Tag Archives: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

My Hero Grrrls

9 Mar

I had planned to do this yesterday for International Woman’s Day, but hell, women should be celebrated everyday! There are so many wonderful, kind, generous and strong women out there, all influencing and changing the world little by little. Mothers and other relatives, teachers, writers, artists, actors, directors; these women are everywhere. I decided to put together a top 10 of my favourite influential femmes (in no particular order) – but this may go over ten. Some are real, and some are real enough, heroes to draw power from, or at least for me.  


1. Red Sonja
From the time I was just a little strange and freckled child, I was in love with Sonja. I was raised on Conan and his adventures, which of course overlapped with Sonja’s (even though he’s technically not Conan in it, but we know..). I wasn’t introduced to the comics until some years later, but the towering, flame-haired Brigitte Nielsen instilled within me a pride in my natural hair colour – sadly a source of shame for many of my kind – and in being taller, and in some cases stronger, than some boys in school. She’s a sword-wielding heroine any girl can look up to.

2. Lara Croft

Again, Ms. Croft’s been with me for many, many years. I remember countless hours sat infront of the television, watching my dad and brothers play Tomb Raider II over and over. I could only really take care of The Great Wall, and still have trouble handling a lot of the levels, since I would get over-excited and the nerves got the better of me. But that was enough for me. Watching her shoot her way through anything – tigers, Yetis, dinosaurs – while maintaining her femininity and possessing a rather high intellect, just made me want to be her… fall-away floors, spikes and all. She also had a lot to do with my love of history and why I would always answer, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with “archaeologist or egyptologist”. We could always throw in some danger and intrigue!

3. Tank Girl

I first seen the Tank Girl movie before I really knew what was going on in it, let alone get half of the things she was saying. I remembered bits and pieces, but I always thought she was played by Gwen Stefani and not the equally as shiny Lori Petty! I seen it again a few years later and got a bit obsessed, still not completely aware of everthing. I just thought she was the single most awesome woman ever! She had funky hair (that part of me always wanted to try!), cool clothes and a tank!  By the time the movie and I were eventually on the same wavelength, I was totally hooked. I’ve slowly been building my collection of the comics (I believe there should be 2 in the mail, in fact) and soaking up all the Tankie I can find. And she’s one of the most fun characters to draw, the artists that have worked on it are simply phenomenal! She’s tough as nails, rude, crude, brazen and bazooka-brassiered!

4. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer

She’s just a regular young woman… But, oh wait, she has to save the world! Boy trouble, fitting in, highschool, friends, homework. We shared the same problems, granted mine were less apocalypty, and was a heroine you could relate to. I’ve been watching Buffy for half my life – not without pause – and it’s still held in that same precious spot in my heart where it forced its way in all those years ago. I have to say though, Buffy was not the only great woman in that show; Willow, Joyce, Cordelia, Tara, Anya, and Dawn all taught girls everywhere something about grasping onto the strength we possess and, forgive the pun, living up to our potential. In particular, I was a Willow girl – nerdy, loserish, hopelessly enamoured of someone just as clueless, odd humour, easily excited, loved my library. I could go on. I even have the hair and pale complexion to match.   

5. Amanda Palmer

Fearless. Iconic. Comedian. Opinionated. Lover. Artist. Poet. Hero.

I have mountains of respect and love for Amanda. She’s a true music artist and an even truer person. My path to discovering her was all by chance. First off, I caught The Dresden Dolls late night on Channel 4, or something, performing ‘Coin-Operated Boy’ and another song. Their appearance and the set really grabbed my attention ( it was similar to the Live in Paradise set). I had missed their name but jotted down “Coin-Operated Boy” on a piece of paper. That always stayed in the back of my mind. A year or so later, I found an advertisement for the Live In Paradise DVD in a magazine and loved the photo. That too was saved. It was around then that decided to look them up since we had finally gotten a computer. Again, I was hooked!! I searched Virgin until I found Yes, Virginia, brought it home, listened to it repeatedly, and the rest it happy history. 

As they continued on, then went on hiatus, I followed them together and seperately. The music they were making was just so different to what I had heard and they were doing such interesting things. Then when she went solo…forget about it! I was awe-struck when I first heard ‘Astronaut’. But it’s not just her music and her lyrics, it’s her. She cares for the fans and does all she can to keep in touch. I hadn’t experienced anything like that before, the dialogue between artist and audience. She’s not afraid to try something new, or something no-one has ever tried. Then there’s he whole thing about being half of one of the best power couples, um, ever! I really, really could go on… This went on a bit, but she is one of the only two real people on this list!

6. Zoe Washburne

Ever the feminist, Joss Whedon knows how to write kickass female characters! Zoe, Mal Reynolds’ right hand woman and one half of a most unexpected couple, is an Amazon warrior woman, through and through. She’s more than capable of taking care of herself – trusty gun at the ready – and can crack a joke (many great deadpan moments) and have a laugh with the guys. Yet, when it’s time for the more sentimental stuff, she’s a softy – looking after the poor, defenseless Saffron.  She can be dominating, which is a loved and hated quality to hubby, Wash, but can be a wife just the same. Mmm, wife soup… She’s proof that you can be the hardass leader of men and the lover.

7. Penelope Garcia

My name is Sarah and I am a Criminal Minds addict. One of my favourite characters from the show is Garcia, the uber geeky, super stylish, techie goddess! Yup, that’s her full title. Garcia has to deal with a lot! She didn’t sign up to the BAU to fight crime and investigate murders (in fact, she didn’t sign up at all…), yet she has to bear the weight of some brutal stuff. Researching murders and criminals of every kind, watching videos of killings to find clues within the soundtrack; basically seeing and learning more of the world’s evil than most folk aught to. It’s this very reason that she decorates her office with colourful toys and fluffy and sparkly accessories, and keeps conversation light with her quirky humour and phone answering technique. She finds a way to seperate the two worlds and not become a disturbed shut-in, as some might do in her position. She’s also incredibly independant and has been since a relatively early age. She doesn’t need a man (but she does eventually get a cute’n’geeky one in the form of Nick Brendan!) and is completely comfortable with herself. Just look at her fabulous wardbrobe and her interaction with Derek. Oh, the flirting and the nicknames! I have respect for the character as well as the real women, and men, that old similar jobs.

8. Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth is a more recent addition to my list of heroines. Ever since I seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – what, last year – I loved her. She’s the outsider, not in the awkward highschool way but in the severely abused way, and just doesn’t take anything lying down. She’s been through hell and made it, and doesn’t show any sign of letting herself get dragged back into that mess again… of course she is, otherwise what would the trilogy be about? She’s pierced, tattooed, almost shaven-headed, dresses in dark colours, and is very beautiful. Lisbeth is as complex a character as they come, and I really have to applaud Noomi Rapace for her performance. Lisbeth may do her best to stay out of trouble, in her painfully introverted and terse way, but doesn’t cower away from a fight. If you’ve seen the movies or read the book, you know what I’m talking about! Yes, she’s rough around the edges but I think she’s one of the finest heroines in modern culture.

9. Frida Kahlo

Okay, I will keep this short since I could literally write over 3,000 words on her! She was an incredibly influential woman and paved the way for many artists, both female and Mexican. Comfortable with her sexuality, unafraid to show the world her inner self and willing to take a stand for her political beliefs.  Her life was hard, and that’s an understatement – countless operations, a result of an accident when she was young, and a passionate turbulent marriage to Diego Rivera. And, of course… her art! It’s just amazing. I knew the bare bones of her history a little over a month ago when I decided to write about her for a college essay, now I am a massive fan and cannot wait for the exhibition of her and Diego’s work here next month!!  

10. Xena, the Warrior Princess

Oh, how I miss the days of watching Xena and Hercules! She was just the coolest. The costume, the weaponry, that war cry – you know you’ve tried to iminate it. I can remember playing Hero Quest with my brother when I was little and my character name on the score sheet would always be ‘Xena‘ (and what a good game!).  She reminded me of Red Sonja, more so with that whole Hercules cross-overy goodness. And then Gabrielle was just awesome too. I always wanted a staff to swing around, hit bad guys with, help me on treks through forests… all of which I do so often.

11. Awesome Gals Everywhere

I’m not forgetting Wonder Woman – how could I? It’s just that I didn’t grow up with her. I knew of her, and the iconography of her as the strong woman, but that was about as far as my knowledge went. My knowledge has grown some over the years, but not by much. The comics are on my to buy list, and season 1 od the tv series and the animated movie (with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion) are sitting on my shelf waiting to be watched. I have to mention Wonder Woman Day, as it’s just a fantastic organisation.

Also, the women behind Geek Girl Con, and all the other geeky girls I follow through blogs, twitter, facebook, harass in person (she’ll get this is her, I hope). There’s too many to name, but they know who they are and must know just how amazing each and every one of them is.

Finally, my fellow Geek Girls (usually found ‘on the street’). I’m forever grateful for having the opportunity to have met all of you, even online, and to get to work with you. You all, quite simply, rock! 

I’m gonna be mushy here and add: My Mam. She ain’t nearly as geeky as the rest of this list, but she’s my hero none the less 🙂


How about you folk? Care to share yours?


Artist #6: David Desbois

9 Feb

Today’s feature is a short and sweet one with David Desbois. He’s sure made a name for himself with his realistic style character work based on some of the finest movies and television the sci-fi and fantasy worlds have to offer. His detailed and colourful pieces are unmistakably Desbois, with his unique technique of blending watercolour pencil with marker. As well as some fantastic commission work, he’s created collector card sets for shows like The Prisoner,  Stargate Universe and Dexter. Check out his large body of work on his deviantART, it won’t be wasted time.

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What first interested you in art?
I enjoy drawing people and capture their likeness until I’m satisfied.


Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?
Sure, it’s actually an alternate path from my ‘regular job’, I worked for Showtime, MGM and Lucasfilm on several licensed projects.


Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plans to study it?
Had oil painting class when I was younger for about 5 years or so, mostly self taught, technique research and tries..

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Movies and tv shows.

Who are some of your favourite artists?
Tsuyoshi Nagano, Jason Palmer, Terese Nielsen, Jerry Vanderstelt and Yoshitaka Amano.

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?
I still see it as a part hobby/part career

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
Hard to say, most of my bigger piece in SW field, Harry Potter recent work, recent Supernatural work..

How would you describe your style?
Stylish color photorealistic.

What made you focus more on that area more than another?
The sketch card industry and allocated license for tv-shows.

What’s your favourite medium to work in?

Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yeah, ‘The Tudors’ with Showtime network.

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
I see, I draw, simple as that, a lot of observation. I usually start with low value marker and build up and then add details with watercolour pencils and multiliners.

How did you get your career start?
Just like that, always been good in that field.

The Crossover Kings & Queens of the Whedonverse

21 Sep

With the magnificent reputation that precedes him, it’s no wonder actors choose to work with Joss Whedon time after time. Sure, we may have been a bit confused watching Buffy and Angel week to week and spotting the same guy play two different characters – or maybe I was just paying too close attention – but it was nice to see the loyalty they held to the Great and Powerful Joss.  There have been many overlaps, these are just a few of the repeat offenders. (There’s some potential spoilers ahead, so be warned).

Nathan Fillion was the scary preacher man Caleb in the final series of Buffy, the world’s most egocentric superhero Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and lest we not forget everyone’s favourite grumpy Captain, Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly.

Eliza Dushku added a boatload of attitude to both Buffy and Angel as the rogue slayer Faith and showed the world her versatility as Echo in Dollhouse.

Andy Umberger. I learned this name early in life from his recurring role as D’Hoffryn in Buffy. He’s known for playing the not so nice characters with his appearances in Angel as Dr. Meltzer, who couldn’t quite keep it together, and the Captain of the Dortmunder in Firefly.

Julia Lee had two spots in Buffy, as Chantarelle and Lily/Anne. The latter character, renamed Anne Steele, also showed up in Angel for a short run.

Felicia Day kicked ass as potential Vi in Buffy, sang her heart out in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog as Penny and kept it real – or ‘Actual’ – with Mag in Dollhouse.

Alexis Denisof made a name for himself as Westley Wyndam-Price in Buffy before reinventing his Watcher in Angel. He went on to star in Dollhouse as Senator Daniel Perrin.

Carlos Jacott is one of my all time favourite Whedonverse guest stars. His Richard Straley tried to marry Doyle’s ex in Angel (and eat his brains), then there was the ill fated Dobson in Firefly. And who could forget the seemingly lovely Ken in Buffy – not to mention her Ghandi impression.

All Jacott’s bad guys appeared absolutely harmless, unlike Jeff Ricketts’ villains. You may remember him as one of the much talked about Blue Glove Men in Firefly and Weatherby, one of the Watchers’ special agents sent after Faith, in both Buffy and Angel. He also played a Spider Monster later in Angel. See? Evil.

Summer Glau made her television debut as a Prima Ballerina in Angel and followed Joss on to Dollhouse as Bennett Halverson. Of course, we’re all well acquainted with her mysterious, and a mite crazy, River Tam in Firefly.  

The loveable Amy Acker won our hearts as shy Fred in Angel before shocking us all in Dollhouse with her portrayal as Dr. Saunders and Whiskey. 

Remember Tracey in Firefly? Forgive me for getting wistful, but that was a sad episode. Well, that was Jonathan M. Woodward, who also showed up in Angel as the nerdy Knox and Buffy as  nostalgic vampire Holden Webster. 

I’d be remiss if I were to leave out Tom Lenk and his early Buffy appearance as Cyrus, one of Harmony’s minions. It’s a rather fun one to watch after his run as Andrew, who popped over to Angel for two episodes.

You may not remember Bob Fimiani, but he deserves a spot on the list since he was one of the original five (with Jacott, Umberger, Ricketts and Woodward) to have appeared in all of Joss’ tv shows (pre-Dollhouse). If the show gets picked up again, Joss willing, he’ll have his chance to get back on the leaderboard. Fiamani can be seen as Mr. Ward in Buffy, Elder Gommen in Firefly and both a grounds keeper and Codger Demon in Angel.

Two very honourable mentions come in the form of Jeff Kober and Brian Thompson. Now, these guys never left the land of Buffy but both sat through hours of make-up (something they’re known for) to bring you Luke and The Judge (Thompson) as well as Rack and Zackary Kralik (Kober).

Ever think you’d see Firefly’s Jayne Cobb suit up?  Well, just check out Adam Baldwin’s super strong Marcus Hamilton in Angel

He may only have Dollhouse’s Alpha and Firefly’s Wash under his Whedon belt, but come on, those are two of the greatest characters ever. So, I’ll finish up here with the wonderful Alan Tudyk!

I’m sure I’ve left out some. If you know any I missed, leave me a comment so I can see the error of my ways.


Updated to include:

Gina Torres as tough as nails Zoe in Firefly and the irresistible Jasmine in Angel.

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