over the whole story anyway but, still, we want to be respectful and allow everyone a safe and enjoyable A&F reading experience.

That said, what I wish to share with you mostly is the continued joy in reading the words of Christos Gage and “reading” the art of Rebekah Isaacs. Funny, but there actually is a lot of reading of the art in A&F. All you have to do is consider the multitude of attitude we get from slayer Nadira. Fun to watch. You get plenty of dynamic body language throughout whether it’s Angel and Spike exchanging zingers about Buffy or Faith having to hold her own in various encounters and confrontations. Even such a huge mess as that colossal demon, Eyghon, comes to life under the adroit fingers of Ms. Issacs.

Basic info is handled with grace too. It is not some heavy burden to dole out. The things we need to know, or be reminded of, are referred to very naturally. Yeah, the comic rests on a solid foundation of Buffy canon, dedicated fans, and dedicated Dark Horse comics talent. This comic embraces what it’s all about and you end up with a clear and clean artistic expression. Ultimately, you get the pay offs to the build up. Angel is looking at his worst, and at his best, right now. The stage is set, my friend, and we salute Dark Horse for the effort.

“Angel and Faith #19” is out now. Grab yourself a copy. Visit our friends at Dark Horse.

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“Angel and Faith #18” brings us back to the massive attack of zombies from the last issue. The fighting is stranger than usual. Just a bonk on the head and, anyone who gets knocked out, is in danger of being possessed by the arch-demon, Eyghon. Nadira and her slayer posse have really walked into this one. As Nadira puts it, “This has all gone pear shaped!” But, before all hope is lost, Angel and Faith burst onto the scene. Faith provides the obligatory quip, “Hardcore fans don’t like zombies who run!” And things look good until Faith gets bonked on the head! Here is where Nadira provides a good turn by slicing into Faith’s belly but not to kill her. The flesh wound keeps Faith awake and alert.

Part 3 (of 4) to “Death and Consequences” packs a lot of zombie fighting action as well as explanation of events. You learn that Eyghon almost bit the dust during the Twilight crisis but he was quick enough to possess a dead rat which led to possessing an exhausted homeless man until, a few more possessions later, the demon came back into his own. Possession, we come to see, is not an easy thing. Your average body is going to wear out fairly soon under the demonic pressure. This leads to finding someone more sturdy enfused with magic: Rupert Giles.

At the end of this issue, Nadira, along with her slayers, and Faith have buried the hatchet, quite literally into a number of zombies, and have decided it’s time to work as a team of rivals and make for a fast retreat. Now, unless you find common knowledge to be a spoiler, don’t read the next few words..as we often have a cliffhanger guest appearance, who do you think appears to the rescue? It’s none other than…yes, Spike! We have to be grown-ups and just admit it. We’ll be on our way to the final arc by Issue 20 which makes clear what lies ahead: Angel and Faith and Spike.

Angel and Faith 20

“Angel and Faith 18” is available as of January 30. Then we tie up loose ends in #19, due out February 27. And on to the final arc starting with #20, due out March 27. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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WILLOW #3 Review

Willow Dark Horse 003

“Willow” glides deeper into her wants and needs in Part Three of “Wonderland.” The Jeff Parker and Christos Gage script gives it up for Willow. Brian Ching’s art gives it up for Willow. This issue is an enchanting walk through the mystical realm that doesn’t seem to offer any options besides hedonistic pleasure. That’s not exactly such a bad idea for Willow. She has a new girlfriend, the reptile witch, Aluwyn, and an intoxicating playground to enjoy.

It is Willow’s sidekick demon, Marrak, who needs to take on the role of nag. He is confident that he’s found some ancient relics that may very well solve Willow’s problem. But what problem is that? Oh, yeah, the whole reason she’s there, to return magic to Earth. It seems no use getting through to this girl. Marrak can’t do it alone. If there was ever any doubt, Willow needs Marrak.

This issue has some really beautiful scenes in it. You have the ocean, and cute and cuddly little octopi, just before a huge Cthulhu like monster spoils the mood. But, the prevailing theme in this issue is that Willow is really at odds with remaining the persistent do-gooder and just giving in to her new bond with Aluwyn. So, a good issue and a chance for us readers to bond more with the characters.

“Willow #3” comes out January 2, 2013. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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Angel and Faith 17

“Angel and Faith #17″stays true to Buffy canon with the story about Ethan Rayne and Rupert Giles, known in his youth as “Ripper.” We begin with a flashback to ’70s Soho, London, as a bunch of punks into the occult pursue the ultimate high, acting as host to the demon, Eyghon. We see Ethan tattooing Eyghon’s mark into a girl’s arm. We see as one member of the group, Randal, is consumed by Eyghon. The little demon game is not working out at all. This leads to the big bust up between Ethan and Rupert, one turning to chaos, the other turning to order with their fates forever intertwined.

Part Two of “Death and Consequences” reveals more and more of an exquisitely plotted tale. True to its title, we are seeing what happens to those to dare play around with death. Bringing the dead back to life has got to rank very high in the most horrific of quests. While the bereaved may be blind to it, the idea wreaks of something so unnatural. How could it ever work out? Even if a resurrection were possible, wouldn’t you always wonder if what you got was the same as the original? Well, without getting into matters of a religous nature, the whole concept, ironically, smacks of something, how should I put it…unholy! Fascinating stuff, when you start to think about it. Here is Angel determined to bring his friend and mentor, Rupert Giles, back to life. And what if he should succeed??

You know, we ended the last issue with such a tantalizing situation. Nadira, the ultimate surly Slayer, and her crew of Slayers, which she highjacked away from Faith, is even more bound and determined to bring her friend, Marianne, back to life. So, after one last plea for help from Angel, she and her gang march off, in great desperation, to a most foul source. When they arrive at this mansion in Guildford, they are welcomed by someone with a striking resemblance to Rupert Giles! We also know, from the last issue, that the body of Rupert Giles was stolen. So, we’ve got a reanimated corpse walking around and it claims it can help Nadira with her problem. Quite a problem.

Back at the ranch, or other mansion, I shoud say, Faith’s London home: Faith is pretty pissed off to see all this animosity coming from Nadira and her girls. She feels betrayed and just plain stomped upon. Come to think of it, she can blame Angel! Faith feels a need to go over all that she’s sacrificed for Angel’s quest to bring Giles back from the dead. Just like any person who feels used in a relationship, Faith says that she has seen her own purpose in life fade away in favor of helping Angel. It’s a solid moment in a very sturdy comic. After that dust up, hell’s bells, Angel is more fired up than ever to get it right. They will bring Rupert Giles back to life even if it kills them!

What a piece of work. All thank yous to the wrting talent of Christos Gage and the artistic talent of Rebekah Isaacs. This comic remains inspired, looking out for all the details, and even asking the big philosophical questions in the bargain!

“Angel and Faith #17” comes out December 19. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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Buffy Season 9_16_Alt

It has been some time since we’ve seen Buffy in her old digs in San Fran. You would have to go back to Issue 7. Since then, she has gone from mild-mannered barista by day/reluctant Slayer by night to being turned into a robot to upgrading to work in highend security. Along the way, Willow has left the scene in her quest for magic; Spike has walked away; and we were introduced to, Billy, a new Slayer with a lot to prove. With Issue 16, we begin a new arc, “Welcome To The Team,” which refers as much to Billy as it does to Buffy returning to working with Detective Dowling in the SFPD’s mad quest to rid itself of a zompire infestation the likes of which no one has ever seen. These zompires are industrial strength and there is no accounting for it.

Whew, that is the most concise recap I can give you. So, what else is happening on the Buffy flagship comic? It seems a concensus has formed in favor of giving Buffy some semblance of normalcy. She is back in her old apartment with her old roomies, Xander and Dawn. Buffy gets to experience stuff like accepting an invite to drink tea while watching a reality tv show she probably could do wihtout or having a friend of Dawn’s just innocently digging around Buffy’s clothes searching for something to wear for a night out clubbing. Really normal, random, dull, annoying bits of life but grounded and real which Buffy appreciates.

Neither man nor woman can live by bread alone. As you all know, our boy Spike has had his hands full as of late with a potential substitute for Buffy. And, as it goes for Buffy. Props to Andrew Chambliss for writing in this potential romance. It runs very smoothly, one of those situations where both parties are a little confused about whether or not they’re actually dating. Another one of those very real facts of life which may very well be lining up to mirror what happened to Spike in one way or another.

Then we have the zompire action. Georges Jeanty (pencils) and Dexter Vines (inks) are doing a great job with living and breathing interiors, exteriors, and zompires! These creatures have some unique traits to them looking quite fierce, almost reptilian. We really get it that these zompires are strong and, perhaps, one in particular. And, just as Buffy is getting a handle on her fight, something happens very unexpected.

I think Buffy fans are right on to wish for more and more Buffy stories. After what has been a bit of break, Buffy is back and fired up. The clash of being torn between the grounded and the supernatural is a lot of fun. I’d like to see even more location shots when possible and more extended slices of life like Buffy reading a book at City Lights, having lunch in Chinatown, or going to see a show at SFMOMA. What books or movies does Buffy like anyway? Maybe even have the zompires camp out at Fisherman’s Wharf for a bit and mix the mundane with the undead. Just a thought. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer #16” is out December 12 which is a big date that also sees a lot of other cool titles including “Orchid #11,” “Conan #11,” “The Strain #9,” “The Massive #7,” and many more. Expect more Dark Horse titles reviewed here at Comics Grinder.

Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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