In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ “Respect My Craft” articles will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con “Respect My Craft” articles
Name: Clare Kramer
Profession: Actress, Director, Internet Personality
NotableWork: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bring it On, Big Ass Spider!, and Co-Founder of the very popular entertainment site GeekNation.
“I think us Whedon actors tend to stuck together! I’ve become friends with many of the Angel and Firefly peeps. We do tend to travel together to a lot of the conventions – which I liken to summer camp! The great thing about getting Buffy was it was my first job in LA – so many of my lifelong friends were spawned from that job!” – Clare Kramer in her Reddit AMA in August of 2012.
Clare Kramer may be known to Whedon fans as Glory, or more appropriately, Glorificus, but she wasn’t always the hell Goddess. Kramer’s first job was the mascot for Wendy’s. You know, the little girl with pigtails. The perk? She did get free hamburgers during that stint.
Kramer went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts from 1997-2000, graduating from the prestigious program in just three years with a BFA. The young actress had some bit parts off-Broadway, but made her “big” break in 2000 when she moved to L.A. and auditioned for the little teen movie Bring it On. Kramer has admitted that she did not think anyone would see the movie. “This shows how poor my judgment used to be when filming. I thought that while we were having a great time, and it was so much fun filming and I had a blast, that nobody would actually ever see it. It would be one of those movies that kind of slips under the radar. But then I got a call from my manager and he had gone to Universal for a screening and he said ‘Okay. This is going to be successful.’ It was a pleasant surprise.”
Kramer’s role as Courtney, the bitchy cheerleader, started her career of playing the “bitch.” For people who know Kramer, this comes off as quite a surprise. In her personal life, Kramer is known to friends and fans as being a genuinely sweet woman. Her acting talent is proven with how well she portrays the snobby girl.
Later in the year, Kramer auditioned for a role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a move that would change the course of her career; becoming apart of the cast of anything by Joss Whedon automatically enrolls actors for a cast and crew family and a rather enthusiastic fanbase.
The beautiful blonde was cast as Glory, the Big Bad of season 5, and mega nemesis for Buffy. Glory was sexy, witty, strong, and the only Big Bad to successfully kill the heroine. What Kramer brought to the role was recognition that Glory wasn’t necessarily evil, but that she only had one thing on her mind: getting home. It should also be noted that Glory was Ben, which was just as much of a shock to Kramer as it was to the audience. She has publicly stated that she is happy that she didn’t know because it would have affected her performance.
Fans connected with Glory very quickly. Season 4 of Buffy had a myriad of Big Bads. It felt like we didn’t know who the good guys or the bad guys were, but Glory’s entrance in season 5 made it very clear who Buffy was fighting against. The blondes fought each other many times, and Glory’s personality was reminiscent of Cordelia when she was still in Sunnydale. But Glory also had a knack for summing up humans perfectly, making her really relatable.
Following her 13 episode stint on the critically acclaimed show, Kramer has gone on to several different roles, most involving horror or paranormal aspects. Some of those titles include Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Mummy an’ the Armadillo, Tru Calling, The Gravedancers,The Dead Ones, Road to Hell, and Big Ass Spiders!.
Since 2012, Kramer has been working hard on the entertainment website she co-founded, GeekNation. GeekNation specializes in geek culture, focusing their content on news, podcasts, shows, and Mosters. Clare Kramer co-founded the site with film producer Brian R. Keathley and ran the podcast “Five by Five” and the show “Take 5 with Clare Kramer,” where she interviewed celebrities associated with the nerd world. Most notably, Kramer interviewed Stan Lee in her second episode of “Take 5.”
Currently, Kramer spends a lot of time on the con circuit. Popular with fans, Kramer has worked her way up from just having a table to hosting main event panels at major cons such as Emerald City. You can see Clare Kramer at Denver Comic Con 2015 at her booth and hosting all the main event panels. Make sure you stop by and say hello to this self-proclaimed geek!
A small scale Buffy reunion was in full action at this year’s Comicpalooza. In attendance were James Leary, who played Clem in seasons 6 and 7; George Hertzberg, who played Adam in season 4; Clare Kramer, who played Glory in season 5; James Marsters, who played Spike in seasons 2-7; and Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander Harris for the entire run of the series. The panel was in question and answer format.
One of the first questions on deck was whether the actors were a fan of the genre before they were cast on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brendon said he was not and still doesn’t do too much revolving around the genre, but says “I started with the best, why settle for the rest?” James Leary began his acting career after the show had been on the air. When he went to L.A., Buffy was one of the 5 shows he wanted to be on. Hertzberg said he just likes good writing regardless of genre. But James Marsters had the best answer. He said that in 1973 there was a Star Trek convention in Oakland. He went wearing a blue tunic, pointed years, a phaser he made himself and a big, blonde Afro. What a vision!
There was a fan hell-bent on touching celebrities faces. At every panel I went to where this person was in attendance, they asked to touch the stars face after asking what the strangest question the star have ever been asked. Marsters said his idea of strange is way sicker than we may think. For some odd reason, both Brendon and Marsters misheard “face” for something a little more personal, proving they are both a little sick. At one point in the panel Brendon expressed a crass desire for a Xander pregnancy kit. Marsters said he wanted Spike condoms. After some sexually overt banter, Brendon took it too far and Marsters asked if there might be kids in the audience. As a note, it may too adult for little ones to go to a panel with Brendon.
James Marsters talked about his favorite episode “Once More with Feeling,” or The Musical. He said no one had much faith in creator Joss Whedon because when they were given the tape where Whedon had recorded the songs, they realized Whedon couldn’t sing or play piano. Marsters believed Whedon was going to “flush the show down the drain along with all of our careers,too.” Today, the Musical is a cult favorite episode.
Each actor shared their favorite line from their respective characters. Kramer’s is “did anyone else know the Slayer is a robot?” Hertzberg, in good humor considering his lack of dialogue, said his is “Mother.” Leary’s is “Spike, she is sweet girl. Issues!” Brendon had a hard time deciding because he had so many great lines. Two of them are “Master-bater” from Buffy vs. Dracula and “I’m 17 years old, everything makes me horny.” Marsters, in his British accent said to the crowd, “Out for a walk…Bitch.” And if you are familiar with that line you know we all cheered when he said it.
As far as memorable fan moments, Clare Kramer talked about a recent proposal from one fan to another at Emerald City Comic Con. Leary likes when fans talk about what Buffy means to them. Marsters met someone who helped design the Mars rover. But Hertzberg had the most interesting story. He said he was in London and a father and daughter came up to his table. The little girl said, “Show him Daddy, show him!” Then the man lifted his shirt and there was George as Adam tattooed on the man’s back.
When talking about the iconic language of Buffy, Kramer said it was easy to memorize because it was so rhythmic and poetic. Marsters said Buffy was not like other shows where you could improvise. He joked that Joss would yell, “James, you missed a comma!” If they could play different characters, Marsters said he would play Clem, only because the actresses would sit on his lap and play with his ears. Leary said that Marsters has a different memory of his time on the set than he does. Pranks were rare because the set was so hard working. However, at a Christmas party, Alyson Hannigan received a bloody prop of Clem’s ear which she shockingly exclaimed “This is so cool!” when she saw it.
James Marsters spoke on one of his favorite Joss moments on set. When it became apparent Spike was more of a romantic vampire rather than a scary one Joss was upset. His intention with vampires and other demons were to make them ugly and scary like the things people overcome in adolescence. Joss approached Marsters, backed him up against a wall and screamed “You are dead. You are dead! YOU ARE DEAD!” It is important to know Joss is famous for killing off loved characters. Marsters also said his role in Macbeth helped him prepare for the role of Spike because they both enjoy killing people.
Nicholas Brendon told the audience that be originally came up with the shwarma joke from The Avengers while filming Buffy. He said he has seen Robert Downey Jr. take credit for it. Brendon quipped “fucking liar.”
Fan fiction has long been apart of Buffy because fans write so much of it. But do the actors read it? James Leary has looked at Clem and Spike relationship stories while Brendon has looked at Xander and Giles stuff. Marsters says he really appreciates when people release their creativity but as far as reading it, “No way in heck!”
The hardest thing to film in the series for Marsters was the episode where Spike attempts to rape Buffy. Marsters says any scene with that theme he refuses to watch and it actually sent him to therapy. He qualified it by saying it was a good thing; however, it was still eye-opening to hear that. Marsters wrapped up the panel by saying he preferred being the villain because the villain can watch everyone else run around and feel guilt they can’t save anyone. The villain can also mess with people. He would mess with Sarah Michelle Gellar and then when they had to fall in love, he had to be nice. Although he had to be nice, he was able to continue his “mean” streak later. He ended by saying, “So I went on Angel and messed with him.”
We know it’s been ages, but it’s finally time to continue our San Diego Comic-Con blog. We feel a deep shame for taking so long to continue the journal, but with the craziness that is life, we have been unable to write. Luckily for you, we our continuing to spill our guts about the most awesome time of our lives! We’ll pick up right where we left off.
After an exhausting first day of pillaging the booths in the Exhibitor’s Hall, we decided to start off Thursday morning with a bit more of a casual approach – try being the key word. “Sleeping in” until 5am was a popular thought amongst Town and Country guests. I know this because sharing water with 500 people ended in very cold, Titanic proportions. It was quite possibly the worst time bathing I have ever had, but I was determined not to go to the convention contributing to the “Comic-Con smell.” Plus, I tried to look at it as training for the impending zombie apocalypse. After dragging Adrian out of bed (hair-first, as to avoid injury), we made our way to the breakfast hall, which was the same hall we completed registration in. This meant eating breakfast to more epic music (cue Danny Elfman’s Batman Animated and John Williams’ Superman theme). The free breakfast buffet that came with our hotel package was really good, too. Fruit, potatoes, sausage… we digress. The point is, it was a great way to start the day.
As we took the shuttle to the Convention Center, we had only a few priorities. Thursday at Comic Con is usually pretty slow. Today’s agenda included: Batmobiles, DC Comic’s Batman and the Court of Owls panel, a Q&A session with The Walking Dead brain trust, and The Walking Dead Escape. Okay, so that may not sound like a slow day, but compared to the rest of the trip, this was cake.
The Batmobiles were displayed behind the Convention Center right by the San Diego Hilton Bayfront. It was beeeauuutifulll! Warner Bros. had put on a display of five different Batmobiles used in the movies: the Hot Wheels Adam West-mobile, the Tim Burton Batmobile from the late 80’s film, Batman Forever Batmobile, Batman and Robin Batmobile, as well the Tumblers from the Nolan films.
It was truly a dream come true. We have never seen a Batmobile in person, so it took a lot of self-restraint not to jump in the car and drive away with a trail of fire behind us. Besides, we couldn’t; the keys weren’t in the ignition. As a consolation, we skipped from car to car, taking pictures and gawking at the Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-ness of it all.
After the festivities of checking out Batmobiles, we took a walk along the bay. It was quite beautiful and the only real time we had to experience California. We walked along the bay and got to see a bunch of boats and seagulls, and for just a moment, it was a relaxing, normal vacation.
But screw that crap. We were not delusional of the idea that Comic Con would be an overload of stimulation. So we started our trek back to the Convention Center. On the way, we ran into our first legit cosplayer. She was dressed as Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl from No Man’s Land. Sherif had a slight geek-out moment and Batgirl was very willing to take a picture with him.
However, Sherif did seem a bit disappointed that she talked to us (Cain’s character is a mute, duh). We also ran into a woman who had turned her Big Bang Theory swag bag into a fashionable dress. This was the epitome of creativity. We even saw KITT from Knight Rider driving around, blaring the theme song. If only the Hoff were driving. A nerd can dream… With quite a while to go until our panels started, we headed back into the Exhibitor’s Hall.
The first thing we wanted to check out was The Walking Dead’s Zombie Killing Machine. This Hyundai Genesis had been altered for zombie-killing efficiency. The prototype was designed by Robert Kirkman himself (the creator and writer of The Walking Dead) and created by the good folks at Hyundai. Why anybody would choose a Hyundai Genesis as their apocalypse ride of choice is another topic altogether, but it looked pretty badass: battering rams in the front, sniper hatch and party lights up top. It was pretty sweet.
That’s also when we decided to order The Walking Dead Season 2 Blu-Ray set that comes with the RV Zombie. After re-watching the first episode of the second season, that scene with the RV Zombie was one of the scariest of the series. Getting to stab a zombie in the eye every time you want to watch an episode of Walking Dead is pretty rewarding. To further our Walking Dead excitement, the folks at AMC set up a display of Michonne, the cloaked warrior who saved Andrea at the end of Season 2. Just as in the comics, she had her two zombie pets on a chain. There was a pretty awesome photo op to become one of the two chained-up walkers, but the line made Space Mountain at Disneyland look like a cakewalk.
Our first panel of the convention was DC Comics: Tales from The Dark and The Edge.
Sherif was semi-interested in this panel, but really we were just staying in the room so we could get great seats for the Batman: Court of Owls panel. Sitting in panels ahead of the one you actually want to see is a strategy that is completely abused at SDCC, but alas, we took part. The DC Comics panel had writers of a few of DC’s more obscure, but still awesome books. With all the success Jeff Lemire’s work (Animal Man and Justice League Dark) has garnered, there was a lot of talk about Rotworld, a current arc spanning Animal Man and Scott Synder’s Swamp Thing. Of all the writers, it was Jimmy Plamiotti (All-Star Western) that made the biggest impression on us. He’s a very decent guy, and a really funny guy. Although his All-Star Western really hadn’t impressed me, the guy who writes it did. So, I gave it another shot and it’s turned out to be quite a good book.
The next panel was MAD. The comics and the television show were both open for discussion. It was a fun panel, with lots of stories of “how far we’ve come,” explanations of crazy moments in time, and Dana Snyder’s impressions bringing the house down. Of all the panels, it was one of the most laid back we went to. They ran a few clips of comic book related shorts, as well as explained their process for making their animations. Our favorite moment, by far, was the fame-chasing blondie in a Wonder Woman outfit who came up to the podium looking for a handout (or handjob, who knows?) and a free demo after the panel. When the panelists politely side-steps with, “We can talk after the panel,” she says, “Where can we do it?” without missing a beat, which sends the ultra-nerd panelists into a speechless, red-faced state of being. If anything, I’ll give MAD a try once it comes back on September 13th.
After the MAD panel cleared the stage, we flew to the closest seats we could find for the Batman: Beyond the Court of Owls panel. Led by the creative team behind The New 52 Batman books, the Owls panel let into what was going to happen during the next arc for the Bat-family – the biggest news being the return of the Joker in the next Batman arc, titled “Death in the Family.” One of the best parts of these SDCC panels was finally getting to put a face and voice behind those who create the worlds we love so much. Scott Snyder’s announcement of a Talon book brought in tons of applause. We mention Talon in our Zero Issues blog, but it’s basically about a Talon from the Court of Owls who defects and is running from the organization. It’s really nice to see the Owls get some more love. Snyder and friends then brought out cases and cases of Owl masks for the crowd to wear. Our first legit piece of Comic-Con swag! Everybody had a moment and put our masks on in creepy fashion. We actually managed to get some pretty decent seats because you can see us on the picture that Scott Snyder tweeted of the room wearing Owl masks. All in all, it was one of my favorite panels, because it was one of the most intimate panels we sat through.
The next panel up was The Walking Deadcomic panel. There was a lot of anticipation for this, since we had decided to forgo the TV show panel on Friday. The line was hundreds of people long; we were sure we wouldn’t get in. After more than an hour of waiting (which is modest considering some of the other things we waited for), we were finally let in to this massive room. We were a bit late, so we had to sit near the back of the room.
Then, it happens: writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard walk in very casually. They proceed to tell us that they have nothing planned for the hour, and that it would be a super-long Q&A session. This kinda caught me by surprise since the previous panels had a planned agenda, or free stuff, or at least something to say. They didn’t even allude to any future plans and they went as far as to condemn discussions about issue #100, released the previous day. So in that aspect, we were a bit disappointed. All that aside, hearing Kirkman and Adlard play off one another and tease each other was an amazing experience. There was also a pretty special moment when a fan who stepped up to the podium attempted to put her entire leg in her mouth, thanking Kirkman for writing a character whom, unbeknownst to her, had been brutally murdered in the 100th issue. Good job, kiddo! Oh and don’t worry, we will review that issue very soon here.
With nothing really left to do until The Walking Dead Escapeat 9pm, we found ourselves with ample time to explore. We headed towards the autograph area to find anybody we wanted to get some signings from. Nobody in the Event Guide really sparked our interest, but as we were walking by, we saw a cute blonde talking to a person in an event shirt. When this cute blonde turned around, we found out that she was Clare Kramer! That’s right: Glorificus had graced us with her presence. And while Adrian was too shy to ask for anything, let alone introduce herself to Clare, I had to shove her in the right direction to get a signed picture and a keepsake on my phone of them. Clare even took a picture of Adrian’s peacock tattoo. It reminded me a lot of The Dark Knight Rises swag bag incident the previous day. Sometimes we both need reassurance to do things we may not have the strength to do on our own. And luckily for both of us, we have each other to count on.
After leaving the Convention Center, we took a walk through the Gaslamp District and the area surrounding Petco Park, the San Diego Padres’ stadium. We found this really neat, and expensive pizza place, where we watched Team USA Basketball take on the Dominican Republic in one of the most underwhelming games of the summer. After that, we tried to convince ourselves we weren’t too tired to run from zombies. But after a fifteen-hour day, it was difficult to convince ourselves otherwise. We found out quickly that it wouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds. The Walking Dead Escape was one of the most thrilling and terrifying things we’ve ever done. So much so that it deserves its own post.
After the insanity that was the Escape, we were faced with a dilemma. The next day, it was planned that most of our time would be spent in Ballroom 20 to see a bunch of panels, namely the Firefly 10 Year Reunion. People were already camping out overnight. Not in the Convention Center, mind you, but on the nasty-ass ground outside. So either we go back to the hotel, shower, get a decent five hours of sleep, or we lay our sweaty, nasty selves on the concrete and guarantee we get the best spots for the panels the next day. Needless to say, we went back, showered and got some rest. And it wasn’t the worst mistake we could have made, because we did end up making it in the Ballroom.
That’s about it for the second day. We definitely got into the swing of things throughout the weekend, but a lot of it was trial and error. Stay tuned for Friday’s events. We promise it won’t take another month!