Comicpalooza 2014- Buffy Panel

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.

Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza articles
Click on the link to take you to all of our Comicpalooza 2014 articles

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.

The Buffy cast at Comicpalooza 2014
The Buffy cast at Comicpalooza 2014

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.

James Marsters and Adrian at Comicpalooza 2014
James Marsters and Adrian at Comicpalooza 2014

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.”

written by Adrian Puryear

Iron Man 3 Review

Did Iron Man 3 live up to expectations?

Yes and no.

Last summer at San Diego Comic Con there was such a big deal made about the suits.  They had them all lined up in their glass boxes being ogled by all, even people who weren’t at the con.  It was such a big deal to have all those suits there.  And to have RDJ there promoting the third film in front of the suits was surreal. So it was a little disappointing that the suits weren’t in the majority of the film.  The majority of the film was really a lot of Tony being a little cuckoo about the wormhole in NYC.  It was a great way to tie in The Avengers plot into this Iron Man film, but the Tony Stark from the comics (yes I’m about to get comic book geeky) is a raging alcoholic. Having a few anxiety attacks anytime someone (mostly children) mentions New York or the wormhole seems to take away the serious aspect of Tony’s life.  It also seems apropos to cast Robert Downey Jr. as the hero with a substance problem.  I mean, isn’t that who Robert and Tony are?  I would have given kudos to the writers had they entered that into the plot. Now that I’m done bashing, I actually did like the movie.  The first scene in Switzerland is brilliant. Tony is rude, his girlfriend is smart, Guy Pearce is crazy and Jon Favreau is comedic.  The song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” fits the tone for the Iron Man franchise.  Tony’s treatment of Aldrich Killian sets up the antagonist easily for the rest of the movie. The rest of the movie is mostly about how Stark is coping with what happened in New York and The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and how to keep Pepper happy.  There is very little action, until the final scenes.  The suits are only important because they are what stand between Pepper and Tony being as close as they had been.  His “tinkering” is causing distance between the lovers.  He uses them as his “hobby” but as Pepper says, they really are his “distraction.” The best part of the movie was the banter between Tony, now “The Mechanic” and the little boy Harley in Rose Hill.  Their scenes were some of the funniest, but also is the time when Tony can come to peace with a lot of what he has been feeling.  And when all is reconciled, who wouldn’t want the garage that Harley gets at the end? The best line is in the fight between Stark and Ellen Brandt.  Ellen says, “Is that all you’ve got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?”  To which Tony replies, “Sweetheart, ‘a cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner’ could be the name of my autobiography.”  And really it could be the name of this film.  They cheesy one-liners were really what made the film so good to me.  Robert Downey Jr. has great comedic timing as Stark.  And because Iron Man was stripped away from him for the majority of the film, he had to rely on his cheap tricks a lot.  It is a good thing to see the hero be vulnerable. Ben Kingsley was spot on as The Mandarin.  He was scary.  He was full of theatrics.  SPOILER!  He actually was an actor, which I think was great.  The Mandarin is really Trevor, just a junkie who wants to act.  And then Guy Pearce.  He is so good at being bad.  The British Brad Pitt.  Not as good looking and not as lovable.  His Extremis project is really one of the few things that can stop Iron Man.  It is smart and evil.  Pepper calls it, saying it is “highly weaponizable.”  It is hard to feel bad for Aldrich, even after he is snubbed in that elevator in Switzerland.  He just has an evil aura about him and you always no he is up to no good.  Those are some good acting chops on Pearce’s behalf. My last thought about the movie is how it ends.  Pepper Potts saves the day.  I am all for woman power and female strength.  My favorite things in the world promote it.  But those women are strong in every aspect and have always had a strength in their characters.  Paltrow and the writers have always portrayed Potts as Stark’s business savvy, wide-eyed girlfriend.  She has never been as smart, as funny, or as experienced.  And yet she saves the day.  It didn’t go with who she has always been.  I think it is wonderful she didn’t need to be the damsel anymore.  But after being utterly terrified to jump into her Superhero boyfriends arms and instead falling hundreds of feet into a pit of fire, it seems out of place to make her save Tony in the end.  And then to turn wide-eyed and say, “That was really violent.”  That’s the life you’ve been living, sweetheart.  I just didn’t think it meshed. At the end, Iron Man is gone and we just have Tony Stark.  What does that mean for the next installment of The Avengers?  I would assume he will have to find a happy balance between being Iron Man and Pepper.  He will have to deal with the wormhole.  Or he may not be in it at all.  But I find that hard to believe, but after all, he is Iron Man.

written by Adrian Puryear