As part of a new project, I will be writing on my favorite comic-type heroes. That won’t strictly mean they are in comic books, but they will have similar abilities, e.g. Strength, speed, etc. This time around, I would like to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Strength: about 1200 lbs
Abilities: exceptional healing, jumping, speed, super senses, vision
The show was about killing vampires, which is simple enough. John Carpenter has done a couple of movies, the Blade comics, and anime has done a great deal with the idea. Further back we have Bram Stoker and the plethora of movies and stories he has inspired.
But Buffy is much more than that. She is more like a comic hero in that the stories revolve around her, her friends, and her life. Sure she has super powers. She has strength, speed, superhuman agility, a natural fighting ability, some kind of a mystical connection to dead slayers and powerful vampires, but those gifts never feature in the stories.
And best of all the language. I don’t know if it was Joss Whedon or Sarah Michelle Gellar who made up the quirky communication between the chief actors, but it is the most fun part of the whole show. It takes the show away from the feel of a weekly horror installment. And with the way the episodes have a way of making fun of the horror genre in general and itself in particular, it takes on a life of its own. You can’t call Buffy a horror heroine, because she isn’t the sole survivor; she helps an entire school to make it through life on the Hellmouth. You can’t call her a comic hero (really), because no comic hero could ever have an origin story as campy as hers. She isn’t really an action star, because she would like nothing better than to be a cheerleader again. She is simply Buffy, a funny, grudging heroine with the abilities of Captain America, the philosophy of life of a valley girl, the wit of The Wasp, and the weight of the world occasionally on her shoulders.