What Are You Watching?: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003, The WB/UPN)

With this semester quickly coming to an end, I’ve taken on the mundane task of planning my next semester of classes. With options that seem far less than interesting, I get discouraged (especially considering a university in Europe is now teaching a Britney Spears class on how she was overly sexualized by her management and ultimately became a feminist icon). I began looking for more fun alternative classes at other schools and stumbled upon “Buffyology,” which is the study of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how it explored issues in sexuality, gender, religion, family dynamics, and more.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer became a staple of my favorite television series a few years ago when it was first added to Netflix. Having heard little to nothing about the show, I gave the first episode a shot. Once I had gotten over the (admittedly cheesy) vampire face makeup, which resembled that of a villain on the Power Rangers TV show, I fell in love. Buffy was a literal kickass teenage girl who dealt with divorce, moving to a new school at a young age, young love drama, and all that comes with hunting vampires at night.

The show transgressed vampires and played with lure and mythology long before the Winchester brothers did so on the CW’s hit show, Supernatural. Buffy also took on social elements like interracial dating, homosexuality, and divorce, as well as death and the psychological tolls it can take on a character. These elements are what add to the “Buffy formula” that makes it truly something more magical, enchanting, and profound than it may appear to be.

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Discussion: Graphic Novels

Image courtesy of Mike Egan
Image courtesy of Mike Egan

Have you read any graphic novels this summer? How about this year? Have you ever read a graphic novel? I think that people tend to think that graphic novels are only for certain people. People might think that graphic novels are only for “nerds,” whatever that means. But I disagree!

I am here today to encourage you to check out a graphic novel. Just try one! I used to read a lot of graphic novels when I was younger, and then I stopped reading them for some reason. Recently, however, I’ve discovered a lot of interesting graphic novels and have been reading a lot of great stories as a result.

BoingBoing had a Summer Reading List of Graphic Novels just a little while ago, and I think they had some great recommendations. Their list includes Saga, which I definitely agree with. I’ve only read the first volume of Saga so far (there are 3 out right now), but it’s a story of cross-species romance and intergalactic conflict. It. Is. Amazing. Also on their list is Hyperbole and a Half, the graphic novel memoir of Allie Brosh, who runs a blog of the same name. I read it earlier this year and enjoyed it immensely! It had a good mix of comedy and tragedy, coupled with Allie Brosh’s signature art style.

To this list, I would like to add some recommendations of my own. My first recommendation is Sex Criminals. Sure, it sounds a bit scandalous–and maybe it is–but it’s a superb idea and has an awesome art style. Basically, two people find that they both have a unique ability–they stop time when they climax, but they remain aware and able to move around. What will they do in that quiet space? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Another great series that I’ve been reading is Manhattan Projects, which is an alternate universe re-imagining of what happened with the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project. There are aliens, robots, and a whole lot of crazy corruption. If you’re ready for a story that’s really out there, I’d recommend this one.

Finally, I want to put in a good word for two oldies-but-goodies. Firstly, Fables, which has been going on for quite some time. It’s all about fairytale characters in modern day Manhattan. Secondly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, there are Buffy graphic novels. They start with a “season 8” run of stories, which continues the seven-season television show. They are so much fun to read if you’re a Buffy fan.

I hope that these recommendations have inspired you to check out some graphic novels this summer, or any time this year!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan